Tag Archives: Kabbalah

Upon Enlightenment, One Stays Infinite All of the Time

Originally posted February 2, 2012

Growing up in a Western culture, one hears and reads the phrases, “seeking Enlightenment” and “the path of Enlightenment”, sees movies like Lost Horizon and The Razor’s Edge, and eventually questions whether maybe there is something real going on.

What is this Enlightenment they speak of so often and so seriously in the East, and which comes up in Western discourse more humorously and as part of entertainment fiction? Is it something real that we in the West ought to wake up and discover?

Enlightenment is a stage in a process. Sages in antiquity observed human beings going through a progression during their lives. Enlightenment is the stage most rarely reached, and self-evidently to those reaching that stage, the final stage in the process.

In other words, the idea of Enlightenment is derived from observation, just like the observation of modern science.

All of the earlier stages in the progression end in dissatisfaction, and are characterized by chasing after a different something in each stage. In this final stage of human personal evolution, Enlightenment, there is no longer any chasing and no longer any dissatisfaction.

Modern Western science in fact has rediscovered the progression. Maslow was the first to crystallize thinking in the West about this built-in human pattern, which he expressed as “The Hierarchy of Needs”. One born in extreme poverty for example seeks satisfaction of his/her physiological needs all of the time, until somehow working oneself out of that extreme poverty. When this happens the physiological needs start to get taken care of easily and the individual begins striving for the next needed thing which is safety and security according to Maslow’s model. Stage three is belonging/social/love needs, then self-esteem, and finally self-actualization. As each need becomes more automatically satisfied in a person’s life, the person expands the sphere of wants to include these new areas, in these various stages.

Maslow was aware of the ancient sources, and his five-stage model was his own intuitive and observation-based attempt at a more scientific reintegration of the seven-stage chakra system of ancient India. Yet it is possible the latter original system could be the more precise. We shall come to it in a moment.

More recently than Maslow, SRI International (originally founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute) used a survey and statistical clustering techniques to discern 23 underlying factors driving human behavior, i.e. values. (The study of human values is called axiology.) From further reclustering they developed a scale similar to Maslow’s but with more levels and two ways to get to self-actualization — a Westernized reduction of Enlightenment — at the top.

One recent interpretation of Maslow’s description of self-actualization lists these words: Vitality, Creativity, Self-Sufficiency, Authenticity, Playfulness, Meaningfulness. These are some of the characteristics that in the East would be attached to Enlightenment, but they are not the essence of it.

The essence of Enlightenment is that one no longer strives for anything. It is no longer necessary. One no longer sees any lack, therefore no need for desire. Love is strongly present, and the intuition is working at such a level as to cause ESP/Psi researchers to note statistically significant above-average accuracy rates. The Enlightened being brings a sense of peace wherever he or she goes, affecting others as iron filings around a magnet. Such a being appears to be continuously in great joy, and this is also infectious to those around. These observations have been replicated time and again by scientific/journalistic/scholarly Westerners who have traveled to the East and have seen and met such Enlightened human beings, some of whom are now in America. Some of us have experienced those states but the condition has not become permanent. That is not yet Enlightenment.

The first known system for reaching Enlightenment, embedded in Hinduism — one of the earliest institutionalized schools of thought — has four stages through which an individual passes as he/she evolves personally. Huston Smith in his classic The World’s Religions  describes these four stages as Pleasure, Success, Duty, and the pursuit of Enlightenment. The latter stages may not be reached in a lifetime, and Hinduism allows for the self to come back again and again to complete this course. Huston significantly describes the fourth stage as the attempt to make oneself “superhuman”. Indeed the Enlightenment stage that is sought appears to be a stage above the human both when one is experiencing it — even if for impermanent flashes — and when one is observing it in someone else.

Flow State as we have described here before has its own sub-stages within it, the highest of which corresponds to Enlightenment. All stages of Flow State appear to be super-human when one is experiencing them. In martial arts, one appears to have become invulnerable. In performing arts as well as martial and athletic arts, everything seems to be happening perfectly without any effort on one’s own part. During Flow State, the Universe appears to be favoring you. More than luck, it feels like the fix is in. This has a supernatural, numinous feel to it.

