Home • Manifesto • WMail ezine • Essays • Solutions • Free eBooks • Quotations

Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment homepage

The WMail Newsletter
Volume IV   [Year 2003]   Part 3

Issue #36 October: All-Quotes Issue
Issue #37 November: "Responsibility"
Issue #38 December: "Time Structure"

Issues #31-33 • Issues #34-35

Volume I   [Year 2000]
Issues #1-5

Volume II   [Year 2001]
Issues #6-8 • Issues #9-11 • Issues #12-14 • Issues #15-18

Volume III   [Year 2002]
Issues #19-21 • Issues #22-24 • Issues #25-27 • Issues #28-30

Volume V   [Year 2004]
Issues #39-41 • Issues #42-44 • Issues #45-47 • Issues #48-49

Volume VI   [Year 2005]
Issues #50 & beyond

Issue #36: "All-Quotes Issue"
[October 2003]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<

T h e    F i r s t    A L L - Q U O T E S    I S S U E

"There is no moral to my life - I have none - except:
'Stand up and take it'. The rest is sentiment."
— Patricia Highsmith [1921-95]

"Politicians in [California] don't accept reasoned argument,
and they don't take American Express."
— Steve Martini

"God does not require us to achieve any of the good tasks that humanity must pursue.
What the gods require of us is that we not stop trying."
— Bayard Rustin [1912-87]

"If it's in your way, knock it over."
— Klingon proverb

"Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done."
— Ernie Kovacs [1919-62]

"You can't have everything, where would you put it?"
— Steven Wright

"All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening."
— Alexander Woolcott [1887-1943]

"Anonymous was a woman."
— Virginia Woolf [1882-1941]

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did,
but she did it backwards and in high heels."
— cartoonist Bob Thaves, in 1982 {not Faith Whittlesey}

"The only thing ... that Objectivism should not tolerate is any political threat
to the freedom necessary to make choices in living."
— Simon O'Riordan

"Everything is beautiful in this world – except what we think or do ourselves
when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence."
— Anton Chekhov [1860-1904]

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first."
— Ernestine Ulmer

"Clothes make the man; naked people have little or no influence in society."
— Mark Twain [1835-1910]

"I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific."
— Lily Tomlin

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"
— author unknown

"The past can be neither repeated nor repealed."
— Hilton Kramer

"The wicked flourish like a green bay tree."
— British saying

"Men do not shrink from work, but from slavery. The man who works primarily for the benefit of another
does so only from compulsion, and work so done is the very essence of slavery."
— Eugene V. Debs [1855-1926]

"Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them of others."
— Franηois de La Rochefoucauld [1613-80]

"If we did the things [that] we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."
— Thomas Alva Edison [1847-1931]

"[George W.] Bush is a remarkably successful liar."
— Michael Kinsley, TIME Magazine

"One does not find solitude, one creates it."
— Marguerite Duras [1914-96]

"I can't say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days."
— Daniel Boone [1734-1820]

"I have a case of unrequited love for America." — Mort Sahl

"Fitness is the first requisite to happiness."
— Joseph H. Pilates [1883-1967]

"What's the problem to which this is a solution?"
— Neil Postman [1931-2003]

"Luck is a talent." — W. Somerset Maugham [1874-1965]

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in
... where nature may heal and give strength to body & soul alike."
— eco-activist John Muir [1838-1914]

"There's a people's war brewing against greed and excess, against the disparity between the haves and the have nots,
and we'd better start taking it seriously."
— Al Martinez, Los Angeles Times columnist

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
— Bertrand Russell [1872-1970]

"Men will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
— Voltaire [1694-1778]

"We hang the petty thieves, but appoint the great ones to public office."
— Aesop [600 B.C.E.]

"When you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."
— Peter Drucker [1909-2005]

"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
— Jane Wagner

"When it comes to losing jobs and failing to balance a budget, George W. Bush is the club champion; indeed, his stewardship of the American economy is beginning to rival Herbert Hoover's for sheer perverse, long-term ineptitude."
— Harold Meyerson [Sept 2003]

"To lead the people, walk behind them."
— Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu [IVth Century B.C.E.]

