May 30, 2009
The following article was written by Dennis Genpo Merzel, the founder of the international Zen community called Kanzeon Sangha. As far as I know, it originally appeared in The Buddhist Review – Tricycle back in December 2008.
I have reproduced here, as I feel it carries on beautifully from where we left off from with an Introduction To Corporations…
For more information about Dennis, his workshops, events and his mission in life, please visit his website at:
Imagine your very body-mind-spirit as a company, like General Motors, Ford, or IBM. You’re a company with many employees, and not one single employee knows his job title, job description, function, what the product is, or who the CEO is. To make matters worse each employee thinks that he’s the boss, the one in charge, and all the other employees are working for him.
To make matters even worse, the company is constantly changing.Employees are being let go; new employees are being brought in. Nobody seems to have a handle on why. The product is constantly changing. One moment it might be automobiles, the next trucks, then ships, then planes, then maybe back to cars, and it goes on and on like this. And they keep changing the company’s name. In this particular company, the name has changed many times. First it was called Dennis, then it was called Sebastian, then it was called Genpo, then it was called Sensei, and now it’s called Roshi. The whole company is in flux, it’s all impermanent. So what kind of company do we have? It’s pretty dysfunctional.
Twenty-six hundred years ago, the Buddha called this dysfunction dukkha. He didn’t use the metaphor of a company, but he used similar analogies to make the same point. He said dukkha means that there’s something stuck. Dukkha is often translated as “suffering,” but actually the root of the word refers to a stuck wheel whose axle isn’t rotating. In the Buddha’s day they had carts with two wheels, and when one wheel—or maybe the whole axle— wasn’t rotating, the cart would be stuck or just spin around in circles. Basically he said that the cart is dysfunctional.
So, like one of these carts, we are dysfunctional. The worst part about it is that since we’ve never been completely functional, we don’t realize how dysfunctional we really are. If we were once completely functional, completely integrated, completely liberated and free, then we would think, “Oh my God, I used to be free, now I’m stuck, I used to be completely functional, now I’m dysfunctional.” Although most of us have never had that experience, many people have had a spontaneous awakening experience—some moment when they reach what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the “power of now,” an experience when they go beyond time and space and find themselves liberated. These people then realize, “My God, I’m operating in a dysfunctional way 99.9 percent of the time.”But if we don’t have that experience, we never realize that there’s a better, a more optimal way to function.
What the Buddha discovered is that we are dysfunctional when ourunderstanding gets stuck in one perspective, when the wheel, or the mind, does not revolve. If we can learn to shift perspectives so that our mind is not fixed, so that no understanding is considered the right and only understanding, then we can be unstuck, free. By simply shifting perspectives we can realize that there are an infinite number of perspectives, even in a single room. If you slightly change the angle of your gaze down or up, or if you move around, you’ll see that there are infinite perspectives of this one room. Similarly, there are infinite perspectives of reality. Where we get stuck is in thinking there is only one right view. The Buddha taught Right View as the first part of the Noble Eightfold Path. In our Zen understanding Right View is mu-view, which means no view, holding on to no particular or fixed view.
What we can do with the practice I’m offering here is learn how easy it is to shift perspectives. Each one of us has an infinite number of views. I like to say we have 10,000 states of mind. Now if a state of mind is out there in the world—like that of Christ or Buddha or Mother Teresa or Hitler or bin Laden—it is also in me. Every emotion that’s out there is also within me. As I first learned from Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone and their Voice Dialogue work back in 1983–84, each of these aspects has its own voice, and, in fact, can be viewed as a separate voice with its own distinctive perspective and function, a voice that wants to be heard, can speak up, and can mature to align itself with wisdom and compassion. However, some of these aspects of ourselves have been fired. We call them disowned voices. Now, sometimes they’ve been fired for very good reasons. None of us wants to take food out of a starving baby’s mouth, so we disown the possibility that we’re even capable of being driven to such desperation. We disown the possibility that we would step on infants to get that last breath of air in a gas chamber. But I remember hearing the Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross say that survivors of the Nazi concentration camps told her they had witnessed such acts by good, loving people, and she realized that she herself had that same potential.
Knowing that we have the potential for the best and the worst is absolutely essential for doing this work, because we are going to run into aspects of ourselves that are disowned. There is nothing wrong with you if you’ve disowned aspects of yourself. You’re just not functioning fully. Often, when we discover a disowned aspect, we’ll say, “I don’t have that that quality. I never get angry.” Or, better,“I have no ego, I’m egoless. I’ve been meditating for a long time, I’ve had great enlightenment, and I’m now egoless.” Yeah, right. Those aspects are just disowned or in denial.
When a voice is disowned it also becomes a shadow. When it’s a shadow, we don’t see it in ourselves; however, we do see it in others.We see that aspect in others, and we dislike it. It actually makes us irritated or, even worse, enraged. When we see somebody acting ignorantly or with prejudice and the voice of ignorance or prejudice is disowned in us, we will be outraged. In fact, we can hate those people that hate other people so much we will want to kill them. This happens because that aspect of prejudice is disowned in us.
When a voice is disowned, it goes covert. It goes underground, and the only person that doesn’t get it when I say that I don’t get angry is me. Everybody else is aware of how angry I am all the time, but I don’t see it. That’s a disowned voice. Or everybody else sees that I’m instantly jealous, but I don’t see it. “I never get jealous. I’m never envious. I wish everybody the best.” Right. The same goes for narcissism. “I’m not a narcissist, but there sure are a lot of them out there. And wherever I look I see these narcissistic people, and it’s all about them. They get into these spiritual practices, like Zen,where they contemplate their navels and they are so narcissistic, and I’m not narcissistic because I’m out in the world and I’m doing great things.”
However, when we begin to give a voice to a disowned aspect of ourselves we bring it back into the system. It’s like it’s been laid off and it’s out there picketing, out working against the company. We bring it back in, we give it a job description, and now he’s a happy fellow. He wants to do his job really well, wants to function at an optimal level. When he’s out there unemployed, he’s pissed off and working against the system. And we wonder why we suffer, why our life is not full of happiness and joy?
