Category Archives: Positive Thinking

MAKING YOUR LIFE GREAT DESPITE NOT GETTING ALL THE BREAKS

Created July 23, 2021

Forgive me, I must admit I wasn’t thinking of you, my regular readers, when I wrote this. I was writing this to your kids, or grandkids, or more likely to young people you may know who didn’t grow up nourished by your wisdom. Please do pass this along to anyone you know whom you feel could benefit from it, people who are having a hard time. Thanks!

67.7% of people with a net worth of $30 million or more today were not born into rich families. They made it on their own.

More than ever, some people born in poverty are making it. It’s the best time to be alive if you’re an average person without all the breaks. With the internet all of knowledge is available to you.

Now that I’ve gotten your attention by talking about money, let’s be clear that it isn’t the most important goal, it’s just something you need because of the way the world is set up. California is already beginning to move by cautious partial steps toward a guaranteed minimum income for everyone. Someday that may be the way the world works. For now, money is something to take into account in your planning, but it’s not the purpose of your life.

What’s really important is finding and doing your passion work. That also happens to be the way that you will be happier, more fulfilled, and more effective at everything in life. And it may also wind up making you the most money too, although you’d be happier doing your passion work and just getting by as far as money is concerned, than if you end up doing work that is just so-so for you, while making more money, having more one-night stands (which the culture has brainwashed young people to highly value), and owning more trophy things than your crowd.

While they may all continue to go down the other path of impressing others with mundane things, you ought to take the route that will make the most of your life, and of your gifts.

If you don’t think you are gifted, you haven’t made enough of an objective study of yourself. We all have things that we do better than most people. Things that you enjoy doing and which you do well are the clues to what you are alive to do.

Once you have studied yourself enough and have a vague glimmering or a specific idea of what you want to be doing for the rest of your life, then you need to set a first firm direction in life, select the kind of organization or the specific organization you want to work for, or you want to create. You may change course later on or not, but you need a first base to run to.

You just figure out where you could show your skills to the greatest degree, and go there, humbly learn the ropes, then stay humble.

Humility is another side of nobility.

Human collective unconscious probably programs the brain to enable humans to sense noble people. Such people are respected and their opinions sought.

How can you be noble?

Just take responsibility for doing good in every moment.

Be grateful every moment for being alive.

Be kind to everyone.

That’s all it is!

To summarize, you follow your strengths, envisioning the target state, act nobly with kindness.

A few simple rules that will take you to your destination.

Best to all,

Bill

Don’t Work Against Yourself

Created July 16, 2021

The above title seems obvious. “Who would knowingly work against one’s own best interests? Masochists maybe, but no normal person.”

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Practically all of us work against ourselves on a daily basis. The reason we do it is because we don’t realize the power of our own thoughts and feelings to program our behavior in ways that can seriously limit our success.

For example, we may feel and have thoughts about being jealous of another person or persons. As the clock ticks on and we let ourselves stay in that mental/emotional state, we don’t realize the damage we are doing to our self, and so we let it go on, as if there is no cost or consequence involved in spending time that way. The more time goes on without our actively curtailing that state, the more damage it is doing.

Jealousy is defined as “The thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a comparator, a rival, or a competitor.”

Every second we allow ourself to dwell in that state we are sending signals to ourself, not only our conscious mind but also our subconscious, not only our left and front brain but also our right brain, not only our cortex but also our limbic system and cerebellum, that we find ourselves to be inadequate (insecurity), fearful, and lesser individuals to those we envy.

Our entire being, our body as well as our mind, get the message. In ways we don’t notice, we project those signals out to the world in our posture, facial and bodily gestures, we are broadcasting our perceived inadequacy to others as well as to our own inner being. If we do this often enough it becomes a self-refueling cycle that mounts and can destroy the achievement of our highest visions for ourself.

We owe it to ourselves to have at least a vague notion of the gifts we have which should determine the kind of work we want to do in the world. And armed with this compass, vague as it may be, to not allow any vagaries of mental habits to delay or destroy our chances of reaching the actualization of those dreams.

Once we form a notion of the direction, that must be the means by which we discipline ourselves to actualize, every second of every day. To do otherwise is to potential casually throw our lives away, and any time we spend in such a mode, is sending signals to our entire being that we don’t believe in our own gifts, we’re just going through the motions but are pretty sure it’s never going to pan out. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and not just because we are sending giveaway “tells” of our own lack of self-belief.

