your words and ideas can
change the world.”
“It is never my custom to use words lightly.. If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”
– Nelson Mandela July 2000
“We have ancient habits to deal with, vast structures of power, indescribably complicated problems to solve. But unless we abdicate our humanity altogether and succumb to fear and impotence in the presence of the weapons we have ourselves created, it is as possible and as urgent to put an end to war and violence between nations as it is to put an end to poverty and racial injustice.“
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes”
– Washington Irving“
Regardless the general conviction that our human potential is enormous, that things are possible which were never thought to be possible, and that only limiting your choices in life to what seems possible is not always the best deal, – for certain there are limitations at both the personal and environmental level… This despite opinions that if you believe enough, you get it… which applies both at collective and personal level and I guess we all know about this, it’s often about vision..
Within this context I like to say a few things, moving from the personal level to the collective level, – the last within the domain of the necessity to take the future of humanity up to the next level. All part of a new frontline in our shared values on our concern and attention, – for the future of this world.
Robert Fritz once wrote: “It is not what a vision is, it’s what a vision does….”
We may wonder what a vision does….it’s a question!..
The question is both relevant in theatre, composition, music and actually all areas of life including our individual existences..
A hard one perhaps for most of us at times, and we have to struggle for it at various degrees. The dynamics of this are not always easy.
The question at times is: “What is your or my vision really doing?” ……………Not one single human being trying to find purpose in life does not know about this question, – ..we all ask this ourselves at times.
At times it’s all part of “the battlefield of the mind”, – the heart perhaps as well… Finding direction through vision…
Many of us try to find meaning or purpose in life through both vision and direction and this is for almost everyone different, diverse as we are.
But to come back on vision:
Vision is the ability to see, – yes to “SEE”… And how complex this can be…..
Often difficult because we are tight into our realities of day-to-day living with so many tasks at hand, so many things to do. And the nature of things we do or have to do is not rarely difficult to line up with the things we really wish to do, we really wish “to SEE”, – perhaps… Because as how we see things for the future can be so different from the way we see things as they are now….
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. She was asked once : “Is there anything worse than being blind?….” “Yes,” she replied,… “having eyesight but no vision!” ….
For sure this interesting woman within her context knew what she was speaking about. Vision has to do with the belonging of the future, a vivid image of a fascinating future perhaps. Maybe a powerful expectation. If we get a glimpse of such thing, and the last one being strong enough, we may say this is where we are going and because of that, this is what we are going to do….The point is how strong is the desire, the attraction and the will to live that way to get this image near.
Some would say that whatever we put our mind on is possible within human dimensions…..A concept being put forward and popular within e.g. “the law of attraction”, where emotions and vivid imaginations play such a vital role.. For sure helpful at some extend. In all this vision plays a role, a way of putting things forward with taking everyday a few steps into manifesting the image we created. Creating is a vital word in this process.
This may apply to music, theatre, writing, education, Ministry, Government, our lives and other lives.. Hence there is truth in Robert Fritz saying that the most important thing is what a vision is doing, the dynamics of a work in process. The last as a result of the desire so explicitly lived and worked, both in our imagination and reality, with creativity.
Of many people who died too early through circumstances out of their control, it will never be known how they would have advanced further, how they would have developed their future. We know however that external forces can put an end to things. Likewise for many people does apply as well that restrictive internal forces, combined with particular circumstances perhaps, may cause great obstacles for any vision in progress if we consider the question: What is my vision or your vision doing and what will occur from this? ..
What can we say, in all of this, about courage or being discouraged, attitude and self-awareness? ..All of this within the context of words, ideas and vision….
Changing an attitude, returning to a work in progress when one has been discouraged, is surely difficult. One must not only revise the outstanding work or works , but one must also revise him or herself as well. Nothing is harder than self-transformation, which must start with self-awareness. People are just different in both their “make up”, strength, desires and believe systems. But also in their self-awareness. From changing self-awareness may start self-transformation, which is a need at the base for life changing desires and a vision working its way towards manifestation, – the last with perhaps a bit of luck at times.
Apart from this, apart from simple luck or unprovoked misery, – the thing that strikes me with some of the great historical people in the past is that their vision, embedded in their personality, had a chance to develop into a singleness of purpose over time… In some “oneness” of soul vision and purpose, – acquired at times through inspiration and intuition, over many years, – and not rarely weathering various storms and set backs.