"The [U.S.] Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals ... it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government ... it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government."
— Ayn Rand [1905-82]

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
— Bertrand Russell [1872-1970]

"Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools,
and those who dare not, are slaves."
— Lord Byron [1788-1824]

"Just because the establishment is mad at you, it doesn't mean
that you're a rebel or a revolutionary."
— G.E. Nordell

"My ambition consists entirely of being able to [write] well enough
that they let me do it again – and to avoid public disgrace."
— Herb Gardner [1935-2003]

"The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless."
— Count Leo Tolstoy [1828-1910]

"There is a difference between the two major U.S. political parties: The Democrats
enact bad laws intended to benefit everyone, and the Republicans enact bad laws intended to benefit themselves."
— G.E. Nordell

"If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves."
— Lane Joseph Kirkland [president AFL-CIO, 1980-95]

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false,
and by rulers as useful."
— Seneca the Younger (4? B.C.E. - 65 A.D.)

"Fate is a notorious prankster."
— Emma Lathen

"It is never too late to do good."
— Daniel Boone [1734-1820]

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
— George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950]

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
— Albert Einstein [1879-1955]

"You don't own it until it costs you something."
— George Meany [president AFL-CIO 1955-79]

"To honor all men is to honor none."
— Moliere [1622-73], in "The Misanthrope", 1666

"You must work – we must all work – to make the world worthy of its children."
— Pablo Casals [1876-1973]

"If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much
a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it."
— S.I. Hayakawa [1906-92]

"If you are afraid to speak against tyranny, then you are already a slave."
— John Bryant

"Religion is the enemy of truth."
— biologist Richard Dawkins

"It must be death-defying to write a novel."
— reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds

"All you need in this life are ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."
— Mark Twain [1835-1910]

"It is only when we realize that everything is pointless that we can act fearlessly."
— R.W. Fassbinder

"Tell the truth and run."
— George Seldes [1890-1995]

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."
— Adlai Stevenson [1900-65]

"Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck."
— Orson Welles [1915-85]

"There is no merit in a special talent unless its exercise is of use to others."
— author Sax Rohmer [1883-1959]

"Progress is great, but nature undespoiled is greater."
— Zane Grey [1872-1939]

"The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract."
— Robert A. Heinlein [1907-88]

"Man is more a clown than a satan."
— James Lee Burke

"The compassion of the strong is in waking people up to their blindness.
For that, you need to be a warrior."
— Fernando Flores

"Because of deep love, one is courageous."
— Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu [IVth Century B.C.E.]

"Joseph McCarthy proved [that] the more ridiculous the charge,
the less possibility there is of defense."
— John Steinbeck [1902-68], (in "America & Americans" 1966)

"Less money is spent annually on medical research than on hairdos."
— columnist L.M. Boyd [1927-2007]

"Art takes its goodness from the ardor of the artist."
— English poet John Keats [1795-1821]

"Nothing lasts. You can't count on anything but yourself."
— Dashiell Hammett [1894-1961]

"Life is like an onion, you peel off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."
— Carl Sandburg [1878-1967]

"Money's queer. It goes where it's wanted."
— Agatha Christie [1890-1976]

"Coincidence exists, but believing in it never did me any good."
— Robert B. Parker [1932-2010]

"In Los Angeles, all lanes are fast lanes."
— columnist Chris Erskine

"We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience."
— George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950]

"Gradually but unmistakably America is showing signs of that arrogance of power – the tendency of great nations to equate power with virtue and major responsibilities with a universal mission – which has affected, weakened and in some cases destroyed great nations in the past. In so doing, we are not living up to our capacity and promise as a civilized example for the world; the measure of our falling short is the measure of the patriot's duty of dissent. And, in a democracy, dissent is an act of faith."
— Sen. J. William Fulbright [1905-95]

"That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false."
— Paul Valιry [1871-1945]

"Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity,
and formal education positively fortifies it."
— Stephen Vizinczey

"It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor."
— Eric Hoffer [1902-83]

"The wild dream is the first step to reality."
— Norman Cousins [1915-90]

"Knowledge is the most democratic source of power."
— Alvin Toffler [1928-2016] - in 1990

"Republicans think [that] the best way to feed the birds is to give more oats
to the horses: doo-doo economics."
— Sen. Joseph Lieberman (quoted by Roy Blount, Jr.)

