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April 22, 2023


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It's very disturbing, this trend away from truth and into "alternate truth".

In the world of ubiquitous social media, and not to forget the deliberately biased right-wing purveyors of falsehood, and now these AI bots, it is more important than ever that critical thinking should be emphasized. It should be made a part of basic pedagogy right from kids in school, and further on in other grades of instruction as well, and in fact closely embedded with whatever other things people are taught. It's astonishing, how little critical thinking is understood, and followed, or even valued. And yet, without this one crucial tool -- which, when you get down to it, is a simple enough thing to understand and develop -- people are led astray in ways that really should not be a thing in today's world, given how much knowledge we have available at our fingertips. Without critical thinking, this easy access to information and knowledge, instead of spreading illumination, ends up spreading misinformation and ignorance and superstitions, and ends up amplifying all kinds of arrant nonsense.

That's probably the one thing that needs full-on emphasis on, critical thinking.

Of course, while this movement away from factuality and objectivity, and towards alternate facts and freewheeling anything-goes interpretation of the reality, ends up becoming a vicious cycle, but somewhere at the core of it, if not necessarily the very root of it, lies deliberate subterfuge, undertaken cynically for profit. The right-leaning media is prime example of this, the brazen dishonesty of it. This kind of brazen dishonesty should be called out, and held to account, whenever and wherever it shows up.

It is a good thing that in the US this headlong movement into insanity seems to have been checked. First at the political level, and now with the likes of Trump and Fox News being finally held to account for their brazen dishonesty. It's been a close shave for the US; and in other, less fortunate parts of the world, the nightmare has already crossed the point of no-return (or at least, to be a bit more optimistic about it, of no *immediate* return).


Nice vid, incidentally. Not that I know the first thing about Tai Chi --- so that my evaluation isn't really rooted in factuality, haha, but more along the lines of completely general appreciation --- but yeah, cool.

@ AR

Yes yes, the freedom of speech

we started beating one another with our fists.
Fists, became stones, arrows and bullets
Later bombs and rockets.

Fighting we had to see the other in the eyes, we would experience the reactions of what we did. These days bombs are dropped sitting in a chair, with a cup of tea. what matters is the cosines of the room, the chair and the temperature of the tea ..the rest are just blibs on a screen .. a hit , a house exploding etc etc

Words, concepts are like stones ....and we have handed these mental stones to each and everybody for free ... like handing a 5 year old kid the keys of the car.

Not sure what this has to do with critical thinking, um, which is what my comment was about; but agreed, the impersonal nature of violence made possible by technology does make violence somehow easier; and I suppose that goes, as well, for words that act not so much as conduit for critical thought but as propaganda and obfuscation, and more particularly when words are marshaled not so much to arrive at understanding but to weaponize. Agreed, that too is one fallout of technology; not that that has anything to do with critical thinking per se.

I agree, there is something particularly ...evil, I suppose, when you think of someone sitting in comfort and triggering bombs that will kill hundreds, thousands. Which is why, although Trump is by far the most horrible human being to have ever occupied high office, and although he's ended up corroding American society from the inside (or, at any rate, epitomized that corrosion); but it is Bush who, in my book, is objectively the more evil.

@ AR
It was just an metaphor, AR.

It is about social controll and the lack there of and words, and ideas in the hands of people that do not feel any social controll..

Logic AR is something for the academics .. they are just a minor contingent of humanity .. what I am pointing at is the majority that never had to deal with knowledge and information on their own.

Agreed, um.

And that was my point: In this increasingly (informationally) dense and complex world of ubiquitous social media, and organized disinformation like the right wing media, and now AI, it becomes crucial that this majority, that everybody, should become acquainted with and appreciative of critical thinking.

It is more important now, completely necessary, that each and every one starts to think critically. And it is not such a difficult thing, really. The younger generations, particularly: I think it is essential to embed critical thinking as a core part of what kids are taught, both as a subject in itself, and more importantly as a tool with which to address all of their other subjects, and the world as well.

@ AR

Just compare how officials are handled in the past and now by means of the media.

