Tag Archives: education

Grow Young … Soon

graphic posted April 25 2013 19:55.26 by Giorgos Lazaridis @ http://www.pcbheaven.com/opendir/index.php?show=440ah2187wt442ef569 

Grow Young… Soon: They’re Coming To Get You

A book fell out of my bookshelf from where I had wedged it — like a squirrel hides a nut for the future — and this piece fell out of the folder where I’d placed it waiting for the right moment to make its re-appearance.

I had set it aside because of its obvious resonance with the overall theme of a personal focus — finding and creating excellence, or summoning it- it follows naturally upon the recent series “Je Ne Sais Quoi”.  And because I’m a grandparent of three, all of whom exhibit many of the characteristics described in that book.

[Here is some accompanying music; 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p5QqKANMWo 

read the text under the YouTube link and act as you deem appropriate.

Or try this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ea2eDyM3RE ]

The book — published in 1998 — is by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. (see more here http://institute4learning.com/ ) and it is entitled “Awakening Genius in the Classroom”.  It could ride along with other books on multiple intelligences, genius, intelligence, neuroscience, and along such authors as Gelb, Booth, Levine, Langer, and others, though it is by no means as heavy a hitter as those. [See also http://www.amazon.com/Awakening-Your-Childs-Natural-Genius/dp/0874776082 .]

The theme of the book, as expressed in the  preface, is “the sheer joy of what it means to learn something new”. Armstrong cites Whitehead’s  “rhythm of education” model http://www.amazon.com/dp/0029351804 and its 3 stages: in reverse order, a period of generalization or application of learning; a period of precision in which substantial energy is committed towards acquiring specific skills on the way to mastery; and Armstrong’s focal period of romance, “in which one celebrates the vitality and passion that accompany learning”, which he feels is neglected by educators. So the book is about how to help youngsters fall in love with, and stay in love with, learning. [Maybe it works for oldsters too….]

In the first chapter, Armstrong explains what he means by the word “genius”  by going back to the origins of the  word itself, as derived from Greek and Latin words meaning “to beget,” “to be born,” or “to come into being” (it being closely related to the word genesis).

“It is also linked to the word genial, which means, among other things, “festive,” “conducive to growth,” “enlivening,” and “jovial.” He zeroes in on  his synthesis at the bottom of page one when he speaks of “giving birth to one’s joy”.

He goes on to speak about the 12 qualities of genius but not before he notes the ancient Roman references to “A guardian spirit that protected all individuals throughout their lives”, and the relationship of the word to the Middle Eastern term jinni, the magical power that lies dormant, as chronicled in the Arabian nights, that is coaxed out of its vessel.

The 12 basic qualities of genius are: curiosity, playfulness, imagination, creativity, wonder, wisdom, inventiveness, vitality, sensitivity, flexibility, humor, and joy.

The child’s full-scale exploration of his world through his senses “branches out into hobbies, pastimes, collections, and interests that may change weekly” and which is later “replaced by a more subterranean curiosity in adolescence through questions that emerge out of “they’re often insatiable need to find out everything they can about their world”.

“… The formal rules and competitiveness  of structured games often force playfulness into hiding….”  Playfulness, described by Friedrich Froebel — the inventor of kindergarten —  as “the highest level of child development… The germinal leaves of all later life”,  shows up as the wise guy in the 11th grade or the fourth-grader who dances his way into the classroom.

Imagination (“stories in their heads”), sagas, odysseys and romances, have “come to be associated with something negative–daydreaming–rather than being viewed as a potential source of cognitive power” that can generate plays, works of art, or “deep dialogues about significant life issues”.

Creativity, too often limited  to gifted students or isolated by educators from the mainstream of American education “where to do the most good”,  is “the ability to make novel connections”, “the knack for seeing things that might be missed”, is  “a part of every students birthright” if “they haven’t been brainwashed… By the conventional attitudes of society”.

“The experience of wonder [as] an encounter with the mysteries of life” “doesn’t show up as a “skill” on any competency checklist; it is “the natural astonishment”, and “emotional experience”  that “underlies something particularly profound about the learning process that receives virtually no attention in education”. Robert Coles’ four books on children [see below] form the background for Armstrong’s statement: “The student who is able to experience the wonder of the world directly, without the blinders of preconceptions and clichés, has access to a certain precocious wisdom different from that of elders….”.

Inventiveness “should be seen as a part of the core curriculum” but “students generally have little time to exercise their “inventive” muscles because educators may fear such amusing side trips of the mind take valuable time….” away from the modern demands of education.

Vitality (aliveness, spontaneity, or vibrancy) “is really the essential spark of genius; the direct energy of the life force surging up into the world….”  “Sometimes teachers worry about containing this vitality in the classroom, believing that the asked classroom is a subdued classroom.”

Sensitivity is about the way that each individual “responds to each stimulus in a fresh and unique way”, allowing them “to be more deeply affected by great works of art, music, dance, and literature, and to be moved by the events of history and the discoveries of science and math.”

Flexibility is about the plasticity of the learner’s mind, its ability “to make fluid associations, the move from fantasy to reality, from metaphor to fact, from the inner world to the outer and back again”. It is about the ability to go on “fantastic voyages”.

Humor lifts us out of the dreadful seriousness of non-genius life, breaks the tension that drudgery all too often fixes upon us, and gives us something new: a funny angle, a new perspective, a broader view of life.”

Joy, the experience of joy, is a core component. “The neurochemistry of the joy of learning is still unclear [but] its importance cannot be underestimated.”

Armstrong goes on to describe for perspectives or theoretical foundations for genius: neurological, evolutionary, biographical, and phenomenological.

By phenomenological, he means the experiential, the “crystallizing experiences” http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED254544 , ”the “ecstatic learning experiences” described in Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory, in “Higher Creativity” http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Creativity-Liberating-Unconscious-Breakthrough/dp/0874773350, and, undoubtedly, here: http://www.creativeeducationfoundation.org/.

Under the biographical heading, echoing Booth’s book “The Everyday Work of Art”, Armstrong speaks of the examination of the lives of adults who were officially acknowledged to be geniuses in every sense of the word: such people as Einstein, Sir Alexander Fleming, Picasso, Matisse, Miro or Chagall, and others.

“…  it appears that many (if not most) extraordinary individuals possess attitudes of mind that are very similar to those of children and adolescents, and that when added to their formal training, years of effort, and unique capacity for synthesis, lead to transformative works.”

The biographical basis is an extension of the evolutionary basis as well as the neurological basis.  “… The absence of role models in the child’s environment that displays characteristics of some or all of the 12 qualities of genius may starve dendrites in those portions of the brain that support these behaviors….  An environment that fails to recognize the importance of the 12 qualities of genius may starve those traits out of existence, while surroundings that are “genius friendly” may well create neurological connections [hardy dendrites] that facilitate their growth.”