Both e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr . Abraham Lincoln and Robert F. Kennedy had in common that they had all some strong attentions to easing the suffering of some of the less fortunate people, despite the fact that they did not see the outcome or impact they had… Their inner process or their soul’s purpose did however evolve slowly over time, with a variety of circumstances and their personal response to it, – the last contributing to the recognition of their own “blue print” later on in life. They contributed to the dignity of the will to live, at large from public office. They stood by those being put in the shadow, with a strong sense of social justice, – with a strong sense of focus as well to improve humanity as part of their actions..
Inspiration and perseverance can do a lot, including running that extra mile. However when we are born in Syria or Iraq or certain other countries, at some degree we have to deal with what is on our plate there. The will to live for most people on those places is only tuned in on survival…
As within a narrative on nature, we can say that an acorn holds the pattern for an oak tree and even oak trees are different. Or the other way round, an oak tree was once an oak nut…. Often the secret is in the structure of the oak nut, which does not take away that an oak tree may be leaning to the east if the wind through the life time of this tree mainly came from the west. Finding one’s blueprint and acting from this is not the most easiest exercise. There is much we have in common and sharing from this in our united efforts will relieve much of the load we have to carry as human beings. Some are more lucky than others in shifting, digging and dropping sediments on their plate as part of their search for meaning purpose and planning.
There are however no rules in finding your own “blueprint” in life, as being – by comparison – the acorn of an oak tree…
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” — Robert Frost
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell
“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” —George Bernard Shaw
Being asked at some stage why this blog had the pretentious title; “We dream about things that never were and say: why not?”, – I refer back to one of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) “Back to Methuselah“, which actually is a series of five plays on its own.
In “Back to Methuselah” the above quote is used by The Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The play was performed for the first time in New York City at the Garrick Theatre in 1922 and entailed for the time a most interesting science fiction fantasy which took three nights to do.
The former US Senator and assassinated Presidential Candidate Robert F Kennedy (1968) borrowed this quote and said it differently: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”
Kennedy and Martin Luther King were the people at the forefront for change in the United States during the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King was assassinated just a couple of months before Robert Kennedy was killed.
The movement for change came to a standstill, the Vietnam War escalated, – social issues to be developed in the US were put on hold. The last until the movement for change embodied in President Barack Obama evolved into a new episode in US history, at a time crucial for various developments in the world.
If the further movement for change on issues of human rights, on Peace and International Stability requires to get stronger, and if the quote in above fiction play (from Bernard Shaw) is being allowed to embody a stronger emphasis, then the “I” part in the quote needs to be changed in the “We” part.
We are all strongly interdependent and if the “dream” in whatever entity resonates as a ripple effect across the generations, like the waves are coming and going but (!) always coming in terms of new energy, “We” may create a movement eventually which breaks the obstacles for Peace and stability, the obstacles to reduce poverty and keep the ingredients to protect this small planet against climate changes and other disruptions of various nature.
We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”, reflects a shift in perception so to say. A shift in thinking where new and better options are explored, new ways discovered. Where the creativity from the right part of the brain takes over the reactive activity from the left side of the brain, the last where those activities are not balanced in the actions of people. Actions which are not right and call for change. Actions which require passion and creative thought for peace and development.
Where conscious activities take over the activities from the mind, as it is not the mind which dictates the outcome of the future, the first determines then the outcome of our common activities.
Obviously we can do this as people in breaking with the past where this is required and at times we do this by choice, – using this gift we all have.
At the end it is not “I” it is “We”!
There is no pretentious aim in the title of this blog, – as it is not about “me”, it is about “We” as a people, “We” as people, “We” embodied in the future with plenty of issues to be resolved. “We” who bear both the seeds of potential and defeat.
Defeat we had, potential we need.
Far too often we see the scary demeanour of empty confidence and coolness in this world.
People who both often speak too noisy with overbearing pride. People often who build their lives at a cost of others, –the last not rarely with intolerance and suppression. We see this in families, our communities, in organisations where people are still able to manage from inflated principles, – and finally we see this in our country and many countries around us.
Often in “the culture” as well of our political systems, – whether they are democratic or the opposite.
The more suppression there is the more violence it may create, with violence creating retaliation and retaliation creating more violence, – whether this is the violence in our demeanour or the violence of a society.
Again and too often we see the sickness of not rarely whole societies, – with true respect for those who turn against it. And too often as well again we see the sickness of the souls of those people with the kind of sickness we are neither able to remove nor to heal.
What we can remove however is the hidden sickness of our own souls and shine as brightly as we can, – knowing that we don’t live in a perfect world. But the last thing which remains by free choice is trying to take away some part of the misery of humanity and this world, when it comes our way drop by drop and piece by piece, – either by coincidence or by choice.
In the final analysis as human beings, – we have the last choice. And again this is not about “Me or I”, but it is about “We”, – where the sum of our individual activities do help to call the trumpet of our collective activities. The last in alignment with a massive human orchestra, directed perhaps by those conductors representing global efforts in favour of increasing international coöperation on the issues of our time.
