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Agents of Change

November 9, 2008 by  

Agents of Change

Battle for the mind: How they do it. Any religion that has group identity is by definition an organized religion. Religion prescribes parameters of thought and religion prescribes thought. There are few exceptions to this.

Governments desire organized or group identity religion because they can be manipulated without any awareness by the group.

Religion is in general “tax exempt” because organized religion is pro-government and pro-authority. Any group has group thought and group expression. All individuals become faceless and mindless.

To the extent that one is a group member, to that extent that person surrenders individual identity or ego. The group is first step authority.

The more organizations that authority can get the people involved in, the easier the control and manipulation because all groups espouse altruism. (see below)

Group identity can be any religious group, any fraternal group either secret or open, and any social group.

What about Christianity?

Christianity is a personal and individual religion anathema to organized religious and regimented “spiritual” systems.

The stronger the groups appeal, the more one can be led into and deceived by altruism and altruistic appeals.

Governments strive to move humanity from the ego or self to the group — the foundation of government deception and power.

  1. They use controlled media
  2. “Public education”
  3. Organized religion
  4. Fraternal organization (both secret and open)
  5. Many, many subgroups — see “Occult Theocracy”
  6. Charities

Organizations impress upon one’s psychic concepts pseudo “facts” that are unprovable and have no foundation in fact but are accepted as an absolute generation after generation. The same is foolish to the individualist who by nature or who has a natural inclination to inquire into anything without inhibitions.

As one loses his/her identity to group thought, then he/she becomes manipulated by phony altruistic pronouncements of politicians and authority. This is to say when one loses self he is transferred to group thought. We are one or the other.

Altruism is a morality based on the philosophical premise that man lives for the sake of others… that man’s life and property are available for sacrifice to “higher causes, e.g., the common good the public interest, society, the needy, the world, God, country.”

In practice, it’s who will sacrifice whom. You guessed it. It’s the non-producer political power transferring the wealth, production and the public will to itself. They do this with great ease once they instill Altruism in the public mind with the group concept.

Competent people who act on reality have gone underground in these latter days of political suppression. They are fully aware that hyper-individualism now, though not coded, is tantamount to crime against the state.

What about Warren Buffet and Bill Gates? They certainly understand capitalism and the accumulation of wealth, but they well know to bow their knee to Baal with their espousal of charities and social dispensations, as Bill Gates heavy involvement in vaccination in Africa. Do they know that they are appeasing authority or are they mind-altered with Altruism?

Possession of ones’ ego is to live in reality. The ego is the self and means individuality. The common use of the word ego implies vanity, but our use here simply means the ultra-expression of the individual as opposed to the group.

Group dynamics promotes altruism and a mind locked out of reality. It’s a long road back and few arrive except those few who will read the right material without reservations or bias.

Groups socialize and dehumanize. Communication fails between husband and wife, between neighbors, between professional associates, etc., etc., in direct relation to group influences and their degree of altruism.

Authority abhors individuality. It is the destruction of the individual over time that has moved us to the fascist state.

Think Nazi torchlight parades. Herr Hitler used the morality of altruism with his “higher good” to which anything and everything should be sacrificed for the “National Will.”

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • patty

    My husband and I were blogging on ABC News yesterday about Obama and all our posts have been deleted. What happened to freedom of speech. They were not mean and we did not use filthy language in the blogs we just stated some facts!!!

  • tikva

    There is definitely place for religion.  Look at the difference between Obama and Bush.
    Obama voted repeatedly for partial birth abortion.  This is murder.  Although Obama went to an anti-American church he does not hold religious values. Bush is a strong believer in Christianity.  He wanted the embryonic stem cell research to stay in the private sector. Government should not be in the business of financing conflicts of interest to supply embryos.  He did not want to mandate what to do with embryos, impose his pro life position on the country even though he has strong beliefs of his own.  Any idea is excess is never good.  It is better to err on the side of belief in G-d than in ones own belief in altruism.  Where does altruism, correctly applied, come from?  From the Torah [aka Old Testament for Christians].  It tells you what is right and what is wrong.  Extremism is wrong.  Our present day good morals come from the Torah.  G-d does run the world and wants us to choose life and the good path as defined in the Torah.  These are basic rules of a civilized society.

  • http://Ezines Alan

    I hope obama does the right thing when it comes to religion. This is a Christian  world and we need to protect it. I heard that he wants homo’s to have all the protection that everyone else has and that is not right. That is a sin and we should not condone it. We are loosing all our rights.
    Alan

  • diane elizabeth ballou

    We need to hate the sin , but love yhe sinner.  There is no such thing as a homosexual, only a person with a bad habit a salvgeable person.

    • http://? DeeJay

      Many people have many different kinds of handicaps. The homosexual should consider that their way of life is a handicap and learn how to deal with it as any handicapped person does.

  • diane elizabeth ballou

    We need to hate the sin ,  but love the sinner.  There is no such thing as a homosexual, only a person with a bad habit, a salvageable person.