You might think that uncovering these disowned voices would be unpleasant, embarrassing, or worse. On the contrary, the process of owning them is actually really exciting. In fact it’s one of the most exciting things you can possibly do. I’d guess it’s even better than jumping out of a plane, though I haven’t done that myself. Now, it doesn’t happen immediately, but once we begin to speak from a disowned voice, we begin the process of reintegrating it, and that process can take time. It’s like planting a seed that has to be watered and nurtured until it germinates. Still, the reason it’s so exciting is that we begin to experience ourselves more completely, and there’s no greater joy than experiencing yourself as a fully functioning human being.
So we need to find a way to own our disowned voices.Sometimes the way we find out how to voice a disowned aspect of ourselves is by listening to others who have not disowned it. I had a voice that was so completely disowned for so many decades that even when I knew it was disowned I couldn’t voice it. It was the voice of pleasure. I had disowned it when I had my first Zen opening in 1971.What I didn’t realize then is that when I had my first awakening I disowned a whole slew of voices. It’s like I fired half the company.
I’ll tell you some other voices I disowned: competition, jealousy,envy, the whole marketplace mentality— seeking, striving, improving economically, materially (but not spiritually, of course). So everything I disowned went underground and came up in a covert way in my life. Wherever I looked I saw competitive people, I saw ambitious people, I saw people seeking money and fame and fortune, and I was above all that. The only thing that seemed to make any sense whatsoever was knowing oneself better and helping others. Now, is that a bad thing? No. Did it cripple me? Yes. Did it have a negative effect? Yes.
About five years ago I realized it was time to get back in touch with my own voice of pleasure, but by then I had heard my teacher, Maezumi Roshi, say so often that Zen practice is not about pleasure or happiness that the voice was thoroughly disowned in me. So I turned for help to a longtime student for whom pleasure is definitely not disowned. I asked him if he would mind if I facilitated his voice of pleasure, and he enthusiastically agreed: “Oh sure!” He can take pleasure in any situation, so I asked him to speak as the voice of pleasure at a good meal. “I take a bite of my delicious filet mignon. Oh my, that’s good!” he sighs. “Whew, oh my god, this is so tender,it’s so flavorful, it’s the best piece of steak I’ve ever….” Then he describes taking a drink of wine. “Oh, what great wine! What is this, a two hundred dollar bottle of wine?!” “No, it’s twenty dollars.” “Oh my god, this is so good!” Then he takes a puff on his cigar. “Oh my God,this is better than any Cuban cigar I’ve ever smoked!” He just went on and on and on, and I listened very attentively.
Then I said, “Now, would you facilitate my voice of pleasure?” So he did, and I went dead. Then I started to remember what he said, and I started to imitate him. I just started to say the same words and pretty soon I got into the groove and I was able to find the voice of pleasure. I’ve been a lot happier since.
Not only do we have voices within us that have been disowned, but we also have voices that have never been owned. In other words, we have aspects within ourselves that have never been awakened.We’ve never opened the door and allowed them out, but they’re there.They’re as much there as anger or fear or jealousy or hatred or joy or pleasure. They are just as real. You have within you aspects of yourself that go beyond the self, that transcend the self, such as the awakened mind—what I call “Big Mind” or “Big Heart.”
In June of 1999 I wondered, since I’d been working with speaking toa particular voice or particular aspect of the self that is disowned,if it was possible to speak to aspects that have never been awakened.And what I discovered, to my amazement, was that it is. By asking to speak to the awakened mind, or Big Mind, or the awakened heart, or Big Heart, or pure awareness—by asking to speak to it, we are actually able to come from that place and experience what it’s like to be that mind.We can also ask to speak to the non-seeking, non-grasping mind (in Japanese this would be translated as mushotoku, having no goal or aim in your zazen). This allows the student to truly sit shikantaza, just sitting. Or when working on a koan, ask to speak to the koan, such asmu: “Who are you?” “I am mu.” Now just sit as mu, walk as mu, eat as mu.
You could say that the Big Mind process creates the opportunity fora facilitated view of the transcendent. In Zen, the term for this view is kensho, a Japanese word that literally means “seeing one’s own true nature,” an experience of enlightenment. But even the most profound kensho experiences prior to daikensho (“great enlightenment”) are still momentary. It’s like the momentary opening of the shutter of a camera lens. The Big Mind practice trains us to hold the shutter of the lens open as long as we want to. Instead of a faint momentary glimpse, like a match lit and extinguished in a large room, the Big Mind process allows us to actually hold Big Mind open long enough to look around the room, to really get to know the territory.
When we identify with Big Mind and are no longer identified with the self, we can look in and see, well, what does it mean that I am Big Mind? What is that? Is there a boundary, is there a limit; is there some kind of edge to me, some kind of beginning? And all of a sudden,what I realize is that I include and embrace all things, that there is nothing that’s not me.
Now, this is exactly what the Buddha said 2,600 years ago, and what many very wise people in many spiritual traditions have been saying ever since. But it was also almost universally believed that it is only possible to see and realize this after many years of study and practice. What the Big Mind process offers is what the Zen school has always offered: a way to suddenly and immediate awakening. However,even in the Zen tradition, which calls itself the sudden and immediate school, there have always been non-believers, people who think that it’s got to take many years. For centuries, the Zen school has been making the revolutionary claim that any wisdom that is there within any of us, including the wisdom of the Buddha, is all there in all of us,the wisdom of the ages is there in all of us. It can be realized at any moment or any time, in a flash.
By exploring Big Mind, we learn to be fully functioning human beings capable of acting from places of true insight and love. And this is what it’s all about. All the Buddhist practices—sitting, Big Mind, andso on—are skillful means, all for the purpose of building character,consciousness, and awareness so that our functioning is coming from wisdom and compassion. This is really the point. It’s the point of Zen,it’s the point of Buddhism, and it’s the point of all the great religious and wisdom traditions I know. If more and more of us are not functioning with wisdom and compassion toward all beings, if we’re not seeing that everything is really oneself or an extension or manifestation of Big Mind, then we fall into fear, jealousy, greed, and hatred, all based on this illusion of separateness. Seeing ourselves as separate and apart from the great earth, from the mountains, rivers,and oceans, we tend to abuse one another and the planet itself. So I think it’s critical at this point in time that we wake up and function with wisdom, compassion, and awareness.
May 30, 2009
Uphold precepts, but be merciful.
Gradually absorb, until there is no need for law.
Gain wisdom beyond right and wrong.
