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An American Heroine and a Friend of China

Created September 18, 2020

Increasing world tensions and the upcoming election cause me to think back to the days when the U.S.A. and China were friends.

I’ve done a lot of research into the period of the 30s and 40s as a result of helping to write a script about a real person unknown in her own country but known to every schoolchild and adult in China, still to this day, although she left this world in 1950.

She’s one of the four non-Chinese – out of 10,000 – bodies buried in the Heroes’ Graveyard in Beijing.

The only one of the four to have never been a card-carrying Communist. They remember her as “Schmedeley” and their faces reflect awe and respect when they say her name.

She arrived in Manchuria in 1929 as a war correspondent for a liberal German newspaper that was later shut down by Adolf Hitler.

China was already in its own Civil War between the Nationalists, also known as the Koumintang (now the government in Taiwan), in power on the mainland at the time, and the Communists, just arising.

In April the year before her arrival, Mao Zedong promulgated the Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention, a document instructing the Red Army on tactics, method and behavior. That would be like a person of today announcing on the Internet “I am about to build an army, attack and overthrow you, and here’s how I’m going to do it.”

The Wall Street Crash happened in 1929 too, in Germany causing the Weimar Republic to collapse.

Agnes Smedley’s on-the-ground investigations in Manchuria amazed her. The place was overrun with Japanese, who seemed to be in charge. The Japanese meanwhile immediately noted her interest and made endless attempts on her life for the next fifteen years. She could not understand how this giant country would allow the little offshore island to throw its weight around even in this distant outpost.

                                              New Year’s Day, 1929. Harbin, Manchuria
                                                           Agnes’s first day in China
                                                She took this photo of Japanese soldiers

In 1930 she ran a story based on some evidence she had turned up that the Japanese had a plan for world domination (the Tanaka Memorandum as it has been called in the West, no one has ever found it, if it did exist, but the plan existed) and were going invade China. Her paper wouldn’t run it. Two years later when Japan invaded China her paper ran the story and apologized for having sat on it for two years.

Agnes Smedley was born in Osgood, Missouri and lived most of her youth in Trinidad, Colorado. The family was dirt-poor. Her ancestors had come over on the Mayflower and interbred with Native Americans.

She put herself through school at NYU and became an early leader in the feminist movement, writing columns for Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review. During World War I, she had worked in the United States for the independence of India from the United Kingdom, receiving financial support from the government of Germany.

Agnes was like that, a pragmatist, she would take money from anyone and put it to good causes – mostly to free oppressed people, especially the poor. Germany at the time was a country not yet Nazified. However, the stain of Nazism was later applied to tarnish her. The Brits were not pleased at losing the Raj, and she had played a role in that. Ironically, she was also blamed for spying on the Japanese for the Russians, even though the Russians were our allies in WWII. It didn’t help her reputation that the spy she installed against the Japanese, Richard Sorge, became known as the top spy in the world. She did what she had to do to stay in the center of her energy vortex which had historical impact on more than one occasion. As if she were just accidentally, Forrest Gump style, happening to be at the right place at the right time at innumerable historic turning points, and getting to play a role in their unfolding.

Like when Chiang Kai Shek was kidnapped by one of his own generals in Xian, and Agnes got to do the broadcast about it from the front line for CBS Radio. She reported to the world that Chiang was being released because he had agreed to put a pin in the civil war and create a united front with the Communists to drive the Japanese back to their island.

Everyone knew that she had been pushing for the united front in her columns for a long time.

To be continued next week.

A Song for Today: I Am an American

May the Center hold.

My best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Click here to read my latest post.

We can each make a difference

Updated September 11, 2020

It’s 9/11. The 19th anniversary of that awful event. A salute then to the heroes of 911, New York’s cops and firemen and citizens who gave all, the honored dead and their families, the military and intelligence people who found and gave his fair due to the prime perpetrator of it all. How could there be terrorists capable of such demonic acts? How could hate and ignorance stir up such horrors?

Unfortunately we are seeing small samples of what may be the same roots springing up here in the land of the free. When a person is frustrated, and wants to do something, anything, to get even with forces that have limited him or her and their loved ones, they think of themselves as heroes and of their acts as justified by their intended end states.