  • diane elizabeth ballou

    We need to hate the sin ,  but love the sinner.  There is no such thing as a homosexual, only a person with a bad habit, a salvageable person.  I do not know any other way to correct the spelling.  Sorry.

  • carolyn watson

    Bottom line- America’s foundation is under attack and sadly- from within. There’s not a lot of difference in the Demo. and Reps. except the speech and they can promise you the moon and there’s no accounbtability for the lies and deceit perpetrated on the citizens. The agenda is for One World Gov’t.
    Now’s a good time to read your Bible and see that we are seeing the signs of the end times predicted before the Coming. The world will waxen worse and worse as it did in Noah’s day.
    America was blessed because our foundation was based on Biblical principles and God’s Word. As we remove ourself from it, changing Laws acccording to men rather then God, we find ourselves on a down-hill spiral. And we haven’t hit bottom yet but we will if we don’t repent and turn back to God and His Word. Disobedience caused the fall and we are now doing a repeat of it. All brains and no sense.
    Maybe our suffering will drive people back to the Lord as that is truly our only Hope. THe Bible says “the wicked and all nations who forget God are turned into Hell.”
    Because judgement has totally encompassed us, people think God isn’t watching– He is watching– but giving mankind more time to repent and turn back to Him.
    Remember 9-11 who doesn’t? People got their thinking straight and suddenly knew what was important- family, friends, and survival and Prayer. Nobody worried about the stock market, the latest in fashion, etc. Sometimes we have to hit bottom in order to know which way is up. It’s sad but we bring suffering on ourselves- sometimes by bad choices and other times that the Lord allows things to happen in order to bring us to our knees and back to Him.
    Sadly our whole system has become corrupt from A to Z. While there are many good people out there, most have compromised their values in order to keep their jobs. You can’t serve God and mammon and since there are no shopping malls in Hell- you wonder just what they are selling out for? Bottom line- they do not fear God and the more they can remove God from our culture- the more will forget themselves.

    • Marie

      I agree Carolyn. I remember the days when NBC wasn’t ashamed to broadcast “Blessed is the nation who’s God is the Lord” There is nothing sadder, or more tragic, than a nation’s falling away. The Lord is gracious and forgiving. But the Bible also states that God will not always strive with man. The time to turn back to being a nation who’s God is the Lord is now! I pray that many will.

  • S C Mailen, Jr.

    I would like to see church leaders grow a collective spine, and tell Washington that the only way Christians will have religious freedom in America is to terminate the ‘tax-free status’ of all churches.
    Tax-free status is a sham desiged to lull believers into thinking that our goverment cares about religious freedom. It amounts to an Orwellian option for Washington to tell all believers how religious faith will be preached in those churches.
    Beyond that – for those who claim to have read the Bible – I would like to know where it says that our Creator ever obligated believers to build churches in His name.

    • diane elizabeth ballou

      He did say, on this rock will I build my church, you may be right. These are very expensive bldgs, too, most of them.

  • Dan

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:27 pm:
    A leader must have certain characteristics to be successful. First, he must have a set of principles—things he believes are absolutely true. He must possess a moral compass-understanding what is absolutely “right” or “wrong”. It is important for him to have a vision—what is to be accomplished. He also needs the skill to develop a consensus, that his plan is appropriate, among a group of individuals who will carry out the many tasks needed to effectively complete the project.

    In addition he must have courage to act on his convictions and take full responsibility for his actions. He must have a sense of justice—such as, “do unto others as you would have others do onto you”. A sense of moderation is also needed, which is an understanding not to “act out” with outrageous arrogance. Equally important, he must have the wisdom of how to apply all the above.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:30 pm:
    In Plato’s book “The Republic,” he constructs a “just city.” He says that if a city has been correctly constructed, it should be perfectly good. If it is perfectly good, then it should be wise, courageous, moderate and just. These are the cardinal virtues of ancient Greece. The city is wise because it is ruled by the skill of its guardians (leaders). It is courageous because the soldiers endure any danger in order to follow the orders of their leaders. It is moderate because all citizens restrain their desires in order to follow the orders of their leaders. It is just because each of the citizens is “minding his own business.”

    Plato goes on to explain that the perfectly good individual, like the perfectly good city, is wise, courageous, moderate and just. He is wise, because his reason rules him. He is courageous because his spirit is the loyal ally of his reason. He is moderate because his desires obey the dictates of reason. He is just because each part of his soul “minds its own business.” The just man “arranges himself, becomes his own friend, and harmonizes the three parts, (reason, spirit, and desire) exactly like three notes in a harmonic scale.”

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:33 pm:
    You say “that universal truth is a myth. The truth is in the eyes of the beholder.”

    Thank you for challenging me to defend my ideas.