Some.maybe most, consider it their "duty" to expose whatever splinter they can find in the eyes of those that are in office. The use of THEIR freedom of speech without having any knowledge, interest let alone responsibility of the "collateral damage" their words and concepts have for the welfare of society as a whole.

If you think it is correct and just to "interrogate" members of government etc as if they were potential criminals daily on TV etc based upon these so loved american amendments, you are wrong....in finding the truth, they are undermining the very structure of society.

@ AR


There are people that cannot handle others that are "above" them in any aspect.

In my family it is a habit of warning members to fall in the trap of behaving as unappointed and unpaid, presidents, ministers, deputies, directors etc and naturally also on other fields ... like religion., spirituality etc.

It is a trap

@ AR

AND ...

We were also all trained to NEVER undermine the authority that is related to a role .. under NO circumstance.

NOT that we did not know that humans have shadow sides,but to expose them in such an way that it would dame that authority, was laying the axe at the roots of ... yes Democraty

The building of society is held together with the mortar of structure. Undermining that structure does end in the collapse of the building of society.,

The problem, IMHO, is thinking anyone owns the truth, when even the most objective data must still pass through the subjective filter of our own unconscious mind. Human reasoning is flawed. It's not just one philosophy, religion or political view. The problem is universal. The human brain didn't evolve to accurately understand much more than our immediate environment, and usually only the information we need to survive.

We are subjective beings trying to be more objective.

That's why meditation is a great tool to find out more about what is inside us. Becoming better observers, we become more objective. Bring more objective makes us better scientists, philosophers, writers, thinkers, athletes and doers.

And it is very healthy..


Yes, it's a problem when someone purposefully broadcasts propaganda as truth. Especially so when they cherry pick a few real facts as proof and simply ignore evidence that goes against their position. When you see a one-sided argument, beware!

So why not spend time investigating something a little more holographic, that can actually yield useful information and insights? That lets both sides of the argument float in and out? That helps bring balance to the brain and our thinking? And makes you happier? Exploring your own internal state of mind, using tools already built into your brain?

Human reasoning is flawed. And so smaller, less ambitious goals for self-awareness, self-realization seem to me a more appropriate use of the human mind.

No argumentation is needed.

The you of today can inspect the thinking of the you of yesterday. It happens automatically in meditation. All points of view emerge, and evaporate. None are the fundamental truth that generates them all, but they are all connected, like shards of broken glass. Let them merge together into their whole and what appeare as different will be revealed as really pieces of one whole that are broken into fragments by a brain that can only understand fragments. Beyond thinking is understanding. And finding understanding, that informs better thinking.

In meditation practice you can uncover some wonderful things simply unavailable in conversation.

And for exploring that, meditation is excellent. It provides insights and happiness, practiced well.

"The opposite of one truth may not be false. It may just be another truth."
Niels Bohr

And this may just be because each piece of truth is connected to the others.

Spence, the problem with using meditation as a guide to truth is that it still leaves a person within the realm of the subjective and personal. But as you said, if a meditator also engages in the pursuit of truth through science and other means of fact-finding that are subject to objective review and verification by others, then meditation can be useful.

The problem, as I've observed on this blog for 19 years and saw during my religious days for 35 years before that, is that religiously-minded people jump to the conclusion that just because they experienced something within their own mind/consciousness, that's proof enough that the experience reflected objective reality.

Actually, it doesn't. Just go into a mental hospital and you'll find evidence of that. Finding objective truth requires a village of truth-seekers, so to speak, not a solitary individual.

@Brian,…..et el,…if your looking for inner experiences via Meditational Drug free Science, look no further than the Monroe Institute.


Jim Sutherland

Hi Brian,
Great points...

You wrote
"Spence, the problem with using meditation as a guide to truth is that it still leaves a person within the realm of the subjective and personal.*

I think that's where we always are, inside these tiny brains. Have you been anywhere else?

You wrote
" But as you said, if a meditator also engages in the pursuit of truth through science and other means of fact-finding that are subject to objective review and verification by others, then meditation can be useful."