Armstrong cites Ashley Montague’s key evolutionary concept of neoteny  when he says “one reason that we have managed to survive and thrive as a species is because our brain is capable of adapting to a wide range of environments–in fact, our brain has the ability to wait until it directly experiences a specific environment and then programs itself to function within just that setting (assuming the environment isn’t too hostile).”

Montague writes:

From their “mature adult” heights, adults only to frequently look down patronizingly upon the “childless” qualities of the child, without any understanding of their real meaning. Such adults fail to understand that those “childish” qualities constitute the most valuable possessions of our species, to be cherished, nurtured, and cultivated.

Says Armstrong: “If our civilization is to keep from blowing itself off the map, we need to cultivate in our educational system people with the curiosity, sensitivity, and imagination, among other qualities, to come up with new ways of preventing wars, disease, and overpopulation. Montagu’s perspective suggests that the qualities of genius, far from being “warm fuzzy” concepts, are the basic building blocks of humanity’s hope for survival.”

Part 2 of Armstrong’s book focuses on how genius gets shut down through factors present in the home and in the popular media. There are 4 factors that are especially significant as negative home influences: emotional dysfunction, poverty, a fast-paced lifestyle, and rigid ideologies.

Parents (and other members of the household) who are crippled by emotional problems including alcoholism, drug dependence, food disorders, chronic rage, anxiety, and depression are identified as generating patterns that reverberate throughout the family system. Dysfunctional families follow “certain basic rules that govern their attitude toward learning and growing; these include the need to be in control at all times; the need to be perfect; the need to blame others when things don’t work out; and the denial of the ability to freely think, feel, perceive, choose, and imagined as one desires.” [One can’t help but think about the extension of these dysfunctional traits into the culture and the political setting.] “In families with emotional dysfunction, a child’s vitality is all too often crushed under a barrage of put downs and insults, curiosities punished or ignored, enjoy is squashed under the heavy blanket of depression. Living in such conditions, children don’t have the chance to explore, make mistakes, discover new ideas, and do the many other things that go along with being a genius. In families in which anxiety hovers over the home like a dark cloud, children lose their playfulness.” Drug addiction is noted by Armstrong as creating special problems that cripple the natural genius in children. This is especially troubling when one comes to awareness about the role of our government, its intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the banking and economic system in the importation and distribution of addictive narcotics. Poverty, the stepsister of those national policies-in-action, also plays a major role in depressing the joy and vitality of children as well as in generating poor prenatal care, poor healthcare, malnutrition, and “other factors commonly associated [which] can damage the child’s brain.…”. But even in well-to-do suburbs, there is destruction of genius.

“Many parents who have adequate financial resources and a solid educational background don’t appear to have much time to spend with their kids because of their own hectic lives. Often very successful in their professions, these parents spend so much time trying to get added in their careers that they don’t have any time left for their kids. When they do up and up focusing on their children’s learning life, they often think about how they get their children on the fast track to success. Hence, families with a fast-paced lifestyle often pressure kids to learn things before they’re ready for them.….Because these kids are given time to naturally expressed their genius qualities in their own way, they begin to retreat behind a façade of cynicism, apathy or aggression.”

“Some families raise their children in an atmosphere of fear and hate toward those who do not share their own rigid belief systems. These belief systems may be on the right or the left politically; they may be related to any of the worlds religions or be atheistic or philosophical in nature. What is at issue here is not the specific content of the belief systems but the way children are taught to fear any other way of thinking and to hate those who stand outside of their own way of thinking.” [Again, one can’t help but think about the socio-cultural milieu,  “the war of the civilizations”, continued and extensive racism, the use of fear as a political psychological weapon, and the ways in which we are divided against ourselves so as to increase the political power of the few.]

Our popular media are noted and discussed [in disgust] for the ways in which they are destructive to the qualities of genius among our children and our adults. “Beyond the violent content of television and video games–which is received the greatest attention and has a huge research-based demonstrating its harmful effects…, At least 3 other more subtle but nevertheless devastating threats to the genius [ of our culture]  seemed to emanate from the vast majority of TV, video, and Internet fair that [we]  are exposed to.” these threats include stereotypical images, insipid language, and mediocre content. The threats emanate from production centers “where the idea of nurturing a child’s or adolescent inner genius has no meaning”. “There is little left to the imagination of the child or adolescent to do in the face of [its] ready-made Logos, characters, plots, situations, and scenarios. As a result, kids simply sit back and passively drink in these images, which then proceed to seep into the subconscious only to emerge in school as stereotypical drawings, stories filled with clichés, and artificial and unreal conceptions of how the world works. Kids’ inner imagination, one of those qualities of genius described above, eventually begins to atrophy through lack of use and eventually disappears entirely….The modern-day image of the child at play is a great single child watching the television set while playing with a battery-operated action toy. With so little for the child actually do in this brave new world of automated playthings and preprogrammed entertainment, the genius of kids has fewer and fewer rich structures within which to develop into maturity.

What Daniel Boorstin once described as “hot and cold running images” include what Jeffrey O’Brien, executive director of the Library of America, called it “a language flattened and reduced to a shifting but never large repertoire of catch phrases and slogans….A dialect of dead ends and  perpetual arbitrary switch overs, intended always to sell but more fundamentally to fill time.” Says Armstrong: “the end result of this homogenization of language is heard in students whose speech patterns are replete with phrases like “yeah, right…” And “you know, then he went, like, you know…” And the ubiquitous, all-purpose response to societies complexities: “whatever.” Absent from these linguistic black holes is any attempted at playfulness, flexibility, imagery, humor, or other qualities that are the hallmark of real genius.

Lastly, Armstrong notes the mediocre content that is present in our explosion of new media, reminding us that Newton Minow, FCC Chairman 50 years ago, Carter rise television programming as a giant “wasteland.” Says Armstrong: “the cumulative force of such mediocrity has created a commonly shared culture based on the trivial and the base.….What do we value in our society? What do we pay most attention to? Clearly, the popular media every made the decision…” Our media fed popular culture extols “those who are often the sleaziest, the rottenness, and the most devious among us.” These are a far cry from the “tried-and-true ruling blocks of genius: contact with inspiring people and exposure to compelling situations, stimulating materials, and challenging problem-solving opportunities that arise out of daily life”.

We have an opportunity in our homes and in our schools and in our society to effect some change and re-direction, though we must probably work with haste and assuredness and probably in the face of entrenched powerful forces whose long-term plan has been the very destruction of our society.  I reference Melanson’s book “Perfectibilists”, Common Core, Agenda 21, the US Department of Education, and other such insidious and occult or covert plans.

Armstrong notes a colleague’s remark at a conference:

“Schools, prisons, and mental hospitals are the only institutions in society where — if you don’t go, they come to get you.”