The was a young priest who returned to the community of his birth. Instead of the neighborhood he knew as a boy, the community was now predominantly homosexual. He was uncertain: On one hand, he had to serve the people. On the other hand, his sect forbade homosexuality and condemned it as a grave wrong. It would seem that whatever he did, he would be a hypocrite. He eventually decided to accept all who came to him but still uphold the doctrines of his sect. He saw his most important duty as mercy, and so he was able to help others without truly violating his precepts. When there are contradictions between beliefs, one must resolve them in favor of what one judges to be the higher principle.
We should not sell our ideals short for the sake of expediency or selfishness. Following a particular spiritual tradition means a full commitment to its rules in order to gain the essence of that tradition. But we cannot afford to be dogmatic. Human law is imperfect: There will always be unprecedented circumstances. Thus, we must go beyond rules and operate instead from pure wisdom. We must act with experience, flexibility, and insight. Let us absorb integrity – experiencing both its triumphs and defeats – that we do the right thing intuitively.
Tradition is first. Mercy is greater than tradition. Wisdom is greater than mercy.
It is a fact that the Commercial Corporation was created by direct unlawful action by the members of the company. Since that act our democratic right to control what Corporations do has been eroded and diminished until no control remained at all. Corporations and Governments have defined this erosion of control as being the liberation of Corporations from the shackles of the past. Corporations have achieved this “liberation” by breaking the law on mass until the Courts and the Governments gave up trying to control them
The state i.e. via the Government and the Courts, allowed the following to happen, which has given power these current behemoths that rule our current world climate:
1. Abandoned rules which forbade the creation and continuance of Corporations that acted in a manner that caused the public harm;
2. Abandoned state control over the types of business operation that could become Corporations (finally abandoned in 1844);
3. Restricted then abolished the right of anyone who isn’t the “Corporation” to challenge the right of the Corporation to take various courses of action (abolished by the Companies Act 1989); and Transferred from the Government to the Courts and then to the Directors of the Corporation itself the final say over what any Corporation has the power to do.
4. A Corporation is special because by becoming a Corporation (a process called “incorporation”), a thing is given a distinct legal identity separate from the people who run it. This shields those who actually run the business from responsibility for their actions.
Rather than people carrying out business in their own name, a Commercial Corporation is considered to be a person in its own right. The Courts, when dealing with a Corporation, accept the fiction that the Corporation has a birth, a death (although a Corporation can effectively live forever) and more importantly, entitlement to human and civil rights. A Corporation, which exists solely on paper, can assert that it has the right to do something (whether it is to pollute, to treat workers unfairly, etc…) and that that right can prevail over a real person’s right to object!!!
A Commercial Corporation can create for itself a multiple personality with separate Corporations (all owned by the same parent Corporation) existing simultaneously. All risky and dangerous operations carried out by Corporations are usually carried out by subsidiaries. The parent Corporation, being only a shareholder in the subsidiaries (and therefore a separate legal person) cannot in any be held responsible for the actions of the subsidiary. These subsidiaries (and/or their immediate if not ultimate parent Corporations) can be sited “off-shore” in a national register of companies which does not allow you to find out who is the ultimate parent Corporation i.e. you cannot find out who, theoretically, should be responsible.
A subsidiary Commercial Corporation can be created owning no assets. It can then decide for itself to accept the risk and responsibility of transporting crude oil and nuclear fuels (by air as well as by road and sea), running chemical plants, creating new drugs and herbicides, drilling and excavating sensitive areas.
At all times this subsidiary corporate person bears the sole responsibility for its actions. If anything goes wrong, the subsidiary simply folds and disappears. The parent corporation, investors and directors know that, should anything go wrong, we are not entitled to look beyond the veil of the subsidiary Corporate person to see if the real persons who took those decisions should have been allowed to do so!?!?
Whilst Corporations (as legal persons) do not have the right to vote, they do have the right to lobby and fund political parties. They choose to pollute and exploit natural resources not only in their own land but in other lands, often without their new neighbors having any say over their presence. Corporations also have enormous influence in determining the manner in which resources are allocated and the nature of their products and markets. Whilst it is in the public’s interest that resources be used sparingly and in a sustainable reusable manner, Corporations choose to create disposable products which require constant replacement/repurchase. The Corporations’ interest in maximizing sales and profits is in direct conflict with our own democratic right to choose how finite resources are allocated.
Modern Corporations are given not just the right to exploit resources but also the right to choose how they are exploited, marketed and packaged leaving the public with only the right to choose the method of cleaning up the mess left behind. As neighbors of these Corporate Persons (in that we share the same environment and society) and as citizens, why do we have so little say how Corporations use their rights and powers? Why is it that these Corporate persons have no responsibility for their actions?
I just want to interject here… When my country’s Department of Trade and Industry’s issues a booklet called “Protecting Business Information” that advises executives to ‘reduce the risk of damage to your company’s reputation’ by protecting sensitive information, I can’t help but start to wonder what this sensitive information is. This booklet also suggests that staff should be gagged (‘ensure a confidentiality agreement is signed’) and all sensitive documents should be destroyed ‘by approved cross-cut shredding, pulverizing, burning or pulping’. Among those from whom material should be hidden are ‘investigative journalists’ seeking ‘to obtain newsworthy information’.
Serious cloak and dagger style actions that you’d probably expect to hear an attorney advising their client who’s just been accused of some heinous crime with everyone out to get him!?!?!? Freaky, eh?
Anyway, let’s continue…
The fiction of a corporation being a distinct legal person does exist for other collections of people. The concept of the corporation was initially created for charities such as churches, schools and universities, clubs, hospitals and so on and then latterly extended to municipal councils. These “not-for-profit” corporations were, by their nature, intended to advance the public good.
Before the seventeenth century incorporation was used only as a tool for not-for-profit entities. By making a hospital (for instance) into a corporate person its function was simplified and difficulties that could otherwise occur when control passed to later generations (death duties, transfer of assets etc.) could be avoided. It clearly served the public good for the long-term administration of such bodies to be simple.
Not-for-profit corporations had constitutions drafted and approved by the Crown or the Government, which set out their powers and the objects the corporation sought to attain. If a corporation acted outside its constitution (i.e. sought to attain an objective not within its objects or not within the spirit of its constitution), it was acting “ultra vires” and the Court had the power to declare the offending action void and unlawful. Before the development of Commercial Corporations, this doctrine of ultra vires was relatively simple but rarely used . But, making a profit (for what was always a charitable organisation) was clearly ultra vires.