The uneven distribution of wealth is certainly one of the causes because it justifies the spite and envy and ruthlessness, the refusal to compromise or admit any point to one who tries to reason with them. People want more than money, they also want respect, appreciation, and a place in the world they can feel good about. How can we as individuals do anything about this enormous precipice over which the human herd is rushing?

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In the year 2000, every member state of the United Nations agreed to wipe out extreme poverty in the world by 2015 through implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were inspired by the ideas of economist Jeffrey Sachs. The final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort has produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history, though there is still work to be done.

There is evidence that the resources of the planet, properly stewarded, are more than enough to make everybody’s quality of life quite acceptable in terms of the basics. The fact that we have been squandering some or all of those resources of course creates a potential shortfall for some. But these are human actions and theoretically under our control.

In September 2015 global leaders met and finalized the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to continue the work to end poverty. Although many had valid issues and concerns about the UN, this organization is our greatest hope for a global communication strategy. The only way to bring everybody to the table for the highest possible good is an environment where every member state feels it has an equal voice.

Click here to read about the latest SDG report from the United Nations.

Let’s look at our own engagement with the world. For the highest most far-reaching results, I recommend we employ the concept of engaging relationships, where we all look at every relationship as an opportunity, whether we are enjoying it at the moment or not. We accept each relationship as a given, making the best of it that we can — drawing upon the wellsprings of unfamiliar creativity patterns in doing so, and pulling out all the stops. This creates the environment for making maximum improvements, optimizing all the issues together.

If not distorted by negative assumptions, we would realize how incredibly promising this could be for each and every one of us.  To do so on any scale, we’d have to decide to appreciate differences and challenges. We’d need to stop demonizing others and accept who he or she is, seeing that difficult relationships are a fine learning stimulus, and finding places in ourselves where we can make excellently productive fine tunings.

Let’s focus this week on seizing the day with all our relationships. Let’s remember to include the one we have with our self — which deserves some time allocation — and the relationship we have with the postulated One Self that is the Universe (or God, if you like), in which we are an aspect and the Whole at the same time. Each moment, let’s leave open at least the possibility that the Whole is aware of us.

We can each make a difference. With the critical mass of all of us changing our actions, we can make the 180-degree course changes that we all deep down inside want the planet to make.

We can start with engaging relationships, be mindful of our resources and our actions, and see how the ripples in the pond will spread to the ends of the Earth.

A song for today.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Click here to read my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-08-25 13:57:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Getting into the Observer State

In our normal waking consciousness we think, and we feel. The way it appears to us is “I think X” and “I feel Y”, but we do not inspect it so dispassionately as to state it that concretely in words, we just experience the constantly flowing, constantly changes torrent of thoughts and feelings. We take it for granted that the words we hear in our minds, the unarticulated ideas that occur to us, our sudden shifts in mood and emotion, are all parts of ourselves. Not only “parts” but “intimate parts”, parts that others cannot see nor hear nor feel. And not only “intimate” to ourselves, but also the deepest and truest expression of who we are at that moment, the “real us”. They are my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, my hunches, my memories, my sadness, my frustration, my anger, my fear, my elation. We automatically assume that own totally own these ephemera, and it seems weird to even bring this up.

Imagine for a moment that some people have psychic powers that they have trained to use effectively all the time, at will, and that such people could take over our minds without us realizing it, and give us the experience we always have of thinking and feeling, except that they are programming it, not us, and we can’t tell the difference.

If that were the case and these people were paramilitary spies from a hostile nation, our government would advise us to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings and question ourselves constantly whether these could be planted thoughts and feelings. In that scenario, if we followed the government’s instructions, we would learn how to get into the observer state.

There are much easier ways, although the “pretend psychic agent” game is one effective way to get into the observer state.

In the observer state, one witnesses what is going on inside, thoughts, feelings, images, memories, as a scientist, objectively trying to see and hear and sense as clearly as possible what is going on. Where a thought starts, where a feeling first arises. As if we are the psychic spy, watching and trying to learn something about someone else, someone we don’t know at all.

Whichever way you choose to try the experiment of getting into the observer state, what you will find at first is that it’s hard not to slip right back into identifying with the thoughts and feelings. It’s distracting when some emotion comes up and almost impossible at first not to get caught up in that emotion. You forget the experiment and are right back in the normal state of waking consciousness. Or if you get a great thought and want to concentrate on it, not on the experiment. That’s OK. Do whatever you want. What I do is write down a couple of words that I know will bring back that great idea and leave it like a marvelous piece of candy I can look forward to eating later. Then I go back into meditation.