They’re coming soon.

 

******

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande8818/architecture/creativity.gif

source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande8818/architecture/2008/03/ 

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Additional resources:

The Aims of Education* by Alfred North Whitehead

* Presidential address to the Mathematical Association of England, 1916.

http://www.faculty.english.vt.edu/Collier/sciwrite/pdfs/whitehead_1916.pdf 

“The students are alive, and the purpose of education is to stimulate and guide their self-development. It follows as a corollary from this premiss, that the teachers also should be alive with living thoughts. The whole book is a protest against dead knowledge, that is to say, against inert ideas.”[20]

Here are some of A.N. Whitehead more famous quotes on the topic of education:

  • “There is only one subject matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations.”[22]
  • “The pupil’s mind is a growing organism…it is not a box to be ruthlessly packed with alien ideas.”[23]
  • “Knowledge does not keep any better than fish.”[24]
  • “Celibacy does not suit a university. It must mate itself with action.”[25]
  • “The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life, by uniting the young and the old in the imaginative consideration of learning… A university which fails in this respect has no reason for existence.”[26]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_North_Whitehead 

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http://www.innovationmanagement.se/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/imagination-the-number-one-tool-for-innovation-and-creativity.jpeg

Growing Young [Hardcover]

http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Young-Ashley-Montagu/dp/0897891678 

[At $117, I’m gonna have to grow richer….]

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/ashley_montagu.html 

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Dr. Armstrong on tape

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48vaD9CF1CE (3:39)

Dr. Thomas Armstrong on Progressive Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClUywtTsTjA (2:06)

Books by Thomas Armstrong

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Armstrong/e/B000APY2HC

****

Books by Robert Cole:

The Moral Life of Children by Robert Coles (Feb 4, 2000)

The Political Life of Children by Robert Coles (Mar 9, 2000)

The Spiritual Life of Children by Robert Coles (Oct 10, 1991)

Children of Crisis by Robert Coles (Aug 2003)

The Whole List: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Coles/e/B000APM210 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Coles 

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http://spimg.com/images/creativity.gif

The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog [Paperback]

http://www.amazon.com/The-Millennium-Whole-Earth-Catalog/dp/0062510592

****

Independent Scholar’s Handbook: How to Turn Your Interest in Any Subject into Expertise [Paperback]

http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Scholars-Handbook-Interest-Expertise/dp/0898155215 

[described by Armstrong as “the best book on adult self-motivated learning” he’s ever seen.]

****

The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded [Paperback]

Clifton Fadiman (Author), John S. Major (Author)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062720732

****

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/

Guide to Writers Conferences & Writing Workshops

http://writing.shawguides.com/

audio books available at a number of outlets

 

What-You-Did-As-a-Childeditededited

“ADHD is the new education” A Re-Post

ADHD is the new education

by Jon Rappoport

April 22, 2015

NoMoreFakeNews.com

“There is a form of mind control that is really mind-chaos. It shatters the processes of thought into, at best, vaguely related fragments. There is no direction, no development, no progress along a line of reasoning. This is how you disable a person. You disrupt his ability to move from A to B to C. At that point, he becomes passive. He’s willing to be programmed, because it’s easier. He wants to be programmed.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

“I learned twenty-four new things today at school,” the child said. “One right after the other. I felt so happy. My teacher told me I was learning accelerated. I wrote on my iPad. I saw pictures. I did group harmony. I added. I divided. I heard about architecture. The teacher said we were filled with wonder at the universe. We solved a problem. We’re all together. I ate cheese. A factory makes cheese.”

The new education is ADHD.

It’s a method of teaching that surrenders ground on each key concept, deserting it before it’s firmly fixed in the mind of the student.

It hops around from idea to idea, because parents, teachers, administrators, students, departments of education, and educational publishers have given up on the traditional practice of repetition.

Repetition was old-world. For decades, even centuries, the time-honored method of instruction was: introduce an idea or concept or method, and then provide numerous examples the student had to practice, solve, and demonstrate with proficiency.

There was no getting around it. If the student balked, he failed.

There were no excuses or fairy tales floated to explain away the inability of the student to carry out the work.

Now, these days, if you want to induce ADHD, teach a course in which each new concept is given short shrift. Then pass every student on to the next grade, because it’s “humane.”

Think of it this way. Suppose you want to climb the sheer face of a high rock. You know nothing about climbing. You engage an instructor. He teaches you a little bit about ropes and spikes and handholds. He briefly highlights each aspect and then skips to the next.

So later…while you’re falling five hundred feet to the ravine below, you can invent stories about why the experiment didn’t work out.

Since the advent of organized education on the planet, there has been one way of teaching young children…until recently. Explain a new idea, produce scores of examples of that idea, and get the students to work on those examples and come up with the right answers.

Subtraction, division, decimals, spelling, reading—it all works the same basic way.

For the last hundred years or so, however, we’ve seen the gradual intrusion of Teacher ADHD.

School text ADHD.

Not enough examples. Not enough exercises.

Education has nothing to do with a full frontal attack to “improve the self-esteem” of the student. It has nothing to do with telling children they’re valuable. And it certainly has nothing to do with trying to embed social values and team spirit in children.

No matter how many fantasies educators spin, schools can’t replace parents.

If what I’m writing here seems cruel and uncaring…look at the other side of the picture. Look at what happens when a student emerges from school with a half-baked, “dumbed-down” education.

He can sort of read. He can sort of write. He sort of understands arithmetic. He tries to skate through the rest of his life. He fakes it. He adopts a front to conceal the large territory of what he doesn’t know.

He certainly can’t think straight. Give him three ideas in succession and he’s lost. He goes on overload.

He operates on association. You say A and he goes to G right away. You go back to A and he responds with R. He’s up the creek without a paddle.

That’s what’s cruel.

Forty years ago, I was on the verge of landing a lucrative job with a remedial education company. The owner gave me a lesson plan and told me to write a sample program.

I did. He looked at it and said, “There are too many examples and exercises here. You have to move things along faster.”

I told him the students would never comprehend the program that way. They had to work on at least 20 exercises for each new concept.

He was shocked. “That’s not how it’s done now,” he said.

“Oh,” I said, “you mean now the student and teacher both fake it?”

And that was the end of that.

Several years ago, I explained much of what’s in this article to a sociologist at a US university. His response: “Children are different now. They don’t have patience. There are too many distractions. We have to operate from a new psychology.”

I asked him what that psychology was.

“Children are consumers. They pick and choose. We have to accommodate them.”

While I was laughing at his assessment, he capped his display of wisdom with this: “There is no longer a division between opinion and fact.”

Perfect.

I know all about how the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations torpedoed education in America. But their major effort was cutting off teachers and students from the history of the nation and the meaning of individual freedom.