Unincorporated businesses such as cooperatives or partnerships (including law, accountancy and architects firms) have no legal identity of their own. Each partner retains a share of responsibility for the actions and decisions taken. The name of their business remains, before the law, merely a name by which to identify the collective.
When we talk about companies we are talking about Commercial Corporations. The term “company” originates from the term “joint stock company”, and means the same thing as the term Commercial Corporation. A non-corporate “business association” is not a company at all but a partnership or a cooperative.
Very Brief History of Corporate Development
The development of Commercial Corporations occurred in three waves. First, when the financial demands of colonial expansion grew too great, not-for-profit corporations were created to assist in carrying out trade with the colonies. These trade associations started, fraudulently, trading for a profit, encouraging others to do the same. Following the initial profits of these fraudulent trade associations, Corporations were created by the Crown through Royal Charter (“Chartered Corporations”) in the 1600s and early 1700s to carry out the business of “merchant adventuring” or “colonial plunder” (choose according to your political viewpoint).
Commercial Corporations reduced greatly in number after the South Sea Bubble crisis in 1720 until there was a second wave of development with the creation of Corporations by Act of Parliament to build canals, waterworks and later railways from the end of the 1700s onwards. The actions of these “Statutory Corporations” were closely controlled by the State and all general business activity remained in non-corporate forms.
The third wave of development occurred following the Joint Stock Companies Act of 1844. This allowed Corporations to be created by a simple act of registration. It is this “Registered Corporation” which is the modern form that we recognize. These Registered Corporations then undertook a 100 year long struggle using direct unlawful action to “free” themselves from the remaining controls imposed upon them by the Government and the Courts.
First Wave (1600 – 1720)
Businesses at the time typically involved small numbers of people operating as partners, sharing the risks of the business. Each partner retained individual responsibility for all the actions of the partnership.
Towards the end of the 1500s Charters of Incorporation from the Crown were granted to trade associations. These trade associations did not carry out trade in their own names but were not-for-profit corporations. The Crown would grant the trade association a monopoly over a narrow area of trade. Business partners could become “members” of the trade association so entitling them to carry out business in that trade. However, each business would trade independently, with each business’s partners sharing ownership of each business’s stock with the partners remaining individually responsible for each business’s actions.
The East India Company received its Royal Charter in 1600. When incorporated it too was merely a trade association, its members having the right to share in the monopoly on trade in “the Indies”. A business partnership could become a member of the East India Company and so be licensed to trade to and (more importantly) from “the Indies”.
During the course of the century, all the individual member/ partners started to amalgamate their stock until they became one big partnership owning all the stock jointly. That is, the East India Company had only one partnership operating within it carrying out all the trade.
Later in the seventeenth century, the stock from being owned collectively by all the member partners, became owned by (i.e. ownership was transferred to) the East India Company itself. The partners (who were all members of the corporation in its nature as a trading association) swapped their shared ownership of the stock of the business partnership for a share in the “Joint Stock” of the Corporation itself. The Corporation then traded this stock in its own name and made its own profit. The profits were then distributed amongst the members/shareholders.
So the East India Company came to be the first Corporation to operate for a profit. Or the first Commercial Corporation (or Joint Stock Company) owned by shareholding members, carrying out trade in the person of the Corporation. The first Commercial Corporation was created by the actions of its members alone. Not by the Government or the Courts or the public deciding it was a good idea but simply by the members of the East India Company choosing to act in that manner. As a result, there was neither debate on the ethics of allowing a business association to use the corporate form nor consideration of how this development might affect the public in general. The East India Company was undoubtedly exercising powers not within its constitution (i.e. “ultra vires”) by operating for a profit. It was without doubt acting unlawfully. No one really challenged this.
Trading as a Commercial Corporation offered clear advantages over business partnerships. These advantages greatly exceeded the advantages to a hospital or other charity being incorporated as the Corporate form effectively protected from many of the risks of business.
The Corporation continued to exist even if the original partners died or transferred their shares. The Corporation could bring and defend legal actions in its own name rather than the names of the partners. The Corporation would not die, so did not pay death duties. If one shareholder became bankrupt, company assets could not be used to pay his debts as company assets belonged to the Corporation (its own separate legal person) and not the shareholder. Although not fully realized at the time, if the Corporation couldn’t pay its debts, shareholders own assets could not be used to pay the debts of the company. However, the Courts did at that time allow creditors to sue the shareholders and directors when a Corporation could not pay its debts.
The corporate form drew a veil between the actions of the Corporation and the people directing it, protecting them from responsibility for the actions of the Corporation. It avoided the individual and collective responsibility for all business activities that previously existed.
Over the course of the late 1600s until 1720 many other trade associations started to trade unlawfully on joint stock so becoming Commercial Corporations. The Crown began to grant charters to new Corporations expressly for them to trade as Commercial Corporations. In time, new Corporations were formed by both Charter and Act of Parliament to develop new patents and domestic trade, by now asking for outside investors to provide the finance.
Dubious Corporations were created and persons masqueraded as Corporations to fraudulently obtain investors money. The greatest of these was the South Sea Company. Formed in 1711, it was given a monopoly on trade to ports in South America then under Spanish control. Shares in the Company were traded wildly, speculating on the rich profits that would be made as soon as access to the port was obtained. The investors only realized that access to the ports would never be obtained when the company founders fled the country. The share price collapsed overnight to nothing, triggering similar collapses in numerous other similar companies causing the first stock market crash.
The East India Company created further problems for the Government. Its vast expansion in India meant that it not only had a monopoly on trade but was also in charge of the army, the roads, food supply, in fact all the domestic and foreign powers of a government. The East India Company had, through its business activities, conquered and ruled the whole of India. The Government realized that British foreign policy must be reclaimed from the East India Company as well as others such as the Levant Company and Hudson Bay Company.
The Government responses were, first, to wind up or nationalize many of the Chartered Corporations, bringing their territories into the British Empire. Then, to control fraudulent activity, the Government created the “Bubble Act” of 1720. This Act provided in section 18 that all commercial undertakings (both Corporations and partnerships) “tending to the common grievance, prejudice and inconvenience of His Majesty’s subjects” would be illegal and void. The Act also banned speculative buying and selling of shares and outlawed stock-broking in such shares. After 1720 (until 1825) shares could only legally be sold to persons genuinely taking over a role in running the Corporation or partnership.