Any negative thought or feeling means you are not in your clearest state. If you were in the Flow state you obviously wouldn’t be thinking at all, just acting in total internal external synchrony. If you were in the Observer state you would be able to see that your negative thoughts are the opposite of constructive and that you are wasting time, you should thank your negative feelings for causing you to detect and focus on the solution of some real world problem, and then immediately get on to analyzing and coming up with the best plan of action so that such negative feelings at some point in the future will not arise at all.

If for example jealousy is internally detected, the first question is “If I could trade lives with that person, would I?” That usually brings the jealousy into a clearer context in which you can think about what you might do differently in order to have the things the envied person has without having to become them in any way, since you are likely to like yourself better, and not want the full package of that person’s entire life, you just envy certain things they have, like more money. This turns a fruitless and self-defeating morbid period of thinking and feeling time into a constructive Observer state higher clarity use of time that leads to test actions. A far better way of running your life, more creative, not petty, which makes your mind, resolve, and self-confidence stronger, your ability to achieve stronger. It gets you what you want if you never give up. You are not using your energy against itself.

The optimal moods are gratitude and kindness. Negative moods automatically give more power to the things that hurt you. Cultivate only positive use of your time and nothing can stand in your way.

Love to all,

Bill

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.

A Trace of Hot Tub Diplomacy in The Air

Created April 23, 2021

*Thank you Mr. President for a balanced and meticulously thought out approach at a time when others are losing their heads. In addition to my donations I’ve attempted to send you helpful ideas. Here are the links to the articles that hopefully someone on the staff can review, assess, and do whatever is decided with.*

My wife Lalita emailed me “What happened to the hot tub?” when the latest U.S. sanctions were announced. That’s her way of referring to my recent columns envisioning a scene of détente among the leaders of the three superpowers.

I, too, felt disappointed when reading the headlines. I had hoped that the necessary wrist slaps would be presented differently than in the past, whether due to my ideas trickling up to the Oval Office or not. None of the headlines gave me any inkling that we were not still locked in the same mindsets as during the Cold War.

But things became more nuanced when I read the full reportage. President Biden’s televised remarks on April 15 sound a lot to me like the reasonable, moderate voice I gave my fictional Joe:

“We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity,” President Biden said in remarks announcing the sanctions on Thursday. He said he “was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further,” and that wanted a “stable, predictable relationship” with Russia.

“Now is the time to de-escalate,” Mr. Biden said. “Where there’s an interest for the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will.”

(The above as reported by CBS News)

The sanctions had been carefully measured to serve as a signal, to be more than merely symbolic, yet to limit the degree of pain caused to the Russian people. To make it clear that we will not be pushed around, nor will we over react, but we will be true to our word and not back off if transgressed against.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan summarized the President’s remarks to Mr. Putin in their April 13 telephone call this way:

“He said, ‘I told you that I was going to look into this, I made a determination that Russia has, in fact, conducted these actions. And I’m a man of my word, I am going to respond. But I’m not looking to escalate, I’m looking to provide proportionate responses. And I believe that it is in our interest to find a stable and predictable way forward in this relationship.'”

(The above as reported by The Guardian)

The measured nature of the sanctions is obvious to economists in that the move prevents U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble and non-ruble denominated debt after June 14, but does not affect the secondary market. Yet these U.S. actions also communicate that the line in the sand can be moved further depending upon how Russia responds.

Did my recent posts reach President Biden, or have he and his advisors followed a parallel path and reached similar conclusions to my own?

Perhaps God is talking to him, and I am somehow permitted to eavesdrop.

To me the most hopeful sign is that the President, while taking necessary action under the circumstances, simultaneously proposed a face to face meeting between himself and President Putin.

“President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia,” the White House readout of the call said.

The readout went on to say that the two leaders “discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty.”

(The above as reported by CBS News)

Perhaps the fictional scenario I outlined is going to take place in stages.

They also have hot tubs in Cannes.

Keep a positive thought.

Best to all,

Bill

Turning a New Page in History

Created April 9, 2021

taken by Robert Brett

When they finally turned in, Joe, Vlad and Jinping had slept well, dreaming of better days ahead.