This part is not seeing things and standing by only, – and wondering “why?”. This is part of the active process of “Dreaming things that never were and say: Why not?” A creative and proactive activity, an ongoing movement for change where only “we” as a people can make this change.
In the broader sense of the word it is a team effort of gigantic proportions, which does not fail when one of the leaders would be assassinated, but where the group activity would make sure that the anti-movement would be eliminated by the proper law enforcement which would be the fruit of our collective endeavours, – and the movement would endure, regardless death, which surrounds us day by day.
Whilst the reality of this world may make many of us pessimistic, – the power of being hopeful and believing in the potential goodness of human nature and going beyond the realities of ignorance and violence, – provides us with the seeds to “Dream things which never were and say: “Why not?”
So let us go forth therefore unto keeping the human spirit alive, against all odds.
Let us go forth into the field where we are able to touch the lives of others who walk in “the dark”, whether they are rich or poor, – whether they represent countries in regression or under repression. As both in our communities we are able to offer the peace which helps people to move forward and inevitably among countries as well, – we are able to support those who need guidance. Not the support of weapons, which only give destruction and not the provision of hope, – but the support to inhabit this planet within the range of our human destiny where forces against its survival can be controlled by the rational end of the human spirit.
The last to be shared with the vigilant efforts within our families, communities and finally between countries, – where law enforcement on peace, human rights and the protection of our environment is not impossible.
Not even impossible in times where annihilation still is possible, – when people can’t do without this enforcement on peaceful efforts to settle disputes of any kind.
Therefore we need to continue to dream things that never were and continue to say, – as acting we must: “Why not?” Each time and in each generation those efforts need to be renewed. Each time and in each generation new identities need to be evolved to combat the danger of evil spirits and evil movements, – whether it is organised crime or human trafficking, whether it applies to countries who foo the world or people who represent terrorist activities.
Where non-violence needs to be the universal aim, – violence can’t be always prevented as ready we need to be to combat the risks of greater destructions.
Never ever we will live in a perfect world. Never ever will there be an enduring peace as there is always the risk of conflict. But “We” as a people need to dream things to create the antidote for the evils of humanity, – which is an active process starting at the base of our own conscience in all our day to day activities where we have to make choices, where we have to make choices to make things better or bitter.
Therefore we have to dream things which never were and say” Why not?” Not because the people have to do it for us, but we have to do it for the people, for those who deserve our care and compassion.
Again lastly (I touched base on this before), the last responsibility we have as people is to remove the hidden sickness of our own souls. Either the sickness from the past or the present, which manifest itself in small and often unnoticed deeds. It’s a process of personal growth which means we need to leave certain things behind us and replace this by better things today and shine as such as brightly as we can.
After sustaining and surviving the most horrible experiments in 2nd WW concentration camps, – it is as Victor Frankl once said about choice.
Indeed, at the end we have a free choice.
They can take away everything from us, and even at the last moment we have the final choice as how to respond or not respond at all anymore.
So neither death nor life needs to face us in the things we don’t understand, as long we play our own part on this little planet.
At the end nothing is terminal, everything is transitional, – even where death separates us from our duties here on earth.
But the duties continue in hopefully endless generations to come, each with its specific problems where man made problems need to be resolved.
And finally therefore the “We” part in saying we dream things that never were and say “Why not?” is so important, because the power of our collective dreams for a better world in action creates a ripple effect which can’t be stopped, – neither today nor tomorrow!
Paul Alexander Wolf
- An Englishman in New York (hiscoxusa.com)
- Letters to Writers – On Making Mistakes (G.B. Shaw) (contemplatinglove.com)
- George Bernard Shaw in his own words. (oneworldchronicle.com)
- Creating Oneself (aryasowl.wordpress.com)
- Dreams (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
- Unkind Postures of the Boss (spyghana.com)
- They’re All Mad (theburningplatform.com)
- Happy New Year!! (docreits.com)
- 365 Quotes to Inspire You in 2014 (inc.com)
- Everyone had a friend in Cynthia (muscatinejournal.com)
“Democracy…while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams (1735 – 1826)
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”. – John F Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions”. – Barack Obama (1961 – )
In addition to the first chapter the following comments are justified as part of a broader introduction.The circles of Washington are mysterious , dark and deep, and each President has to balance wisely before he sleeps, – balance wisely before he sleeps.
Robert Frost with his quote: “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, – and miles to go before I sleep…”, – phrased it slightly differently.