I think if the mind is at peace and free from attachments, which meditation can help accomplish, it is a better instrument for science and inquiry. However, while it may be more objective, all notions still must pass through the filter of subconscious conditioning, emotion, genetics and biochemistry. Therefore all thinking remains subjective. You chose what to believe, and that depends upon your conditioning and that of your community. There is no escape from that, unless you can go beyond the way the brain functions when it processes information and forms opinions and decisions. Still, can't be done alone. And yet, the work is largely solitary.

You wrote "The problem, as I've observed on this blog for 19 years and saw during my religious days for 35 years before that, is that religiously-minded people jump to the conclusion that just because they experienced something within their own mind/consciousness, that's proof enough that the experience reflected objective reality."

Anyone who has experienced inner bliss, light, sounds will have been through something that is hard to ignore. Do they go with religious explanations or scientific conjectures? Maybe they just enjoy it, and shape their life around expanding that, without any labels at all.

If you consider that, for example, many scientists, medical doctors and engineers believe deeply in God, and still conduct science rigorously, and contribute to the body of scientific knowledge, then they do not fit your generalization. Religion or belief in God can just as easily be the basis of and inspiration for greater efforts at objectivity, as it can also be an excuse for prejudice and bigotry. Depends on what it means to the individual. Whenever people try to judge others who are different than themselves, this opens the door to error and bigotry. Zealots can do this, whether within religion, Atheism, politics, or any field of endeavor.

Spiritual experience may simply heighten the appreciation for the mystery around and within us, and for the commonality we all share, and the interest in actual exploration within ourselves as well as in the world.

You can explore systems of belief also, noting their functional contributions as readily as their abuse.

An open mind is the gateway to discovery and adventure, even from your armchair.

You wrote
"Finding objective truth requires a village of truth-seekers, so to speak, not a solitary individual."

Certainly determining the level of understanding, given our subjective nature, and adding to our experience a more realistic context requires verification. That would require repeated exposure to the experience, and colleagues who have similar exposure to that experience over many years who are qualified to comment, as well as written reports from established authorities who have significant exposure to those things and experience with them.

I have found individuals who have no such experience in a field ill qualified to add much to the understanding of that Field.

But that doesn't stop them from conjecturing. And that's fine too, so long as they are willing to test their hypotheses in a qualified Laboratory and to seek the counsel and feedback from qualified practitioners.

These are basic notions. Yes many people imagine many things, and often their understanding is grossly biased.

They imagine they see angels, dragons, and monsters in those they like or disagree with. But that isn't a scientific approach. It is just another excuse for hating people who are different than ourselves and loving people because they flatter our identify

I like Lincoln's inquisitive approach...

"I don't like that man. I need to get to know him better."
Abraham Lincoln

Hi there Brian
Interesting and informative post. The Fish quote helped me to put more of a finger on one way the Anti-Govt/vax/authority, conspiracy theory types (shriekers = my name for them) get their view;
‘It [the world of fake news] is created by the undermining of trust in the traditional vehicles of authority and legitimation….This wholesale distrust of authoritative mechanisms leads to the bizarre conclusion that an assertion of fact is more credible if it lacks an institutional source’.
This makes good sense to me. A lot of critical thinking skills are learned ‘within traditional places of authority’. I agree with AR - Such skills are urgently in need of development in core education and not just at centres of higher learning.

One of the things I like about your recent posts is their ‘human-ness’ and your willingness to really say/share how things are for you. The Tai Chi video - credit to you, well done. Great ranges of movement - got to be good especially for older bodies!
I liked the bit where the gardener ambles by as the chi flows …… Looks like an essential service for your place, quite zennish - our place looks more jungle like.
Also liked the sound of the trickling water - I’m assuming it wasn’t your toilet cistern filling up :-)
All the best

Tim, the "gardener" was my wife. I'd told her that I was going to make a Tai Chi video on our deck, and figured that my iPhone on a small tripod, sitting on a small table, which was on a larger table, and me moving around on the deck doing Tai Chi'ish moves, would have been a clue to Laurel that I was in the midst of making the video.