What I’m talking about here is a different perversion. The unhinging of the young mind from any semblance of accomplishment and continuity. This goes far beyond the agenda of outfitting children to be worker-drones in a controlled society.

This is the induction of confusion and despair about what used to be called thinking. This is the imprinting of “gaps” that make it very hard for a person to operate, even as a drone.

In addition, seed children with all sorts of debilitating psychiatric drugs, and you have a profound mess that only dedicated parents can undo, one child at a time.

People may wish it weren’t so, but that doesn’t change the facts of the matter.

The upside is, when you explain a concept to a child, and you then take him through a great many exercises designed to help him understand that concept, he’ll achieve a victory.

When you see the lights go on in his mind, it’s very satisfying.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALEDEXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.

scanning the horizon

Scanning The Horizon

I pulled some text out of the archives from my old (now deleted) blog and, stimulated by the DVD lectures on the skills of writing that I’ve been watching in my spare time, decided to use the block of old text as a learning tool, i.e. to edit it and re-write it as an exercise in improving my writing.  

Every sentence is built upon the core of a “proposition”, the setting forth of an idea or philosophy. The question for the reader and the writer is then whether that proposition has been successfully, effectively and perhaps even elegantly argued. 

I have a buddy who’s taking a course in how to write song lyrics, which are like poetry in some ways, or at least sparse prose, but I’d guess the challenge for the individual who wants to write a song (a piece that advances a story, or an idea, or a philosophical approach) is the same task, with perhaps more emphasis on rhythm, harmony and so on.

[&&]{**}[##]

music audio

Robben Ford, Steve Lukater & Larry Carlton – All Blues

(14:08)

Scanning The Horizon

music audio

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, October 24, 1973

RON CARTER bass and leader, JOE HENDERSON tenor sax,

ROLAND HANNA piano, BILLY COBHAM drums.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbSFOMBPJDU (9:29)

 

[&&]{**}[##]

http://www.strike-the-root.com/sites/default/files/8350176478_d2d292124c_k.jpg 

It’s always with a strange anticipatory brew of trepidation, amusement, and astonishment that I snap on the computer to look around and see what the world has done with itself since I last shut it off. (That an online portal is a major source of “world view” is a given, but it doesn’t exclude family, neighbors and others. One can’t help but notice the interpersonal isolation as we all paw our personal androids; Anne Branscomb warned us it would happen 35 years ago, that the new media would re-organize social alignments. Ideally, such scanning would also involve ongoing education, and extensive social interaction.)

When one speaks of amusement, of course one must keep in mind the proclamation of Charles II in October 1688 that “all bold and irreverent Speeches touching matters of high nature, and all malicious and false Reports tending to Sedition, or to the Amusement of Our People, are punishable…”, hence the internal angry trumpet of alarum of trepidation and the astonishment in the stunning thunder from afar.

This mix of internal and external psycho-neurological stimuli and noise derives from a series of categories: 

  • whether it is seeing what immoral war crime has been committed, or 
  • what “game” or “op” has been invented (or reconfigured or trotted out in new clothing in an attempt to hide its nature and the identities of its progenitors), or 
  • what new “toy” has been created by Q [DARPA], or 
  • what politically hilarious maneuver or statement has been made to manipulate something or someone’s opinion, or 
  • what signal has been sent to those in higher unseen positions of authority of their fealty to a greater objective of which they do not speak and we are not supposed to know.  

A 4-6 hour foray to produce the entries at http://www.occurrencesforeigndomestic.com from across the usual spray of outlets, starting with e-mail and RSS feeds, Comcast and Google News (the former heavy with entertainment-oriented schlock, the latter with predictable and limited sources), those few places I spend any time that have discussion threads, those locales where I made recent comment, or the usual lengthy parade of places on my list of “favorites” that could be characterized in great part as “the alternative media”.  

I stay away from places like Huffington Post and DU, or Free Republic, unless someone else of note and merit has noted something from such a place. 

The state and quality of online discussion and dialogue, moderated or not, has degraded much, like the culture itself or the roadways and three-dimensional agorae in these parts (where rules, decorum and common sense have given way to exceptionalism, vitriol, narcissim, etc.).  

I’ve made comments in the past on the process of rating blogs and web sites, and I’ve been saying for years (at CommonGroundCommonSense, the Deep Politics Forum, in my old-and-now-disappeared blog, and here) that it is possible technically and otherwise to establish a software-based system of rating and ranking web sites for their political leanings, their accuracy, the quality of their writing, the degree to which they engage in creative independent research, journalism, art or in other ways of contributing to the global online dialogue. I’ve also promised to say more about how bloggers can collaborate more, and more effectively. 

As people dabbling in political culture and commentary, we surely judge another site on the basis of its alignment with our own political self-identity. The obvious corners of Republican, conservative, Democratic, liberal, progressive, Green/environmental, libertarian, socialist, communist, pro-Zionist, anti-Zionist, and support for our favorite personal cause, etc. become involved. 

It is more difficult to judge one another, and we may get farther faster, if we actually engage in purposeful, functional conversation instead of looking for a vehicle on which we can pin (like a bulletin board in a college hallway) our own urls and tags in hopes that someone will throw some money in our direction. 

Lately, people seemed to be judged by others on the degree (on a spectrum of energy and force) to which they speak on such issues as global warming, apartheid, war, and the other sub-components of foreign and domestic policy. If someone isn’t angry enough, loud enough, or outrageous enough, they soon lose favor with readers, or get voted down in terms of return visits. Are we all Hare Krishna beggars in the airport passageways of the world?

We are, each of us, unique individuals. We grew up in unique places, with unique circumstances, were schooled in specific and often unknown or unstated ways, were altered on the basis of who are spouses or friends were, etc.  Moreover, and much more importantly, we have changed, and are subject to change again.  The current statist phrase is that we got “radicalized” on the Internet but — at least in my case — some deep and prolonged reading of books that are not put front and center in our culture can actually change an opinion, an awareness.  

Moreover, and equally importantly, we are people of “place”; we live with others in a community or region or culture which itself may have been a focal point in terms of the topic at hand. Some of us are more “experienced” than others in war, hatreds, religious influences, etc.  Some of us have accessed more valid and important areas of information. Each of us has some skill or awareness that can and ought to be shared. Some are more able to hold the deeply-held beliefs and natures of our “surround” than others. 

But when I turn on my computer for my intentional act of standing up straight among the grasses of the plains to look for movement, there are places I can glance, sometimes for some time, to ascertain the direction of the wind, the threats on the horizon… 

There are certain “shamans” on the Internet whose word and explanation add perspective and flavor and which I trust — at least for the next little while. And I make up my own mind — for the moment — until someone or something brings me to question a prior conclusion, however temporary or permanent.  

And tomorrow is another day.  

