Category Archives: Classic Bill

Kiss & Make Up

Created April 29, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Where this is all going at the moment is taking us backward about a century and has the earmarks of possibly ending all life on Earth. If you have great weapons lying around, eventually you use them. Particularly in a climate riven by hate, rushed by complexity, and distracted by messageweight.

The lostness of the despiritualized world causes every one of us to harbor an inner backbeat of inadequacy. It’s hard to go from there to Flow state. Although disseminating information and positive emotive content that are essentially Flow state lessons, is our job at The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI), we may not have enough time for that to work out.

Short of the Flow state for all, in the interim until we get to the latter altitude, let’s settle for Kiss & Make Up.

Although our bodies grew large, we are still babies, apparently in our terrible twos. We use grander language and have learned to wave our arms better, but our tantrums are still tantrums.

Presupposing no real change in consciousness effectiveness, even in our present babyish ways we can certainly understand when a party has gone wrong, how we all blame each other when it does, and there is not going to be a happy ending, our Moms are already getting into the fight, the free for all is turning scary and going nowhere but more widespread to the whole neighborhood. We all know how this movie ends, like several Hitlers taking half the world with sophisticated propaganda (that’s what has been going on for a few years already) and then starting on the other half with thermo, bio, and chemical weapons.

Going back to that earlier point about pandemic sense of inadequacy. Although we all have it, some of us have more of it than others. The cultures which become aggressive are the ones who feel inferior, and the only way they can think of to overcome that state is to blame and attack someone else. This is an extreme state of the ego.

Then as they become aggressive, the nicer people in the world (the ones with a lower dose of inadequacy bias) obviously tend to lose their tempers. You know how that works when you are feeling inadequate, people yelling at you are the perfect trigger to go into unstoppable rage. Again, a warped neuronal network has evolved called an ego, which cannot accept any blame. The spiral is self-accelerating downward. You yell at me and I yell at you.

The message our parents tried to teach us in such situations is to Kiss & Make Up.

Easy to say, but hard to do quickly on a global level. Where do you start? It’s a roller coaster, and everyone tells you to act tough, no one really wants to seem like we’re afraid of some other nation or even a horde of them. How do you walk the tightrope between condemnation and collaboration, can it really be done?

The purpose of my quartet of articles was to demonstrate, in a fictional way, a path to take us back into empathetic communication, where we first actually change ourselves profoundly so that we want to be friends with Putin et al. The articles depict a series of conversations between Biden, Putin, and Xi, with Biden initiating an attempted Kiss & Make Up.

Look, we’re one species. We have to stick together against all the other species in the universe with whom we may soon be in contact (not to mention against the viruses), as the billionaires take us into space. If an alien showed up on your doorstep, you’d be ready to hug every member of the other party that you currently hate, and Putin too. We’re all brothers and sisters. We’ve been out of sorts with each other for too long now. It’s time to Kiss & Make Up.

If you can’t find the words, for inspiration go to the quartet of articles. They will give you ideas relating to your estranged family and friends.

Aside from the articles, here’s an outline of how you might start to think about it:

  1.  Start with former friends and family members with whom you had a political falling out. Why does each one think the way she or he does? You know these people well, you can intuit the right answers. And why by contrast do you think the way you do? 
  2. What are the underlying differences – make a list.
  3. What is something you can say positively about the other’s positions, which you also feel is true.
  4. Then you be the first to apologize for the way you handled the situation and how it made it all the worse. 
  5. They will tend to apologize back if you’ve been authentic and displayed courageous willingness to show vulnerability.
  6. That’s when you hug or Kiss & Make Up.

Let’s make a note to all get this done before Memorial Day, so we can have another Summer Of Love.

Love to all,

Bill

Unifying Our Idea of Social Progress

Created April 15, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The most powerful cultural change driving world and personal events today is the underlying sense of loss of belief in the American Dream.

I’m paraphrasing the words of Walker Smith, former President of Yankelovich, for many years the most psychologically sophisticated research company serving the marketing field, speaking today at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) annual AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

What is or was the American Dream and how could it account for what is happening outside the US today? Because Walker was not just talking about the USA.

The American Dream has always meant the hope, aspiration, and expectation that each generation would be better off than the preceding one.

This idea did not necessarily exist before the USA came about. In the Middle Ages, the prevailing feeling was that things used to be better in the ancient world’s Golden Age, and that was now all gone forever, never to return. 

