A New Take on FCC!

a-new-earth-and-heaven

As we transmute the 3-letter organizations who no longer serve us, we the people, globally… let’s take FCC.  Instead of Federal Communication Commission (which does not seem to serve the people’s interests and can’t seem to manage much) – how about this simple affirmation:

FREEDOM * CREATIVITY * COMPASSION

I was first introduced to this affirmation by the Russian spiritual and personalist philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev. In his book, The Destiny of Man, Berdyaev analyzed the changing mood he saw affecting humanity during the interwar years between World War I and World War II… this was written in the midst of our last Great economic Depression:

Three new factors have appeared in the moral life of man and are acquiring an unprecedented significance. Ethics must take account of three new objects of human striving. Man has come to love freedom more than he has ever loved it before, and he demands freedom with extraordinary persistence. He no longer can or wants to accept anything unless he can accept it freely. Man has grown more compassionate than before. He cannot endure the cruelty of the old days, he is pitiful in a new way to every creature—not only to the least of men but also to animals and to everything that lives. A moral consciousness opposed to pity and compassion is no longer tolerable. And, finally, man is more eager than ever before to create. He wants to find a religious justification and meaning for his creativeness. He can no longer endure having his creative instinct repressed either from without or from within.

At the same time other instincts are at work in him, instincts of slavery and cruelty, and he shows a lack of creativeness which leads him to thwart it and deny its very existence. And yet the striving for freedom, compassion and creativeness is both new and eternal. Therefore the new ethics is bound to be an ethics of freedom, compassion and creativeness.[1] (Read more)

Freedom is an inalienable drive and inspiration that exists in all of us. Not simply desire to be “free from” (laws, taxes, war, oppression, and all the other things in life that make us despair…), but simply to BE FREE. Nothing in life happens without our consent, be we aware of that or not.

We are always free to choose. Not deciding is itself a free expression of choice.

This doesn’t mean choosing (or not) is easy or not without ramifications and pain. It just means we always have the capability.

Freedom vs. Judgment

I think what paralyzes us so much in our lives is fear of making the wrong choice. Haven’t we all experienced that? Yet, at some point we realize that when we choose something we don’t want, we can always turn around the very next second and simply choose again. And what appears to be “wrong” from another’s perspective, may absolutely be “right” for you, or me, or us in this exact moment of now. So are we paralyzed by fear of making a mistake or fear of external judgment? …maybe even the great Last Judgment? Berdyaev’s colleague and existential philosopher, Lev Shestov wrote:

The Last Judgment decides whether there shall be freedom of will, immortality of the soul, or not – whether there shall be a soul or not. And maybe, even the existence of God is still undecided. Even God waits, like every living human soul on the Last Judgment.

A great battle is going on, a battle between life and death, between real and ideal, and we men do not even guess what is happening in the universe and are deeply convinced that we need not know, as though it did not matter to us!

We think that the important thing is that we should arrange our lives as well and as comfortably as possible, and that the principal use of philosophy itself, as of all human creations, is to help us attain a placid and carefree existence…[2]  (Read more)

Dostoevsky brilliantly encapsulated this impulse in his story The Grand Inquisitor:

You want to go into the world and you are going empty-handed, with some promise of freedom, which men in their simplicity and their innate lawlessness cannot even comprehend, which they fear and dread – for nothing has ever been more unendurable to men and to human society than freedom!…

But in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, “We don’t mind being your slaves so long as you feed us!” [3] (Read more)

We – individuals – create these groups, societies, the all-powerful State to protect us from each other and ourselves.  To tell us what to do. To save us from judgment, shame; to make us blameless (“I was just following orders”).

To limit our freedom. Yet what happens then? Then, as Jon Rappaport says: “And the individual? He would go the way of other extinct species“. Well I’m not a fan of extinct species, especially my own! Isn’t it time to get over our fears of being judged, of being wrong, of being different?  Time to restore the balance for freedom?