At the highest stage of Flow State, i.e. Enlightenment, one is no longer seeking Enlightenment, service/duty, success, pleasure, or anything else. All of those are finite and would require stepping down from the infinite, from the sense of letting go, having let go, long past trying to control, stopping oneself from the endless flowing with the Universe in a love relationship, that is Enlightenment. And in fact there is no going back, because by definition Enlightenment is when the world can no longer suck you back down into dissatisfaction with some element of it and re-attach you egoistically to striving to save the world, reduce suffering, one of the last of the finite attachments from which one reaches through to the permanent state of Enlightenment.

Back in the day, I had my own interpretation of the natural stages of personal evolution, which I had based on the seven major chakras. This Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” and “turning” refers to seven intuitively perceived organs of a subtle nonphysical body within each of us. Perhaps the Enlightened sages/saints of ancient India, Tibet, China and the rest of the Far East were actually able to see something that really exists, a body of consciousness within our body of matter, and perceive its organs — and perhaps not. In any case, inspired by this model, I conjectured a progression of personal evolution in, naturally, seven stages.

Those seven steps along the way being: Security (physical safety as well as money), Pleasure (including sex), Power (including consensual validation), Love, Creativity, Self-Knowledge, and Service. When I conceived this model I was not thinking clearly about Enlightenment actually being the eighth stage, and I confabulated it with the seventh or Service stage. But as I’ve since found, trying to be of service to the world is not yet Enlightenment. One still gets caught in EOP while in the seventh stage. The ego still brings you down out of Flow State while you are caught up in the drama of trying to make a positive difference in the world.

There are other esoteric traditions in which I perceive ideas similar to those of Hinduism, Maslow, and SRI, i.e. the idea of there being a characteristic sequential pattern of development for human motivations. Although I’ve not read any other student of Kabbalah as making this same interpretation, in studying the Tree Of Life I see a progression as follows:

  1. Until one gets one’s love and work in balance, one does not rise from the mask/persona/personality/projected image to others (“Yesod”) into one’s essence/truth with oneself (“Tif’eret”).
  2. Until one balances severity and mercy, one is not enabled to have flashes of insight/intuition/inspiration coming as if from above or from some hidden wellspring of wisdom (“Da’at”).
  3. Until one balances wisdom (knowing what’s right) with understanding (forgiveness), one’s consciousness will not be able to rise to transparency with the One Consciousness (“Keter”) — aka Enlightenment.

Recall that these ideas going back thousands of years — and still being reinterpreted and reinvented by new minds today — have also been validated by SRI’s field research: surveys reveal the same underlying axiological structures as predicted by Hinduism and Maslow, and possibly by the Jews in Kabbalah. There are people just motivated to survive physically from one day to the next (“Survivors”), and there are Belongers, Achievers, and Self-Actualizers. This is no longer just theory. In the last century science has rediscovered some ancient principles and validated them. Or perhaps re-validated them, since wise people long ago were convinced by the ability to make good verifiable predictions (“science”) regarding the innate progressive nature of human motivation.

As Huston Smith says, for all the harm religions have done, there is also all the good. And he refers to the wisdom wealth of the world that is stored up in religions. In fact, one does not have to be religious to reach Enlightenment, but it may help, if only by gaining contact with good ideas that are more practical and psychological/philosophical than theological.

We may look back and say that Hinduism for example was not a religion after all, but an observation-based science focused on the life of the self. Hinduism also postulates that the Infinite is within each of us, a statement Logical Positivism declared meaningless gibberish but which The Theory of The Conscious Universe re-words in terms of information theory so as to thwart dismissal by Logical Positivism. We may look back and say that Abraham was in an Enlightened flash of Flow State when he heard the One Self and made a covenant with It. In other words, it may all be true. What all religions believe may actually be real, in a way that denies none of the essentials of any religion, but which reflects the simple fact that there is only One Consciousness, and the rest is detail.