The Renaissance opened the door to art and science and technology in ways which restored the human race’s belief in itself. This led into a period we call the Enlightenment which then lost touch with the human spirit and curled back into the awe-neutralizing world we live in today, formed in the Eighteenth Century. 

The democratic revolutions in America and France were a turning point that restored the zeitgeist of hopefulness about the future, revivifying the optimistic inspiration of the Renaissance. For more than 200 years the American Dream inspired people around the world to work harder and smarter and with more inspiration to shape a better world for their children and secondarily for themselves.

And now it appears that Walker Smith is right, there is a prevailing tacit sense of disillusionment, tacit in the sense of not being expressed as directly as he expressed it today to me and hundreds of other leaders of the world’s marketing and media intelligentsia.

Walker showed compelling survey results to back up his point. In countries where most progress has been made toward economic success, social justice and the dignity of the individual, he showed that after decades in which most people believed their kids would have it better than themselves, today the majority believe that the kids will have it worse.

A later speaker at the conference showed a verbatim comment made by a Gen Z person indicating “I no longer trust government, other people, or the world.” 

Both optimism and pessimism are biases, less desirable than objectivity, but between them, one helps and the other hurts, because any mindset becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s the way our minds work. Pessimism forces us down into the pit we feared. Optimism gives us back the natural zest for life and enables us to overcome – anything.

Data shown at the conference confirms that Gen Z (people born since 1997) are far above average in holding brands to communicate, by their actions and authentic words and images, that brands recognize their purpose is to make life better for everyone. And yet now these idealists are already experiencing the disappointment in their own golden dreams, all too soon, all too soon.

We can’t let this go on.

What gutted our confidence?

Walker had pointed us at the Starting Points of a generation, telling us that each generation reflects what the Cultural Tent Pole events were when they came into the conversation.

For Gen Z, the oldest of whom is now 25, when they were first starting to use media they heard about the war on terrorism, and the US limited ability to dial back violence everywhere. As they grew up, they saw a growing divide along partisan lines within the US, mirrored around the world. The idea of limits was reinforced and the idea of possibilities was diminished. The split into red and blue idealists played out as one side limiting the other side from being able to make improvements.

They may have consciously ignored most of this while playing expressively within their social media communities, but nothing could have protected their subconscious minds from imbibing these toxins.

Unifying our ideals and values is necessary if we are to protect Gen Z and all future generations from reruns of the worst of history.

We have the power. We have to use it constructively. We need to unify our idea of “What IS social progress?”

Social progress starts with the criterion that one’s own descendants should have it even better than we do. That is the most unifying ideal of all. We should all find it easy to agree on that if nothing else.

Avoiding Derailment

The idea that everyone should benefit runs into major difficulty when it is looked at through the lens of a person who feels threatened. That person does not want a level playing field because they already feel cheated and are therefore naturally skeptical about the idea that they should support other people more than they have been supported.

The person who feels threatened is probably subconsciously feeling a sense of inferiority. In our materialistic culture the need to take work that is uninspiring leads the average person to live out a life of quiet desperation (TS Eliot) conducive of a sense of inferiority and of throwing one’s life away. So that there is a very large pool of people who instinctively flinch away from taking care of other people because they feel someone ought to be taking better care of them. 

The sense of inferiority was historically an albatross that Russia still bears. But the dissatisfied and resentful chords in the human chorus are not limited by geography, these poisons to the spirit are everywhere, and reduce openness to ideas about sharing with those even worse off than ourselves. Only those who feel good about themselves subconsciously and consciously can authentically support the idea of equality.

This does not mean putting the movement toward equality on hold. I personally feel that the momentum toward equality is now established, by the efforts of millions of people from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King and on and on, including the people of show business, and Gen Z will make it happen if we don’t complete the job, but we will. 

Instead, what I’m suggesting is that we don’t confuse the issue by too quickly bringing in more specificity, as we re-establish the unifying notion of a better life for our kids. All of our kids. That would defeat the drive to unity, a message in a bottle in all languages, e.g.: Rodovoi. Danketsu. Tongyi. Aikyam. Yachad. Henosis. Our objective here is unity in re-establishing the universal dream of human social progress. Today, in the present context, it can only be founded on one remaining point of solidarity: our children.  