Second Wave (1720 – 1825)
Between 1720 and 1844 new businesses that might previously have sought incorporation were operated as partnerships. Investigations into the old Corporations found many instances of fraud and a large number collapsed due to debts. Crown Servants became reluctant to grant Charters for new Commercial Corporations fearing that their creations would fall foul of the Bubble Act. However, the Bubble Act was rarely used. Only one prosecution under the Act is reported to have occurred. The general public did not have the resources to use the Act and the State did not appear to have the desire.
Parliament at first was wary of creating new Corporations by Act of Parliament. However, there was a public need for canals and waterworks to be built and the State did not have the money to finance such schemes without the assistance of outside financiers. The financiers where not prepared to put up the money if it meant that they would be responsible for all debts and liabilities of the project. The corporate form appeared ideal. Parliament approved specific Corporations to be created by Act of Parliament (“Statutory Corporations”). These Corporations were similar to those founded to build the Channel Tunnel and develop Docklands in recent years. An Act of Parliament would authorize the creation of a Corporation for a specific and narrow purpose and allow it to bring and defend legal actions in its own name (so protecting the financiers from personal responsibility should the Corporation fail).
The general view at the time was that Corporations should only be created for very specific purposes. Adam Smith commented in 1776 that the only trades that justified incorporation were banking, insurance, canal building and waterworks. He believed it was contrary to the public interest for any other businesses or trades to be incorporated and that all should be run as partnerships.
Third Wave (1825 – 1998)
Between 1825 and 1856 a series of Acts of Parliament abandoned the controlled formation of Corporations and created the modern Registered Corporation. Two Presidents of the Board of Trade, Huskisson and more importantly, Gladstone sponsored these moves. The aim was widescale liberalisation of the market – often called “laissez-faire” capitalism. This was part of a wider battle between the new merchant class and traditional landowners.
In 1825 the Bubble Act was repealed, allowing shares to be traded freely. Also repealed was the rule that, for a Corporation to be allowed to trade, “it must not tend to the common grievance, prejudice and inconvenience of His Majesty’s subjects”.
The Joint Stock Companies Act of 1844 created the modern form of Corporation for general business and trade. Via a simple process of registration, a Corporation with its own legal identity could be created (“Registered Corporation”) to carry out any stated commercial activity, subject to approval by the Company Registrar. The Corporation would be required to register its constitution including an “objects clause” stating its purpose. However, the founders of the Corporation were free to decide the Corporation’s purposes and limitations. The debate in the House of Commons records Gladstone stating:
‘Joint Stock Companies at present could not be formed with any privilege such as that of suing and being sued, except, by coming to Her Majesty in Council, or by applying to Parliament Under this Bill, there would be a power for the first time, for persons to associate themselves in companies, for the purpose of commercial pursuits, without the fear of interference from any human being whatsoever.’
The intention of the bill was clearly to grant the corporate person civil and human rights. The risks associated with allowing fictitious persons to hold these rights were downplayed. Hansard goes on to state:
‘Mr Parker agreed that great harm had been done by the abuse of the principles of Joint-Stock Companies; but One great principle distinguishing this country from others was the non-interference of the Government with the regulations of trade.’
Initially, these new Registered Corporations did not have limited liability. If the Corporation could not pay its debts, creditors could recover their money from the shareholders. However, following 10 years of debate, in 1855 an Act was passed limiting shareholders liability to the amount they had paid for their shares (i.e. once the shares are paid for, a shareholder had no further responsibility for any debts or actions of the Corporation).
The debates include two instances illuminating the State’s view of who the public is. In 1850, a select committee reported on “Investments for the Savings of the Middle and Working Classes”. This report argued that limited liability for company shareholders was in the interests of the poor. The idea was that the poor could buy shares for their own purposes and limited liability would protect them. What was not considered was what would happen when Corporations with limited liability could not (for instance) pay wages?
When a Corporation collapses we are given the choice between shareholders bearing the cost or the employees bearing the cost. A limited liability scheme clearly chose the employees to bear the cost. A similar choice had to be made when a bank cannot repay its savers’ money. Again, limited liability favors the bank’s shareholders over its customers.
The second argument used in favor of limited liability was that by adding the word “limited” or “ltd” after the name of the Corporation, anyone dealing with the Corporation would know that they were dealing with a corporate person and not a real person. They would then know the risks they were facing and had the “choice” whether or not to deal with the Corporation. Whilst this may be true for lenders and other traders, employees and neighbors of a Corporation have little choice. Further, those who put forward these arguments failed to foresee the day when corporate persons would carry out all business activity. No one considered the idea that Corporations could spawn subsidiary Corporations to carry out the dirty work.
Rights to Challenge Corporate Behavior
Officially, whilst a Corporation had all the rights of a person, it could perform no acts nor enter into transactions other than that which sprang naturally out its objects. Now that a Corporation could choose its own objects, the power to control Corporations passed from the Government (which used to vet the objects) to the Courts.
One of the problems with English law is that so much of it is based on the precedent of previous cases. Once a case has been decided, its decision (or judgment) is law. If a case has not been brought on any area for a long time, the weight of the precedent diminishes. Because previously the Government so carefully controlled the objects of Corporations, the Court was seldom called upon to declare Corporate acts ultra vires.
When the Courts were first called upon to rule on the legitimacy of the actions of, first, the proliferation of Railway Companies and then the Registered Companies, the power of the Courts to use the doctrine of ultra vires against these Corporations was unclear.
Between 1846 and 1875, a series of cases concerning the acts of Commercial Corporations came before the Courts. Through the course of these cases, the Judges made absolutely clear that the doctrine of ultra vires did apply to Commercial Corporations and that, ultimately, the Courts controlled corporate behavior.
The first cases concerned the railway Corporations created by Act of Parliament. In East Anglian Railways Company v Eastern Counties Railways Co  Lord Chief Justice Jervis stated:
‘It is clear that the [Eastern Counties Railway Co] have a limited authority only, and are a corporation only, for the purpose of making and maintaining the railway sanctioned by the Act; and that their funds can only be applied for the purposes directed and provided for by the statute.’