A limo brought them down to Pfeiffer Beach just before sunrise. Although the air was brisk and the water cold, the three went for morning swims. By the time they were in beach chairs swaddled in terrycloth robes, Secret Service men and women brought them Ramos Gin Fizzes helicoptered down from the Buena Vista bar in San Francisco, Joe’s without the alcohol.

To the sandpiper looking at them from the water’s edge, they somehow looked like FDR, Churchill and Stalin at Yalta, Joe sitting in the middle as FDR had done at Yalta. But the sandpiper knew nothing of such things.

Joe made sure his hands were dry before picking up his tablet.

“I want to read you something,” he said with a mischievous smile, “See if you can tell who said these things.” They looked back with amusement.

“We should foster a new type of international relations featuring ‘win-win cooperation’,” Joe read, “and we should forge a partnership of dialogue with no confrontation, and a partnership of friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity; respect each other’s development path and its social systems, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns… What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious coexistence.”

Joe looked at them expectantly. Vlad just shook his head. “Obama?” he guessed.

“I said that,” Jinping recalled clearly, “in 2017 at the Belt and Road Forum.”

“Very much the spirit of what we discussed yesterday,” Joe observed, and both men cautiously nodded.

The sun appeared over the mountains. They watched it rise.

“Hexagram 35,” Joe said, referring to the I Ching. Hexagram 35 is Progress, the rapid easy progress of the sun rising in the sky, symbolizing ever widening expansion and clarity.

Jinping nodded. “A lot of wisdom in it. The culmination of Chinese learning over millennia.”

“What did you mean by ‘a partnership of friendship rather than alliance’?” Vlad asked Jinping.

“Alliance is generally a defensive maneuver,” Jinping posited. “NATO formed in fear of Russia, for example. Alliance means we will stand by you if you are attacked. If we create the right world, alliances will be unnecessary.”

“That will require trust,” Joe pointed out. “We three are self-disciplined and can therefore adapt faster than the average person. Most people will be cynical when they read about this meeting, and will take a lot of convincing over time. They will judge by our actions. Events will conspire to make it as hard as possible for us to stick to what we have been discussing.”

“That sounds very realistic,” Vlad murmured.

“When you said ‘All countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity’, how would you relate that to Taiwan?” Joe asked politely.

“We are one people,” Jinping said. “The island you call Taiwan is occupied by the losers of the Chinese Civil War. Imagine if the Confederacy fled to an island close to the American mainland. What would you do?”

“But those people do not want to be reunited, they like being sovereign, as all people do,” Joe pointed out. “Your own words seem to confirm that you agree with this principle.”

“The real world is very messy,” Vlad commented. “Principles are fine in abstract philosophizing, but every situation in life is unique, and cannot be solved by a simple set of pre-established rules.”

“If your Most Favored Nation offer requires us to not secure our territorial integrity, it’s not going to last very long, and then we’re back where we were before yesterday’s unusual meeting,” Jinping said darkly.

“The way to feel secure is to have ‘friendship rather than alliance partnerships’ with all your neighbors, isn’t that your point?” Joe suggested.

“Although I can’t imagine you lose sleep worrying that anyone is going to invade China,” Vlad teased Jinping.

“My recommendation is that you just put on hold your recent initiatives in the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and so on, and give us a chance to work together to solve the universal problems threatening our entire species,” Joe said. “You can resume them at any point you decide that they are more important than conquering mutating viruses, environmental collapse, world debt, suffering, fear, hate, and all of the crises we’ve brought on ourselves, and can most swiftly solve by our ‘partnership of friendship’.”

“I make no promises here and now,” Jinping said slowly, “but will consider carefully what you’ve said. I think we have made some real progress toward the ability to communicate clearly with each other.”

“Yesterday you enunciated four things your scenario planners say are the keys to working together,” Vlad began, addressing Joe. “Elbow room, offending the sensibilities of other nations, not making aggressive moves against each other, and how we the superpowers deal with everyone else.” Joe nodded, and Vlad went on. “What’s your definition of ‘aggressive moves’?”

“Fooling with each other’s media, stirring up troublemakers in each other’s country, having them enlist in the military in order to gain training and combat experience, reinforcing their authoritarian notions, outright attacks of course,” Joe paused, thinking if he had missed anything.