So, as we sew up the ravaged flag of idealism and courage facing the future, in the complex world of motivations, we can’t go too far too fast. Start with the one universal common ground: our children. We must make a better life for them. We cannot, for whatever reasons we concoct with our brilliant rhetoric, justify anything less than a commitment of our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor (Thomas Jefferson) to this unifying ideal. This is the philosopher’s stone by which to navigate the rest of the journey. 

Because we must first re-establish unity of realistic idealism before we can turn to specifics.

Take the present most divisive issues and give them a rest. Let your hearts and minds discover what else there is to be said, with positivity, constructiveness, and encouragement. What will help make for a better world for all the generations to come. Words and feelings and actions that bring us together again. Don’t skip to step two, please, focus on step one.

Love to all, 

Bill

Applying the Scientific Method to Life

Created April 8, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Of all human endeavors, which are the most successful? Love, education, and art are certainly up there. One branch of education, science, has been spectacularly successful. Science is the form of education in which we plumb the mysteries of life from the ground up, before we know enough to teach others.

Why do I say “spectacularly” successful? If we had no science, Covid probably would have killed most of us by now. How else could hairless apes fly to the moon, or fly at all, or even build and drive cars?

Technology stands on the shoulders of science. Without science, our supreme technology might be fire, the wheel, and rudimentary weapons. No, that’s not true; without science, our supreme technology would be language. The transition from language to mathematics is where true science begins.

Einstein said “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”

We might unpack Einstein’s word “refinement” into the operational steps which turn everyday thinking into science.

Step 1 might be the “Elimination of Bias”. One must start from an open mind, without attachment to proving something, intent only on discovering the truth. One must be always on guard for one’s own subconscious biases and by making them conscious, overcoming them and attaining a real sense of objectivity. I play a game with myself as to how I will feel if the truth turns out to be A, how will that affect my emotions, if it turns out to be the opposite, how will that affect my emotions? In this way I can gain a degree of insight into my own remaining degree of subconscious bias.

If I still laugh nastily to myself when considering it might turn out to be the opposite of my hypothesis, I know that I’m still biased, and still consider the opposite of my hypothesis to be such nonsense that it could never turn out to be the truth.

Step 2 might be “Recording of Observations”. This is the inductive reasoning which leads to the formation of experiments, wherein deductive logic takes over. In an experiment (Step 3) there is a comparison of two matched events in which only one variable is different, such that if the outcomes are different, the cause of that difference had to be that one variable.

In this post I’ll focus on Step 2. In a later post we’ll get to Step 3.

What do I propose we observe, and why? What truth do I seek to have you discover?

The Answer to The Ultimate Question. That’s what I’d like you to discover for yourself, by using science to refine your everyday thinking.

The Ultimate Question is whether Consciousness is the main field, or whether the main field is Matter, or whether the truth is both at the same time.

Why is this The Ultimate Question?

Because if Consciousness is the main field, or if they are equally primary and came about together at the theoretical beginning of the universe (although Time may be a secondary detail added later and the primary elements have always existed), then things like God, telepathy, precognition, and divine inspiration could be scientific realities.

However (without evidence) the current culture has overwhelmingly decided in favor of a bias toward Matter being the substrate of the universe, and consciousness something that is created when Matter accidentally falls into the exactly right configuration to produce Consciousness in a select few of the objects in the universe.

Given this bias, we are indoctrinated subconsciously into not experiencing God, telepathy, precognition, and divine inspiration.

This does not stop us from joining in approved religions, where we may sometimes feel things that border on the experiencing of God, etc.

However if those things exist and we are not making full use of them in our everyday lives, then that is a loss.

Perhaps an unnecessary loss, if we can open our minds and keep unbiased records of our observations for later cogitation.

Here’s how it could work. You would keep a scientific journal in which you would be observing what might be your own hunches/intuitions – internal messages you receive from yourself or from somewhere, including messages that you might be getting in dreams.

You put that in your journal – which might be this format – recording when it happened, what the hunch was, whether you seemed to be reading someone else’s mind at the time or not, whether you had a feeling it might be the universe trying to tell you something or not, whether you sense your own emotional preference for it being true or not, whether you sense your own negativity while thinking about this hunch. These could be simple checkmarks for yes and X’s for no. Or you could add details to remind you of what the hunch was, whose mind you might have been reading, etc.

Subsequently you would add in the Validation column the evidence that the hunch was proven true or false.

I would expect that in the absence of negativity you would find most of the hunches to be validated.