Adding support to this, in Shrewsbury Railway Company v L&NW Railway Company  Lord Justice Turner stated:
‘[T]hese bodies have no existence independent of the Acts which created them, and they are created by Parliament with special and limited powers, and for limited purposes The fact of their being endued with such powers only shows that Parliament did not think fit to entrust them with more extended powers, or to incorporate them for other purposes.’
Finally, leaving no doubt over the Court’s control of Statutory Corporations, in Eastern Counties Railways Company v Hawkes , Lord Chief Justice Pollock stated that:
‘[A] Parliamentary Corporation is a corporation merely for the purposes for which it is established; and it has no existence for any other purpose. Whatever is done beyond that purpose is ultra vires and void.’
It was presumed that the new Registered Corporations created by the 1844 Act were also to be controlled by the Courts through the doctrine of ultra vires. As stated above, a Registered Corporation has, within its constitution, an “objects clause” which sets out what the Corporation was formed to do. However, by the 1844 Act, the Government had given the founders of these Corporations the power to create their own objects clause. Could the Courts, with the doctrine of ultra vires, still limit corporate behavior?
In the first case of ultra vires of a Registered Corporation (Riche v Ashbury Railway Carriage Company  Lord Selborne confirmed the application of “ultra vires” to Registered Corporations, stating:
‘[C]ontracts for objects and purposes foreign to, or inconsistent with, [the objects clause] are ultra vires of the corporation itself.’
Whilst accepting that a Corporation was a person before the law, the Courts also recognized that the corporate person was created for a specific purpose and it was within the Court’s power to restrict and control the Corporation’s actions to within that purpose.
However, there followed a series of developments that rendered the doctrine useless. First, in the case of Bournemouth Corporation v Watts  it was decided that outsiders could not use the doctrine of ultra vires to challenge corporate actions. With respect to Commercial Corporations, that limited the right to use the doctrine to shareholders and directors and, in limited circumstances, creditors of the Corporation.
With the Courts’ insistence on maintaining the ultra vires rules, Commercial Corporations could not bulldoze past the Courts’ power to decide what was or was not within their power. However, Corporate lawyers realized that the 1844 Act gave them the power to circumvent the Courts. New Registered Corporations gave themselves wide objects clauses, giving them power to do more and more and adding final clauses stating that:
‘The objects specified in each paragraph of this clause shall be in no way limited or restricted by reference to or inference from the terms of any other paragraph or the name of the company.’
The Courts were not prepared to allow such clauses. In Stephens v Mysore Reefs (Kangundy) Company  Justice Swinfen Eady stated:
‘It is not right to accept a construction which would virtually enable the company to carry on any business or undertaking of any kind whatsoever.’
Between 1902 and 1965 Corporations simply ignored this judgment. As in the days of the East India Company, they simply broke the law. Case after case was brought before the Courts where Corporations had attempted to use unlawfully wide, all encompassing objects clauses. Sometimes the Courts were brave and ruled the Corporate act ultra vires. But more and more the judges were attacked by the Corporations and by parliament for restricting the “freedom” of trade.
Eventually, the Court abandoned any attempt at control of Commercial Corporations in the case of Bell Houses Limited v City Wall Properties Limited . The Court of Appeal approved an objects clause giving the Corporation power to:
‘Carry on any other trade or business whatsoever which can, in the opinion of the board of directors, be advantageously carried on by the company in connection with or as ancillary to any of the above businesses or the general business of the company…’
The effect of the so-called “Bell Houses clause” and the Court of Appeal’s decision was to transfer the right to decide the limits of a Corporation’s powers from the Courts to the Board of Directors of each Corporation.
The final demise of the doctrine of ultra vires (so far as it related to the restriction on the rights of Commercial Corporations) took place in the Companies Act 1989. The Act maintained the requirement for Corporations to include a statement of their objects in the constitution. But, under section 3A, allowed the Corporation to (a) state simply that it was a “general commercial company” and (b) that the Corporation has “power to do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the carrying on of any trade or business by it”.
Finally, section 35(1) of the same Act altered the law so that “the validity of an act done by a company shall not be called into question on the ground of lack of capacity by reason of anything in the company’s [objects clause]“.
And so the corporate persons were liberated from the last of the legal restraints on their rights, free of all restrictions. In theory, a Corporation can still be brought to book for its breaches of duty to the public as neighbors, just as we are to each other. However, with subsidiary Corporations holding all the duty and responsibility for corporate behavior, this control is somewhat illusionary.
Over the course of 400 years, the State, which initially was very wary of allowing Corporations to have profitable motives, has relinquished every one of the mechanisms it had in place to allow the public interest to overrule corporate interest. When disempowering the public, the only debate concerned Corporations’ right to be free. This was largely presumed by those making the changes to be in the public’s interest.
Abraham Lincoln’s words in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins written in 1864 springs to mind… “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow.” And George Orwell’s dystopian vision of a future in which “Big Brother” rules the thoughts and minds of the totalitarian nation of Oceania comes too hauntingly close to what I see going on today around me. Telescreens in each house, people wryly discussing this war on an unseen enemy of the state and people, newspapers beginning to provide biased reports towards the nations vested interests… Or is it just me?
I call to the stand Noam Chomsky’s lecture of “Distorted Morality”:
Thanks Noam! I particularly enjoyed his reference to “…history is what is created by well educated intellectuals and it doesn’t have to have any resemblance to that thing called history by naive people…” So I’m glad to say it appears I am not the only one seeing a “1984″ tinge on current affairs…
Even Naomi Klein, who recently published a book called the “Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, which proposes an interesting link between psychological methods of influence and this capitalist regime, has noticed similar threads of truth.
In order to justify the obvious nature of this idea further… I’d like to draw on one more important psychological experiment performed by Dr Philip G. Zimbardo in the 1970s at Stanford University. It is known as the infamous “Stanford Prison Experiment”, in which twenty-four normal college students were randomly assigned to be “prisoners” or “guards” in a mock prison located in the basement of the psychology building at Stanford University. The students quickly began acting out their roles, with “guards” becoming sadistic and “prisoners” showing extreme passivity and depression. Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited “genuine” sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early.