“Give all that up… I can’t work under those conditions,” Vlad said sternly and then smiled, admitting he was merely joking. “You know I don’t believe we have been doing any of those things, and in any case am happy to promise you that we will abide by these limitations going forward. But what about spying on each other? Is that going to be classified as an ‘aggressive move’?”

“No,” Joe said, “my advisors talked me out of that. Spying has been considered okay for the entire history of the human race. I would hope that once our actions have led to real trust in the world – God knows how long that will take us, but we must go there – our motivation to spy on one another will go way down.”

“What did you mean by ‘elbow room’?” Jinping asked.

“Expansionist moves usually come from the sense that one does not have enough land to contain one’s growing population,” Joe replied. Both men shook their heads. They both control enormous land masses, and see themselves as having population growth pretty much under control. “I see your point gentlemen, that one need not trouble us. I think we’ve discussed all of the points now except the one about everyone else in the world,” Joe said.

“What would you have us do about them?” Vlad asked.

“They of course deserve the same treatment we are promising each other,” Joe said, and the two men reluctantly nodded. “And they need help more than we do. We have to make sure they get the vaccines as soon as possible. That will prove that the three of us are serious and will begin the healing back of trust in the world.” They seemed to accept that notion but said nothing.

“Let’s go back to the elbow room thing,” Vlad said. “Most of the population growth is coming from everybody else, and eventually it’s going to get to be a very crowded world. For that reason, as well as a hedge against failure to cure the environment, and need for more natural resources, not to mention the positive effect on science and technology, we must continue our exploration of space.”

“I urge us to do that, together,” Joe agreed. “By combining forces, we can drive our science and technology much faster. We should not be in a space race against each other, nor should we picture colonizing planets in the name of one country who got there first. If the planet does not have a sentient race, we should feel free to live there without harming any species or the environment itself, as one humanity, not as countries.”

The other two men merely gaped at these ideas, taking them in, not prepared to argue against them, but reserving severe doubts.

“You know,” Joe said, “these apparent spacecraft that have been observing us, have far more advanced technology than we do.” Their eyes widened. Talking about UFOs had been tabu for years. “They may be concerned about us coming into space. We may appear to them to be warlike and immature. We don’t know if they represent a threat to us. One way or the other, we have to start thinking of ourselves as one humanity, for a long list of good reasons, real threats like mutating viruses and carbon dioxide, as well as possible threats that have not yet shown themselves.”

“Can’t rule anything out,” Jinping murmured. “But I for one am more concerned about corrupt people, terrorists foreign and domestic, and suggest we focus on the known problems.” Joe and Vlad nodded.

“You know the ‘bad guys’ among us are so very numerous,” Joe said, “Trying to violently exterminate them would make the world a far more horrible place than it is now. We have to uplift them out of their wrongheaded ideas.”

“That is very consistent with Chinese philosophy, as you have recently studied I believe,” Jinping observed, addressing Joe, who smiled agreement.

“Russian philosophy has always been multicolored,” Vlad said, “and leans toward integration with science and religion. We are very practical, we want to embody our philosophy directly into our daily lives. I was impressed yesterday with your ideas about training the most lost of our people. Turning that into real world experiments is an interesting challenge to tackle together, among the three of us, and with everyone else.”

There was a moment of soft silence and a feeling of momentary harmony. Joe stood up. “One last swim before we go back?” he proposed, and the two men stood up eagerly.

Our story does not end here. You can follow the story as it evolves in the real world.

Best to all,

Bill

Sanctions at the Sanctuary

Created April 1, 2021

(This is Part Two of our story Part one)

At Esalen Sanctuary, the sky was turning purple although the sun was not quite to the ocean.

Joe had just lobbed his bombshell proposing an ongoing triangular conversation working together toward permanent relief of friction. All three were now using the jets on their backs and allowing their minds to roam. Strangely, all of them were picturing their own citizens living in a happy world. Vlad and Jinping were mentally commenting cynically to themselves but allowing the positive images to flow.

Joe broke the silence. He was the one who came with a playbook so he kept the conversation going. The two guests were in listening mode, not wanting to give aid and comfort to the enemy but to conduct a thorough reconnaissance.