"The Six Magic Words To Riches: Find a need and fill it."
— Henry J. Kaiser [1882-1967]

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
— Bert Lantz

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate
than by the content of the communication."
— Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan [1911-80]

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
— Abraham Lincoln [1809-1865]

"There's a lot of human nature in everyone."
— Garrison Kiellor
"... to which I say: 'A little human nature goes a long way.' "
— G.E. Nordell

"Life is short, but wide."
— Spanish proverb

"It is time we recognized that the real terrorism is poverty."
— John Pilger text of article

"And on the eighth day, the Lord God said 'Let there be boogie!'."
— G.E. Nordell

"Anyone who is making progress faces fear. Overcoming fear is all there is to success."
— Bette Nesmith Graham (inventor of Liquid Paper™)

"Intelligence is no guarantee against being stupid."
— Victor Serebriakoff [1912-2000], co-founder of American Mensa

"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine;
as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me."
— Thomas Jefferson [1743-1826]

"Opportunity doesn't knock anymore, it just beeps as it drives by."
— Comerica Bank ad 2003

"The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public
than all the property of the rich men in the country."
— John Adams (1735-1826)

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
— Theodore Roosevelt [1858-1919]

"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
— Gloria Steinem
"Let's not be sexist: A man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle."
— G.E. Nordell

"In a battle between force and an idea, the latter always prevails."
— Ludwig von Mises [1881-1973]



Nordell's Hypothesis: "If things were different, things would be different."

The original Murphy's Law, created by John Paul Strapp, Edward A. Murphy jr & George Nichols in 1949, reads: "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it."
Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives ['folk' version of Murphy]:
"Anything that can go wrong, will".

Donald Duck's Law: "Everything is in the last place that you look."

The Peter Principle: "People rise in an organization until they reach their level of incompetence."

[Theodore] Sturgeon's Law: "Ninety percent of everything is [crud]."

Benford's Law of Controversy: "Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."

Agnes Allen's Law: "Everything is easier to get into than out of."

Kettering's Law: "Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence."

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.

==>  I have consolidated all the recommended books on the 'Things To Worry About'
        pages of the Working Minds site into a "Books On The Subject" page, at
        Topic sections are: Earth's Biosphere, Energy & Global Warming, U.S. Politics
        & Elections, Education, Class War & Economics, and International Politics

==>  New website promoting the impeachment of George Dubya Bush at http://www.votetoimpeach.org
        which has already collected 350,000 signatures  (thanks, Barry)

==>  FREE HOLIDAY GIFT: Download & print copies of the "Working Minds Preview
        Edition" .doc file (58 pages) and wrap up & give to everybody on your list, for Xmas,
        Channakuh or Kwanzaah: http://www.working-minds.com/ebooks/index.htm

==>  MY NOVEL HAS FOUND A PUBLISHER!: Now in the contract stage with Publish
        America for my noir detective novel "Backlot Requiem"
         – further details here as they occur...

==>  Reader Morgan Fey offers his novel "The Escape" (309KB download)
        at http://www.individualistvoice.com/escape.html

==>  Reader Jason P. Rudd offers his book "The Self: An Ontological Study of Psychology" at

N E X T   M O N T H: "Responsibility"

I N   D E C E M B E R: "Time Structure"

I N   J A N U A R Y: "The 100-Year Exercise"

Issue #37: "Responsibility"
[November 2003]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven't."
— Thomas Alva Edison [1847-1931]

"What is now proved was once only imagined."
— William Blake [1757-1827]

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone
expects of you. Never excuse yourself."
— Henry Ward Beecher [1813-87]

"Time is the lens through which dreams are captured."
— Francis Ford Coppola

"Writing is not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness."
— Georges Simenon [1903-89]

Gumperson's Law: "The chances of something happening are
inversely proportional to the desire for it to happen."