    Law is the set of enforced rules under which a society is governed. Law is one of the most basic social institutions—and one of the most necessary. No society could exist if all people did just as they pleased, without regard for the rights of others. Nor could a society exist if its members did not recognize that they also have certain obligations toward one another. The law thus establishes the rules that define a person’s rights and obligations. The law also sets penalties for people, who violate these rules, and it states how government shall enforce the rules, and it states how government shall enforce the rules and penalties. However, the laws enforced by government can be changed. In fact, laws frequently are changed to reflect changes in a society’s needs and attitudes.

    First, we need to explore the idea of “Natural Law”. Natural law is the idea that people have certain rights that cannot be taken away. It probably began thousands of years ago. This theory states that a natural order exists in the universe because all things are created by nature, or God. (To appreciate this idea you first have to accept that there is a God) Everything has its own qualities and is subject to the rules of nature to achieve its full potential. According to this theory, anything that detracts from a persons human qualities, or prevents their full achievement, violates the laws of nature.

    The ancient Greek philosophers and the writers of the Old Testament stressed that there is a higher law than human law. In the first century B.C., the Roman philosopher Cicero insisted that this higher natural law is universal and can be discovered through human reasoning. (It is God’s law, which he reveals to all people through their reasoning. It is not learned. It is divinely given) This led to the idea that government power has limits, and that people and governments everywhere are bound by natural law.

    Some of the most historic English legal documents are based on the principles of natural law. The earliest and most famous was the Magna Carta, which the king approved against his will in 1215. The document placed the king himself under the law. In 1628, the English Parliament drew up a Petition of Right. The petition claimed that certain actions of the king, such as levying taxes without the consent of Parliament is unconstitutional.

    Natural Rights—Natural law has always stressed the duties, more than the rights, of governments and individuals. But during the late 1600’s, the natural law tradition began to emphasis natural right. The change was brought about largely through the writings of the English philosopher John Locke.

    Locke argued that governmental authority depends on the people’s consent. According to Locke people originally lived in a state of nature with no restrictions on their freedom. Then they came to realize that confusion would result if each person enforced his or her own rights. (“The truth is in the eyes of the beholder”, your statement.) People agreed to live under a common government, but not to surrender their “rights of nature” (my universal rights) to the government. Instead they expected the government to respect these rights, especially the rights of life, liberty and property. (Note: this is stated as unalienable rights by our founding fathers, our esteemed leaders, in the Declaration of Independence.) (“Unalienable” means it cannot be separated from the individual, because it was divinely given by God in the Natural Laws, which he revealed to all people through divine revelation, through their power of reason.) Locke’s idea of limited government and natural rights became part of the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of Rights of Man (1789), and the U.S. Bill of Rights (1781).

    Today many scholars reject the natural law and natural rights theories. These scholars believe that all laws—including those guaranteeing civil rights—are simply devices that people find convenient or useful at a particular time. Nevertheless, nearly all civil right laws have resulted from the theories of natural law and natural rights.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:36 pm:
    In an effort to establish the idea that there are universal concepts let us explore Plato’s philosophy. Many of Plato’s dialogues try to identify the nature or essence of some philosophically important notion be defining it. The “Euthyphro” revolves around a discussion of the question, “What is piety?” The central question of “The Republic” is, “What is justice?” The “Theaetetus” tries to define knowledge. The “Charmides” is concerned with moderation, and the “Laches” discusses valor. Plato denied that a notion, such a piety (reverence), could be defined simply by offering examples of it. Plato required a definition of a notion to express what is true of, and common to, all instances of that notion.

    Plato was interested in how we could apply a single word or concept to many different things. For example, how can the word “table” be used for all the individual objects that are tables? Plato answered that various things can be called by the same name because they have something in common. He called this common factor the thing’s “form” or “idea”

    According to Plato, the real name of any individual thing depends on the form in which it “participates.” For example, a certain object is a triangle because it participates in the form of triangularity. A particular table is what it is because it participates in the form (idea) of the table. Plato insisted that the forms differ greatly from the ordinary things which are around us. Ordinary things change but their forms do not. A particular triangle may be altered in size or shape, but the form of the triangle can never change (it is absolute). In addition, individual things only imperfectly approximate their forms, which remain unattainable models of perfection. Circular objects or beautiful objects are never perfectly circular or perfectly beautiful. The only perfectly circular thing is the form of circularity itself, (its form is absolute) and the only perfectly beautiful thing is the form of beauty.

    Plato concluded that these unchanging and perfect forms cannot be part of the everyday world, which is changing and imperfect. Forms exist neither in space nor time. They can be known only by the intellect, not by the senses. Because of their stability and perfection, the forms have greater reality than ordinary objects observed by the senses. Thus, true knowledge is the knowledge of forms. These central doctrines of Plato’s philosophy are called his “theory of forms” or “theory of ideas.