When I noticed her walking by, doing some gardening stuff, I was in the middle of the form, as you could see. So I just thought OK, no big deal, this will add some interest to the video. Then near the end of the form Laurel closed a squeaky gate, which made the screeching sound. Also no big deal. I like amateur videos, which this one certainly was.

When I watched the video I was surprised to hear myself say that I was making it on our porch, whereas obviously I was on our back deck. Again, no big deal. I aspire to being able to flow with whatever happens in life, but am a long way from achieving that aspiration. Still, I think I'm doing a bit better at accepting that life is unpredictable (obviously), as are mistakes.

The water sound came from our water feature that is visible in the background of the video, under the large evergreen tree. I also was surprised that the water sound was so distinct. My wife and I each got a iPhone 14 Pro Max at the end of 2022, a big upgrade from our iPhone 8 models. The microphone must be pretty damn good. The camera is definitely way better. I couldn't have made the video on our deck without the .5 widescreen option. Even with it I moved out of the camera's view several times, even though I tried to remember to keep between the black railings.

Regarding Tai Chi, Warren, my instructor watches a lot of Tai Chi and other martial arts videos on YouTube. He often talks in class about the Chinese "old guys" he sees doing Tai Chi. Of course, at 74 I qualify as an old guy. Warren is in his late 60s, so not that far behind me. I get some aging inspiration when he talks about how nimble most of the old guys still are as they do Tai Chi. Goes to show that staying active helps stave off physical limitations.

A growing number of people stay informed about current events through social media. I also understand that on clicking on to ‘news’ item these sites use algorithms that direct people to similar items that can gradually become more and more extreme. Using social media as a source of news is associated with the increased likelihood of being misinformed about important topics, such as Covid and generally undermining people and various institutions that deliver facts which runs counter to peoples’ beliefs, wishes and opinions.

As we see – and have seen - there is an increase in extreme and violent behaviour; an upsurge in fringe and long exposed ideas that are junk science and generally, the manipulation of people to believe and act on ideas and theories that have little standing in reality.

Under such conditions it is extremely difficult to extract truth and sadly, social media with its huge audiences continues to exacerbate these problems. Social media sites really need to warn people that what they are accessing may be a conspiracy theory – or is that an infringement of (so called) free speech?

@ Ron

We were taught at home to go only to the market when we needed something and only to get THAT thing and nothing else.

We were also taught not to strawl over the market to see what all there was, let alone to stand still and listen to those that with loud voices, offered their goods for sale.

It is the same as reaching children not to touch, pick and eat those funny colored berries in nature.

Berries can not be removed from nature, and sales men not from the market nor can we remove information.

The solution for everything lies in the person not outside him.

Those with physical or mental allergies can desensitize themselves or stay away from the outside stimulii ...

Hello, um.

I'm not sure I'm parsing your posts correctly. That is, the sense I get from them seems kind of extravagant, and I'm not sure that's what you meant to convey.

I don't want to get into a detailed discussion/argument over our respective POVs --- haha, most emphatically not repeat our somewhat contentious discussion about subjectivity and objectivity! --- but I just want to make sure I'm reading you correctly, that's all.

I started out pointing out how critical thinking is particularly important in this day of social media and AI, etc. Which you appeared to disagree with. You used the metaphor of hi-tech weaponry delivering death and destruction from a distance, as metaphor for weaponized words, something I agreed with, particularly as it relates with "alternate truth" and propaganda, and the trolling that often goes with those. You next pointed out that not many are actually equipped to think critically. Which I agreed with, and that in fact was my point: it is monstrous that, in this day and age, not many should be aware of the importance of and, in some measure, the methods of critical thinking; and that more and more people should be brought on board with this, starting with kids. Whereupon you brought in hierachies, and insisted that upending hierarchies by criticizing those in power is recipe for anarchy, and must be avoided.

I don't see how all of these are connected. Unless it is this: That you (rightly) believe that critical thinking makes people more liable to question and criticize authority; and questioning authority is so bad, so ultimately deleterious to society, that in order to stop that from happening, people should not be encouraged to think cricitally.