When the One Consciousness fully realizes Itself as The One Consciousness, within the life of one of us, that is what Enlightenment is. It is real, and yes, we ought to wake up and discover it.

Wishing you Stay Infinite,

Bill

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Originally posted 2012-02-02 08:41:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Season to Celebrate the Miraculous

Volume 3, Issue 43

The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year when the sun appears at its lowest altitude above the horizon and darkness abounds, has been celebrated with festivals of light since Neolithic times. Earliest cavemen and cavewomen prior to the dawn of reason could have felt that the world was coming to an end, and might have sought to propitiate Nature, the Sun, and divinity in general, with encouraging firelight, signaling the request to bring back the great light.

The primary axis of Stonehenge, which could have been built as far back as 3000 BC, is aligned to point to the Winter Solstice sunset. Newgrange in Ireland, built around 3200 BC in the Neolithic period, is similarly aligned to point to the Winter Solstice sunrise.

Wikipedia lists an impressive array of holidays in all countries and religions oriented around the Winter Solstice.

Probably no other person in history has inspired more works of art in all media than Yeshua Ben Joseph (Hebrew equivalent to Jesus, son of Joseph), remembered as Jesus Christ, after whom Christmas is named — Christmas being the signature Winter Solstice celebration in the Western World for the past 2000 years.

The Founders of the United States of America, who considered themselves deists, nevertheless esteemed most strongly the philosophy of this high being. So does practically every other person who has come into contact with his teachings.

Among Jesus’ key ideas are that God loves us as a father would, and that we should treat each other as we’d like to be treated. None of his quotations in the Bible contradict my theory that we are all part of One Being. Certainly a single being playing many roles would love all of them as himself, and in a role conscious of this existential unity, would treat everyone else very well indeed, knowing all to be part of the One Being.

Jesus also emphasized that even our thoughts count. “As a man thinketh so shall he be.” My theory posits that the matter-energy timespace universe is projected from consciousness, and that even in our roles as humans — a reduced form of the Original Self — our thoughts, feelings, intuitions and perceptions, in a closed feedback loop, influence what subsequently happens in the matter-energy timespace universe.

Jesus gave us useful psychotechnology — tips on how to arrange our thoughts, feelings, intuitions and perceptions so as to be capable of forgiveness, such as seeing how we ourselves are just as righteously to be judged as we judge the flaws of others: Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone… and Thou hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

It is impossible to think of Jesus without thinking of miracles. While many miracles are attributed to Jesus, the church over the centuries has investigated other claimed miracles and certified a number of them as such. Travelers to the devout country of India often return claiming to have personally observed miracles.

The Jewish Winter Solstice holiday of Chanukah celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting eight days although there was only enough barely for one day. This occurred when the Jews had retaken the Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian-Greek Seleucid Empire, and found almost all the oil desecrated (160 BC). The Jewish celebration of an eight-day festival of light goes much further back in antiquity, probably to Neolithic times, and is mentioned for example in a Talmudic document written during the Babylonian Captivity, which ended in 538 BC. In that document Adam is said to have sat for eight days in fast and in prayer anticipating that the world was going back to the darkness of chaos and confusion. When he saw the light returning he said “Such is the way of the world,” and observed eight days of festivity. The actual timing of Chanukah each year is based on both the Sun and Moon and therefore its exact timing is not synchronous with the Winter Solstice.

What is a miracle? Something that does not usually happen. Doctors today regularly bring the dead back to life, as in certain surgical operations where the body must be brought down to very low temperatures, and Google is not alone in believing that life can be extended indefinitely, achieving immortality. Arthur C. Clarke pointed out that sufficiently advanced technology will appear to be miraculous to those who have not grown used to that technology.

The existence of the universe is itself a miracle. Why should anything ever have come into existence? How can something come out of nothing? Logically, all that should ever have existed is nothingness. In our theory, and in Kabbalah, the great bootstrap operation of all time occurred when the Nothing (ain) became aware of itself (ain soph) at which point light streamed out in all directions from this point of self-awareness (ain soph aur). The Original Self, living through each of us, is The Nothing’s Imagination. (I wrote a book about this for my grandson Nicholas — look for The Nothing’s Imagination in 2014.)