The advantage of using a method like this is that you are making up your own mind about the most important questions in life. Not being a follower accepting authority’s answers. Seeing what your own experience tells you.

I suspect that you will be surprised at the degree to which you experience these so-called “supernatural” powers, although the word “supernatural” is an oxymoron since nature is what is.

Resistance to these possibilities has been so deeply ingrained it could take some time before you feel the effects.

Love to all,

Bill

What Is the Meaning of Life? – Revisited

Updated July 9, 2021

When I was younger, I would ask this question whenever anyone, even a tour guide in a museum, asked me if I had any more questions.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn

Internally, it’s the question I asked myself multiple times a day all my life until I felt sure of the answer, which occurred sometime in my 30s.

The underlying question is “What is the meaning of ‘meaning’ in this context?”

The intent of the question is to understand what life is, what its purpose is (if any), what the universe is, what its purpose is (if any), why we are here, who we are, how we are to behave, what our relation is to one another, is there a God, and why are we compelled to consider any of this as relevant or meaningful to the second-to-second management of our personal business of existence.

One alternative to asking and answering this question to one’s own satisfaction is to go about life happily without caring about the question (which could be a Zen-like answer in itself, essentially filing the question away into the “Overthinking” file). Another alternative is to consider life meaningless, which many existentialists did in the last century.

Other than an intuition I had at age 12 that “I am God and so is everyone else”, which I tucked away as an interesting but unexplained aberration, the meaninglessness of life was my own position for the first 30-odd years of life. Around age 20, as I studied philosophy, I put reasoning around this earlier intuition, deciding that one took positions like this based solely on aesthetic preference, since knowability of the answer to What Is the Meaning of Life? was apparently beyond our scope.

In my 30s I had some unusual experiences that also reminded me of similar experiences in my childhood, at which point I felt as I do now — a very strong conviction that I actually know the answer.

The way I see it, all that exists is a single consciousness of such great computing power as to know everything that goes on within itself instantaneously at all times (though God or the One Self is above time). Since we don’t share this omniscience, God gets to play our roles with more drama and excitement. So the meaning of life must be to realize and enjoy this game as our true Original Self does, and thereby re-merge into the Original Consciousness.

I talk about this theory more in my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

From a practical standpoint, life becomes most meaningful for us to the extent that we realize our own unique gifts; we love doing the things inspired by those talents; we develop a life plan around sharing these things with others, and then we go forward with that plan without being attached to the outcome.

We then have a Purpose, a Mission, which satisfies the thinking mind of our own meaningfulness. Just as I go into meetings with awareness of my preferred outcomes, I set them aside at the last minute so I can go with the meeting flow, taking the standpoint of simply trying to help out everyone else in the meeting as best I can. Pragmatically and empirically, this appears to work best in balancing out the complexities of life as well.

So “What is the meaning of Life?” Enjoying it, loving it, loving all, and helping others to do the same.

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return.”
— “Nature Boy”, by Nat King Cole

Pragmatically, one’s philosophy of life – i.e., one’s values – will tend to lead to the most rewarding outcomes, to the degree that it does not contain seeds of negativity. For example, if our worldview includes the tendency to sit in judgment of other people, this will create situations of unhappiness for ourselves in the long run. This realization is why Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged”.

The founders of the great religions were, at minimum, seers, visionaries, who grasped the way things work in life, and shared these observations to help others.

The Perennial Philosophy is the synthesis of all this wisdom.

Game Theory leads one to recognize that in the game of life, one is always making bets. If one is betting that the universe is benevolent not accidental, one will live a happier, more fulfilling life. Pragmatically, that is the bet to make, according to Game Theory, whether or not the universe is an accident in reality.

At this time of great crisis in the world, what we all really need the most is the spirit of cooperation and sharing.

Ideologies we have become attached to, groups we have become identified with down to the core of our being, the deification of competition as a perfect Good, the Marxist dialectical materialist love affair with contradiction, mindless devotion to an authoritarian leader, lazy subscription to ideas of others rather than one’s own contemplation of personal empirical experience, are baggage which must be left behind in a deep mind cleanse and reset that is open to new learning from attentive worldly experience, the scientific method applied to life, rising up above the pettiness of one’s own robotical negativity to embrace higher states of being which come with pure unclouded observation as if seeing everything for the first time.

I propose that if you are not yet in that state, to allow it a try. If we all do it starting now, events will unfold that will take us away from the spiral of doom now seemingly at our doorstep.

Love,

Bill

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