    This is another attempt to support my argument that there are universal ideas that are true for everyone, everywhere and at all times.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:38 pm:
    The Christian definition of the Four Virtues, by St. Augustine is as follows:
    According to St. Augustine, virtue leads to a happy life. Virtue is perfect love of God. The four virtues, for St. Augustine, are taken from four forms of love. The four virtues are the following:
    Temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved (God). Temperance is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God. Let us consider temperance, which promises us a kind of integrity and incorruption in the love by which we are united to God. The office of temperance is in restraining and quieting the passions which make us pant for those things which turn us away from the laws of God and from the enjoyment of His goodness, that is, in a word, from the happy life.
    Fortitude is love readily bearing all things for the sake of the loved object. Fortitude is love bearing everything for the sake of God. Scriptures present to us a woman of amazing fortitude, and I must at once go on to her case. This woman, along with seven children, allowed the tyrant and executioner to extract her vitals from her body rather than a profane word from her mouth. What patience could be greater than this? And yet why should we be astonished that the love of God, implanted in her inmost heart, bore up against the tyrant, and executioner, and pain, and sex, and natural affection? Had she not heard, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints?” It is because she heard, “A patient man is better than the mightiest?” Proverbs 16:32. She heard, “All that is appointed you receive; and in pain bear it; and in abasement keep your patience: for in fire are gold and silver tried?” Sirach 2:4-5. She heard, “The fire tries the vessels of the potter, and for just men is the trial of tribulation?” Sirach 27:6. These verses she knew, and many other precepts of fortitude written in these books, which alone existed at that time, by the same divine Spirit who writes those precepts in the New Testament.
    Justice, according to St. Augustine is another virtue. Justice is love serving only the loved object (which is God) and therefore rules rightly. Justice is love serving God only, and therefore ruling all things well. The lover, then, whom we are describing, will get from justice this rule of life, that he must with perfect readiness serve the God whom he loves, who is the highest good, the highest wisdom, and the highest peace. This rule of life, is, as we have shown, confirmed by the authority of both Testaments.
    It may be thought that there is nothing here about man himself, the lover, but it is impossible for one who loves God not to love himself. For he alone has a proper love for himself, when he demonstrates that he aims diligently to please God, who is the chief and true good; what is to prevent one who loves God from loving himself? And then, among men should there be no bond of mutual love? We can think of no surer step towards the love of God than the love of man to man.
    Prudence, another virtue according to St. Augustine, is love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it. The object of the highest love is only God. Prudence is love making a right distinction between what helps love towards God and what might hinder it. Prudence determines what is to be desired and what to be shunned. It is part of prudence (good judgment) to keep an active vigilance against any evil influence, which may creep up on us.
    To seek the good means to live well. Living well is loving God with all your heart, soul and mind. This love must be incorrupt, which is accomplished through moderation. This love must not give way to opposition, which is accomplished through fortitude; this love must serve no other, which is justice and the love must be watchful or evil things will creep in, which is a part of prudence. These things lead to the perfection of man by which he can succeed in attaining purity of truth.
    It may be thought that there is nothing here about man himself, the lover. It is impossible for one who loves God not to love himself. He who seeks the true good must love himself as well. What is to prevent one who loves God from loving himself? And then, among men should there be no bond of mutual love? Yes, we can think of no surer step towards the love of God than the love of man to man. The first thing to aim at is that we should be benevolent. We should not bear malice or evil against another person. For man is the nearest neighbor of man.
    Hear also what Paul says: “The love of our neighbor,” he says, “works no ill.” Romans 13:10 A man may sin against another in two ways, either by injuring him or by not helping him when it is in his power. It is for these things, which no loving man would do, that men are called wicked. “The love of our neighbor works no ill.” We cannot attain the good unless we first desist from working evil. Our love of our neighbor is a sort of cradle of our love to God. As it is said, “the love of our neighbor works no ill,” we may rise from this to these other words, “We know that all things issue in good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:41 pm:
    Confucius was born in 552 B.C. in the principality of Lu in China. He came from a distinguished family.

    Civilization, which is characterized by writing, the use of metal, the building of monumental structures, and complex government organizations— did not develop in China until around 1700 B.C. During the time of Confucius, which was the 6th century B.C., the emperor was a puppet. China was divided into states that owed loyalty to the emperor, but were actually governed by aristocrats. At first, Confucius was a civil servant and chief of police in Lu. He was either dismissed from the civil service or went into voluntary exile. His regard for formalities and rituals was fundamental to his teachings. He spent years traveling from one principality to another, giving advice and being honored for his wisdom. His advice was seldom taken, and he was not given another position of authority. In his last years, he retired to the principality of Lu, where he died in 479 B.C., leaving his mark as a teacher.

    As a teacher, Confucius has had tremendous influence. He shaped the civilization of China from his time until the 20th century. His sayings, teachings and the works that he believed should be studied were fundamental to the educational system and the entire governmental structure. Civil servants at all levels studied his sayings and had to pass an examination that was based on his teachings. For any great teacher, however, life is not about a series of events that happen outside, but about the teacher’s intellectual and spiritual development. At one time, Confucius had 3,000 students. His inner circle of disciples has passed on what we now know about him. Like Socrates and Jesus he never wrote a book. His students gathered his wisdom into a collection of sayings. Confucius taught the importance of study and the way of moral instruction; He also taught his followers to be steadfast and to tell the truth.