"If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."
— jazz musician Eubie Blake [1883-1983]

"If you tell a story five times, it's true."
— Larry Speakes, Reagan's White House spokesperson

"Sleep faster. We need the pillow."
— Jack Douglas [1908-89]

"Today, more than 80% of married households have two wages coming in."
— Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times Magazine

"You gotta have heart in this world, and compassion, or else
you're a piece of crap just taking up space."
— Les Roberts

"I just invent. Then I wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented."
— R. Buckminster Fuller [1895-1983]

"The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all."
— Harry S. Truman [1884-1972]

"We've got to believe in free will, we've got no choice."
— Isaac Bashevis Singer [1902-91]

"I have everything tied up in making ends meet."
— C. Barsotti cartoon in 'The New Yorker' magazine

"There's never enough time, unless you're serving it."
— Malcolm Forbes [1919-90]

"Our lives begin to end the day [that] we become silent about things that matter."
— Martin Luther King, Jr. [1929-68]

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes."
— Benjamin Franklin [1706-90], in 1789

"The very rich forfeit barely 1% of their net worth to the U.S. Treasury every year."
— Forbes Magazine Oct 2003

"This country's going to have a revolution if something doesn't
happen [about] the haves and have-nots."
— Arthur Rock, #244 of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans

"In the beginning I looked around and, not seeing the automobile
of my dreams, decided to build it."
— Ferdinand Porsche [1875-1951]

" R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y "

        I am Responsible for the entire planet. This is 'my planet' in the same way that the United States is 'my country': I don't own either, but I hold them to be mine, both are part of who I am. So anything that crosses my path – environmental, political, or economic problems and issues – there is nothing (over here) preventing me from participating in locating and enacting a solution.
        I am Responsible, but not accountable – Responsible, because I say so. I say 'not accountable' in that I am not, nor do I ever expect to be Emperor or any such thing, but taking Responsibility for making things work on this planet and locally while I am here is a gift that I have given myself, and encourage others to take on as well.

        Contrast this stance with the benumbed sheep of the Collective, who are not Responsible for anything whatsoever, not even their own lives. Your average human is not responsible for his/her own integrity, for their word, for their health and well-being, for their environment (social or ecological), nor for their past or their future.
        Janis Joplin said it so well in her song "Lord, Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz": the average human wants Someone to bring them happiness on a silver platter, to give them a job at the top of the pyramid (with unconscionable perks and pay for no work, of course), to tell them what to do and when, and to fix their petty and major problems without effort. And all the while, these sheep complain because Someone, whoever they believe promised such largesse, still hasn't delivered the proferred goodies to them.
        The sheep have sold out to the Culture-Structure, accepting the offer of unimaginable unearned abundance, and all the sheep have to do is obey the Oligarchy's dictates, just shut up and wait, it will all show up, just as soon as the Oligarchy and the Culture-Structure has all the Power, don't mind the interim condition where the sheep must be sheep, mindless indentured servants with neither Freedom nor self-worth, cuz they sold them to the Culture-Structure for a 'mess of pottage'.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Responsibility is when an Individual takes on being a stakeholder in any given enterprise. This is MY planet, I have a stake in the events that go on here, based purely on my having said so. I create my at-stake-ness, on-goingly and existentially, by returning myself to the context of Being Responsible.
        I could ignore the economic mess, or I can realize my Responsibility and my at-stake-ness by participating where I can shift a thing or two, by making responsible choices in the marketplace, by action or speaking or simply by not surrendering to the demands of the Culture-Structure.
        Responsibility does not require anyone else's agreement; in fact, if agreement comes first, then there may be no Responsibility. (If you take Responsibility first, and then get agreement from another, then you have generated a sharing of Responsibility.)

