“For my teachers, unfortunately, certain things were, as they are for you, only tales of power”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Ikigai: A Reason for Being (Purpose)

n

The concept of Ikigai:

ikigai

I don’t feel that I’ve been able to live in this convergence. I would also want to see another dimension in it … one that relates to happiness and well-being since I believe it is possible to live in this convergence with negative outcomes and personal sacrifice in well-being and happiness.

I came across Ikigai in this OK, but tedious and not as convincing as I wanted it to be, presentation from Michel Bauwens:

What disappointed me in the Bauwens presentation was that is felt academic and theoretical (which I’ve come to expect from Bauwens) and offered nothing actionable.

The first question that was given to him by the host (Yohai Benkler – which feels like a name I should recognize but don’t) was good but in my opinion faulty. It assumed (and was not challenged) that because past transitions involved war and bloodshed, that the coming / current value transition would also require wars … and asked where those wars would be. The question forced Bauwens into a kind of theoretical prophecy that led to a very high-worded academic but, in my heart, empty response.

The question of violence also touched on the issue of feminine and masculine dominance (which I felt was wrongly framed as men & women) which came up in the presentation and in a followup question.What if these two issues are related. Could it be that if we had more feminine guidance that we could approach transition with softness instead of harshness? Could it be that that transition is already in the making?

During numerous points in the presentation I felt that Alexander’s unfolding wholeness is a key dimension that was missing from it. Unfolding wholeness, in a way, pulls the rug out from the assumption that there is going to be a definitive transition (or that there ever was one). Instead it postulates that we will witness a continuous and gradual development and change (which is hinted at in the presentation). What if we experience “wars” when we resist this kind of natural development and instead try to push systems (natural and human) into forced, mechanistic and usually destructive change that is better aligned with a dominant (and dominating), male and controlling attitude?

Maybe in a more balanced masculine/feminine world Ikigai is a valid diagram. In the male dominates world we live in, it needs a definitive feminine dimension to be complete.

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Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See

n

Visual inspiration

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Yoga: Tuning & Change On and Off the Mat

n

A recent conversation with Annelieke left me reflecting on the relationship between Yoga on-the-mat and  Yoga off-the-mat. How do life choices off-the-mat resonate with on-the-mat practice to form a continuous tapestry of change?

I was surprised to recall a device I learned about many years ago in high-school when I was studying electronics (surprised because electronics has not been a part of my life except for school). The device is called a phase-locked-loop and was used in FM radios.

fmradio

For those who remember doing this 🙂 … when you wanted to tune into a radio station, say 88FM, you would move a dial and as the indicator neared 88FM the signal would improve. If you shot past it, the signal would fade. There was a sweet spot where the sound came out clearest. What most people don’t know is that there is a finer process of tuning taking place behind the scenes. The dial and indicator are no-where near precise enough to select the actual frequency in which the radio station is broadcasting. The dial only allow you to come close enough for the phase-locked-loop device to kick in and do some automated tuning that locks onto the specific frequency (which is most likely not exactly 88MHZ but a frequency very close to it).

My experience has been that relatively little change takes place on-the-mat. There are fleeting moments of noticeable change, but they are the exceptions to the rule. Most of the time, practice on-the-mat is a repetition. Change is mostly subtle. Change I experience on the mat is like the phase-lock-loop mechanism – subtle tuning improvements to my current channel. It allows me to hear more clearly what the melody of my life is like on this channel.

What about changing channels? Practice on-the-mat does not do that. Changing channels is life changes …  diet, life-style, living conditions, relationships … the practices of yama and niyama. The practice on-the-mat does offer, every time I care to look, a mirror .. an opportunity to see where I am, what my life is like, how I feel. Practice on the mat can help me to refine my listening, to witness better, with more subtlety, with more discernment. But sometimes my conclusion is that I want to change something in my life … I want a different melody … a better melody … I want to change channel.

This also seems to fit with my reflection on the relationship of refinement of ashtanga (the eight-limbs) of Yoga. Pranayama sheds light on the qualities of Asana practices. Asana practices shed light on how I perceive and relate to myself (Niyama). How I relate to myself sheds light on how I perceive the world around me (yama).

A superficial glimpse of Yoga may leave an impression (or carry an expectation) that Yoga is what happens on-the-mat. That logic then begs a question: how does practice on-the-mat effect life off-the-mat? What if that question is inverted? When I get on the mat my entire life comes on with me … every time. There is nothing I can do to prevent it. That logic then begs a different question: how does life meet my practice on the mat?  I do not come to the mat to change. I come to the mat to see where I am and what I see. Discoveries on the mat inform me in making changes in my life.

My ability to see myself with more clarity DOES change on the mat is. That change comes from a long term, continuous, stable, deepening, caring and inspired practice. But ultimately, to experience substantial change, I must take my discoveries on the mat to my life off the mat … and there, I have found, is a life’s worth of demanding practice and potentially unrelenting change.

Getting on the mat opens a door. Change is what awaits me when I walk through that door … and if I don’t … well …

Posted in Models & Metaphors, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Media Literacy

n

Another very good episode of Team Human. This time about media literacy … how to bring into our collective awareness that when we use digital platforms (both as consumers and creators of content) we are acting in a space that has been created and shaped by others. Others have made choices (conscious and less conscious) that effect what we can or cannot do and how we do it and how we perceive what it is we are doing … and these choices not only shape our consciousness but are amplified by it as we engage these platforms in communicating with others … and how true this is not only in our digital world but also in our physical and built world.

What happens when people are awoken to the existence of an underlying program and to the realization that they can be active participants (instead of submissive players) in its creation?

 

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To love is to give a space to grow

n

This movie had an interesting quality to it. I didn’t find it particularly moving, nor complete … yet underlying currents in it touched me. Maybe that speaks to Zazen 🙂

“To love is to give a space to grow”

source

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Trust Disrupted: Bitcoin and the Blockchain

n

A good overview of some of the fascinating issues that the bitcoin and blockchain spaces are experiencing. An underlying assumption in this field, that is not explicitly mentioned, is that technology and mathematics can be used to generate trust where people (for different reasons) cannot. That is one of the main reasons I am a disbeliever in bitcoin (and to a lesser degree blockchain) – these are technologies that systemically create disconnection and remove the need for trust to form. I look forward to technologies that can help us form real relationships and real trust amongst humans on a scale we have yet to experience.

This is the first of 6 videos (as I write these words):

 

 

Posted in AltEco, Business, Community, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, Money, outside, Tech Stuff | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Better Companies: Equal Footing

n

So much information reaches me about what a mess we humans are making of this world … so it is uplifting to see a movie like this about companies that operate so differently from the companies I encountered in my career and life. These are established, producing, competitive companies who demonstrate that the well being and development of employees is directly tied to the well being and development of the business. As I was watching this, I wondered, what would my life trajectory have looked like had I encountered a work-place that recognized me, treasured my skills and created a culture and environment that enabled me to develop and grow, not just as an individual, but as part of a team.

AUGENHÖHE OV with English subtitles from AUGENHÖHEworks on Vimeo.

Posted in AltEco, Business, Community, Intake, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Putting your house in order

n

“Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.”

Leonard Cohen

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We are getting exhausted at maintaining an ugly world

n

It’s been a while since I’ve heard Charles Eisenstein talking … in The Fertile Ground of Bewilderment it feels like a fresh wave of crystallization is passing through him:

“… the core is changing … interbeing is the truth. We can only surpress it at great and growing effort, until we become exhausted. It’s like a parking lot covered in cement … if you don’t constantly maintain it in a state of ugliness then beauty will errupt. Dandelions will come up, it will crack and in fifty years it will be beautiful. And we are getting exhausted now at maintaining an ugly world.”

Posted in AltEco, Enjoy, inside, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to add your comment

Hotair Ballooning

n

Iulia and I joined her sister (and a couple of her friends) to visit a hot-air balloon festival which takes place regularly this year not too far from us (~2 hour drive). Fortunately (because we did not register in advance and because morning flights were cancelled due to climate conditions) we were able to get places on a balloon.

A couple of test balloons (party sized, not people sized) were released by the event organizer and it was decided that we could not take off from the festival grounds because winds would have carries us into forest areas where there is no place to land … so we got into cars and drove out ~8km … where we stopped in a field, and another test balloon was launched … and it was decided that this location wasn’t good either … we drove back a bit to  another location … apparently this a routines part of hot-air ballooning.

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In the next field the 3 balloon teams started unpacking20160923_175139

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and doing some  navigation planning

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then out came fans which started to blow air into the balloons20160923_180509

I was too preoccupied taking pictures to help but Iulia wasn’t …

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Finally, when there was enough air in it was time to activate those powerful burners

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… and pretty soon the balloon was upright and we were inside it

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… one balloon took of before us 20160923_181922

… then another balloon took of 20160923_182027

… and finally we were going up

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… and the ground quickly started moving away

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and we got a whole new perspective of the area we were in20160923_182637

We were a group of 3 balloons in radio contact. If I understood correctly navigating a balloon is done by changing altitude. Wind strength and direction is different at different altitudes. In choosing the balloon’s altitude the captain is actually choosing what winds will be carrying the balloon. Sometimes we were up and and sometimes down. Sometimes we couldn’t easily tell if a neighboring balloon was coming down or we were going up

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The flight was short 20-30 minutes … a small tree (behind the balloon in the picture below) got in the way or our landing … and the spot we were in wasn’t really accessible by car … so when the driver finally arrived (found us) the team started moving the balloon down the hill … the captain was gently adding heat and the other two were dragging the balloon towards the car …

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until the two were oneo again and the balloon started coming down20160923_185800

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… and if like we were, you too are wondering how that thing is deflated … you can gradually folded it from the basket end … but our team had what looked like a massive twisted exhaust pipe which did the trick … though is not as easy to use as one would think it is … looked like tough work20160923_190712

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and then the balloon was repacked … and that was ALMOST the end of that 20160923_191126

because the team that was flying Iulia’s sister had an even less fortunate landing that involved an oak tree that wouldn’t give … and way up the hill where their car couldnt’ reach either … so it had to be started up again and as with our balloon had to be carried a much longer way down the hill where it too was folded and packed … here it is being fired up again20160923_193308

so we arrived back at the festival grounds late and hungry … but with a sweet experience of flying in a hot-air balloon 🙂

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Basecamp Company Spinoff

n

A beautiful example that business CAN be made simple and sweet:

“But first, there are a million ways to spin-off a company. And most of them are fucking complicated. Complicated stuff is anathema to us at Basecamp, so anything messy, extensively lawyer-y, protracted, knotty, or otherwise elaborate was off the table. So what was simple?

… So we decided to give Claire half of it. We’d own 50%, she’d own 50%. Her 50% wouldn’t cost her anything.

We wanted her, she was up for the challenge, and the money that she would have to normally come up with to buy-in wasn’t an amount that mattered enough to us to put any hurdles in the way of making it happen. Plus, we didn’t have to mess around with silly valuations either. Why complicate things?

We’d maintain that 50/50 partnership until she generated $1,000,000 in new sales. It could take 3 weeks, it could take 3 months, it could take 3 years. The $1,000,000 was cumulative — she’d hit it whenever she hit it. And when she did, we’d flip the partnership in her favor. She’d now own 75%, and we’d own 25%. And that’s how it would run in perpetuity.”

The source post includes the actual term sheet:

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Failed Attempts at Negative Interest

n

First I came across this article about negative interest spotted in the wild. I was surprised to see this manifest so soon. Things seem to be moving faster.

But then I came across this even more interesting article about negative interest backfiring. Basically a person who just manages to get by from a monthly income and is trying to save for retirement, watches with worry, when any saving she is able to set aside (without investing it in any risk-related monetary tools) shrinks due to negative interest.

There seems to be a conflict between the underlying story of negative interest and the underlying story of prevalent money / economics. The latter is a story of unlimited economic growth – a growth imperative rooted in interest is built into it. Negative interest, however, comes from a story in which money is in a constant state of healthy flow – systems of either steady-state or degrowth economics. It seems that prevalent economic, in its religious clnging to the growth imperative, is trying to subvert negative interest for its own means – to induce economic growth. But apparently that is not working.

To get an idea of what an alternative “retirement fund” could be we need to look past money and to reflect about the functions we expect it to provide. Lets say that when I retire I want to know that I will have a place to live, access to good food and people who will be able to support and care for some of my needs as I become less able to do so myself. What if instead of setting aside money to be able to buy these things in the future I could invest money I currently have in social enterprises that would create infrastructure that could provide me with those services. The level of my investment in these services would determine the level of service that could be made available for me when I retire

Near zero interest rates and a destablized global economy make it very difficult to create money-based savings for retirement. Now imagine negative interest applied in such a world. Instead of worrying about future value of money or watching it lose its value sitting in a savings account would it not be a better option to invest it in social enterprises that would provide me what I would like to have when I retire?

It seems we are arriving at negative interest for wrong reasons – to extend the myth of econmoic growth. That may lead to a deeper problem: that we then dismiss negative interest as a failed tool and reject it in the future. I hope we can realize and discern that the conditions are not yet right for negative interest. That it is better understood as a tool that needs to be applied in the context of other tools and changes … in service of transforming the underlying story of money instead of prolonging the one that is currently failing us.

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Paul Romer: The Trouble With Macroeconomics

n

“… Macroeconomics, he argues, is like a science that has not only stalled for three decades, but has actually gone backwards in its ability to understand reality.

In the late 1970s, as the old certainties of Keynesianism collapsed, a new generation of economists moved the discipline on to the terrain of super-abstract equations. Their assumption was that the economy tends towards equilibrium, and that only unpredictable shocks from outside the system can disturb it. Since the shocks come from outside, for the purposes of these mathematical models, the economist has to imagine what they might be. In The Trouble With Macroeconomics, Romer mocks these imaginary disruptions …

Romer is a doyen of the profession, and from the heart of the US academic mainstream. His attack on some of the most esteemed and influential economists of our time is a big thing …

… Romer, scathingly, calls this “post-real” economics, and suggests a horribly simple explanation for its popularity: human frailty … over-confidence, “an unusually monolithic community”, near-religious group loyalties, a tendency to disregard results that don’t match the theory – and too little consideration of the risks of being wrong.

This is not just a problem for economics. Romer says the parallels between bad physics and bad economics suggest there might be a “general failure mode” in any discipline that becomes over-reliant on maths. Basically, the kudos goes to people at the cutting edge of designing mathematical models, not to those whose models match reality. If Romer is right, there are big implications for the way governments and central banks make policy. Instead of abstract models, you would need something much closer to reality – and, with the rise of computer simulation technologies, that is close at hand.

… In an agent-based model, you don’t try to work out whether a million people will, on aggregate, buy more bread or less bread. You create a million digital “people” and unleash them in world with digital bread and digital money.”

source

Paul Romer – The Trouble With Macroeconomics

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Cryptocurrencies are having crises of governance

n

“… Cryptocurrencies are having crises of governance — Bitcoin about blocksize and other scaling strategies, Ethereum because the hard fork they made to try to save DAOhub in the midst of its crisis of having no way to authorize an update to a buggy smart contract. Plenty of other coins and systems have had their own issues along the way as well.

These problems are not incidental to the design of these systems, they are inherent.

Cryptocurrencies were designed to escape oppressive governance. Their creators have focused on optimizing personal autonomy and anonymity. The fact that we don’t know who stole $65 million from DAOhub or even who the original creator Bitcoin is, should make this fact obvious.

Why does this matter?

Any system that can’t regulate itself dies. If it can’t respond, adapt, or evolve, it’s dead.

The kind of governance we’re seeking is best thought of as a self-regulatory community. In other words, a community which has the necessary information, communication flows, and feedback loops to regulate its health and longevity.

Until people and community, along with the information flows required for that community to see its own patterns and issues are actually built into the ontology of cryptocurrencies, they won’t solve the problem of governance and collective self-regulation.”

source

also see Preparing Bitcon for a Hard Fork

 

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Stasis would become homelessness

n

A fascinating article in its abstract ideas and in the amazing obviousnesses in which it is disconnected from human experience … a marvelous heartless existence … the “people” traveling in these cars … why would they be there in the first place … why go anywhere to see anything when a “livestreamed HD panoramic view can be projected in  helmet that responds to your head and eye movements” can be made available to you …  a profound example of intellect run-amok

“The opportunity to multitask while traveling could make the journey into the destination. Given the expanded possibilities of what one could do inside a vehicle, our existing distinctions between vehicles and buildings, between transit and destination, between static and mobile spaces, may begin to blur. Imagine commuting while sleeping, or socializing at happy hour while the bar transports you home. Imagine if a garage was also the car. If commuting entails being in a space that is functionally equivalent to being at home, one might eventually skip returning home, and commute perpetually. The journey to work could commence as soon we fall asleep. The idea of having a destination becomes as obsolete as drivers and cars. Highways would host listless roaming bedrooms, meandering through the night.

Our understanding of a house as a stable locus of physical and emotional shelter could become diluted. There would be no reason for homes to not also be vehicles. A range of new options for customizing these vehicle-home hybrids would emerge: Homes could be made up of modular docking pods, and specific rooms could be shared, swapped, rented out, or sent away for cleaning or restocking. Modern conveniences that we currently take for granted — such as being able to use a bathroom without needing to arrange for its presence in advance — could become tomorrow’s luxuries. The homeless would be the only people not constantly in motion, the people closest to retaining a fixed physical location called home. Stasis would become homelessness.”

source

Posted in Intellect Run Amok, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment

IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro

n

Reading this wasn’t too surprising … a more worrying thought that came to me though was that isn’t this how most of our systems government, business, etc .. are run? The list of systemic failures is so typical … and yet here we are.

“The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.

This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the Fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.

It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking break-down in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.

… The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.

“Before the launch of the euro, the IMF’s public statements tended to emphasize the advantages of the common currency, “ it said. Some staff members warned that the design of the euro was fundamentally flawed but they were overruled.

… That the IMF failed to anticipate any of this was a serious scientific and professional failure.”

source via Yanis Varoufakis

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Yoga incorporates felt experience

n

Again this reminded me of Alexander and unfoding wholeness – a process of making in which felt experience is constantly incorporated in guiding choices … and of Pirsig’s sitting on a hot stove.

Practice is action. In this, Yoga differs from – without exclding – other schools of philosophy and of belief that rely solely upon intellectual inquiry or presumed truths. Yoga always incorporates felt experience and so, for many, practice begins with the most basic functions of life: movement, respiration and nourishment.

In Yoga, consciousness enters and merges with movement into prescribed exercises, the asanas. The body moes toward a balance of relaxation and alertness. Consciousness enters and merges into the inhalation, retention, and exhalation of the breath in pranayama. We move toward understanding that something greater than ‘air’ constantly flows through us. Consciousness enters into the choice and quantity of food we eat. We move toward nourishment as the source of invigoration, not satiety.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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Relating with something higher

n

These words, inside me, resonated with Alexander’s Windows to the Ground

“All artists I’ve known whose works surpass anything we’ve known before invariably ascribe the source to a higher force, whether they call it God or not. The work then becomes a object for our own contact with something higher. In the course of my teaching, I’ve learned that I can assess the level of anyone’s practice of meditation by the way they relate to artworks, to music – and to other people.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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I can care

n

“Halfway down the street I rented a large house with space for offices, individual classrooms, and one large lecture hall … Since its opening, more than twenty thousand people have come to the Mandiram … mora than twenty thousand entirely different situations – but each asks, in one form or another, “Can you help  me?” And all we can answer, the only absolute guarantee each teacher can make is: “I can care.”

That this answer leaves many intellectually unsatisfied, especially those who would like detailed cause-and-effect explanations, I can well understand. I am sorry about that. I can wish it were otherwise, but in truth I doubt there will ever be a thoroughly satisfactory explanation of how Yoga works in any scientific, mechanistic sense.

.. I don’t wish to suggest that we may not in the future understand far more about how Yoga works. It’s just that the scientific methods haven’t yet revealed much. European scientists in the 1930s verified that my father could stop his breath and heartbeat for several minutes – but not how he did it.”

TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond

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On Religion … and truth and freedom

n

A few days ago I was trying to illustrate in conversation why I have a resistance towards any religious expression in MY world. While I do believe that religion had a constructive role in social evolution … and maybe it still does in some contexts … I do feel that in some parts of the world we have evolved to the point that religion is, by definition, dysfunctional.

Then I came across this quote, which aptly describes my feeling, of Krishnamurti presented by TKV Desikachar in Health, Healing and Beyond:

“I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect … Truth being limiteless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organied; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you understand that, then you will understand how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is a purely personal matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountaintop to the valley. If you would attain to the mountaintop you must pass the valley, climb the steps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices. You must climb upwards to truth … I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow truth … I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free.

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