    Confucius believed that morality had to be founded in works of antiquity. For Confucius cutting oneself off from the past was leaving oneself without roots. Like a tree, a person without roots will topple over. Confucius studied history and played a role in putting together and editing a historical chronicle.

    Confucius culled the poetry of China for 300 odes that he believed were crucial. These odes were always sung. Confucius believed that music and the words of poetry put to music were essential to creating harmony in the soul. Confucius shared with Socrates the belief that the soul must be in harmony and that music was the outward expression of that harmony. At first the odes might seem unrelated to moral instruction, however, when properly interpreted, these seemingly meaningless messages told the truth. For a whole Chinese civilization, these odes offered a means of speaking the truth. Odes were often used to convey a political or individual message. No person could begin on the path to wisdom without knowing the odes, poetry that speaks to the soul. The message of the odes is rooted in concrete knowledge of the past.

    Confucius believed in the importance of carrying out ancient rituals, for example, offering sacrifices and wearing certain kinds of clothes on specific occasions. He also believed that rituals must change to accommodate to new circumstances. Confucius saw such civility as being important, but harmony was far more important. Carrying out certain formalities is a way to preserve the harmony around us. Harmony derives from everyone knowing his or her place and knowing what is expected of him or her. When asked why he did not return to government service. Confucius replied that by being a good father or a good son, he was doing the most he could do for his government.

    The followers of Confucius were expected to follow the Dao–the way that is the truth. Confucius spent his life in pursuit of the truth. Confucius divided his life into a series of stages. At the age of 15, he began his studies. At the age of 30, he took his stand. By this he meant that he decided to devote his life to the search for truth. At the age of 40, all his doubts were put aside, that is, he began to understand the way and knew that he must follow it. At 50, Confucius understood what heaven had decreed for him. Heaven had decreed that his proper place and destiny was to teach. It is noteworthy that according to his students. Confucius never talked about the gods. The divine plays almost no role in his teachings; He believed that people can find their way without invoking the gods. At 60, his “ears were properly attuned.” At this age, he knew what he would be doing. At 70, he was conscious that he was treading the path of truth.

    The way of truth is the way of benevolence. For Confucius, the Golden Rule is the path of benevolence, the way of truth and harmony in the world. The path of good is marked in our character by wisdom, courage, and justice. Justice is doing unto others what you would have them do unto you. Courage is steadfastness in truth and doing what needs to be done, unafraid of any consequences. Wisdom—the ultimate goal of the teacher and seeker of truth—is knowing what needs to be done. Moderation joins justice, courage, and wisdom together to ensure that they work in harmony.

    It is possible to compare Confucius, Socrates and Jesus. The virtues encouraged by Confucius are those that Socrates also extolled. Both men devoted their live to teaching others the path of virtue. Both Confucius and Socrates were philosophers who labeled themselves as searchers after truth. They both saw the search for wisdom as the way to truth. Jesus, who was recognized in his own day as a teacher, also engaged in this search for wisdom as the way to truth. The word “education” comes from a Latin root meaning “to lead out from.” Jesus, Socrates, and Confucius wanted to bring out from their students, or disciples, the truth that was already there but had been hidden by the falsity of the world. They sought to reroute the individual from wandering aimlessly through life to following the true path. None of the three great teachers wrote a book because each was a true searcher after truth and knew that the search is a lifelong pursuit.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:41 pm:
    Cicero, On Moral Duties (De Officils)–Our theme is the path we can take to foster what is best for ourselves and others.

    In 44 B.C., on the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated. His assassins, Brutus and Cassius, as well as most of the conspirators, fled Rome. Rome was in the hands of Marc Antony, who was underestimated. Many considered him to be a drunkard and gambler, (lacking the four virtues) but he had gathered all Caesar’s power. One elderly man, who could have enjoyed a quiet retirement, spoke out for the free republic and for liberty, knowing that doing so might cost him his life. (Fortitude) That man was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    In a series of ringing orations, Cicero attacked the character, policy, and intentions of Marc Antony. These powerful orations are called the “Philippics.” Cicero’s attempt failed. Antony joined forces with Caesar’s nephew, who was later known as Augustus, and together, they eliminated all opposition. Cicero was included on the list of those proscribed and was struck dead in 43 B.C. (This act shows a lack of moderation—an act of outrageous arrogance)

    In the last part of his life, beginning in 46 B.C., Cicero refused the high government position that Caesar offered him, opting for retirement. During his retirement, he embarked on a search for truth so that he could base his polities on what was morally good in his effort to preserve freedom in Rome.

    In searching for truth, Cicero wrote “De Officilis” to educate his son, who was spending his “junior year abroad,” studying philosophy in Athens. At the time, philosophy was not an arid academic discipline. It was the crowning accomplishment of a general education. Students who could afford the expense went to Athens to study under one of the great philosophers. Cicero wrote “De Officilis” in the form of a letter to his son to enable the young man to learn from Cicero’s experience.