        Be Responsible for your Self.
        If there is some action that you did in the dark past, then own up to it and leave it behind you.
        Keep your Word. Live your life so that others honor you AS your Word. Give your Word only when you absolutely intend to keep it, and resolve any problems in not keeping the Word that you gave. Keeping your Word to others will support keeping your Word to yourself – which is the more difficult arena.
        Keeping your Word to others will clear away the mass of 'old business' that holds you back. You will be freed up to the extent that you keep your Word. Hard work, this, in the face of pressure to conform to the non-Responsibility within the Culture-Structure, but the end result of keeping your Word is Freedom, the price of which will be very much worth it. You earn your Freedom, no one can hand it to you.

        Once your skills in Responsibility for Self become operative, you can begin to expand to being Responsible for Another. Any life partner – spouse, parent, child, lover – should already be that, but if not wholly so right now, then take Responsibility (as Self) for corrective action.
        First, communicate your intention – to clean up the relationship – to the other person, and ask permission to do so; also request their reciprocal intention for success in making the relationship work for all parties.
        You have each then agreed to be Responsible for the Other.
        If you do this immediately – if your circumstances are just now 'on the brink' – then congratulate yourselves and expand the nexus of Responsibility.
        But for most, this process will not click in immediately, it will take time and effort and commitment. But the usual existential rule applies: You are on the path to Responsibility at the exact moment that you say that you are. And if you are thwarted or distracted, it takes only the bootstrap willingness to restate the intention to get you back onto the path.
        And in the one-to-one or multiple-person nexus of Responsibility, one of the elements of Responsibility is keeping the other party/parties engaged in the intention to be Responsible as both Self and as Responsible for Others. It is a two-way street.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Now here's the joke, the punchline: You already ARE Responsible. The existential Universe requires it. The Universe is not responsible for you or for your Life or for the people around you. The Universe is like being turned loose inside a gigantic pinball (or pachinko) machine – objects and events come at you, noise distracts you, flashing lights may blind you. But the only way to reach any goal in your Life is to choose to accept your pre-existing Responsibility and to generate Responsibility as your Self, and to take Responsibility for the surrounding environment – cultural (good or bad), commercial, ecological, all of it!
        If you do not, if you wail for some Other – fate or destiny, the gods, the guvvermint – to take action to solve problems that arise, then such action will not occur. 'They' are never Responsible.
        'They' – the sheep of the Collective – are all waiting for a magical Someone Else to be Responsible for them: they all sold out for truly empty promises. But you need not get caught in the trap of altruism, of conformity at the cost of Self-hood, of waiting for what is never going to be delivered.
        Be Responsible for your Self, be Responsible for your agreements and your Word, including being Responsible for a select (ever-expanding) few, and progress will take place, within you and outside you.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Power arises from generating Empowerment in your environment. Empowerment is produced only by those who are Responsible. The Collective cannot do this; the ovine citizenry have not and will not; the Oligarchy fears Responsibility, for then you are free, and not in their thrall.

        Want existential Power? The only way is to Be Responsible. Taking Responsibility itself generates Empowerment. Generating Love and-or Empowerment displaces Evil, and when you empower another, then you both receive Power. (When you generate Love for another, then you both receive Love.)
        While the sheep of the Collective wait around for lightning to strike, to tell them what they need to do – which direction to flee – taking Responsibility will provide your own guidance in all matters.

        Your active commitment to Responsibility will empower others to follow your lead, and to the extent that Empowerment is generated within your nexus of Responsibility, Evil loses another source of False Power – that Power which is taken by force and deceit and coersion and hoarded by the Culture-Structure slash Collective.
        For without your natural and inherent Power as an Individual, surrendered by the masses of sheep within the Collective, the Culture-Structure has none.
        If you are Responsible, then the Collective and the Oligarchy lose the game.

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

NOTE: This essay was reprinted in SpiritHunter On-Line Magazine [Vol 6 No. 1 February 2004] and given a Contributing Writer Certificate.