“Please don’t think of me as an enemy,” Joe said. “Despite the harsh words I used, you know I highly respect you both, and especially your intelligence. We are in this together. In a lifeboat. And we three are responsible for the lives of billions of people – everybody on Earth. If we choose to see through the lens of ‘enemy’, the world is headed for terminal disaster, it would just be a matter of time. We have to see through the lens of ‘fellow human beings, trying our best to do what is right.’”

“Ah, but what is right?” Jinping interjected.

“We’re all trying to make life better for our people,” Joe said, “just going about it differently. Three people as smart as us better be able to figure it out or we all lose the game.” Joe realized he hadn’t answered the question. “What’s right for you might not be what’s right for me, so we figure out a workaround that all sides can live with without having to hold our noses.”

“I sometimes tire of broad generalities,” Vlad said somewhat apologetically and the other two weren’t sure he was being ironic, “Can you give a specific example of what you’re proposing?”

“Sure,” Joe said, his face telling the other two that Joe was going to be loaded for bear with examples. This would be interesting and perhaps advantageous to Vlad and Jinping.

“Sanctions are not the right mechanism,” he went on, receiving instant nods of agreement. “They are distasteful, add to the friction instead of relieving it, harm the world economy and create a death spiral for trade, and when used to try to coerce a nation to show more apparent concern for human rights, so far they have failed 100%.” The other two nodded more emphatically.

“They also give us an unfair advantage,” Joe added.

The two were baffled that an adversary would reveal a non-obvious advantage – giving away the element of surprise – and what was he talking about anyway?

“Not clear to me what you mean,” Vlad responded, and Jinping shook his head.

“Your people want our brands more than our people want your brands,” Joe said, looking at Jinping. “It’s been the marketing – now we are all equals in that – but we had a long lead time.”

“So please spell out how you see that working to your advantage,” Jinping requested.

“It spirals downward unless we switch to other methods. First the American people decide to boycott Chinese products, then China does the same to us. Our people are not much troubled, pay some higher prices, start to rebuild manufacturing on shore. China’s people do without, but many traffic black market American goods, causing internal strife and criminalizing large numbers of otherwise law-abiding people – especially the young.” Joe later realized he should have stopped there but the words which sprang into his mind were new to him so he spoke them aloud, as if musing to himself: “American media have shaped a world youth culture which is now evolving to be a true intermixed world culture – they are leading us to be one family…”

Vlad thought he’d gone off the rails, and Jinping interrupted with a bit of momentary anger: “Yes but you and your media are raising unrealistic expectations we’re never going to fulfil!”

“We are clearly more optimistic than you are,” Joe admitted. “We strive to be idealistic realists. Like both of your cultures, we come up with lots of new ideas all the time, and this fact encourages us to be optimistic. Challenges make us use our creativity at peak levels. Especially if we three achieve global cooperativeness in this creative process, there’s reason to put away the pessimism. Optimism – pessimism – the world is what we make it. Especially we three – we’ve wound up with the power to end the world or to remake it so that it does work, everywhere, to everyone’s benefit – together, we’re smart enough to accomplish that.””

“No,” Vlad disagreed, “there are billions of people out there who put the lie to any optimistic theory. The dregs of the Earth, billions of them, people that we three would never spend one minute with. In Russia and China, we keep these people in line and try our best to bring them up from their animal level of thinking. In democracies those people have the same vote that you have Joe. You have teams of the best people on the planet advising you, but a bowery bum has the same weight as you do in the voting.”

“Your idea of democracy is what we call ‘naïve democracy’,” Jinping jumped in. “To anyone with common sense, to anyone who has studied history as reported by all sides, it’s insane to try to do democracy the way the West has been trying to do it. We consider our type of democracy superior because it works efficiently. We call ours ‘realistic democracy’. When you try to lecture us about human rights and so on, we are insulted because we believe we have bypassed you in political science.”

Vlad quoted H. L. Mencken, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

“Whoa – hold up guys,” Joe held up his hand and smiled at them, “We have a different theory about the folks that Mencken called ‘plain people’. It’s a two-part theory. Part One is that we train them to be people we would be happy to spend a few minutes with, people who can support themselves and contribute to society. We’re calling this “individualized education” because Part Two of the idea is to find out what life’s work each person would love to do, and make it possible through training and information.”

