Give and Take

Uncomfortably Numb
The Interactive Newsletter You Never Asked For

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Give and Take
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If you want love / You’ve got to give a little
If you want faith / You’ve got to believe a little
If you want peace / Turn your cheek a little
—Van Halen / Give to Live

But what you see is just illusion / You’re surrounded by confusion
Saying, “Life’s begun to cheat you / Friends are out to beat you
Grab on to what you can scramble for”
—Supertramp / Hide in Your Shell

We’ve been programmed so thoroughly, it’s difficult to separate the programming from ourselves. “Realistic thoughts” leave little room for quixotic notions of peace and love. Our tribal mantras include, “There’s only so much to go around,” and “You can’t change human nature.”

In The Discoverers, Daniel J. Boorstin weighs in on some of the dour conclusions re-enforced by the illusive nature of the Malthusian economic mind-set:

The nations who were to dominate modern European history organized their policies around the simple ideas that had confused economic thought from the beginning of history: all wealth was limited; one nation’s gain was another’s loss; your wealth could be increased at the expense of another’s; the idea of a national economy and the hypnotic concept of “the balance of trade.”

Boorstin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. He was director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and for twelve years served as the Librarian of Congress. Despite his credentials, he’s not been able to shake many of us loose from our deeply ingrained Malthusian programming. This is part of a one-two combination that KOs so many dreamers and leaves most of us thinking “realistically,” making terribly self-destructive compromises.

The majority of people believe in incredible things which are absolutely false. The majority of people daily act in a manner prejudicial to their general well-being.
—Ashley Montagu

Perhaps the most destructive self-deceptive barrier is attacked by Barrows Dunham in Man Against Myth:

…illusions multiply, and among them there is, I suppose none more ubiquitous than the idea “that you can’t change human nature.” This ancient platitude might long ago have been relegated to a home for superannuated ideas, were it not so constantly useful.

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
—Edmund Burke

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
—Bertrand Russell / Autobiography

I claim to have seen a “layer of communication” that’s designed to transform us, “to reach into us and awaken the hero within—the benevolent, loving being that lurks just below the conscious level in most of us, most of the time.” I’ve been led to believe that we are living in a time of transition, that we’re encouraged—urged—to actively participate in the transformation of humanity.

emergent evolution A theory holding that completely new types of organisms, modes of behavior, and consciousness appear at certain stages of the evolutionary process, usually as a result of an unanticipated rearrangement of the pre-existing elements.

The answer is often hiding right in front of us—right inside of us.
—Journal Entry / February 5, 1988

People can you feel it? / Love is everywhere
People can you hear it? / The song is in the air
—The Allman Brothers / Revival

Have you felt it? Have you heard it?

Since I’ve been the beneficiary of so much synchronicity lately, I’m going to take that as a sign that this newsletter is at least an acceptable idea. I imagine each of you have noticed a strange coincidence or two—that is, so long as these ideas have touched you—excited you—in some meaningful way.

Much of our failure to understand human nature arises from neglect of the need to have our faculties excited and our lives thereby enhanced. The human animal cannot be itself without this exciting enhancement. Excitement is not merely good, it is indispensable to a proper human life.
—Lancelot Law White

We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating, and adventuring. Consequently, the actualization of our potential can become the most exciting adventure of our lifetime.
—Herbert Otto

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