Flow state is a miracle. Seeing other people seem to go into slow motion. Suddenly out of the blue knowing how a friend’s characteristic mannerism came into existence and having him validate it. The many synchronicities — odd seemingly-meaningful coincidences — that occur more frequently than would seem the result of random chance. My new book, You Are The Universe: Imagine That! (coming soon), contains reports of some of the miracles I have witnessed.

This season celebrating the return of the light force is a time to reconsider the miraculous. Even though the universe I postulate is “just” extremely advanced technology — supremely advanced psychotechnology specifically — this does not vitiate the meaningfulness of having an attitude of awe and wonderment such as one holds toward the idea of miracle. It’s really a choice. Do you want to live your life with the childlike thrill you once had, alive in your life once more, or would you prefer to be blasé about existence, including your own?

It’s always your choice.

Happy Holidays! Celebrate the miraculous.

My best to you all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Positive Thinking + Mindfulness = Mind Magic

Volume 3, Issue 23

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that positive thinking is not enough?”

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, Zone level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy… it is necessary but positive thinking alone is not sufficient to achieve all these things: there is more to psychotechnology.

The other cornerstone is mindfulness. The two main threads running through my book Mind Magic and through me might be summed up as combining those two mind techniques. That would be reductionism but it would not be way off base.

The thing about positive thinking is that it’s an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it. Many of the books on the subject exhort people to think positively and prove why it is important but they don’t tell the reader how to stay positive in the face of perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

Actually achieving and maintaining a state of positive thinking as the natural equilibrium of the individual requires a number of component accomplishments including the toning down of excessive attachment to specific outcomes.

I didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. A philosopher by nature, like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions as to what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy; negative handwringing for example is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively, but because I saw that they worked.

It might be more accurate (and less reductionist) to say that I took the best things I saw in all philosophies to bake my own philosophy. Pragmatism, operationalism, the stoicism of Epictetus, Hemingway’s fatalism, the Vedas, Kabbalah, Taoism, Buddhism, John Stuart Mill’s “greatest good for the greatest number”, and Zen (with apologies to all the others not mentioned for space/time reasons).

Still, pragmatism runs deep. What am I trying to accomplish? It sometimes can be simply to have fun — fun being conducive to the Flow state. Encourage the development of long-term goals to help people supervene short-term goals. What can I control and what must I accept? Non-attachment to outcome is key. Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may. Pre-visualize success.

Positive thinking is a corollary of pragmatism.

Mindfulness is something else again and another necessary component though insufficient without positive thinking. More on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com. 
 

A Method of Increasing Luck, and the Sweetness of Life

Volume 3, Issue 22

One rainy day I was driving a little too fast plus the cruise control was on. I got onto I-84 East and as I reached the highway itself I must have hit an oily patch for the next thing I knew I was going backwards Eastbound, staring straight at Eastbound traffic bearing down on me at high speed — a truck passing a car, both coming right at me with many cars and trucks behind them.

Reflexively I righted the car and pulled off on the grassy median just as the honking truck and cars rushed past, missing me. A car pulled off and drove up alongside to see if I was all right. He said he was a Navy fighter pilot and complimented me on my reflexes, then drove off while I sat for a minute breathing.

I bet you know what I was feeling because we have all felt it at one time or another — grateful for being alive. Life was suddenly so sweet. Every second was precious. The average workday that lay ahead was an exciting prospect filled with interesting possibilities. The rain hitting the windshield was beautiful and I could see rainbows in each drop. The air tasted delicious.

Authentic gratitude is a very healthy emotion that I am sure increases immune response and is conducive to Flow state. As I grow older and hopefully wiser I find myself more often being grateful simply for this life, for life itself and especially for the interesting and fun life I have had so far. But any life is better than the alternative of never having existed. Even a life of pain is more interesting than eternal unconsciousness, never having a sense of self, never having even one experience.

As long as one is alive, there is the chance to fix or accept anything that is disturbing. That’s what creativity is for. Troubles can be overcome in a flash of inspiration. Life is filled with endless possibilities.

Over time I’ve noted that during periods of gratitude my luck runs high. This in itself is not conclusive proof of a conscious universe nor that having a gratitudinous relationship with the Overconsciousness pays off in being given more, a basic tenet of Kabbalah, but it is suggestive evidence that the idea deserves more serious attention.

By luck I mean opportunities for feeling love, deeply personal good things happening involving other people. I doubt that a good experiment could be set up in Vegas where variations in gratitude attitude could be related to winning money. Recently I was playing games of chance with my granddaughter who was trouncing me game after game, getting fabulous hands while mine were terrible, yet all through it I was feeling very grateful for the time together. So luck and gratitude are not linked in the sphere of winning at games of chance, but I continue to observe that they are linked in winning at the game of life.

If you’re going on vacation soon, when you’re on a beach chair staring at the ocean or at a lake or sitting by a stream or at any quiet moment, it will be easy to get in touch with the gratitude you have within you. It’s always there, like a carrier wave on which there are overlays of more temporary modulations of feeling in reaction to the event stream. You’ll detect the experiential neural pathways that will make it possible for you to always contact your gratitude no matter what is happening, especially when you are angry or depressed — this refocus on basic gratitude for living gives you immense power to supervene over any negative emotion. Finding that switch inside that you can use at any moment will give you great strength. Use it well and enjoy yourself. Joy is the most likely reason The One Consciousness is doing all this and expressing itself as you and me.

Best to all 

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Setting the Mood for Conflict Resolution

Volume 2, Issue 39

With Better Data and Analytics for World Class Solutions

Two posts ago for the first time in this blog’s history, I retracted an idea from the article within 24 hours of its posting. In a quick series of blunt emails a dear friend thoroughly convinced me that even raising the possibility of any form of debt cancellation is a terrible idea.

Why terrible? Because:

  1. Anything that could reduce even an iota of faith in the notion of the United States of America as the most stable country on Earth could panic people. This is not because people are rational, quite the opposite — it is because they are under the sway of Acceleritis, and are operating in mental shortcut Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP).But a fact is a fact. Bad idea to bring up. Speak of debt conversion, debt service renegotiation, and especially get the top economists into a creative mood and talk about any other out-of-the- box ideas that they want. Just not the idea of debt cancellation.
     
  2. It plays right into the hands of the current severe polarization between those who hold it to be virtuous that the strong should always protect the weak (we call that the Left) and those who believe this but to a lesser degree, and are most focused on individual independence and freedom including the minimization of laws restricting individual decision making (we call that the Right). Nothing should be done to further exacerbate the hatred that has snuck up on us and suddenly become harsh and rigid on both sides. This is a far worse threat than the fiscal cliff, which is a temporary aberration and will be solved one way or the other so as to minimize suffering, although there will still be plenty of that. Legislators the world around will perform better in making the tough decisions ahead to put the economy of the world back on a firm sustainable footing, to the degree that they start in a creative mood and not in this mood of vendetta that appears to grip at least half of us, enough of us to bring everything to a grinding halt (aka gridlock).

On a world scale, if we cannot balance Severity (the Right) with Mercy (the Left) (these are called Geburah and Chesed in Kabbalah), in the very long run what are the possible scenarios? These two mammoth groups around the world could between them set off the first (and perhaps last) World Civil War. Not based on borders, the Blues everywhere would fight the Reds everywhere. Those in the middle would try to keep peace but that would just make it a three-way civil war once peacekeepers got killed en masse for the first time.

Hitler’s deranged mind wandered over these mental landscapes in somehow believing that killing off the Jews would make the planet work better. The hatred we hear and read today from both sides of the Left/Right debate conjures images of one side launching a war of extermination to wipe out those who think oppositely about the degree to which the strong should protect the weak.

On what basis is there a feeling that the strong should protect the weak? It comes from many sources: intuition, love, kindness, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, noblesse oblige, simpatico, pragmatism, my theory that we are all manifestations of the same single Being, all flavors of the same intuition or instinct for supporting others that we all naturally have except when a person is damaged emotionally during upbringing.