Mindmap to Enhance Your World

I’d like to offer an explanation of my Mind Map 2014. Click on it; it’s an uploaded and upgraded two-page pdf.  The word map as intended to be a mindmap, but I didn’t have either the proper software or outstanding artistic skills, so I cheated, and did the best I could.

Its purpose is to be an elemental guide to the content of that old collection of excerpts I called “Summon The Magic” whose mission is to allow you to come to a functional understanding of how you can learn to use your mind or brain to its best advantage, to make it work for you.

You can also see it from the perspective of a parent, teacher, trainer, learning coach, business leader, entrepreneur or a creative artist.

 

An explanation is useful and will extend the value of the “mind map”. Creating such an explanation is also a review of the material for me.

If you printed out the sheets, widened the margins so it can breathe better, taped the second sheet to the bottom of the first sheet, and got out some fine-point colored ink markers and a ruler and French curve ….

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/76100/76130/76130_ellip_frncrv_md.gif 

then you could stand back and see the structure flow from head to foot.

 

The top, surrounding the word Intelligences, is a riff off of the seminal work of Howard Gardner.

http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html 

http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/what.cfm 

Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child, Laurel Schmidt, Three Rivers Press, New York 2001.

 

You can examine any of those sub-headings or multiple intelligences and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

You can work with and improve on your strengths, and seek to improve your weaknesses.

Your particular mix can be identified and provide some further sense of direction for your further studies, your career, or how you can apply what you already know in the areas of your strongest intelligences.

Google for the term “multiple intelligences” and scan for additional titles by Gardner. http://howardgardner.com/

 

http://rebeccaholder28.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sci-ed.jpg 

 

The second block, what might be seen as the shoulders of the skeletal structure, center around the triad of Learning, Training, and Education.

Those who provide those processes to you operate from positions of trust, power, authority and respect.

[Here is a 25-page pdf “On Mentors and Coaches”]

You bring to your mentors, teachers and coaches your interests, curiosity, awe, yearning and inquiry. [You could spend 30 minutes simply listing elements within those five categories for you.]

Your coaches and trainers will provide — particularly if they are training a neuromuscular activity — the practice, repetition, and cognitive cues; you have to do the homework, the drills and go to practice/class and thus provide the repetition, the habit, and then find your groove.

Both of you will work along the spectrum of awareness and interest, applying discipline to the point of absorption.

 

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vZ4nt8boxrs/UaJ1BHp97hI/AAAAAAAAHqQ/iT4ovmKe4hQ/s1600/13thinking.jpg 

 

Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1999.

http://www.e-bookspdf.org/download/sparks-of-genius.html 

 

 

 

http://ericbooth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-Everyday-Work-of-Art-Awakening-the-Extraordinary-in-Your-Daily-Life-Eric-Booth-9780595193806-Amazon.com-Books.png

 

Use your PREP tool: your personally-relevant entry point

We are what we are attracted to, and become what we yearn toward.

Follow your attraction through the spectrum of curiosity, interest, admiration, concern, connection, resonance and change.

 

The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life, Eric Booth, Authors’ Guild Back-in-Print (iUniverse.com) (ISBN 0-595-19380-3)

 

“… Inherent in the artistic experience is the capacity to expand our sense of the way the world is or might be. This amazing human imaginative, empathetic capacity provides the artistic experience….. An entry point is a distinctive aesthetic feature of the work with enough dynamic relevance that many people will be able to apply it to parts of their own lives to discover meaningful relevance….To learn more about entry points or teaching artistry, read my book mentioned above, or check out many available essays on my website (ericbooth.net) or read David Wallace’s excellent book Reaching Out. ….

http://ericbooth.net/three-and-a-half-bestsellers/

Following your personally-relevant entry point is the backbone of the flow theory. It’s how you become engaged and absorbed.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Harper & Row, New York, 1990. [The flow theory is a major component in performance enhancement and is a wellspring for many applications. See also his sequel The Evolving Self, as well as Flow in Sports.]

 

Notice that it all starts with intent. 

 

Attention has four axes: broad, narrow, external, and internal.

 

A simple explanation with athletic implications is Nideffer’s model.

http://www.science.smith.edu/exer_sci/ESS565/MPres1/sld011.htm 

 

Attention is a core property of all perceptual and cognitive operations.

 

A lengthy, detailed, “taxonomy of internal and external attention”  from the perspective of psychology, neurobiology and brain research can be found here:

http://www.princeton.edu/ntblab/pdfs/Chun_ARP_2011.pdf 

 

You sharpen the point of the spear of discipline with concentration, which eventually leads to harmony and synthesis of the whole.

 

The torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map is centered around split symmetry. [The “translation” of the text and its various fonts into a pdf format somewhat destroyed this functional symmetry in earlier versions; the uploaded version here is improved with the upgraded Mavericks OS software.]

 

Put the gestalt mind {-} logic mind in the middle.

You have to use both sides in a balanced way; binaural beat-based guided brain wave meditation opens up your corpus callosum and exercises it.

 

At the top, the spectrum or curve of desire:

First you have or discover a passion, even temporarily; this then generates a fantasy (“wouldn’t it be nice if…?) which sometimes turns into an extended or developed dream. The dream transforms itself into a vision when you add detail. And then you’re only a step or two from developing an objective, or a list of them. You start to set goals.

Your mentors, guides and teachers can help you differentiate your goals

as outcome goals, behavioral goals, and process goals.

 

Motivation’s four dimensions:

Targeted zone of behavior

(e.g., be more consistent, stop swearing, focus on defense).

Quantity of behavior

(e.g., run more miles today than yesterday);

Quality of behavior

(e.g., shoot free throws more accurately);

Intensity of behavior 

(e.g., level of activation and amount of energy delivered).

 It’s your choice…

  • where to be active,
  • how much to be active,
  • what level of excellence to aim  for, and
  • how much of yourself to invest.

Coaches Guide to Sport Psychology, Rainer Martens, Ph.D., Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, 1997. [A high-level academic textbook for coaches.]

Here is a 15-page pdf on the topic of goals: Goals pdf

 

The second tier of the torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map pertains to Spirit, Mind and Body. It is breath that links these three key elements. While one can study intensely the role of breathing in psychology and physiology, its relevance to meditation, etc., the simplest approach is to pay attention to your breathing.

On the body end of the triad are the brain, the lungs, the heart, the digestive system (much more important than we generally understand). You could spend a lifetime appreciating the interactions. Such is proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. The gamma system of your neurology is your internal feedback loop.

Within the mind, there are entire libraries and sciences given over to your exploration. Add colleges, associations, think tanks, institutes and so on and you can get lost and dis-oriented. Stop thinking; keep breathing; believe in yourself.

