How is everyone? I have a question: anyone here from Emily? She hasn’t been around lately and, yeah, I’m concerned. If you know she’s okay, let a brother know...
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Welcome to the New Paradigm
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
-- Albert Einstein
“Your paradigm is so central to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm.”
-- Donella Meadows
Welcome to my world; welcome your world -- the
In this world, you’re a star -- and so am
Well, I’m chucking that whole paradigm. A paradigm can be defined as an entire collection of beliefs, values and techniques, and so on, shared by members of a given community.
I remember hearing the story of the Buddhist monk specializing in bohdicitta (seeking enlightenment as a way to serve others and not personal gain). He prayed on his deathbed to be sent to hell so that he might alleviate the suffering of the lost souls there. As you explore our new world, you will discover that, like the Buddhist monk, you have a huge capacity to help people. Unlike him, however, you won’t have to go to hell in order to express your compassion. It won’t even be necessary for you to sacrifice your own joy or to practice self-denial. Just the opposite: being in service to humanity and celebrating your own power will be deeply connected. They will need each other to survive.
We all like to harp on the Golden Rule as the ultimate ethical principle, but I think it’s about time it’s been improved. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” assumes that others enjoy what you enjoy. I think that’s a huge mistake. There are countless things you’d like done unto you that others would either despise or find distasteful. I say we should have a Platinum Rule. Here’s a new, improved formulation (given to me by a homeless woman on the no. 6 train): Do unto others as they would like to have you do unto them.
Using this new, improved formula is not just a “right” way to live, but it’s also the best way to ensure the success of your own selfish goals. It is said that magic claims to be supercharged rituals for imposing personal will on a chaotic world, but I say that using the Platinum Rule undermines all magic as a way to realize your potential and happiness.
At the heart of the
A radical first-century activist was quoted as saying, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
What Jesus knew was that this approach to life is as important to our well-being as getting food, exercise, and sleep. It’s self-destructive for us to hate anything, including things that are easy to hate. As much as I despair at the harm that fundamentalist Christians have imposed on our culture, for example, feeling disgust for them not only makes me sick, it feeds the very “us versus them” mentality I have vowed to root out. Hating them makes of me a hypocrite and taints my integrity. My mental and physical health suffers, and that diminishes my power.
In his book, The Gift, Imagination, and the Erotic Life of Property, Lewis Hyde writes, “In a gift-giving society, an individual gains prestige by receiving, then adding to what has been received and passing it on. In a consumer society,” he adds, “prestige and satisfaction are gained through accumulation and acquisition. Nothing is given. Nothing is passed on.”
Though you have been born and raised in a consumer society (the
As I go on to inhabit this
“The whole point of Jesus’ life was not that we should become exactly like him, but that we should become ourselves in the same way he became himself. Jesus was not the exception but the great example.”
Welcome to the