The two guests looked at each other. Again, Joe had given them information he would have been smarter to withhold and use for American interest first before giving it away to competitors, who because of the efficiency of their governments, could put ideas to work faster.

Joe smiled at them as if reading their minds. He had been coached what to expect. “I look forward to seeing your experiments and learning from them. The more we test and learn everywhere – given the glass houses we all live in – the faster we all grow up.”

“One thing is not the other,” Vlad objected. “Yes, I like your plan to pull these people up, it will take generations but it’s worth doing. But that doesn’t prove anything about the workability of naïve unrealistic democracy. You can’t say that it’s working. Look at what your democracy did electing Trump! Or, look at this one: Aaron Burr right after killing Hamilton – one man indicted for murder of a Founding Father – convinces the Senate to remove the ‘previous question’ rule, and that creates the filibuster. Now the 31% of least adaptable people in your country, the ones most afraid of the future, have 60% of the power. You can’t get new legislation passed no matter how good your ideas may be. You’ve put a brake on your own efficiency for over two centuries! What do you call a system that does that if not naïve and unrealistic?”

“Fair enough,” Joe agreed, “Neither political parties nor filibusters are in the U.S. Constitution. Maybe one day we’ll get to test how efficiently we can govern the U.S. based on the Constitution. That’s one of my goals. I think you’ll see that it isn’t inefficient when the Senate gets its ability back to move on from futile conversation loops.”

The full moon rose over the Pacific across the sky from the dwindling sunset.

“Like let’s get out of this loop about democracy and go back to where we were going – alternative method to sanctions,” Joe said seriously but with a friendly smile. “We’ll have lots of time for philosophy if we keep up this meeting via Zoom every week.” They looked at him expectantly.

“There is no way of stopping people around the world from saying whatever they like,” Joe went on. “If there is expression of disgust over certain events that happen in any of our countries, in order to rechannel outrage away from sanctions and things that work against us all, the most wu wei solution is to remove the cause of the outrage.” Jinping’s expression darkened slightly.

Wu wei is the core tenet of Lao Tzu’s philosophy and of Taoism. It means going with the flow of the Universe’s action (Tao). It also means effortless action as in Flow state. May The Force Be With You. Jinping agrees with the wisdom of wu wei but was slightly miffed at a non-Chinese co-opting it. His face relaxed again.

“You are saying we should simply stop doing the things you criticize us for, although we’ve repeatedly warned you that we are offended by such meddlings,” Jinping said levelly. “Is this creativity, to simply repeat demands?”

“No, the creative part is next. First of all, let’s say the issue is something that you’ve been denying – fake news. One way you could choose to handle that is to invite the Red Cross, or a UN commission, to inspect the situation on the ground and verify that you’ve been telling the truth.”

“Not a bad idea,” Jinping said, “I’ll consider it.” He wondered if Biden knew that Chiang Kai-Shek had snookered the world for years by inviting the press into sanitized areas. However, Jinping was not thinking of doing that.

“I can’t see that this particular piece of creativity is going to make a big difference, Joe,” Vlad said honestly.

Joe nodded agreement. “Just one piece of the puzzle,” Joe said. “Here’s the big idea: Most Favored Nation treatment in all trade deals between the U.S. and your countries if you show the world that you sincerely are respectful of human rights. That you are taking steps to show compassion for all of your people and neighbors.”

The two other men were holding their bodies and expressions very still.

“How would that work?” Vlad asked neutrally.

“I’d prefer that it be based on something objective, so that it’s not a judgment call,” Joe said. “A Pew global poll every month or more frequently that tracks world perception of whether a given country is sincerely doing what it can to move at realistic and compassionate speed toward respecting human rights. As long as more than half the world believes in you, the MFN lasts, as soon as more than half the world condemns you, the MFN is abated until the poll results change for the better. or something like that.”

He saw the gradually dawning realization on their faces of just how serious he was.

“Yes. It’s time to change the game entirely,” he said with a grin, rubbing his palms together vigorously as if he had just spat in them. The meme of getting down to work with eagerness.

The sun had gone down and the colors were draining out of the sky, but their three faces shone with a new inner light.

To be continued.

Best to all,

Bill