At the spirit end of the spectrum are awe, yūgen (profound grace and subtlety)[1], satori, stillness, silence, surrender, sacred places, empathy, love and gratitude. Again, there are libraries, book vendors, churches and religious institutes and their leaders, pastors, rabbis, gurus, shamans and charlatans. But you can pray and learn to meditate without them.

http://img.pandawhale.com/post-25617-yugen-meaning-gif-XonM.gif 

 

Some of the vertebral joints in the skeletal structure of the mind map include:

the aikido-based triad of balance, centering and grounding (Richard Strozzi Heckler is an outstanding writer and teacher, though there are surely others);

the triad of renewal, relaxation and rest ( look for the books by Jim Loehr, Ed.D. in  http://boydownthelane.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Bibliography-pdf.pdf );

the criss-crossed axes of connection, detachment, differentiation and integration through which we move our self; sometimes we must be apart, sometimes we must be with others, sometimes we feel different, sometimes we feel similar; we are unique and yet we are an integral part of It all (this is the epiphany I had sitting still, basking in the sun listening to the sounds of the waves sitting on the granite cliffs at Pemaquid Point, the grand ripping of the Curtain to which I surrendered through my silence);

the spectrum of physical activity that includes art, music (musicians are athletes of the small muscle groups), the martial arts, dance, play, recreation and sport (see Deep Play, Diane Ackerman, Random House, New York, 1999);

the grand Daoistic dynamic symmetry of contemplation and action, in the middle of which sits continuous incremental improvement;

examples of awakened mental development which extends from meditation and mindfulness to visualization and mental rehearsal and beyond through autogenic training (the bibliography contains many books on meditation and mindfulness: see below for the ones I recommend)

(think of it as preventive mind control under your complete control, ownership and decision-making process); 

and, finally,

the multi-faceted diamond of skills and challenge, of flow and action, of goals band feedback, and its core of immersion, immediacy and intensity.

 

 

http://russpetcoff.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/nate-appleman.jpg 

Source of image:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/entry.php?12-Intensity-Immediacy-and-Immersion 

 

On Autogenic Training:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogenic_training 

Google the term for more.

The Break-Out Principle, Herbert Benson, M.D. and William Proctor, Scribner, New York 2003. [How to activate your accessible biomechanical “trigger” to power up creativity, insight, stress-reduction, and top-notch performance, by the author of The Relaxation Response.]

On Mindfulness:

Mindfulness, Ellen J. Langer, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1989. [The apposition/antidote to mindlessness, by a Harvard psychology professor.]

Counter Clockwise: mindful health and the power of possibility, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2009.

Emotional Alchemy: How The Mind Can Heal the Heart, Tara Bennett-Goleman, Harmony Books, NY 2001. [Written by a psychotherapist, the wife of the author of the book Emotional Intelligence, on schema therapy and mindfulness.]

On Becoming An Artist, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2005.

The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer, PhD., Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1995. [Ought to be required reading for all teachers and coaches.]

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hyperion, NY 1994. [This is considered elemental; the author teaches how mindfulness is applied to stress reduction and one’s physical health,  and was affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn ] See http://www.mindfulnesscds.com 

 

 

The hips and thighs of the skeletal structure of the mind map, the pivot points and strengths, include emotion and physiology.

Physiology gives us vision and perception (including acuity and peripheral awareness), the flexibility, agility and dynamism of movement in space, and the structure, speed and flexibility with which we choose action and movement, and the strength, balance and force with which we execute that action and movement.

Emotion has to do with belief (world-view, and belief in self), identity, faith, expectation, passion, dedication, choice, commitment, doubt, tension and anxiety, fear, distraction, intention, focus and composure.

It also brings together all of the comprehension of all of the factors that we bring to bear through our trip down the framework. You can’t execute excellence crisply if you don’t comprehend what you’re doing, who you are, and how to do it.

 

The knees, calves and ankle joints of the skeletal structure are the five A’s 

(attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing);

see David Richco’s books, or google the phrase in red.

 

I’ve included them twice for a simple reason: you have to apply them to your own self first,

 

and then you have to apply them to everyone else.

The connecting tissue is the understanding of losing your self-consciousness in the way you go about things. From a strictly training and performance perspective, you have to learn the skill or technique so well that you can put aside thinking about how to do it. It is the highest form of meditation in the middle of action. Artistic expression, dance, the martial arts, and deep play are all places where we practice losing our self-consciousness.

Losing self-consciousness is not about losing awareness or focus. It’s about getting beyond your self, not making you and your needs the primary issue or drive. We’ve all driven in and out of strip malls and box stores where we encountered people who are stuck in self-consciousness. They’re lost in their cell phone conversation at 35 mph; they aren’t aware of the presence of you or anyone else. This is the mindlessness for which mindfulness is the antidote.

I submit that this is at the root of the currently dominant world-view.

 

http://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/Blog%20images/mindlessness.jpg 

 

The entire skeletal structure of the mind map rests on the feet.

 

The two feet are leadership and team.

The feet are what propel you, keep you grounded, provide secure footing, enable you to walk, or run, or sprint, or run a long-distance race.

If there is someone out there in the world that thinks you can achieve something worthwhile alone, without the integrated interaction of at least a few, or several, then they need to send in a comment and some suggested readings.

 

Both leadership and team start with intent.

Team is also about expectation and cohesion, trust, communication, character, learning, and energy.

Leadership is about convocation (calling people together), will, audacity, courage, and enrollment (or getting others to sign on to the task).

Leadership is also about vision, clarity, energy, vision, and communications skills; it requires intellect, heart, humility, the ability to model behavior and action, the ability to create and sustain innovation and momentum, the ability to retain flexibility, and the ability to lead people through processes of problem-solving.

Applied teamwork and leadership require inspiration, imagination, improvisation and the synthesis of it all through to break-through to mastery and the achievement of quality and excellence.

 

Every word on that mind map can be a personally-relevant entry point for your own exploration and improvement.

Or you can take the wholistic approach and use the totality of it.

If you hung it on your wall and simply meditated, paying attention to your thoughts as your eyes wander, then when you get up, you may have been moved.

Nosce te ipsum.

 

Masters of Change

Music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8 (8:33)

What follows are excerpts from

Masters of Change: how great leaders in every age thrived in turbulent times, by William M. Boast, PhD, with Benjamin Martin, Marocome Ltd., ISBN 0-9763198-0-2, 2nd edition, 2005.

[I first encountered Dr. Boast and these virtually identical ideas in a package of twelve audiocassettes given to me by a professional colleague in1982 being circulated among symposia planners as part of a search for a keynote speaker.]