Is that what you actually believe, um? Because in that case I disagree, and disagree strongly. But no, not to go into the points of our disagreement here, but only to ascertain from you that you do indeed believe that.


No ...

There are three things:
[1] Most people are not trained to think beyond the necessities of their daily life and circumstances of their life. The amount of words in the vocabulary differs.
[2] People have access to and are bombarded with information, that they can not digest.
[3] Part of that bombardment is the exposion to public information related to officials and other people that govern this or that institution, in such an way that it negatively effects the institutions

These things together create chaos in society and makes people act as un-appointed and un payed Presidents, CEO's, Priests, Guru's etc etc etc.

A society that has no worth/value for their structure, that by necessitate is vertical, becomes a worthless society .. undemocratic.

If people do no know the upper and under boundaries of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in the end will suffer ....

If people only will heed the law etc when it suits them, democracy will crumble

Downtown Portland is ugly, but the Dera is beautiful.

I've been in and out of the martial arts world since 1973. I can't recall a Tai Chi guy ever entering any kind of sparring tournament and winning. Or one even entering for that matter. There's always been debate over which martial arts are actually effective. I'd say the consensus is that Tai Chi, beautiful as some people think it is, is at the bottom of the list of effective martial arts.

Of course you have stories of Cheng Man Ching, or sensei so and so from Japan in Aikido, another dubious martial art. I've been waiting for 50 years for someone from these martial arts to demonstrate their effectiveness in something besides a staged performance. It never happens. Practitioners of these "beautiful" martial arts never even show up to compete against other martial artists. They of course have their excuses and stories as to why, but one wonders why they avoid the "science" of actual combat in the ring to prove their art's effectiveness.

And I guess, we can also certainly fault the religious for just talking smack. Where is this God they keep talking about? And if we're really cynical, we can cite religions inability to demonstrate God evidence of how "ugly" all religions are.

But applying that same standard to the martial arts, we'd have to conclude that Tai Chi and Aikido are likewise "ugly" for pretending to be effective techniques of self defense, and being based on mystical notions of Chi and Ki.

Chi and Ki? Sounds religious don't it?

Maybe there's cause for you to put aside your antipathy to religion, given that whatever beauty and truth you discern in the apparently fake martial art of Tai Chi, it's pretty darn similar to the beauty and truth in the apparently fake religions of this world. Tai Chi promotes mental and physical health, yes, we can all agree with that. And so too, RSSB demonstrably provides the very same benefits to its practitioners.

@ AR

Words, concepts, knowledge is power .. power that can create and destroy
One cannot say everything, to every one at all times.

The way how in talk shows, handle those that are responsible for the correct functioning of society, however truth full etc can be undermining the respect that is needed for the institutions.

No politician, scientist etc should ever be seen in a talk show

In the binle it says:

Honour they father and Mother!

It does NOT say only those you like and not those you dislike.

AND ... as said several times !!! this is not an advise or an remark about the patents ..NOT AT ALL .. it is in the best interest of the children to honor their parents, irrespective of what they do.

Replace father and mother for any other role .. president, Guru ... hahaha

If people lose their respect for these roles, then they and their offspring will suffer the consequence ...democracy is at stake then!!!

Putting the stage lights on the person, will in the end erode the meaning and value of the institution

I am not interested in the person of trump byt in his office as president. Due to him and the way it is handled the very institution of presence has been harmed and THAT will negatively affect democracy.

Do not piss on the head of an president even if he as a person deserves it.

SantMat64, if you believe that the goal of practicing a martial art is to win a sparring tournament, it’s pretty clear that you’ve never learned a martial art from a competent instructor.

It is about devotion

Simran is in fact the same ... hahaha

Thanks for the clarification, um.

Not about critical thinking, then; but a separate comment about upholding hierarchies and respecting those who are or had been in power no matter what. Got it.

I'm afraid I don't agree; but that's fine, no need to go to town on it: we'll agree to disagree on that one. Just wanted to ascertain your meaning.

@ AR

Hahaha .. it is an expression of my way of critical thinking ... and agreed ... most of the time I find few to sympathize with the outcome of that thinking.... they can be counted on the fingers of two hands.

