Risk From An Unfamiliar Culture

 

Risk From an Unfamiliar Culture

Lessons in Life

Usually I stay away from the political arena but it’s often hard because the line between the political arena and the rest of our lives gets frayed. The roots of this commentary come from the book Red Notice by Bill Browder. I made mention of it previously and the deeper I got into it, the more I found what he wrote has broad implications.

Once again I have to say I am stunned by this book. In one sense it feels like it is a compellingly interesting novel, but it is really his story. There are times when I simply gulp at the import. I also find it is stirring memories and his experiences and conclusions mesh with so many components of our world.

The Focus

But let me focus on the central point of this post which relates to the reality of Russia. Our world is growing smaller and our interfaces more complex. Here in North America we have our differences but were functioning reasonably well at least until recently. But in other parts of the world there is much more drama and issues that lead into deep conflict.

A Reprise of a Story

In two previous posts I wrote about a man by the name of Nicolai Kokhlov. I met Nicolai while I was working on my doctorate at Duke many years ago and the experience was unforgettable. He brought a bridge to another reality I have never forgotten.

Nicolai was the head of Russian intelligence in Eastern Europe and, to put it mildly, it was not a nice job. He didn’t just gather intelligence. He also had to have people killed. The fact of what he had done was startling because he was a mild mannered man of substantial grace. He seemed so gentle and humble. One evening we fed him vodka and heard the depth of his story.

On that evening he talked about some of his work in detail and there was an utter disconnect from his demeanor and what he had done. In the end he could not endure the life and he made arrangements with American intelligence to defect. He was to go on Radio Free Europe and announce his defection. At the same time our people were to take his wife and children and spirit them out of the country. He made his announcement, but we did not go for his family. They were taken by Russian intelligence. In the end they were not murdered but he never saw them again. At the time of our meeting he had remarried and had children with his second wife.

The Russians poisoned him with a radioactive substance and our German military hospital saved him. It was clear he had a morality very different from much of Russia.

The Point

On that evening we heard in detail about a very different culture and how we too often betray our promises. Now comes Bill Browder’s book. He is a brave and determined man who opened investing in Russia as the communist empire collapsed. But at one point his investment business was attacked. But it was attacked in a way that the attackers were going to take huge personal loses to their own investments. To us it seems curious but Browder quoted an old Russian proverb and summarized the import this way: “The moral is simple: when it comes to money, Russians will gladly—gleefully, even— sacrifice their own success to screw their neighbor.”

Now the Conclusion

We have a curious story unfolding about Trump and his family and their enmeshment with Russian oligarchs. What Browder spells out in Red Notice is the risk which there is not just to the Trump family but to our nation as well. We do not understand this component of the Russian culture but it comes down to the fact that they may seek serious damage to us even while damaging themselves. To that we need to give serious attention.

Did this issue even occur to you?

####

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

Wait! Its Not All Politics

 

A Challenging Time – Again

Without question this is a challenging time and the outcome is not at all clear regardless of our hopes. And we now live in an age where the media is always before us and discussions are ongoing. But what is the focus?

Achieving a Focus

Too often I hear a discussion begin but it seems caught in a tailspin when it is focused as if it is all about politics. Each side proclaims that they have the true way and then drag it in to the next election and their import. 

Unfortunately that approach, of which both side are guilty, is not productive. It is essential for us to move away from that reductio ad absurdum. Such a move is typically self serving in a demanding world requiring focus and study.

Not a Simple World

Wishing to achieve a comprehensive view of many issues is nothing other than entering a field of dreams. It takes time to separate out issues and focus them. Many issues must be decided in isolation with acceptance of exceptions.

As best we can we need to clarify what we are seeking to solve or develop. And that means we have to move the ideology out of the way. Here again is where the negotiations of the conservative and the progressive are essential. Few decisions come with a giant leap forward. Conservative attention to traditions and values are useful as well as the progressive attention to a developing need in a rapidly changing world.

Mutual Respect

Too often we find ourselves on the field of ideological conflict when we must face off with mutual respect. Each side must surely yield something but an essential core usually is that new problems have arisen before us and we may well have to seek new types of solutions.

An Example

Here is one of my favorite examples. In this age of empowerment of women we need to examine ourselves. I won’t go into the full complexity here but it is a new age. Traditional values may stress such things as “a woman’s place is in the home”. Well, kind of. Women do birth our children and that isn’t going to change. But we are building alternatives and are finding immense rewards as we work to bring the other half of the world into full completion with us.

I’ll leave it at that, but the point is that change comes and we have to blend viewpoints and seek solutions which reward our traditions, reality and new realities. It’s that simple and complex all at the same time.

The Essential Point

In the world as it is, the challenges before us are surely most often not about politics. It may play a role but the challenges are discrete and stunningly diverse and are sources of wonder–if we choose

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

#####

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

 

A Tragic Waste

 

What’s on your list of wrongs perpetrated against women?

Pervasive Efforts

A previous post presented the concept of the mysterium tremendum which relates to that which grips or stirs the soul. It is of interest because it is my belief that this sort of effect of women on men may well relate to the pervasive and eternal efforts by men to keep women from empowerment.