“Learning about” is not the same as “learning.”… “Knowing about” is not the same as “knowing.” ….  Individuals can change to the degree they can abandon past formulas and promises, and constructively conquer ambiguity and complexity.” [Pages 2-3]

“What did you do brilliantly in the last week? Have you noticed that most people have forgotten it already?” [Page 8]

“We may well be approaching the coincidental end of several cycles. Certainly, the industrial age is giving way to the age of information and technology. Western civilization is coming to a climax.  Whether it be the end — the death, as German historian Oswald Spengler saw it — or a major change into something new and different remains to be seen. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has plowed under the history of the last seventy years and exposed the reality of ethic tension, border disputes and fragile economies. The world, once kept in balance by only two super-powers, is being overrun by a scramble of nations flexing their economic muscles, clamoring for position and power.” [Page 10]

“The verb of your job is everything. All of the things–your business cards, stationary, title, telephone, desk, company car and even your policies and procedures manual–are superfluous. The pertinent questions of a successful business or focused not on its nouns but on its verbs: “What are you producing?” “Whom are you serving?” “How well we you do it?” Now add to these questions the fact that the world in which you “do it” is also a verb in constant flux. With the verb of your job running counterpoint to the verb of the business world, you have begun an idea of how much action is expected of you.

If your job is a verb, and if the economy is a verb, then the question arises: “Where is it going?” You have only to read last year’s Wall Street Journal or last quarter’s Harvard Business Review to realize that no one really knows. No one has the vaguest idea. Not one psychic, not one economist, not one politician is able to predict the future of the economy. Financial portfolios are promoted based on the “divination” abilities of the broker or brokerage house, but the accuracy of many brokers is often worse than pure guess.” [Page 9]

“If you list all the great artists in the history of the Western world, almost half of them lived in northern Italy at the same time and knew each other. It boggles the mind. And here is another key to capitalizing on the opportunities of crisis rather than being trampled underfoot by his dangers: create a community of success by filling it with special people. Methodologies are secondary.

If you list all the great composers in the history of the Western world, over half of them lived in Vienna or were centered near it. If you list all the great theoretical scientists in the history of the human race, over 98% of them lived in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Success flourishes in communities of success. Failure flourishes in communities of failure. One of the prime missions in a world of change is to maintain a community of excellence–and communities are people.

Never let a community of success slip into becoming a community of failure by letting mediocre people come into it or by letting the people in it slip into mediocrity.…

Not only do you need to safeguard against the perverse ability of communities of failure, but you also need to guard against developing a narrow range of answers. Biologists refer to creatures as having “spans of tolerance.” Highly specialized creatures have very narrow spans of tolerance, but highly generalized creatures have wide spans of tolerance. In conditions of eco-stability, highly specialized creatures flourish, but in conditions of eco-instability they become extinct. Only the highly generalized creatures, with their wide spans of tolerance, can make it through. They survived to go on to another time. Human beings can master both.” [Pages 16-17]

http://wpcontent.answcdn.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b3/WhitewaterKayaking-BLM.jpg/220px-WhitewaterKayaking-BLM.jpg

Source of image: http://www.answers.com/topic/whitewater 

“… You can successfully maneuver through the white water of change if your object is not to take the white out of the water, but to put a master in the kayak.” [Paraphrased][Page 20, and repeated thereafter]

“Common sense, combined with passion, makes a formidable [tool].” [page 20]

“Mastery begins in the ability to recognize what promises you bring to a situation and, in turn, what the situation is bringing to you.” [Page 23]

http://www.thieubesselink.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/craftsmanship-production.jpg

“The ancient Greeks did not have a specific word for art and a different word for science. Recognizing the need for both art and science in any effective, intelligent and responsible act, they had the word “techne”, which meant “art-science.” The time has come to replace the mechanical mentality of today’s management theory and formula with the Greek concept of techne. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techne ]

Alfred North Whitehead, one of America’s great philosophers, gave a definition of education, but the definition also applies to succeeding in business, to making money and to living a full life. He said, “Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” Notice that he did not say that education was the acquisition of knowledge; he said it was the acquisition of the art of using knowledge. Tragically, we haven’t done that very much in American education.” [Pages 24-25]

http://www.thieubesselink.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/4378016700_aa6dee0431_z.jpg

“When decisions are made on the basis of dogma and not on skillful processing of the information, the battle eventually will be lost. Dynamic shifts… necessitate dynamic strategies. Only those with prepared minds, who have learned to suspend closure, who can take the techne of their craft and critically investigate their premises, will succeed.” [Page 32]

“An organism, or a social unit of any kind, rises and falls, functions and dies between the poles of its basics and its dynamics. The basics are those elements that are predictable and stable. The dynamics are unpredictable and turbulent. Every human system, whether it is a nation, corporation, office, production line, home enterprise, family or individual, finds its stability and its challenges in the constant flux and flow between two poles: basics and dynamics. [Page 32; the entire chapter three goes on to discuss this in detail.]

“In times of rapid change, experience is your worst enemy.”

– J Paul Getty

 

“… We must also determine the elements or qualities of any endeavor or problem that are dynamic–that have high degrees of unpredictability, chaos, disorder, randomness and challenge. Then we locate generalists who are prepared to handle the dynamics and help them to bring new solutions and appropriate responses to bear on the continuous changes of the environment. When you’re willing to accept the generalist vision, interpretation and direction, you must immediately seek out every basic to back it up in action.” [Page 45]

“After 20 years of brainstorming, observers have concluded that creative ideas are never reached by a group, but they are only generated by individuals in groups. Companies, as they strive for greater teamwork, should not overlook the role of individuals within teams. Teams depend upon their individuals within them: a team of jerks does not work any better just because it is a team, but teams can be made worse because of the jerks who are assigned to them.[Page 45]

The characteristics of people who achieve in dynamic situations has been determined to some extent. In chapter 4 of “Masters of change” the beginnings of the list have been compiled to include:

Comfort in ambiguity.

Productive inconsistency.

Intuition and instinct.

Vision and values.

Emphasis on action.

Creativity.

The ability to seek solutions instead of blame.

Potential for growth.

Logic and other tools of the mind.

High-energy.

The effective use of models in learning. 

The author of the book suspects that the list is incomplete and may include as many as 1,000 characteristics and suggests that our job is to find the rest.

“One of the easiest ways to spot losers is that they panic when you move their philodendrons.” [Page 56]

“When the swamp is drying up and no one knows what is coming next, you cannot wait for all the facts. By the time you’ve processed all facts”, others have already acted on their hunches and laid claim to all of the available resources.” [Page 59]

The key to success is not in your ability to adjust to change; “it lies in your ability to anticipate change.” [Page 59]

“Quality must be in the people first. In areas where the dynamics dominate, it is the talent, genius and character of the individual that matter most. No amount of experience can compensate for the lack of talent, genius or character. You can, and certainly must, provide training for the basics, but you are totally dependent upon the qualities in the individuals when it comes to mastering the dynamics.” [Page 61]

“Great golfers on the world tour sink beautiful putts that we watch with envy. On the other hand, I can find a professor of anatomy who can explain the articulation of every joint and precisely how it works in relation to making your golf putt; I can get a professor of neurology who can explain the firing of all the nerves that such an action requires; I get a professor of psychology who can explain the behavioral conditioning of the professional golfer in perhaps 40 or 50 pages with footnotes. I can get a geologist who can, with great bibliographic appendices, give you the exact chemistry of the soil or  a horticulturist who can explain the particular species of the grass on the green or a physicist who could explain the lever action. But none of them can sink the putt–you are the one who must sink the putt. 

