Sunday, July 19, 2015


As an infant, I squalled in order to get fed again. Research has shown that infants usually are not really hungry, they just want to be held – they are just learning how to manipulate their parents or minders.  Ah, deception from birth goes on.
     When I was 10 or 12 years old, I deeply studied the art of deception or “sleight of hand.” I spent hours practicing to “palm” a quarter, and hide coins between my fingers. On Sunday, the “Lord’s Day”, the only day I was forced to wear a long-sleeve shirt, I tried to perfect that old “slip-the-card-up-the-shirtsleeve” trick, something I thought the Lord might get a kick out of. It was only a sleight deception, right?
     Later, I actually stole change from where my father emptied his pockets on his dresser. One Saturday when he was mowing the lawn, I stole a dollar bill from his wallet – just to see if I could do it.  He never said anything. Deception seemed innocent, like a game.
     Then, I bought practical jokes of all sorts: cans with spring-loaded “snakes”, whoopie cushions, and “exploding” cap-loaded lipstick, and plastic vomit which “shocked” my other into feigned horror. Innocent, right? Fun stuff.
     My favorite comic books were all about deception: Superman, Batman, The Flash were all about individuals who were not who they said they were – they were really Super Heroes. Super Heroes are the ones who have great powers – and they are all deceivers who don’t have to be themselves, or maybe thgemselves is really a lie. Today, kids age 10 -12, love Harry Potter, another example of someone with extraordinary abilities who can’t stand “ordinary” people.
     In our teenage years – and perhaps beyond - we seem to grow and become dissatisfied with ourselves. We long to be far more beautiful, stronger, smarter and more capable than our reality. We image ourselves – imagine – ourselves greater than our skinny legs, big ears, long noses, cowlicks, and zits. Ordinary is boring. Being perfect is better.
Well, dating when beer is involved is deception in motion -  “You tink Ting-Tong ugry?!” - “there are no ugly girls at closing time”.
     In college, I studied drama and acted in plays – more deception. I majored in Radio-TV-Film and excelled in the art of illusion in broadcasting. When I graduated, I got a job in advertising where I was paid to be deceptive – and outright lie – called persuasion.
     I was a high flyer! There was a future, a whole potential!

There are two sides of our brain – a right and left hemisphere. The right is the impulsive, spontaneous quick thinking side; the left is the home of reflective thinking, structured thinking, and planning.
     Deception makes use of quick thinking which is our normal thinking-style in our rapid, media soaked society. In research studies, some 80% of quickly made decisions are shown to be wrong. It is this side of the brain to which advertising, media and computers appeal. You won’t find slow-thinking on TV.
Advertising suggests we find happiness through purchasing – and happiness is the #1 motivation for us. The quintessential advertising message which I once saw painted on the side of a liquor store is “Buy-Here-Now.”
We make wrong decisions when we “need” something or feel we lack in some way. There are lots of financial “come-ons” sound like they will make us happy, but really they are not what we think they are. But, we don’t take the time to slow down and think them through carefully. But, I was a high flyer, I knew how to make decisions, boy! I had potential!
Life is always this struggle between fast and slow thinking, emotions or intentions. We need exercises to help us be able to do both fast and slow thinking. But we don’t have time to slow down.
Our emotions are torn by deceptive feelings which move rapidly: sympathies and antipathies, friendships, bullying and love-affairs which thrash about, flip-flopping this way and that over time.
We believe we must do something urgently: we need something to make us feel better, we need wars to keep us safe and we need them quickly! “Fix-Me-Now!” What we get is addiction to urgency and drugs.
Life seems to be built up with deception upon deception. One quickly created experienced deception “covered” by another quickly created deception because we’re embarrassed because of our first mistake. We cover our personal deceptions one after another with denial. It gets worse.

Catathesis is a Greek term for a “drop” of some sort. This is how life deceives us. This drop starts our path of initiation. When we are at the “top of our game” – say when we graduate from college - we have expectations that since we have “graduated” life will at least deliver to us opportunities for our future. We are ready, or so we think.
This is not what happens. We are deceived by this vanished expectation, our step up – our next step, our trajectory The next step in our development is the catathesis – the drop, a humbling. We may have been at a peak, living in a fine college dorm, on loan money or scholarship, we had dates and parties, we looked fine, we played and loved and learned. Suddenly, catathesis – we drop into the rat hole, the darker way, the way down, all the way down to the bottom, the way we dread and can’t believe we find ourselves there. On the way down we see the losers around us. “Why do I find myself with losers like you?” Here we must do anything to survive, but what we have to do bottom-jobs and not what we thought we would be doing. It is a hole. We are way down.
As Bob Dylan wrote, “How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own? With no direction home? Like a complete unknown? Like a rollin’ stone?”
No one wants us. It feels like we are weightless. There is no push or pull around us. We can’t make anything happen. The phone doesn’t ring. We feel suddenly we have made a wrong choice somewhere. We were deceived. They never told us about this. How will we ever work our way out of this hole? Work our way out of the debts and depths? We make little, we try to make a living. We scrape by. Time begins to slip away. Maybe we’re in our 30’s now. We feel like our lives are being wasted. Who are these losers?
Catathesis – a drop, we are in a depression. Or, is it a trench? Alice falls a long way.
     All addicts come to this point. “But I’m not addicted,” you say! And, what were you not addicted to? To the belief that you alone were in control of your destiny? This is the deception of the deception. Welcome to the path of initiation. Getting conscious of your deception is the first step in stopping your deception. "Pride goeth before the fall."