    During Cicero’s career as an attorney, he demonstrated that a person could be successful and wealthy, as well as a man of integrity. He took difficult and dangerous cases, defending the poor and those in political trouble. Cicero realized the highest calling was public service. He set out to prove that he could be an honest and successful politician. He held political office and was consul of Rome. In 63 B.C., a faction, led by Catiline, sought to destroy the constitution. Cicero took a firm stand, although others warned him that he was following a dangerous course. Cicero put the salvation of his country, its constitution, and its liberty before his own needs. He broke up the conspiracy and took responsibility for having the conspirators put to death. For a while Cicero was exiled, but he was brought back. When Cicero triumphed, Cicero took a stand against Caesar. Cicero believed that Caesar had enormous ability but that he sought to destroy the liberty of Rome for the sake of his own ambition. (An act lacking moderation—outrageous arrogance)

    Cicero tried all his life to follow the moral course. He believed that all morality was founded on the idea of Natural Law. Natural Law is the belief that God exists and is revealed in the reason of nature. The entire universe is a place of reason, and the entire universe reveals the hand of God. Like Plato, Cicero believed that God had established a set of absolute values, including wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. These values exist even if they are denied in everyday life. An individual can be good as well as successful. No dichotomy exists between morality and expediency. An immoral act, such as lying or cheating, can never be helpful. No separation exists between the private and public selves. The highest possible calling for an individual is public duty.

    Wisdom is found in knowing the truth, understanding absolute values, and knowing how to apply these values to one’s life. At the beginning, the individual needs facts and information, but later in life, he can weave these facts into a broader set of knowledge. Knowledge is worthless unless it is used to find and apply in life what is good. In the search for wisdom, the individual must avoid becoming a pedant, studying the insignificant, or retiring from the world to become a scholar. Wisdom consists of knowing how to apply the good to life.

    Justice is the single most important quality that a person can possess. Each individual’s life should be guided by justice. Justice consists of never doing harm to anyone else—either to another’s person or property. The essence of justice is founded in the respect of private property. One great fault is passive injustice, which is to stand by and allow another person to be wronged. Passive injustice occurs when we chose to remain silent because of our own needs or through preoccupation. Justice can even be extended to those who have wronged someone else by avoiding excessive retribution. Except for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, such as parricide, even the guilty deserve an attorney’s best effort. Part of justice is generosity, but an individual should never give more than he or she can afford. We should not ruin ourselves by giving, and we should give with a sense that our generosity will truly help. Morality is built on keeping one’s word, or “fides.” The Romans believed that the empire was built on integrity. However, the individual must be practical. At times, keeping one’s word is wrong.

    Courage is essential to living a life of justice. An individual must have the courage to stand up for what is right. Wisdom is essential to courage. The individual must have the wisdom to know what he should defend. Bravery in the service of evil is savagery.

    Moderation is the fourth quality of goodness. Nothing should be pushed so far that it becomes a wrong. Moderation is a guide for living life and letting the individual know what is right. In selecting a career, an individual must know, in terms of moderation, his or her capabilities. Sometimes people enter an occupation because they inherit it, because of connections, or on a whim. Each person should step back and ask what career he or she is best suited for before making a decision. The highest calling is public service. Those who would pursue a career in public service must be certain they possess the qualities for leadership of the nation. A good leader is not vindictive and does not enter public service for self-interest, self-aggrandizement, or partisanship. Public serve should be a noble and pure undertaking. The public servant must always act with moderation.

    How do we put these theoretical underpinnings into practice? We must recognize that immoral acts are never expedient. The essence of justice is keeping one’s word. The advice in “De Officilis” did not work for Cicero’s son, who was a drunkard, sold his services to Augustus, and lent his name to the new order of Augustus. Although Cicero’s son did not follow the advice given in “De Officilis,” Cicero left future generations this enduring statement of moral justice.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:42 pm:
    To many, including Winston Churchill, the British Empire was a great force for good. To an unprepossessing Indian lawyer, the British Empire, which saw itself at the bastion of liberty, was evil, for it rested on a lie. It denied to many of its subjects the very equality that was the essence of freedom. But no less evil for Mohandas Gandhi would be the use of force to overthrow it and gain independence for India. Drawing on the traditions of Indian thought and reading the “Bhagavad Gita” daily, Gandhi made his own path. Strong in the truth, he used moral power to bring a great power to its knees. His autobiography eschews many of the traditional elements in a life story. Gandhi focuses on his entire life as a search for truth, teaching us that there are many roads to wisdom and many ways to fight the battles of life. He teaches us to be true to ourselves, do what you know to be right, and never give up.

    In 1893, a 24-year-old barrister, Gandhi, was representing an Indian company in South Africa. Although he had a first-class train ticket, he was not allowed to remain in the first-class seating compartment and was thrown off the train. A stagecoach driver also refused to let him sit with the other passengers. This was Gandhi’s introduction to the morality of the British Empire and its legal system.