Conflict Resolution processes that worked in Northern Ireland could be imported into the US situation and mass media campaigns could be sponsored by top advertisers, with the Ad Council leading the way with a pro bono campaign.

Fact-based communications must be made to drive out the current meaningless level of babble that passes for debate. New parliamentary rules need to be instituted to eradicate time-wasting sneering language and j’accuse statements that do not move toward solutions with any creative new ideas in them. Every legislator should demand quantification on statements made. Here we are debating how to deal with $120 trillion in unpayable debt, and yet we cannot easily find even with the Internet, a coherent and definitive input-output table of the world economy from which an observer can run simulations, optimizations, do sensitivity testing, and otherwise move toward reducing the decisions that need to be made to mathematics, where optimization can prove exactly what has to be done in order to achieve whichever objective one sets.

For example, in my not-so-productive idea two weeks ago, I wasn’t talking about the US cancelling only its own debts and doing so unilaterally. I was talking about a UN-level group using factual data to brief each country’s negotiators to discuss and advance the common good.

For example, there are loops that could cancel out debt with no injury, such as where someone owes money to himself/herself. One of these loops is that 49% of the total US debt is owed to the Social Security Fund, Federal Reserve, or State and Local Governments. Not sure that these entities all consider themselves one US entity so perhaps these loops don’t change anything.

My point is that in marketing we have tons of data and in general are looking at it and can answer questions and make decisions with it. How could it be that in running the world we are under-using data? Yet it seems to be true. We have to fix this right away. We need to pool efforts to create an open architecture input-output economic model using agent-based modeling i.e. bottom-up not aggregate level. We need to be able to simulate, so there need to be transition probabilities from state to state for each agent, region, and country. All the historic data need to be poured into the model and harmonized. The optimizer must allow the setting of objectives in terms of the weight to give protecting the poor vs. protecting the strong, so that many optimizations with different settings can be run. Then the output actions determined by each optimization run can be fed into the simulator to see how the scenario plays out by time periods, whether an optimized scenario validates or not according to this gauge.

Who is going to do this?

Because the Human Effectiveness Institute’s Mission is to engender Observer and Flow states in as many people as possible everywhere as the most primal, direct and effective means to improve decisionmaking, we are going to continue to focus on this primary mission in this blog. Ideas about fixing the economy shall move out of this blog into the new sister site, The Democracy Channel, to launch here early in 2013. TDC will contain not just my ideas but the ideas of many people. The commentary will be edited to exclude negativity and partisanship as much as possible while letting through all verified factual content, new ideas, and solution suggestions, so that readers can also vote on other people’s solution ideas.

A friend of mine who passed along to me wisdom and moods he had acquired in India, pointed to the greedheads who were holding the world back. It was not consistent with his forgiving mood. He excluded the rich, including top politicians and largest corporations — some of you will recognize this as the 60s. Rachel Carson, Vance Packard, and others had shown some dark side and the present conspiracy theorist culture began to balloon outward into the hinterlands.

When I went into the advertising industry, my friend assumed I was going to try to cure the ills from the inside. That was part of it. The other part was that I was not looking for ills. So far, over the course of decades in the world of large corporations in 34 countries, including their C-level execs, I have yet to find any evidence of evil bad guys. As the sides have drawn apart, they have lost touch as people with one another, they avoid each other’s company, and so they are unable to feel the reassuring inner sensations of “this person is OK” one often gets after getting to know someone even a little. Everyone has reasons that have led them to their own personal convictions. Frontal confrontation with their convictions is obviously the least indicated communications strategy for conflict resolution. If you indulge in demonizing the other side, you are not only wasting time, you are chasing away the Flow state (Zone) which is not going to come over you while you are processing distracting negative emotions. You need to bootstrap yourself into the Observer state where you can edit out insulting catchphrases in discussing solutions with people from the other side of the aisle. Once operating consistently in the Observer state, in a conflict resolution mood of forgiveness, we can, together, bring us all back together again.

Best to all,
Bill

PS — "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. 

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. "
— Charles Darwin*

* Thank you Philip Romero for the Charles Darwin quote.