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.

==>  I have set up a Thanksgiving Holiday page with a dark poem on that topic by
        beat writer Wm. S. Burroughs at http://www.genordell.com/calendar/thanksgiving.htm

==>  Orion Magazine article by Jaffrey Kaplan on the industrial aristocracy
        vs. township rights at http://www.oriononline.org/pages/om/03-6om/Kaplan.html

==>  A visual comment on the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance controversy

==>  Reader & cartoonist Carol Lay made use of a quotation from WMail Issue #36
        in her syndicated cartoon panel #504, published in early November 2003
         in various newspapers: http://www.waylay.com/Store/OrigPages/504.html

==>  On Veterans Day, the restaurant chain McCormick & Schmick's offered a free
        meal to any Veteran with I.D., for which I thank them. Good grinds, good service,
        it was an unusual event: being treated like I had done something good in serving
        my country. http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/index.cfm

==>  "[America] is a totally corrupt society." — Gore Vidal [1925-2012]
        full article: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/52/features-cooper.php

N E X T   M O N T H: "Time Structure"

I N   J A N U A R Y: "The 100-Year Exercise"

Issue #38: "Time Structure"
[December 2003]

>+<    G.E. Nordell, editor    >+<


"True, you can't take money with you; but then, that's not the place where it comes in handy."
— Brendan Francis

OCCAM's RAZOR: "Do not posit that which is unnecessary."
**original "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"
{"Plurality should not be posited without necessity."}
**also "Simpler is better."
**also "The simplest hypothesis is most likely to be correct."

— William of Ockham [1285?-1349]

"The law has been designed to protect certain social classes and their dubious interests,
and otherwise seems mostly to consist of loopholes."
— Per Wahlφφ [1926-75]

"Marriage isn't a job, it's an adventure."
— G.E. Nordell

"How'd it get like this? It's like The Depression all over again."
— K.C. Constantine

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is
no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
— Mark Twain [1835-1910]

"Canta che ti passa!" [Sing and it will pass!]
— Italian proverb

"All explorers are seeking something [that] they have lost. It is seldom that they find it,
and more seldom still that the attainment brings them more happiness than the quest."
— Arthur C. Clarke [1917-2008]

"I would define Freedom as the complete absence of coercion."
— Simon O'Riordan

"I am a prisoner of optimism."
— Desmond Tutu

"It ain't over till the fat lady sings."
— sports announcer Dan Cook {not Yogi Berra}

"Man's mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension."
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [1841-1935]

"A politician worries about the next election; a statesman about the next generation."
— David O. Carter

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."
— Horace Mann [1796-1859]

"George W. Bush is not a Texan. [He] was born in Connecticut, so I suppose that makes him a Conn man.
Second, Bush does not wear 'cowboy boots'. Cowboy boots have the manure on the outside."
— Joseph M. Branom of Oro Valley, Arizona

" T I M E    S T R U C T U R E "

        I wrote in WMail Issue #17 (Nov 2001) about "Game Theory In A Nutshell", and Time Structure is a distinct part of Eric Berne's brilliant creation of Transactional Analysis (aka 'T/A'). Transactional Analysis should be taught to very six-year-old, I say, because anyone with the knowledge imparted within the T/A technology is better armed for the rest of their life – in defense against bullies, under pressure from the adult world, in clarification of communication, and in understanding of one's fellows – who, not having T/A skills, are basically meat-puppets run by long-forgotten now-unconscious decisions and reactive behaviors developed in response to fearsome life events. [See the WM T/A Page for a general overview: http://www.working-minds.com/TApage.htm ]