Wait a second – where did that word “meditation” come from? I haven’t used that word yet on purpose, because by calling it the “observer state” I hoped to start with a clean sheet of paper, without preconceptions and associations about the word “meditation”. Meditation – this next is my hypothesis – was discovered as the way to become self-observant, to understand and manage oneself better, to identify one’s true goals and achieve them. It does all those things. That is one reason to learn how to get into the observer state.

The second reason to get into the observer state is that it is the launchpad for getting into the Zone also known as the Flow state. This is the state in which not only is one the observer while the bodymind is performing some action, the action one is observing is perfect. The experience is also different from normal waking consciousness in that everything is of one piece, you the observer, you the bodymind, and everything else around you, is all one connected whole doing itself perfectly.

This is a very strange experience but not at all frightening. It’s ecstatic. It’s easy to fall in love with.

If we practice these inward ways we eventually experience higher levels of the Flow state in which we sense a benevolent spiritual presence of which we are a part.

There is nothing boring about practicing watching your own mind, and it can be done all the time, not just for X minutes a day.

The first benefit is that it is calming. It automatically readjusts our fears, angers, sadnesses, depressions, frustrations so that we wind up studying causes and effects and making sense out of why we don’t feel happy and what we actually can do about it. It makes us more sensible, patient, accepting of what is, courageous, analytical, open-minded, creative, and gives us hope and new direction. As we get better at it, it also leads us to be more forgiving. It shifts us from problem-orientation to solution-orientation, as we realize that problem-orientation is incredibly time-wasting, and can even waste a whole lifetime.

My book Mind Magic is designed to automatically induce the observer state as you read, although it hardly ever mentions the observer state the way this article does. This article is abstract and descriptive, the book is intimate and experiential like one’s own moment to moment thoughts and feelings. Right now because of the pandemic you can get the book for free at the top right of this page. Hope you enjoy!

Best to all,

Bill

A Most Unusual Sea Journey

Current Classic Bill postVolume 6, Issue 7

Part 78 of the ongoing saga of The Great Being, the One Self that manifests as each of us.
Previous episodes.

It was a short walk from the tavern to the seaside. Athenius and Sniike walked astride a few paces behind Melchizedek and Layla, who had kicked off their shoes and were reveling in digging their bare feet in the sand, holding hands and singing something the Greek and the Parsan could not make out.

They walked past some crude rowboats with cruder sail-rigs and stopped at a strange and unimpressive little vessel, smaller than anything else they had seen. Looking down into it, it looked as if there was something dark to sit on, but there were no oars or places to affix them, and certainly no sail.

“This is your boat?” Sniike remarked, now suspecting that the whole setup was a fraud.

“Yes, isn’t she a beauty?” Melchizedek asked proudly. “Layla picked the carpeting.” Layla looked humbly gratified. “It’s Parsan carpeting,” she said to Sniike, hoping he would take it is a compliment to his people. Sniike did a double-take as his eyes adjusted and he was able to make out the complex scrollwork. “I’ve never seen a Parsan carpet in a boat before,” Sniike confessed, “nor any other kind of carpet.”

“That’s the deep blue your carpetmakers call Perse,” Athenius, the man of the world, informed Sniike. Named in honor of Perse, Maitreya pathed into the minds of Melchizedek and Layla.

the ovoid boat

The ovoid boat with a deep blue scrollwork carpet and ringed with gold.

Continue reading

Finding One Honest Man

Current Classic Bill postVolume 6, Issue 6

Part 77 of the ongoing saga of The Great Being, the One Self that manifests as each of us.
Previous episodes.

Athenius scooped up the cosmic smartphone and tapped on it as he’d seen Melchizedek do. Cosmic smartphones had been around forever and once they assumed their present size and shape they had stopped changing appearance over time. Easy to use with one hand and almost weightless, able to call anyone in the Multiverse, they were almost as good as telepathy.

Cosmc smartphone

Sniike was still drawn back in ill-concealed terror, which he was gradually mastering. Melchizedek couldn’t see the screen with his eyes but through Athenius’s eyes he saw that the screen now showed the many text messages recently received. Now Athenius seemed shocked. “What is that?” he asked in a strong voice. He sensed something very important just out of reach of his mind.