To reiterate, “the experiment quickly grew out of hand and the prisoners suffered AND accepted sadistic and humiliating treatment from the guards and, by the end of the experiment, many of the prisoners showed severe emotional disturbances!!!” This begs me to ask a question. Can our current social and behavioral ideals be influenced by this Capitalist regime that we are now living in??? Can the “Stanford Prison Experiment” be likened to what is happening with the corporations’ strong and obvious will over the governments that ‘we’ have supposedly appointed to safe-keep us??? OR are we really “great armies of the excluded”, the “prisoners/slaves” of the corporations of the world???
Perhaps George Monbiot’s most diligent, insightful and enthralling study of the situation in the UK, published as a book entitled “Captive State: The Corporate Takeover Of Britain”, can answer this question better than I could ever hope to.
“When aristocrats enjoyed inordinate power in Britain, they insisted that they were the only ones who had the wisdom and expertise needed to run the country. Today business people make the same claim. Governments as well as newspapers appear to have convinced themselves of this proposition, and it has led, among other interesting phenomena, to the curious spectacle of government seeking a mandate from the corporations. The flow of power prescribed by the democratic model has been reversed. Big business has become the leviathan of the third millennium, the monster before which our representatives feel obliged to prostrate themselves. The people we have appointed as the guardians of our liberties have delivered us into its maw…”
I can only show you what I and others have found upon much diligent research… Some of these ideas are based on empirical evidence while others are hypothetical. But ultimately my aim is to show that this man made construct that we seem to so readily accept as “everyday reality” is more of a social fabrication based around the strong greed/need of the few… AND the basic human need to survive i.e. innate hunter gatherer reflexes kicking in to gather and store in order to survive coming hardships, etc… The influence that it seems to wield over us is due to certain psychological traits that we, as human beings, have had Nature naturally build into our “architecture of mind” over the course of evolutions play.
If you’re still not sure as to what I’m talking about… Someone I know randomly/divinely sent me this link about 5 minutes after I originally published this post:
Do I hear change from from some of you? Well… The first step in making a change is to understand what is happening to us. So far the basics have been laid bare. Then we need/should understand why it happen like this… And again the basics are here. After that, change will become possible. So don’t stop thinking about this and challenging everything you think you know about this man made construct we call reality (but is in actual fact just one of many alternate way of seeing things in this consumerist world)… Because when you do, new ideas for ‘Being’ die… And freedom is then slowly replaced by a dogmatic ideal that does nothing, other than to chain us to one spot. And I say this because Capitalism has chained the “elite” few and enslaved the “excluded” masses into a system of “pride”, “laziness” and “greed” that no longer looks around itself without attachment to material possessions regardless of the eventual effects i.e. it no longer has the ability to see the truth of our oneness with everything else… It is either blinded by its own fear of losing these worldly possessions, and thus the “terrible” fall that might follow in terms of social status, OR it is blinded by its own desire to acquire these possessions and so gain an elevated status in society because ‘we’ are worth it. Either way, Capitalism has done very little to discourage this cancerous mode of mind. To embrace the idea of the Earth as a whole system that is made up thousands of interconnected parts, all of which directly affect one another in an eternal and complex chain of interconnectedness is not an easy feat… It can take years of dedicated research, slashing through the quagmire of data and facts with Occam’s razor, until a bare truth is laid out before you. And even if you do that… The majority of people you share this knowledge with with laugh at you in the face for your ridiculous decrees. And here in lies the problem.
Fair enough that we would be wise to change this Capitalist world view that seems to spreading as fast as television sets are through out the world… But how? And this is the question that needs careful attention. A pertinent question that I feel Robert M. Persig began to address in his book entitled “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”… And at this point I would like to quote an important idea from within its pages:
“To speak of certain government and establishment institution as ‘the system’ is to speak correctly, since these organizations are founded upon the same structural conceptual relationships as a motorcycle. They are sustained by structural relationships even when they have lost all other meaning and purpose. People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to five without question because the structure demands that it be that way. There’s no villain, no ‘mean guy’ who wants them to live meaningless lives, it’s just the structure, the system demands it and no one is willing to take on the formidable task of changing the structure just because it is meaningless.
“But to tear down a factory or revolt against government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves (as we know the universe is fractal) in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system… And so little understanding.”
Thus I am doing my best to bring about an understanding of the basic human condition i.e. the psychological basis of the human mind, just how sensitive it is surrounding peer pressure (read William Sargant’s book entitled “Battle For The Mind” AND Susan Blackmore’s “The Meme Machine”), and the basic programming that lurks in its deepest functioning roles and acts and, thus, what it is prone to naturally do… Armed with information like this, and the history behind the rise of the corporation, I think we can all begin to see where our present situation here on Earth has arisen from… And no. It does not come from some select few who have aspirations for world domination… Neither does it come from some dark evil force like the anti-Christ that religious ideals sometimes speak of… All of these are fantasies, legends and stories created by minds that cannot and do not care for the truth. The truth? The truth that the forces within each of us, the light and dark forces of needs, self survival, propagation of ourselves, etc… all steered each and everyone of use into where we are today. After all… We are only human, and we all have the same needs and driving desires within ourselves… And these forces have long been at play, as well as have been very successful at ensuring our survival during the eons of evolutions steady and mighty selection process. We have won so far… And we cannot escape these internal workings of ourselves, no matter how hard we try to bury them. But… We can learn to control them.
So, rather than mindlessly announcing a simple dislike of the system in which we live, which is far too easy and mindless a thing to do… I have aimed to procure this Knowing so that perhaps a better understanding might be reached by us all… And then rather than revolting mindlessly against the system outside i.e. over throwing the ‘effects’ of what we cause, we can begin to address the ’causes’ from within ourselves that produce these ‘effects’, and so mindfully guide our course and actions here on Earth along better trains of thought and care to what and where we are…
On that note, I would like to leave you with several quotes that I have re-read time and again relating to “change” that draw upon ideas already stated in this and previous points about perception that I have discussed so far.
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”
Abraham Lincoln (sixteenth President of the United States of America)
“In describing today’s accelerating changes, the media fire blips of unrelated information at us. Experts bury us under mountains of narrowly specialized monographs. Popular forecasters present lists of unrelated trends, without any model to show us their interconnections or the forces likely to reverse them. As a result, change itself comes to be seen as anarchic, even lunatic.”