    The British raj was theoretically based on liberty and equality for all subjects. In reality, one standard of liberty and equality existed for white subjects and another standard existed for those of color. Even science, as taught in many universities, proclaimed the superiority of the white race.

    Gandhi decided to take on the scientific establishment, the legal system, and the power of the British Empire. Armed only with his belief in the truth and his concept of satyagraha–steadfastness in truth, Gandhi took on the empire and led his nation to independence. Gandhi’s life is an example of what one individual can achieve if he or she believes in the truth.

    The story of Gandhi’s life is captured in “An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with the Truth. Gandhi’s autobiography was published in two installments, in 1925 and 1927. It is written in Gujarati, and Indian language, because Gandhi believed that the culture of India was his culture. The subtitle of Gandhi’s autobiography conveys his understanding that we are always making our way toward the truth. Gandhi had a profound belief in God. He was greatly affected by the “Bahavad Gita” and believed that God is truth, but more important, he believed that truth is God and should be worshipped. Truth is in God, and God will progressively reveal wisdom to the searcher for truth. In his “Autobiography” Gandhi does not hesitate to point out his mistakes.

    Gandhi was born in 1869. He begins his autobiography by describing his family and the caste to which they belonged. Gandhi later struggled against the caste system of India. Gandhi’s formal schooling had little impact on him. He believed that the teacher should be the textbook, and the teacher and the teacher’s moral qualities should be what the student retains. At the age of 13, Gandhi was married to a younger girl. At age 35, Gandhi took a vow of celibacy and saw his wife as a creature of pure love.

    After finishing high school and passing his examinations, it was decided that he should become an attorney. In England, Gandhi gradually began to understand how unique his native country was. He met English people who were interested in mystical religions and encourage him to read the “Bhagavad Gita” in English, and it became a part of him. The “Bhagavad Gita” celebrates God as truth and teaches us to follow the path that God has laid out for us. It also says that doing the work of someone else is slavery, but doing the work of God is true liberation. The philosophy of the “Bhagavad Gita” began to shape Gandhi’s thinking. Gandhi passed his examinations at the age of 21. He found that becoming a barrister was easy. He had to attend 12 dinners, study outline notes, and pass the examinations.

    Gandhi returned to India, obtained a job, and left his wife at home while he went to South Africa. In South Africa, Gandhi realized that God was telling him not to be afraid, (have courage) to stand up and recognize the injustice around him as injustice to God, and to put an end to injustice. Gandhi began to teach his fellow Indians that they should not let anyone treat them unjustly, (justice) that they should not harm anyone, that they should stand fast in the truth, (have courage) and that they should struggle for their rights. Gandhi came to the idea of “ahimsa”, which means “nonviolence” (an act of moderation). Gandhi began working with Indians in South Africa. He not only fought for their legal rights but also began a movement for education.

    First in South Africa, then in India, Gandhi opened commune schools and began to educate his students in “ ahimsa–nonviolence” (moderation) and satyagraha. The teachers in Gandhi’s schools were parents. Gandhi believed that parents should be the source of education for their children. At one point, and untouchable (lowest caste in India) family came to the commune. The members of Gandhi’s ashram believed that the untouchables would pollute the commune’s well. Gandhi asked the meaning of his teachings, because he taught that all people were equal in the sight of God. Other commune members said that they believed in equality but did not want the untouchable family there. When Gandhi threatened to leave and return to practicing law, the members of the commune agreed to let the untouchables stay.

    Gandhi then moved to an even larger sphere—he stood up to the British Empire itself. Gandhi had begun to understand that his God-given mission was to help establish an independent India in which Muslims, Hindus, and Christians could live together in unity. This nation would be an India for all Indians.

    Gandhi abandoned European clothes and wore simple Indian dress. He took up spinning. Indians had been required to buy cloth made in Britain. The cotton was grown in India but it was shipped to England and made into cloth, then shipped back to India. Gandhi held mass demonstrations in which European-style clothes and cloth brought from England were burned. The spinning wheel became a symbol of liberation—the wheel of life and a sign of God, with no beginning and no end.

    The British had a monopoly on salt. Gandhi believed that the tax on salt was unjust; it supported oppression. Gandhi said that Indians should not pay the tax on salt: they could obtain salt by marching to the sea. The English could beat the Indians but could not stop them. Gandhi, also called the “Mahatma,” or “great-souled one,” taught his followers to do nothing violent (remain moderate and just) but to keep coming back. (Show fortitude)

    World opinion began to focus on Gandhi. Indians—Muslim as well as Hindu—saw in the figure of Gandhi the symbol of their struggle for liberation and enlightenment. They began to recognize that England and Europe were not the only sources of culture and that India had its own set of ideas that were foreign to the West. Gandhi believed that the culture of England was based on war, struggle, and violence and that capitalism is a form of violence, because it steals from the poor to benefit the rich. Capitalism carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. For Gandhi, the Indian way was the way of God, truth, and nonviolence.