It helps us intellectually to understand the processes. Certain actions can be enhanced by knowing, but ultimately, the actions must be unconscious and spontaneous. They must come from a mastery within the person and not from a set of rules thumb-tacked to a bulletin board or from a textbook of business management.

….I suggest that you read Thomas C Martin’s book Malice in Blunderland. It is an excellent book to have in your lower desk drawer in the turbulent, chaotic and, often, frustrating world. The author makes a very clear point when he says, “leadership should begin to take its clues from Olympic track coaches and stop relying so much on committees. After all, the job is to find one person who jumps 7 1/2 feet high, not seven little people who each jumped 13 inches. [Paraphrased]” [page 65]

Tools of the mind

Your ability to deal with ambiguity, productive inconsistency, instinct, action, creativity, field independence and growth potential all depend on the effective, intelligent and responsible application of your best tool: your brain. Your capacity to collect and use meaningful information effectively is the single most important tool you have for doing all the things listed here as characteristics of successful people in times of upheaval. And yet, most people know less about their brain as a tool than they know about the office photocopier or the keyboard on their computer. They know more about their filing system that about their own intellectual ability to handle categories and logic.

Most people have never been trained to think formally and have never been given the practical experience of thinking informally. They use their mind, haphazardly at best, as though they had been born with “the instinct” to think.

Training in logic, so necessary to clear thinking, has been totally neglected in our leadership, management, sales and administration workshops. Training and logical thinking should go hand-in-hand with training in analogical thinking to cultivate the creative side. We seem to have a very low regard for the human mind, to leave its development to such happenstance.…[page 45]

The old textbooks used in school were written by professors who wrote their books based on knowledge they have acquired 10 to 15 years before they wrote the book. We must question our sources and their appropriateness. In a new world, we must become continuously transformed specialists, standing solidly upon the generalized knowledge that comes from a real education in its broadest sense–for thought of for context period” [pages 70-71]

On page 73, inside chapter 4 on the topic of the qualities within the mastery of change, is a section on “models of excellence” which, interestingly, directly parallels Eric Booth’s theme of the creation of a personal “Hall of Masters” found in his book The Everyday Work of Art.  “The first function of good leadership is good modeling–not just communication, but something deeper than that. The mere process of communication, without character, is ultimately meaningless if not destructive. As history shows, methodologies result only an incremental improvement, while in-depth models result in quantum changes within the human.” [Page 74]

“The universal role in the dynamics of change is: “There is no universal rule.” [Page 76]

[There is not one instance of Machiavelli succeeding in social, political or business ventures… ” [Page 77]

“Mastering mastery requires that you stretch far beyond what you have and what you are. Although we are continually told, “just be yourself,” that is not good enough for mastery. Instead, you must “surpass yourself”–you must master not only your craft but also your potentials; you must master not only your skills but also the proper use of the skills. You must become a supreme craftsman in the use of all of the tools available to you, whether they are tools of the hands, or the mind or of your character.

Leadership isn’t leadership unless it works in the context of mastery. The mastery of the best human achievement, productivity or creativity must be exemplified in the leader. The leader must become the perfect model of that mastery.

But mastery always requires more than just a skill. Mastery is not true mastery until becomes unconscious and spontaneous….. Such mastery always pulls us to the edge of risk…. Mastery grows and expresses itself through the challenges of a dynamic world.” [Page 80]

“… All attempts to persuade… must evidence the deep concern of the speaker for effective, intelligent and responsible action.”  [Page 80]

“In anything you do, you must also be responsible, for when you are effective, intelligent and responsible, your effectiveness is reinforced beyond measure.” [Page 81]

***

The collective (teamwork, corporate culture, the organization, told total loyalty, etc.), in its decay, becomes dehumanized, rigid, rule-driven, bureaucratic and even tyrannical. The individualized, in its decay, becomes isolated, narcissistic and fragmentary. [Page 113]

[The book “Masters of change”] focuses on changes in people–the individual problems each person faces in change and the changes that must take place in each individual. Ultimately, no organization–company, state, school or home–and can keep up with change unless it is prepared within. “[Page 113]

“We must shape the world in which men and women, individually and collectively, can do their best in reaching their full potentials….”  [page 124]

****

“The alternative to the secular and the positivist is the spiritual and the creative. At the heart of all religions–Judaism in the Torah, Christianity in the New Testament, Islam in the Koran, Hinduism in the Bhagavad-Gita and others–lies a deep focus on the human being and what is human. Love and compassion, model and mentor, genius and beauty, will and power are all words system from within the human being. Though religion may often manifest itself negatively, it is uniquely human. I am not advocating secular humanism. Secular humanism is simply not big enough to face the challenges that I’ve been talking about.

Sacred humanism (as described by Socrates, Cosimo di Medici (the elder), Pico della Mirandola, Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas Moore, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Martin Luther King, Jr.) in some form or another becomes more important than ever before. When I speak of sacred humanism, I do not see “sacred” as synonymous with “Sunday school” or with the fundamentalism of any religion in the world. If we are wise and not merely arrogant, we can see that our individual potential is shared with the collective potential of all humankind and comes from a deeper source than some merely mechanical or behavioral brain…..  The great advantage of sacred humanism is its faith in human potential and spiritual grace.” [page 127]

“What [we] must ensure is meritocracy, much as Jefferson sought. It was at the heart of the founding of the United States [when] Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams just before his death in 1826 in which he made clear that the United States should not be run by the common man but by the aristoi. This aristocracy should not be based on wealth or birth, he espoused, but on merit and ability, or better yet, on ethos and genius.  [page 118 and page 156]

Source: http://linked2leadership.com/2010/06/09/leader-in-turbulent-times/ 

 

… Corporate fascism and corporate communism (as absurd as that sounds) may emerge because of a failure of truly humanist leadership.

I can assure you that without the responsibility and the people, the Corporation will become fascist and will not survive. Although nothing survives forever, the pattern of history demonstrates that things which are greatly made survive for longer periods of time and for the good of more people.

You must anticipate the challenges of the wilderness. Many will be frightened by it. Many will seek protection against the anarchy and at any cost. There is no room here for victims. There is no room here for narcissism. There is no room here for stupidity or ignorance. Creative growth and development must dominate our very action and that growth must be spiritual as well as intellectual and aesthetic.… [ from The Conclusion, on page 157]