“That’s called writing,” Melchizedek said gently. “You folks haven’t invented it yet.”

“Of course we’ve invented it,” Athenius retorted, insulted. “We use it to keep track of who owes what to whom.”

“Yes, we know,” Layla said and laid a friendly hand on his arm. “Writing has a great many other uses besides counting that you will appreciate.”

Athenius and Sniike were now very attentive. Layla had just made it clear they were being offered a Faustian bargain that they would be crazy to turn away. They were going to be taught and possibly equipped with powerful new weapons of dominance.

“Selling those trinkets are you?” Sniike asked, sidling up beside Layla.

“Not right now,” Layla said with a smile, “but we will send you home with a present.”

“Are you inviting us to your land?” Athenius asked, with his dignity returned. This seemed to confuse Sniike, who had not seen it coming. Layla simply nodded.

“We’d like a few days of your time to change your life and blow your mind,” Melchizedek said with a smile.

“What do you get out of it?” Sniike asked quickly.

“We want to help the best people lead the others,” Melchizedek said. Sniike seemed very flattered by this, not realizing that the Agents had selected Athenius and would just as soon be rid of Sniike if they could be.

Sniike was unsatisfied, suspicious, saying, “Yes, but you must want to get something for your selves…”

Athenius cut across him, “Sometimes a person does the right thing just because it is the right thing.” This embarrassed Sniike, who mumbled “Of course” unconvincingly. Continue reading

In Praise of Goofing Off

Or, Indirect Observation of Undirected Mentation
Volume 4, Issue 31

The creative process goes through four stages: absorbing information, turning away, the Aha! Moment, and implementation.

A third of a second before the Aha! Moment — a type of Flow state experience — Daniel Goleman explains that there is a burst of gamma activity, signifying the rapid creation of a new network of neural connections, in the neocortical right temporal cortex of the brain.

The Aha Moment

The Aha! Moment (image courtesy of DailyMail.com)

In our present culture in which multiple jobs are held by most persons just to keep up with their Jones, and in which Acceleritis necessitates massive multitasking, the creative process tends to become truncated into a two-step process of absorbing information (never enough), and implementation. In other words, no Aha! Moment.

The absorbing of information part was easier before the Internet. One saw the logic of not going too far, because it would cost too much time. Now one can keep drilling down further and further without an apparent end in sight.

Finding information however continues to be the major complaint of executives and their teams. You know you have it somewhere and you can go searching for it but it is so boring and annoying given the time pressure. Give me a dashboard where I don’t even have to remember what it is called and yet can still find it in a second. Until then, just send that thing to me again.

When you break down how much time goes into the absorption (including searching) and other aspects of the process, the two middle stages — turning away, then the Aha! Moment — take almost no time compared with absorbing and implementing. And yet those two middle processes account for the quality of the outcome or creative result. With only the bookends and no middle the result may be passable but it does not rock. Are we here just to do stuff that’s passable, without the satisfaction of Flow state-level outcomes? No way — makes no sense. Life is about living large, not just robotically coping.

And all you have to do is have more fun! Goof off. Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! reveals itself.

However, this only occurs if your mind is in a certain state receptive to the sense of Aha!. That state can be described as the indirect observation of undirected mentation. Let’s break it down.

Undirected mentation is when you let your mind go wherever it wants.

Indirect observation is (by my definition) the alert watching of something as if seeing it for the first time.

So you receive Aha! to the degree to which your mind can do whatever it wants to do with no pressure to perform or achieve anything. Meanwhile a very alert part of you is watching your own mind, as if from outside.

When you do this, the tendency is for that Observer state part of yourself to go to sleep. That is, your point of view tends to get reabsorbed into the part of the mind that is just playing and you forget to look at it from the detached Observer point of view. You get caught up in some attachment motivation, some feeling/emotion, which identifies you with the relaxing, playing, wandering mind. This may feel wonderful; however, it doesn’t help you if the objective is Observer and then Flow states. “Identification with” leaves the attachment turned on. “Detachment from” is the goal.

Remain the scientist, the objective observer when goofing off, and the Aha! will come more often.

Best to all,

Bill

 

 

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers .