THE HUMAN SITUATION
The human situation seems funny but is ominous for life. How can humans have created such a mess. As the threats to life grow the toleration for those threats increases. Can this be changed?
For example, the American version of the Human Project has left the rails so to speak. We now face a planetary problem of ever growing instabilities to life forms that require a minimum of stability to continue. The forces against life can only be seen as forces of evil. These, as created by a “model of man” are ominous for the environment. As such this foundation is being established as a last best hope for life. It arises from and ancient Chinese and Early European idea of the Eternal Feminine. This idea was perhaps best represented in Europe via the 15th Century 19-year old Joan of Arc. This idea became an ideal in the 18th Century German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe. In China the power of the eternal feminine was clear in 5th Century BC then reappeared often thereafter in Chinese culture.
IN THE WEST:
1. “The longer I live, the more it grieves me to see man, who occupies his supreme place for the very purpose of imposing his will upon nature, and freeing himself from an outrageous necessity–to see him taken up with some false notion, and doing just the opposite of what he wants to do; and then, because the whole bent of his mind is spoilt, bungling miserably over everything.”
2) “To live in a great idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible. It is just the same with a strong character; and when an idea and a character meet, things arise which fill the world with wonder for thousands of years.”
(JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe)
IN THE EAST:
Goethe intelligence and Lao Tzu wisdom
It is the sunrise or set for living systems as Humans know them?
Our Foundations fills a hole in contemporary society. It arises from a shared vision that humans must find pathways that enhance what we dream in common. We need ways that better allow individual actors to act individually in the common good, while lessening the perceived need for strong external control. Such control, soon controlled by some humans over others only invites corruption and become counter productive to the enlightenment needed in the human condition.
When population and societies could insulated from each other, via much time and space, it was possible to allow the ethically corrupt and the physically counter productive to exist and eventually eliminate themselves. The societal web is now too dense and too tightly interconnected to manage his risk of this Darwinian approach to change. As the single individual can carry or drive the technical means to destroy millions of fellow beings, or even worse, destroy the environment essential to all life, we see the time is short.
Yes, the motivation for human improvement often begins in rude experience. The looming experiences seem beyond the rude with there being no beyond the experience.
2007, Beijing: The concluding gesture of a meeting with China’s Expert Council, as “drawn” by its Chairperson. The Council, a small group of wise men working to improve the human condition as best they can. Somewhat like a societal-wide foundation except in addition to taking responsibility, they have an ability to respond. Unusual potential.
The Experts Council, a group that strives to bring leadership and stability to an Ancient society occupying very trying and uncertain times. In the Middle East and America this function is assume to be managed by reliance on religious beliefs. Their dilemma is that aspects of the religious beliefs are themselves the source of the instabilities and challenges to life. Just as the central dilemma of governmental agencies feeding what they are sent to control these religious leaders initiate what they can’t then control.
Wisdom is needed. Wisdom is often found in the unspoken thus how are leaders to access it? This is one of the great challenges for the eternal feminine as introduced to early culture in the East and West. How do you lead towards leadership?
In the West there are about 15,000 new books published each year on “leadership.” These include all kinds of how to do it books. Most deal with what is is, where to find it, how to nurture it, etc. The Eternal Feminine Foundation finds leadership of fundamental importance to our human future, if we choose to have one, but looks at the idea of leadership in a fundamentally different way then most research centers set up to foster new leadership for new organizations.
- Along with the gifted business leadership researcher, Warren Bennis, we agree that: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather then born.”
- We do not support the command and control style of leadership seen in General George S. Patton’s often used expression: “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.”
- We operate in a manner consistent with the magic of Lao Tzu: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
- We believe learning, not education, is fundamental to this approach to leadership, as expressed in the US leader John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
- We make a distinction between learning and education, where education is the process of individuals acquiring assumptions for acting. Learning is the process of questioning assumptions in order to improve or replace them.
- This is similar to the pattern of science seeking knowledge in the West and the pattern of Lao Tzu reflecting on the meaning of wisdom in the East. Socrates of the West is similar to Lao Tzu, where both find inspiration in nature’s way as change.
- The methods of Confucius in the East and Plato in the West are more consistent with formalized education of a culture and thus its limitations, all to emphasize the value of changelessness. For them change is reality, in that is stays, it does not change. For Lao Tzu and Socrates change is life, since if it doesn’t change it is deemed to be dead.
- Helpful to understanding the eternal feminine are the expressions of the great writer Dorris Lessing, Nobel Prize in Literature winner of 2007. At the time, the Swedish Academy stated: “That epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny.”
Yes, the essential context for human life, i.e., the commons, is in trouble. The concern is how to find ways to support context creation, not context consumption. We cry for leadership in defining and doing this. Men have long had their methods for this which gained much steam in the 18th through 20th Centuries. Now, in the 21st Century we see, clear dilemmas in this tradition and seek alternative values, processes and means. Some of these will clearly come from the idea of the eternal feminine in the human project.