And ..what I think, in the end does matter only to me .... ... it is just the background of what I feel and how I act.

Fortunately I am in a position that it doesn;t matter what I think.

@Um,……I recommend you try a cup of Kopi luwak Coffee, considering you are a Coffee lover. . A little pricy, but if you are lucky enough to fetch the fresh Beans, natural roasted, while still steaming, and unprocessed or blended, straight out of the natural roaster, you won’t need to add sugar and cream. Enjoy! 😇
Jim Sutherland

@ Dr Sutherland

That would not help and be just an temporary pleasure ..IF .. if at all.

Many years ago I worked in the Hotel/restaurant business and had access to many expensive food items. Many of the celebrated items, i did not like at at all - to say the least.

As often stated everything starts and ends with the person ... OUT THERE .. there are no tasty things ... taste is with the taster.

Being loyal and open to whatever comes along, I have often given in to the invitation from others ... have a look there, taste this or that, read this book or that book, listen to that authority, expert and so on.... always believing that they knew what they talked about and had the interest of others at heart.

By now that attitude of mind has evaporated ... and ...is replaced by the notion that I, and with me anybody else, I am not born to digest what there is to digest in this world, that I was not born to be an CONSUMER.

We are all born self-sufficient like the trees and the birds in the tree ... no need to learn anything from anybody or change for the better ...everything is "perfectly imperfect" and needs no change....not even my coffee. ... hahaha

Anyway .. thank you for the link it was an interesting reading

um, just to clarify: I did not mean that your comment was wanting in critical thinking. Since I'd commented about critical thinking, and since your comments were in respond to mine, I assumed that is what they were addressing. I realize now that is not the case, and you made a new, different, separate comment about hierarchies. That's what I meant when I remarked that your comment isn't about critical thinking.

Also, while we don't agree over this issue, there's plenty more we do agree about, as we've discussed in the past, eh?

As for this issue: I find your POV curious. Hierarchies are so important that people manning those must never be held to account or criticized. That's something I don't believe in, at all. As for Biblical injunctions about honoring parents, I believe that should be a function of what kinds of people the parents are: some fathers are deserving of a punch in the face rather than respect. And Biblical injunctions and teachings are nothing special: some happen to make sense, some are nonsensical, some are unwise, and some are plain evil. Much better to directly use our sense of right and wrong to guide our morality, rather than this worthless collection of ignorant superstitions (that does, admittedly, in between passages of pure evil, happens to contain some beautiful passages and wisdom even). That something's said in the Bible means nothing to me.

By all means explain your reasoning to support this POV of yours. I'll listen quietly, and let it go at that --- even if I don't agree with that reasoning, as I probably won't. (I don't want to enter into a potentially long-drawn and possibly contentious exchange just now; otherwise this might make for interesting discussion. For now, if you'd like to explain your thinking supporting this POV of yours, then I'm happy to listen ---- quietly, without rejoinder, and without this devolving into a full-on debate.)


AR I drink enough coffee to realize what is going on. I do not feel offended, opposed or otherwise negatively approached by you.

I am also aware of the fact that my reactions might easely been seen as non related to the topic at hand in the eyes of others, while they do for me. So what I write is mostly a kind of invitation to shift focus in relation to what is at stake.

That is also related to what I wrote about authorities in general and to illustrate, the parents..

In Italy, children are taught to read and understand the "Divina Comedia" in many levels. That should and can be done with many religious books as the bible.

The mainstream interpretation of the command to honor the parents is focused on THEM but the focus should be on those to whom it is said, THEIR interest, what it means for THEM to honor their parents, Irrespective of their behavior and the consequences for THEM if the do not do it.

In the past I have called that .. The SMALL path. Small because it is not loved and very few understand it and/or are willing to take that path. It is a path that gives the freedom back to a person. Freedom as it cuts the ropes of feeling that binds a person to his parents or others. Giving back his power to GIVE to whomever he wants irrespective of who and what the other is.

To useof this understanding as an excuse for misbehavior of the parents etc points at an fundamental lack of understanding what the small path is all about or just simple unwill.