Daily we continue to see evidence of these efforts. Recently I turned on the television and saw an interview about the fight to get women who had piloted aircraft in World War II, Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs, the right to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery . These women had been granted veterans status in 1977 and burial rights at Arlington since 2002. Then, recently, they were deemed ineligible.

It is not necessary to go into greater detail. The subterfuges, the discrimination and callous attitudes regarding women are endless.

Truth From Leonardo

And then I ran across an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio regarding a movie of his The Revenant. At one point the interviewer asked, “Why is the role of women in the movie so small and the men so gruesome and dominating?” His answer was, “This represents the savagery of a lawless culture. Women have been the most persecuted people throughout all of recorded history, more than any race or religion.” He was not asked to elaborate or support his statement but I know what he meant.

And currently we have an ongoing war against women in the United States. And what I find is that the rationale is lacking in substance because of the pervasive nature of the war.

Inner Meaning Beyond Our Grasp

What is so interesting is that there is normally no in-depth discussion of this process. The battles are fought on specific issues but rarely focus on the extent of the discrimination and its inner meaning. It seems we don’t know the proper questions to ask and I believe in part it is because the real reasons are deeply buried in our psyches and we don’t know how to access the real process.

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

How Are You America?

 

Focusing the Way Ahead

How distressed are you about where we are as a country?

Two Sides to the Coin

On the one hand our country is doing fairly well. Unemployment is low and there seems to be optimism in the business community where profitability and stock prices are rising. On the other hand we are mired in partisan politics and obstruction. And it is the later that should give us substantial pause because the world is changing fast and there are increasing numbers of people who are left behind and being left vocationally isolated. The clock is ticking.

In “mental health” we tend to focus on pathology rather than addressing life management and what that entails. We too often look at disability rather than need, change and adaptability. In so many areas there is a lack of vision. In opioid addiction we look at the addiction and fail to focus on the condition which led to the addiction in the first place. It is clear there are needs to be addressed. The list of issues is long.

Making a Beginning

Little is heard about an assessment. In the largest picture it is apparent that capitalism is changing and there is a talk of the postcapitalism society. In fact though, we are not clear what that means or entails.

In specific issues such as coal we are failing to face the challenge. Renewable energy is becoming steadily less costly but it seems we are intent on not facing the effects of what has come before.

Detroit is diversifying and we see, in the past decades, what happens when we fail to face change. Our auto industry had serous challenges and the response came late.

It seems we may have two countries. The country which is thriving and the county peopled by people who get no assistance to foster necessary changes. These are the left behinds.

Making An Assessment

We have a choice to make. We can stay mired in this tiresome conflict or we can face and be energized by the challenges. Challenges can be fascinating and thrilling. Energy can be generated and the fact is that the problems we face can be challenged and affected. But we have to examine them, come together to seek mutually acceptable solutions. This is a time for liberals and conservatives to meet. Liberals can bring ideas to help us move forward and conservatives can bring a perspective of the need for functional and reasonable efforts. No one needs to be reckless and no one needs to be stuck in the mud.

Change

Change is not always easy and challenges can be difficult particularly if we fight each other. But people can change and solutions can be found. Part of it involves seeking perspective and using vision to explore possibilities. 

America has a unique and interesting history. The people who came here were people who accepted challenge. Settling here was not easy and involved risk but one thing is clear, the people who came were venturesome, sought vision and faced challenges with solutions. These are traits which are passed down and those traits and the people are still with us. We just need to start exploring, setting goals and getting to work.

Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2 (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

Struggle Eternal

 

Do you view yourself as struggling?

Many Forms of Struggle

There are so many things to explore in life. Of course we go looking for things like friends and a mate. We hope for success and seek joy and happiness. What we often seem to miss is the basic fact that life, in one form or another, is a struggle.

Of course the struggle is not just a personal one. We struggle as groups, as countries. And our literature is full of struggle. Romance isn’t pure joy and fulfillment. There is generally a struggle of one form or another. The outcome of romance may be an enduring relationship and that involves risk and effort. Is this person really right for me?

Less Than Total Control

There are many guideposts. One thing we are often told is that if we fail in our struggle or the outcome is less than we might have hoped for it is surely our fault and we may even have intended it. After my decades as a psychologist my response is—balderdash! Yes, sometimes we sabotage ourselves, but we also cannot be entirely sure of the outcome of anything. There are chance factors. Maybe some people find it reassuring to think that if it goes badly that was our inner intention. Life is simply not like that. You did not construct the asteroid that is right now streaking toward your village.

Boredom Versus Enrichment

Struggle is inevitable. And, since we are animals, we participate in the quest for survival in all its forms. It is not without purpose. Wouldn’t it be dull to be stuck in the Garden of Eden. We sought knowledge and enriched our lives—at a price. Certainly there were risks for Adam and Eve but the struggle actually enriched the world of humankind and the enrichment goes beyond mere survival. Of course, other than for the basics, you don’t have to have high goals to find growth resulting from your struggle. You get to choose.

A Higher Purpose

One of the themes I address in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is whether there may be a higher purpose for our struggle. As beings we have come a long way from the trees in Africa. Struggle was no doubt instrumental in our development, even our acquisition of language. In writing this trilogy, one of the things which came to mind is whether there is another purpose for our struggle. Will we one day reach some kind of a transformation?

Have you found yourself making sudden gains, if not a transformation?

Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See) 

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.