We must also keep in mind the possibility that in the words of Leonard Cohen we are approaching “closing time”, where women and men are engaged in one last party prior to closing down:
UNDERSTANDING THE FOUNDATION AND WHAT IT DOES
The most challenging issue on the horizon of human continuance is Climate Change. The essence of it is seen in the turbulence that will overcome the stability humans require for food, shelter and happiness. Extremes will become the rule of our context. The Foundation confronts the reasons for this change and the changes that will be needed to confront it and manage life within it?
We currently find a form in society that places men and women apart, with men mostly in charge, and women mostly not. This form arrives from many sources but seems to focus on the same power relationship. Since men primarily designed the form, the results are somewhat predictable, even if not in the service of larger systems of life. As issues of environmental deterioration begin to overwhelm other aspects of the human project we need to change this form. One means to change form is to look for the cracks in form and all forms develop cracks with time. In our Foundation the crack is in 21st Century realization that the Biblical depiction of the Garden of Eden play may not be truthful or beneficial to life. On close inspection we see many cracks developing.
Sources of Hope: Masculine Might or Feminine Finesse. Your choice?
FINDING AND BUILDING ON THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE HUMAN CONDITION
The Peking Opera performs on occasion in the tradition of the Eternal Feminine.
Income from the several hundred million behind the Foundation will be invested in your women that are just bringing form into their careers, attitudes and passions. They will be selected based on their passion for supporting beneficial change to meet the challenges of the day and the era in order to enhance the quality in the human project. This will require clarification of the human project and definition of quality to that project. Those supported by the Foundations financial and advisory resources will come from every continent. What they hold in common is that they require some small resources to help them make a large difference to what matters; to find the differences that make a difference and work on them
There will be many key advisors to those funded by the Foundation. These advisors will represent all parts of the world and ages, as well as many areas of working knowledge.
One of our leaders, advisors and participants will be Annaleena Parhankangas, now a business professor at University of Illinois, Chicago. She specializes in teaching new firm development. There will be others in several countries helping her with this mission.
Another of our leaders is Rachel Engwall, and very unusual and successful woman in the mid-western United States. She owns and farms about 1,500 acres in a manner that rivals any man in her state. Highly respected by men she is also an elected public official in the local management boards that deal with soil and water conservation and land taxation.
A third leader is Christine Engwall, a mid-western nurse practitioner who loves all animals, especially horses. They return the favor.
And an even wider variety of ideas of the Eternal Feminine?
Within the Foundation we will provide funding for gaining college degrees, networking with other students and faculty, providing access to leaders in companies we work with and seed money to start ideas, projects or organizations. To help with this will have advisement and management help from leading teachings and researchers in the area of International new firm development.
B. The Eternal Feminine, as seen in Father-Daughter Relations
Gregory Bateson accessed the eternal dilemma of men/women perspective variance via “father-daughter” conversations, “father-daughter metalogues,” or simply “chats.” As such he reminded us of the long known means to unravel the previously introduced Hawking dilemma. The daughters questions are often more insightful then the father’s answers, although Bateson’s version of a “Daddy’s” answers is above the normal. Bateson appears to understand the essence of the Eternal Feminine.
Bateson and Friends
Metalogue 1: “How Much Do You Know?”
Daughter: Daddy, how much do you know?
F: Me? I have about a pound of knowledge
D: Don’t be silly. Is it a pound sterling or a pound weight? I mean really, how much
do you know?
F: Well, my brain weights about two pounds and I suppose I use about a quarter of it –
or use it at about a quarter efficiency. So, lets say half a pound.
D: But do you know more than Johnny’s daddy? Do you know more than I do?
F: Hmm – I once knew a little boy in England who asked his father, “Do father’s
always know more than sons?” and the father said, “Yes.” The next question was,
“Daddy, who invented the steam engine?” and the father said: “James Watt.”
And then the son came back with “-but why didn’t James Watt’s father invent it?”
(Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson, 1972, p. 10)
The father, while obviously a wise and a great man, has a world view in need of greater light and more openness. It needs to examine the various meanings of life, living and loving, via the views of those who see the world in a more natural state, and less in the view of a person trapped by twelve years of education, an education that has reduced curiosity and wonder about the world. When I used to teach architectural design, I sometimes placed a sign over the studio with the expression: “Its very hard to kill a talent.”
The feminine perspective is clearly lacking in the above, as the metalogues imply. Perhaps the most accurate depiction of the eternal feminine as a viable leader of a more desirable future is seen in how she relates to the eternal idea of change:
The feminine leadership quality is seen in how she strongly embraces change while all others around her so admire her to strongly hope she does not change. In this she captures the spirit of the central dilemma driving life.