And be assured that I do not tend to convince anybody for the simple reason that it cannot be done ... these things are caught, seen spontaneously and self-explanatory.

It does not matter to me if a person understands it or not ... at best I feel unhappy that I could not put it on the table more attractive.

There is nothing wrong with logical thinking, it just not all that matters..

@ AR

Let me try to back up the thinking:

Unfortunately I have to do it in English. In our language "authority" is derived from the verb "saying". So in Dutch I explain authority etc, if asked for, as "a mutual contract between two camps, persons etc, in which is laid down who will have the "last" word to say in in the relation at hand"

He or she, that as been entitled, chosen or given that "last" word, need not in anyway justify or otherwise explain his or her stance.

Others in the contract are out of free will and respect for themselves, heed those last words in the issue.

If they however refuse to do so, the contract is at stake or worse, he or she that has the power of the last word might be tempted to use his or her will or power to force the other.

In both cases, the structure is at stake or in a bigger whole democracy.

In a democratic structure certain people and institutions are given that power of the last word. Once a decision is been taken, ALL should heed that last word, that decision
If they lay down CONDITIONS based upon their personal desires etc to live according the last word ... the very structure is at stake.

Ant-authorative thinking is a kind of poison that slowely weakens the very structure of society.

Hi Um and AR.
I've been reading your comments about authority, anti-authority and the benefits and burdens of both.

In my work as a management consultant we teach simple rules for improvement teams that I think may apply.

To participate on the team you must be willing....

1. To share candidly your perspective.
2. To keep the discussion confidential... What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. No end runs outside the meeting.
2. To listen respectfully to others, even those who disagree.
3. To be willing to investigate together.
4. To be willing to reach agreement, even if the idea isn't yours..
Any real improvement requires team support to survive.
5. To be willing to pilot change.
6. To present new ideas, pilots and changes to your co-workers with the same enthusiasm as if it were your own idea. To take ownership.
7. Once the decision is agreed upon to put your entire support behind it, as if you never had any doubt, because all change requires substantial agreement and sustained effort.

Democracy is well suited to these rules for successful "best practice" performance.

But, unfortunately, politics is not well suited to this kind of teamwork.

There is a place, time and necessity for individual voice.

And there is a place, time and necessity to follow with absolute support and alignment the team's decision.

A good society allows for both, and helps define where.

@ Spence

In the END it all boils down to your point 7.

Whatever has been done before, has been invested, becomes meaning- and valueless, when point 7 is not executed.

And worst of it all it is the beginning of disintegration of the very structure in which those that were before bound together by what ik call the contract of the last word.

Spence, um, that's an entirely different discussion, than what you'd been talking about, um, which is not holding those who hold high office to account and not publically criticizing them either, not even when that is deserved, out of respect for hierarchy and to keep up people's trust in institutions. A classic example of which would be Trump's indictment (and hopefully conviction and incarceration).

What you're now commenting on is something entirely different.

Like I said I don't want to get drawn into debating this question, but this just to point out that that's gone off on a complete tangent, again.

Hi Um
Point 7 is meaningless without the others. Without voice and accountability, built on trust and agreement, there can be no obedience to the key decisions and vision. It all works together.

So opportunities for open dialogue, discussion and accountability are necessary to reach agreement and absolute obedience to that agreement.

When a senior exec attends and hears the perspective of a nurse, discussed in a team, and responds in a way indicating they did in fact hear, understand, and hold themselves accountable to respond and act appropriately, there is communication, and accountability up, down and laterally.

The"Authority" is not in fact the leader. It is the principles everyone accepts, adopts and owns. The executive is just a caretaker,, as are each of us, for the duties we find in our place. The exec is responsible to honor those principles as is the worker. These principles, and everyone's respect for them, are what holds the entire best-practice organizations together, and not any personality or threat. Like the Tao teaches, in that environment everyone says "I did it" and justice and goodwill rain down everywhere. In lesser organizations they must be "told", without voice, and in lesser organizations threatened.