However, – despite the promises the balance of how far one can go and except degrees of injustice to meet perhaps more justice eventually, proved different for each US President. Sometimes it takes an inch, sometimes it takes indeed miles. However in general much depends on the integrity, the ideology and the wisdom of the US President, besides obviously the circumstances to be addressed, – but also the persons being nominated (or already in place) to advise the President on matters of both domestic and foreign policy.
Many issues as we know evolve in close coöperation with a variety of advisers, apart from e.g. Agencies such as the FBI, the CIA and the Pentagon. Those Agencies in good hands serve for certain the right purpose as long as they stick to their original assignments.
“Profiles in Presidential violations of Justice” does not discuss the current US President ( Barack Obama) as such as he still is at an early stage of his Presidency. The article “Interim assessment of a President” (within this Blog) gives a more detailed indication on this remarkable first African American President.
Presidential dynamics have not been always the same in US history and the selection of people in key positions of the Pentagon and the CIA (after President Truman established the CIA in 1947) are and will be always vital where it comes to both competence and integrity within the scope of the various obligations of those Agencies, – especially where US Presidents rely on the intelligence provided by those Agencies.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” does neither go into the finer details on the lives of some US Presidents in the past, nor does it mention the broader legacy in any extended detail.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” is a reflection only on some significant incidents against the principles of justice, some worse than others. However what those Presidents did at crucial moments during their Presidency against this justice, sometimes already before entering this office, has been a touchstone of their character. Not rarely it did effect far too many people.
Any new President at the start is facing the challenge to set up a cabinet of capable, effective and reliable people. Besides this there is the building up of relationships with the various existing Government agencies including the Pentagon, which are all vital to set the tone for the rest of the Administration in the years lying ahead. All those people and groups contribute to the making of a President but obviously the Presidency itself provides the required choices to show what lies ahead. Those final choices give directions, – either being in the positive or in the negative. Once an US President get compromised it is difficult at times to get out of it, depending on the strength of character. John F Kennedy took e.g. the full blame of the Bay of Pigs failures which was however related with poorly provided information by the CIA. Presidential failures still, whether they are genuine or deliberate, provide valuable lessons for the future. Deliberate actions to mislead the public with a criminal background or intend are obviously far more serious than the genuine mistakes anybody can make in such a place, as long there is evidence that some quality ways to reach certain decisions were in place.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives an insight in the complexities and different dynamics of various Presidential Administrations and the choices being made. It starts from the 22nd of November 1963 (when President John F Kennedy was assassinated) until the 21st of January 2009 when the last Bush Administration ended and the Obama Administration did begin.
The greater call for all Presidents was to do better for the country and serve as such, besides obviously personal ambitions. Those last 2 aspects might have been different for each President. The ways and the programs have been different as well. Likewise the level of integrity has been different for earlier Presidents being faced with the bigger questions and the larger picture, which did include the Presidential coöperation with various US security Agencies and the dealings with both US Congress and US law. It proves that whatever is public knowledge is not always the truth, and that some Presidents were in principle and by principle compromised already before they took the Presidential oath to the Constitution.
Some US Presidents did contribute towards a program for domestic reforms whilst at the same time approving various CIA covert operations at a level neither in line with morality nor US law.
Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the duty to protect the interests of the US and make recommendations to the President, who has the final responsibility of decision-making.
Both Agencies have admirable people on board with the highest levels of integrity and duty of service where it comes to the protection of the US against dangers from abroad, – whether those dangers are inflicted by eg Al-Qaeda terrorist cells at present, or dangers of so-called rogue states who may prove an increasing danger in the future. The past showed however under various Presidents that those Agencies were not governed (anymore) by some reasonable required standards of morality, or accuracy in providing intelligence or security information. Neither did it prove that the Presidential powers as they were exercised were in line with the required standards given by US Law and Constitution.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives at least an insight where and how those standards with some Presidents failed, and it gives an insight why they failed and which areas of systems might be subject for further improvement.
Dangerous situations may arise when Government Agencies are not operating under the full control of the US President, or when e.g. the nominated persons being CIA Director or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have full control of both “the culture” and working dynamics of their own organisations, or when they simply hide information for the purpose of their own agenda’s. The system fails as well when those Agencies (the FBI included) have an Organisational agenda neither being in alignment within the Constitutional balance of powers, nor with US law.
History proves that there have been incidents in which US Presidents acted on proper and correct information of those Agencies, however history proves as well that if the US President would have acted on the intelligence provided, – the world would not have existed anymore as due to failures to give complete information as required. The Cuba crisis in 1962 is a clear example of this.
The Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 did show many years later CIA involvement, including involvement at the highest US political powers in the cover up. All for various dark reasons and both – needless to say – against the Constitution and the US law. The public was seriously misled by the Warren Commission and some do show that the “9/11 Commission” was of similar nature with the intend to mislead US citizens. The people supposed to protect the Constitution and the law at the time, were reportedly involved in various cover up’s at the highest levels of Government, – which is neither a good reflection of a democracy nor the justice systems being supposed to be fully operational without discrimination of any nature.
History does further show that US Presidents already compromised before they even started their Presidency, were unlikely to resist the pressures from above Agencies. For this reason they did collaborate in close coöperation with some of those Agencies at times the independent view and the wisdom of the President was required to make final decisions. The lack of required integrity did involve certain activities neither known by the public, nor by Congress, – and obviously profoundly against US law or common justice.
In the most positive scenario, “Profiles in US Presidential violations of justice” may support further discussion to improve the regulation systems within “the US balance of powers”. The last actually to protect the US against itself. If those systems do not improve, some historical events being reflected on would be able to repeat itself with an unpredictable and different identity. Those situations could potentially provoke the most dangerous situations the US as a Republic and Democracy could face.
US Presidents may fail for various reasons, as long as the detection systems (including the internal checks within the Constitutional balance of powers) do not fail, and as long it is clear that neither US Presidents, nor the CIA, neither Officials of the Pentagon nor any other Agency, are able to work outside the powers of the law, or the Constitution, or outside the legitimate requirements of US Congress.
US Presidents (with full Congressional support) need to be strong enough to rule the major background powers in the US, – based on fair common sense and proper value systems with evidently both the broader picture in mind, together with a high level of integrity.
Within the context of those earlier Presidential dynamics including a variety of covert operations for different reasons, it is realistic to say that never ever had the US so much to lose or so much to gain, and that all decisions within the US Constitution delegated to the Executive branch should be based on merit and purpose for the US future itself. Hence the political system in the US needs to work optimal in line with the principles provided by both the law and the Constitution.
With the fall of communism but still an ongoing Arab – Israeli conflict; with wars in Vietnam and Iraq behind us, but still the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as part of the war in Afghanistan (where the “war on terror” designed to defend Western values escalated into a conflict with disregard for human rights), – we now may face a reality that China may overtake the US as the world’s greatest superpower. Where the Holocaust did show genocide at a never experienced scale, the cold war brought us close to global nuclear destruction in 1962 through incomplete management and advise of both the CIA and the Pentagon against the dangers inflicted by the Soviets. It was wise management however of John F. Kennedy as President which saved the world due to his independent and broader views. The US needs internal protection that a history of military confrontation for the wrong reasons, is not going to compromise a future for the right reasons.
The US has a history of many costly wars which brought the federal budget deficit at record level without any proportionate benefit, however never took it the time and the opportunity to reëxamine its own attitude and responsibility in the many predicaments it both faced and created.
It takes the wider community of US Government Executives and Controlling powers to raise the US above the standards of the past, and to embrace both the opportunities and challenges of the future with a wise balance of principle centred leadership where proper value systems are at the core of the decisions being made. The last to ease a direction towards more positive global dynamics, based on fruitful interdependence with in the end a better economy and prosperity for those nations being involved. This direction includes reduction of terror activities by at least not provoking this terror within the domain of US power.
“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gets at the heart of this required principle centred leadership – with examples where it went wrong against both the Constitution and the law.
Each Presidential profile offers material for sustained discussion as it does touch base on the fundamental question which direction to go in a world facing more dangers than ever before. The response on problems, crisis and disasters is as important as those pending disasters, crisis and problems itself and it will be clear that US response in e.g.areas of foreign policy has been highly inadequate and dangerous at times.
The following 8 chapters will picture the problems and foundations of the decision-making US Presidents differently and the last epilogue will summarise some events.
Next article will start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President who took over after the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Paul Alexander Wolf
- The only thing we have to fear is CIA (rinf.com)
- Truman’s True Warning on the CIA (consortiumnews.com)
- SIX JFK SHOOTERS, THREE TIED TO CIA, NAMED – Oswald not among them (stateofglobe.com)
- The only thing we have to fear is CIA (truthfrequencyradio.com)
- SIX JFK SHOOTERS, THREE TIED TO CIA, NAMED – Oswald not among them (veteranstoday.com)
- Presidential pillockry! (adscam.typepad.com)
- President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations Of 2013 (ijreview.com)
- Gen. Michael ‘No Probable Cause’ Hayden (consortiumnews.com)
- FOCUS | The Only Thing We Have to Fear…Is the CIA (readersupportednews.org)
- The Only Thing We Have To Fear… (lewrockwell.com)