A second father – daughter chat takes us deeper into the significance of why the Eternal Feminine is a largely untapped resource.
Metalogue 2: “Why Do Things Get in a Muddle?”
“Goethe’s Poem, The Found” (The feminine, to be nourished, not picked)
I walked in the woods
To be in there,
In search of nothing
And without care.
I saw in Shadow
A flower fine
Like eyes so lovely
Like stars ashine.
About to break it,
I heard it say;
Shall I be broken
To wilt away?
I dug it out
With its root so small
To my home I took it
Be the garden wall.
And planted it there
In peaceful ground;
It now branches ever
And blooms abound.
C. Towards an Improved Societal Myth
New ways are needed for humans to relate to each other, to the nature of the larger environment and to the nature in themselves. There should be less fear of the wilderness seen in nature and found in themselves. The wild is simply part of the non-rational not the irrational that becomes the enemy to understanding when forced to be rational. Human lawlessness is mostly created by human laws. As it grows it becomes the irrational generated in intolerance of difference.
The Foundation is to help prepare women to utilize the powers of science, art, poetry, politics and reflection to find and nurture a larger sense of life while managing the harmful consequences from results we worship but do not understand. This is where instead of building a city to serve as an infrastructure for life with nature we build cities as infrastructures to remove nature and destroy life. We can do better via the quest for the eternal feminine. The nature of ancient cities illustrates what was lost in the industrial city designed to protect us from our nature.
In the clearest terms our Foundation questions the societal oppression from expecting women to shut up and keep working, or we will punish them. We seldom notice where their work is often done for the wrong reasons and achieves the wrong results, results to continue business as usual, business defined and managed in the minds of men. It is not that men are ignorant of larger life processes or even insensitive to seeing how their activities deteriorate the environment of all life. Men area aware of both but appear somehow sidetracked by a will to power. They believe how power is attained through the religion of personal wealth is accrued by winning in the battle of life, a battle they forget they must lose.
Men believe to be real they must be hard and live by the discipline of not just standing there, but always doing something, even if what is done is in no ones interest. Meanwhile, via the modern family women are encouraged to shop or cook. The relative time spent on each depends on the wealth of the man they do their best to agree with. The smarter women thus are encouraged to exaggerate obedience and thus be allowed more time for shopping which when they tire of such the have time to find interesting lovers. Women who cannot manage to be quiet and agree learn of life in the gulag. Society, its laws, lawyers and lawlessness form the above into a kind of counter productive culture. Reform is needed.
Women are closer to life processes of birth, death and the humor seen in the almost universal ignorance that surfaces in the time in between. As such, they cannot avoid questioning the arrogance of what is, at least to themselves in private moments. Those that are brave even suggest what could or perhaps ought to be for the children thus upsetting the Taliban lurking in all men. This is fundamental to the mind of the terrorist not the espoused battle against society. Problems in business as usual are the essential recruiter of those who will to destroy all to find their shallow souls in the rubble.
Much of “business as usual” is now challenged and being redefined via the phenomena of information technology and the private openness it allows. The role of IT is an evolving process and can be consistent with the ends of the Foundation. These ends are much further and deeper then the technology of IT. In the Foundation change is seen as a means, not an end in itself. We resent the shallow approach of the Canadian Marshall McLuhan in only seeing “The Media as the Message.” We will expose members of the Foundation to ideas of a media that encourages more genuine messaging, not 60% pornography. This is not to imply pornography as bad, although the musical soundtracks are very disturbing to the soul.
We see increasing troubles as a consequence of business as usual and its traditional results. A more direct way of saying all that precedes in this section comes from the arguments of Russell Ackoff, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. with many business leaders. When touring their companies he pointed out that much of their management efforts were directed at doing the wrong things ever more efficiently.
In some respects the business as usual ideology is seen in the work of Donald Trump. He sees his sons are great but his daughters even greater as long as they obey him, and do his masculine business approach even more closely than the sons can manage. We are not supporting this approach to enhancing the inclusion of the feminine perspective. We instead support better questions not more consistent responses to traditional answers to questions that may now be relevant to the human condition. In the tradition of Lao Tzu we strongly accept that the most profound questions might never find expression in words.
In that the minds of young boys are given predominant attention and respect we will not favor them in our Foundation, but will also not denigrate their continuing importance.
The essence of our Foundation is that these thoughts and the passion driving them is sorely needed to allow life to survive the 21st Century. The 19th Century thinking of young boys aligned with the best metaphors of Newton was central to the results of the 20th Century. These results are now seen to have fateful entropic consequences to systems of life and living order, as well as having boxed up the human spirit in cars, houses and offices. The human soul, in the sense express during the time by Lao Tzu in the East and Socrates in the West is again in danger. As such we raise the optimism of the long standing idea of the “eternal feminine.” to enlarge the perspective on what is, and what to do about it.