If you own your mission, and the objectives that reasonably flow from it, and the best ways to achieve those objectives, then they become your boss. The internalized standards of performance are your boss. And your obedience to them is the level of your performance.

That goes for the senior executive and the front-line associate.

To make a practical example. Lincoln said that inalienable rights derive from the statement "All men are created equal" and he said that these pertain to the entire human race, the "family of man," and not "white protestant men from Britain". Lincoln said this was a promise for the future, that the founding fathers knew they could not deliver on that promise initially, and therefore it is our duty as citizens to work towards that unfinished work. Lincoln said that this is the principle justification for America, and without that promise America doesn't deserve to exist.

These were very powerful, compelling words!

But if you accept them as your duty as a member of the human race, then you work for progress towards that promise. It isn't the government that can deliver this. It is the duty of the people. And then the laws of the government follow and mirror that progress towards this end.

So any leader who accepts this duty, to help all peoples regardless of orientation or color or belief, to receive these same inalienable rights, then they are acting in obedience to the intention of the founding fathers, as Lincoln explained. And when they attempt to justify anything else, they are not acting in obedience to the office they accepted. And that has less than appropriate performance.

It is possible that some people don't believe in that promise or accept their duty.

They can voice their complaints and their reasoning and we can all discuss, vote to accept or reject it.

But whatever the outcome is, we must work obediently to support it.

A president cannot win office without all constituents providing their support, at least for a time. To say "I didn't vote for them" is a misunderstanding. Once the vote is in, and verified, it is everyone's duty to get behind it and obey.

Only when the results veer from the agreed principles is it appropriate to say so. But as there must be periods of voice and dialogue there must also be periods of 100% teamwork and support.

@ Spence

In order not to provoke frustrations in other readers let me just finish my share that the difference between you and me is that you address the conditions leading up to point 7.

Setting these conditions is in a very subtle way undermining the very principle

let me add this much, that again seems to be not related to the issue at hand but from where I stand it certainly is.

Many means that were used not even that long ago to control people are now so much stigmatized that they cannot longer be used unless one wants up to end in court.
But the necessity to control, does not disappear and is still there and executed in an more obscure way less tangible, more subtle, less physical, more intellectual, more emotional.

You should know from you profession what it means when parents, instead of punishing by hand, say to their children: "You know that you are free to do what you want, but do realize how painful it is for us and how much frustration you create for us"
That is emotional Blackmail and often more harmful in the long run for a child.

Spence .. humans can change there ways but not themselves

Hi Um
Interesting points
You wrote
"You should know from you profession what it means when parents, instead of punishing by hand, say to their children: "You know that you are free to do what you want, but do realize how painful it is for us and how much frustration you create for us"
That is emotional Blackmail and often more harmful in the long run for a child."

Who are these parents that turn the dialogue from their child's behavior to the parents' frustration? Their child is not responsible for their parents well being. That burdens the child with responsibilities for the parents, and makes the parents children.

Yes that is psychic blackmail. I agree.

But you give this as the only alternative to punishment.

Much better methods are available. Like giving the child time out to review their own behavior alone, in a room without electronics, and then an opportunity to dialogue with mom and dad, or mom and mom, etc :) about the principle they have veered from and how best they might make amends to whomever they may have harmed. In this way parents teach their children to take full responsibility and start thinking like adults.

But when politicians treat citizens as small children, grabbing them off the streets when they are exercising their rights of free speech, tear gassing people who are voicing their concerns, inciting people to destroy property and threaten the lives of elected officials, or disrupt people who are working on behalf of the citizens, rather than entering into dialogue with them, it is a projection for their own childishness. We've seen a bit of that in recent years.

Nothing that is written in any book is a TRUTH in or of itself.

The contents of any book is no more than a collection of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, opinions or views of the person who wrote it, or contributed to a collective effort.

Books may contain informational data that was factually correct and supported by credible (not anecdotal) sources when it was written.

However, because of the nature of causality none of that data can be a TRUTH in or of itself.

If we remain attached to the content, as being TRUTH, the mind closes to the on-going learning experience that causality offers to the human experience.

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