    Gandhi was imprisoned many times. He found in prison new sources of strength. He read “Unto This Last,” by John Ruskin, which taught him three crucial lessons. First, the good of all is encompassed in the good of one individual. Harm to one individual is harm to everyone. Second, every form of work has its own dignity. A barber is as worthy of respect as an attorney. Third, the noblest form of work is to farm and make something with your own hands. Tolstoy’s “Kingdom of God Is Within You” opened a new world to Gandhi. According to Tolstoy, Jesus was not God but taught that everyone has a God within himself. A similar teaching also appears in the “Bhagavad Gita.” Gandhi’s readings showed that unfamiliar books, in addition to great books, can touch the soul.

    Gandhi used self-imposed hunger strikes to protest British actions or the actions of his followers when they refused to follow his path of truth and nonviolence. When Gandhi went on a hunger strike, the British raj feared that he might die and would give in. Gandhi thus harmed no one in his fight for the truth. (Moderation and justice)

    Gandhi’s moral authority played a decisive role in Britain’s decision to give India its freedom and in the decision of many Indians to form political parties that could achieve freedom under a constitutional government. Gandhi was bitterly disappointed in 1947 when India gained its independence but allowed itself to be divided into a largely Muslim Pakistan and a largely Hindu India. Gandhi believed that this partition contradicted his teaching that God had fashioned many roads to truth and that all religions teach the same fundamental values.

    When civil war broke out over disputed territory and thousands were killed, the elderly Gandhi walked from village to village (Fortitude) trying to bring people together. The moral authority of Gandhi had become a threat. Radical who wanted a truly separate Hindu India set out to assassinate Gandhi, and he was shot. With his last word, “Ram,” Gandhi invoked the name of God. The “Bhagavad Gita” says, “He who dies with my name upon his lips is freed forever from the cycle of life and joins me in bliss.”

    Think about this: People record and study history so that they can learn lessons from the past. Ideas are not physical, but they are very powerful. A man, who truly believes in these ideals, can create historical events.

    [Reply]

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:54 pm:
    The art of leadership as it should be was discussed in the works of Socrates and Confucius, as I described in my email to you. However, Machiavelli presented in his book “The Prince”, written in 1513, how leadership is in fact. It is as applicable today as it was during the Renaissance. It is useful to CEOs and politicians. Machiavelli is concerned with power. He teaches how to get power and how to keep it. Machiavelli believes that power is everything. What matters is the sheer possession of power. He is not concerned with using power for any good purpose. The leader leads for his benefit. His subjects are sheep to be sheared or threatened with elimination. He believes, contrary to Socrates and Confucius, in one maxim: “Do others in before they do you in.” Machiavelli came to this conclusion by studying the lessons of history. History shows that tyrants are frequently men of mediocre ability, who focus on power and are utterly ruthless in its pursuit. Machiavelli described people as they were. The lessons of Machiavelli are written throughout history, especially the histories of Greece and Rome.

    Machiavelli believed that power is the only thing that people want and that people will do anything to attain it. He believed that the teaching of Socrates, Confucius and Jesus were fine intellectually, but people do not actually behave that way.

    Machiavelli was born in Florence in 1469 and died in 1527. He came from a family of distinction. He had a good education in Latin classics. He learned that history could be used to understand the present. Machiavelli entered bureaucratic service, became a diplomat and traveled widely.

    Machiavelli taught that a person must first decide if he wants power, because a person who does not want power should not seek a role in leadership. Those who seek power must be willing to do whatever is necessary to obtain it.

    The leader must possess several characteristics. He must be cunning, not wise philosophically. He must understand people. The leader is not seeking ultimate truth, he is searching for what works. The leader must be stingy. It is not good to give gifts to people or the leader will be ruined financially. Money is one of the means to procure power. Power is about force, and money is needed to buy that force and sustain it. The leader must be cruel. Being hated and feared is better than being loved. People will not aid a loved leader unless it is convenient for them. However, they will aid a cruel leader in fear of being punished if they do not give him aid when he needs it. The ability to lie is key to his success. The leader should never keep a promise unless it is convenient. He should say whatever is expedient at the moment, than do what he pleases.

    He must appoint his immediate supporters. They must be capable, loyal and under the leader’s control. The followers must be flatterers, but the leader must know when they are flattering him. Anyone who contradicts the leader in public or gives a frank opinion in public must be removed.

    The lessons of Machiavelli were not lost on Hitler and Stalin, who used cruelty and shrewdness. Trotsky, an opponent of Stalin, said, “Joseph Stalin is a mediocrity, but he is not a nonentity.

    [Reply]

  • diane elizabeth ballou

    Dear Dan,
    I hope I can find my way back to this site when I have time to read the above, all of it. I got her by tring to find my way back to my all about God page. I have been here before, on the subject of gender problems. Going to go pray. See you again soon I hope.
    Love,
    diane elizabeth ballou

  • diane elizabeth ballou

    “I’m back and I’m better than ever” Be confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perform it til the day of Christ Jesus!

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