Alvin Toffler (American author and futurist)
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”
Alan Cohen (composer and musician)
May 27, 2009
Out of season rain
Dashes crowns of princely trees.
Perplexed travelers ask for reasons,
Huddling under worn eaves.
Those who follow Tao make much of knowing and acting in conformity to the cycle of seasons. They have made a science of studying the exact ways in which events progress. some have become so skillful that their lives are admired as nearly magical. Yet when things happen out of turn, even these wise ones are surprised.
Such is the case with unseasonable rain. It is supposed to be hot summer, yet it is a day like midwinter. What is there to do but to accept it? Following cycles does not mean that you can then expect things to occur with precision and regularity. The actual ways that circumstances develop will always remain beyond complete regimentation. Nature doesn’t act according to human theories. Rather, our sceinces are imperfect at analyzing nature.
The follower of Tao is always flexible and adaptable to circumstance. Even if there is personal desire to do something and advance preparation has been made, the follower must never the less bow to nature. Knowing how to put aside personal priorities in order to fulfill the demands of time is amoung the greatest of skills.
May 27, 2009
A man spoke with the Lord about heaven and hell.
The Lord said to the man, “Come, I will show you hell.”
They entered a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Everyone was famished, desperate and starving. Each held a spoon that reached the pot, but each spoon had a handle so much longer than their own arm that it could not be used to get the stew into their own mouths.
The suffering was terrible.
“Come, now I will show you heaven,” the Lord said after a while.
They entered another room, identical to the first – the pot of stew, the group of people, the same long-handled spoons. But there everyone was happy and well-nourished.
“I don’t understand,” said the man. “Why are they happy here when they were miserable in the other room and everything was the same?”
The Lord smiled. “Ah, it is simple,” he said. “Here they have learned to feed one another.”
May 6, 2009
Make your stand today. On this spot. On this day. Make your actions count; do not falter in your determination to fulfill your destiny. Don’t follow the destiny outlined in some mysterical book: Creat your own.
Your resolve to tread the path of life is your best asset. Without it, you die. Death is unavoidable, but let it not be from loss of will but because your time is over. As long as you can keep going, use your imagination to cope with the travails of life. Overcome your obstacles and realize what you envision.
You will know unexpected happiness. You will know the sorrow of seeing what is dearest to you cut down before your eyes. Accept that. That is the nature of human existence, and you have no time to buffer this fact with fairy tales and illogical explanations.
Each day, your life grows shorter by twenty-four hours. The time to make achievements becomes more precious. You must fulfill everything you want in life and then release your will upon the moment of death. Your life is a creation that dies when you die. Release it, give up your individuality, and in so doing, finally merge completely with Tao.
Until that moment, create the poetry of your life with toughness and determination.
May 5, 2009
Every god can be defied.
No choice, no devotion.
There have been many rebels who have chosen to defy their gods. Without this option, there can be no true devotion to a holy concept. For devotion is only valuable when a conscious decision is made to follow that course, even in acknowledgment of the difficulties ahead. Choosing to be a devout person is good. Choosing to defy the gods is also good, for it reaffirms the basic ability of human beings to make choices. We cannot support religions which say that there are no choices.
Metaphysical totalitatianism of any kind stifles the freedom we have as human beings. It is not acceptable to have a religion where the alternative to faith is punishment – that’s how you train dogs, not develop people. Spirituality is only great when it allows that utmost freedom to follow it. If we suffer from difficulties, that is not holy retribution, and we should not allow it to create debilitating questions.
If you endure a crisis in your life, it may well challenge your faith. Perhaps you will even respond bitterly to your gods and cry out: How could anything holy permit this atrocity to happen to me? But gods are not our parents or protectors. They are there only to inspire us to be better people. They symbolize the inherent choice of this existence. It is secondary whether we choose belief or defiance. What is precious is that we are always able to choose.
I have always found this analogy to be most fitting for understanding religious indifference. At their core, most religions believe in ‘practice’ and/or ‘ritual’ of some form or another. Whether this practice manifests in the direct worship of the divine, or if it comes through meditation and careful cultivation of the mind and body, they all endorse a particular path for the adherent to follow.
The aim? The cultivation of the soul/spirit/mind/body towards goodness and positive flow.
Bearing this in mind… Why then is there much misunderstanding and dispute between religious doctrines? Just because the practice between these precepts might vary greatly, it should not always mean that one’s religious ideals are so different from one another. While one practitioner might sit in solitude and silence, stilling his mind into a state of pure awareness, another would sing hymns and listen to sermons in places of worship i.e. in a mosque or a church.
At their core, do they not both embody similar aspirations of peace, love and understanding of their fellow men?
Ponder on this… Stand back and view the circles in the picture above. Imagine the central two circles (each surrounded by four other circles) are like two different religions. Then imagine that the surrounding circles correspond to their respective practices and rituals. Upon first glance, each religion might seem very different, just as the central circles seem different in size. But upon close inspection, one can see just how similar in fact they really are.
Just as color and creed can sometimes divide mankind, when we look closer, beyond the superficial differences that seem almost to be so obvious, we can begin to see an even more subtle similarity between us all. We all respond well to love, care and nurture. Seldom do we actively chose to bring pain and suffering into out lives. Nearly all of us have two arms, two legs, a head, with eyes, ears, nose and mouth. We speak languages to communicate with one another. We all eat food, imbibe drinks and water, and breath air. And under even closer scrutiny, we have realized that we are all made from the same matter: our bodily proteins and molecules are all made from atoms, which were born from the same star above us, and the subsequent stars that shone before it, the bodies of which now burn fiercely within its own.
As we can see from the picture above… The human mind is so prone to basking in illusion. Memes linger on from many streams of thought and projection in the Western world. Television, radio, theater, books… They all ensnare the mind and distract it from present endeavors. Ripe with fantasies and illusions, they tell stories of others and their differences. And as one might imagine, it takes mindful dedication and perseverance to begin to see past these propagated ideals that flow through the media
But when one clears the doors of their perception and begins to see things as they truly are… Then they are set free. For we can then act in true knowing, through love and compassion, because we understand how similar we all are to one another.
The universe is fractal in many ways… So let us use this wisdom that nature so avidly adheres to and build our lives into the same flow and similar understandings. For then we can begin to better follow and merge with the Tao.