© Copyright 2015 – Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Questions are a mystery. They point towards something unknown. The unknown creates anxiety within us because we naturally want to know things. We are curious. Questions contain the power of “calling forth” concern, anxiety, as well as answers.
     Questions put us into action. They “call forth” a response. What is this power which “calls forth”? It engages and draws what it needs from its surroundings.
     Take seeds, for example.  Seeds are mysteries. They are little bits of potentiality all wrapped within a tiny, hard case. Seeds contain the power of “calling forth” plants. They do so by engaging with the soil, or minerals. They also draw forth water. And, they require warmth. Plus, light is an important element that the seed draws forth from the world.
Potentiality is the seed and the question and ourselves.
     What does the question of ourselves call forth? What potentiality lives within us? What is the “answer” which lives within us which draws forth engagement from others? Or, have we already settled upon who we are? What we are?  
     Are we an answer or a question? If we are an answer – a fixed, non-mysterious, unquestionable being, we may be done. Finis? Complete? 
     Somehow, it is very satisfying to put Question Marks behind those statements.

The human being – you - is an “Open Question”. When an open question is placed before a group the parliamentary procedure is that every member may vote as they like regardless of their “political party.” So, you as an open question may free us from our previous thought and feeling obligations and call forth in us a quite different responses than we could have previously imagined. Such is the human question – and open question which uplifts us, surprises us, which brings us joy and reminds us that we, ourselves, also have this capacity to generate free, loving, surprising responses from the world regardless of our pasts. 
     Do we fear we have wasted our potentiality and answered the question of ourselves too soon? How can we become a “questionable” person? Can we re-kindle the “seed-ness” we were born with by simply presenting ourselves anew to others who do not know the “answer” of who we have become – or how do we break ourselves and become open questions again? 
     Answers exist within questions. What will we draw-forth from those around us? Love? Life? Warmth? Insights (or light)? Or facts, the fixed, mineral truths we need? 
     Questions actually “call forth” answers which never existed before the question arose. Can we “call the question” of our own lives and re-visit our initial purpose? Can we “call off” our pasts? Have we been “called to account” for ourselves by ourselves?

     I want us all to be questionable people. 
     Not only questionable, I want us to ramp up the amperage of our calling-forth from one another. Let’s live our lives so that others are a bit unsure about us.  Let’s keep one another on the edge. Let’s walk up a stairway of surprise. Let’s delight one another through random acts. Stolen kisses. Unexpected hugs. Tiny gifts. Thoughtfulness.

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager All Rights Reserved

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Sunday, July 5, 2015


 I am a reasonable man with practical, modern, capitalistic sensibilities. I would like to propose that the state of South Carolina replace the “Confederate Battle Flag” with a more current symbol of economic profit making due to slavery – a corporate logo selected from amongst the current corporate slavers who are known for using child labor or paying “slave” wages in foreign countries.
      In this way, South Carolinians might be able to charge corporations who have admittedly run “sweat shops” or worse to hoist their logo up the flag pole beside the state capital and demonstrate that slavery, while no longer actively conducted in South Carolina, but is still a modern economic business practice and South Carolina is “open for business” since these companies currently do business in the state (and the United States) and are “good corporate citizens.” 
     How can you relegate the “Confederate Battle Flag” to a museum when the principles for which it stood are still in play?

I am here to ask some uncomfortable questions – past and future. Use any search engine and look for “corporations” and “slavery.” Here you will find lists from which you may select – including a list of corporations who were active participants in slave trade during the 1800s. 

     That list includes most of he major banks who have admitted and apologized for their involvement in slavery – including taking slaves for defaulted loan collateral. How many of these great corporate citizens have taken any further action to prevent funding subsequent and/or current slavery activities?       How many have active board policies preventing their companies from funding slave-related activities after the 1800’s?  How many currently have economic ties with major corporations known for conducting business with slavers elsewhere in the world today? 
      Too big to fail? Do they make profits on the backs of slaves not in the U.S.? I hope that those with explicit board policies preventing lending or money-laundering for companies which indirectly pay for such practices will contact me and place something in the comments on this blog. 
     How about those very large companies who have been known to engage in questionable foreign manufacturing with companies who pay slaves miniscule amounts to work in unsafe conditions? They are the ones whose logos could go up to replace the “Confederate Battle Flag”. As I say, you will find their names by searching on the internet.

I would like us to realize that the problem is not the flag – but historical – and apparently current the mindset - which puts profit before people. Slavery is an economic model which devalues human life and seeks economic profit for shareholders. 
     Now, if you are a shareholder, a retiree with a 401(k) and you own funds (such as mutual funds) which invest in these modern slavers, YOU support modern slavery. These corporate logos fly proudly over our country. 
     Perhaps laws should change and corporate citizens be ostracized for the practice of slavery and wars on humanity?

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager  
All Rights Reserved