Creativity vs. Control

Like freedom (and love), creativity is an innate impulse in humans that cannot be controlled, directed or constrained. No matter what rules, restrictions or limits we feel the System has placed around us, the creative impulse stays alit… just waiting for that tiny breath of fresh air to blossom into flames again.

And if we change our perceptions about work instead of working for survival, what happens when we embrace work to thrive? to create and co-create?

I intuit in the worries about economic stagnation and the lack of innovation, a call to reset the balance in favor of creativity.

And it’s happening.  We see it in the trend away from closed, private companies charging onerous software licensing and maintenance fees toward Open Source development and frameworks…  We see it in the explosion of free content on the Internet – creativity! Self-publishing trends – creativity! AirBNB, Crowdsourcing, Bitcoin – creativity!  When we look around we are veritably surrounded by examples of people insisting on exercising their creative impulses and attracting more and more resources to accelerate the process.

As one of my dear friends wrote in a much more coherent musing about the duality between control vs. creativity paradigms…

And companies have found that when they let up on the controls of what hours they work, what they wear to work, and even where they work, they thrive, and are CREATIVE!    When CONTROL is abandoned, CREATIVITY THRIVES. [4] (Read more)

And then we have these gazillion initiatives to restructure communities and economies in favor of meaningful, creative work and ethical, sustainable stewardship (see here, here, here, here, here and here just to start).

Compassion vs. Resistance

Compassion really comes with awareness and helps us transcend judgment.  It is when we fully comprehend that no one can know ahead of time all the ramifications of their actions.  Like knowing the butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world caused death and destruction via earthquake on the other.  Who could have foreseen? When we accept that we are all both good and bad, we all make mistakes and look foolish at times, we all stumble.  Compassion is not just a by-product of emotion, feelings and empathy, it is a conscious choice to accept everything as it is.

“Whatever you push back will always push back. It is a law of physics and a law of energy.

When you push something away, reject what you are feeling, or try to force yourselves to do something, the opposite potential will always push back. If you reject and suppress the anger or fear that you feel, it will return with more strength. If you try to change yourselves through willpower, that which you are trying to change will become even more firmly established. If you try to change the world, it will push back and try to change you.

Instead, allow your feelings to fill you. Feel them instead of denying them, pushing them aside or dismissing them as illogical. Rather than trying to make yourself be or do something different, give yourself the acceptance you are desperately searching for. Instead of trying to change the world, accept everything as it is.

Honor the choices of everyone, including yourself. This is true Compassion. [5]

Instead of making a good/bad presumption about another’s circumstances …”he’s homeless, must be drugs;” “she got fired, must be lazy;” “they’re poor, must be spendthrifts” … Instead of resisting and harshly criticizing those circumstances because, let’s be honest, most of us do NOT want to experience anything similar, merely accept and honor their choices, including your own.  Compassion does not necessitate action.  Just answer one question…what would love do?

For we did not come to humanity to be perfect.

Open yourself to the idea that your imperfections are self-chosen. It is your very imperfections that make you the ideal teacher of the lessons that you are learning. Your perceived imperfections are gifts that you have given yourself to help you connect with and engage life. To accept your chosen imperfections is a part of the process of surrendering to the divine choice of yourself. [6]  (Read more)

You didn’t come here to be or have everything.  You just came here to be you!

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Catherine Baird, Ph.D. is an Information Technology executive, specializing in Cloud Solutions, Big Data and IT Managed Services.

A few years ago I began converting my 1997 doctoral thesis into Revolution from Within, a narrative nonfiction released for publication this year (2015). It tells the story of how the YMCA became the unexpected sponsors of The 160, prominent Russian thinkers exiled by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party of the Soviet Union in 1922, and describing the battle that ensued for the hearts and minds of the Russian people, within and outside the Communist Party, over a 70-year period. How ideas and writings published and preserved can become the seeds for change, for overthrow, from within.

“What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work… it is not immutable fate.” [7]

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