        Time Structure is quite simple. It was originally called 'Time Theory' by Berne, but professional practitioners of T/A made up a game at T/A conventions and in academic literature to attempt to modify the Official Six Ways that people spend Time. But everything that was proposed had already been covered by Berne's original premises.
        Time Structure is precise: There are SIX ways that humans spend time. They are With- drawal {least-involving}, Ritual, Pastiming, Work or Activity, Games, and {most-involving} Intimacy.
        All of the six are valid. All six were developed over the millennia of sentient civilization and each serves a specific (though general) purpose.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The state of Withdrawal is valid and useful. For T/A purposes, sleep is not relevant, this applies to a conscious state, to persons who are awake. Every one of us, at times, needs to be alone, and this can take a simple form, such as a hot bath or a walk, or be involved, such as a retreat to a cabin in Saskatchewan. Withdrawal can be overtly expressed – "I want a divorce" or "Go away" – or covert – the cold shoulder, the 'forgotten' callback.
        Where Withdrawal can be problematic is when pathologies get into the mix: the psychotic episode, the teenage runaway, the hermit who shuns all society, the lady living with dozens of cats in a vermin-infested mansion.
        Withdrawal serves the human need for retreat, for space to regenerate clarity of purpose, or simply to rest from the expenditure of emotional resources among the madness and travails of civilization.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Ritual is the tried and true, the cliche, the familiar, the expected, the traditional – whether mannerism or observed event or personal action.
        "Have a nice day", the handshake or air-kiss, the Tridentine Mass, every religious holiday on the calendar, the rituals of bereavement, the Super Bowl and the World Series and the Rose Parade. Every parade, actually. In fact, common rituals include News At Eleven and Oprah, Monday Night Football, not to mention high school football and pep rallies and whatever you do (or used to do) every Saturday night.
        Washing clothes on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, washing hair on Friday, washing the car Saturday morning, washing down chips with a bottle of beer while watching The Game on Saturday afternoon.
        You do not expect anything to happen out of the ordinary during Ritual, it is supposed to go like clockwork, one foot in front of the other, no surprises, tune out for a while – jeez, is it bedtime already?

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Based, of course, on the word 'pastime', this T/A term annoys spellcheckers. But the T/A term Pastiming is much more involving than Ritual, for data gets exchanged, and thinking and-or communicating may even be required. People in the state of Pastiming are more or less awake.
        The lower state of existence of Ritual is 'How bout them Cubs?', while Pastiming is two guys talking about the game, about the new pitcher, about future games, all that sportsfan content.
        Pastiming is talk of one's kids or grandkids, all cocktail party chatter, most of the duration of any business lunch, and anytime two guys or gals are sitting at a diner counter or the laundromat, or dropping a line over the rail on a pier, and also the day-to-day conversation of most couples.
        Pastiming can veer around corners, suddenly change subject, even escalate into argument or physical fights – which for some is just another form of Pastiming. (Were that not so, there would be no sports of boxing or wrestling – or war.)

* *          * *          * *          * *

        At this, the fourth 'level', effort is required of the participants. In the state of Work or Activity there are consequences, goals, and results. While Withdrawal and Ritual require no partner – though couples can withdraw together, and entire stadiums of people can share a Ritual – the state of Work or Activity usually requires both gear and partners.
        Talking about baseball can be either Ritual or Pastime, but the 'Activity' of baseball requires a field and equipment and a team and an opposing team. Office 'Work' requires desks and phones and customers and the relevant industry association and licenses and lobbyists and the S.E.C. and the I.R.S. and the F.D.A. and so on. Agriculture 'Work' requires land and tractors and seeds and irrigation canals. Actors at 'Work' require an audience, writers require pen & paper (or a keyboard), artists require a canvas and paint – you get the idea.
        All must be managed, one cannot kick back, 'veg out' and watch the passing parade.

        This level is where the knowledge of Time Structure becomes especially useful in practice: Many 'workers' confuse Work or Activity with the lesser state of Pastiming. You know them, maybe you even are one. Knowing the distinctions of the state of Work or Activity gives both the manager and the T/A-trained worker new leverage in guiding his/her environment.
        Knowing the distinctions of Time Structure, any participant in a meeting can guide the direction by opening their mouth such (with intention) that the conversation shifts from Ritual to Pastiming to Work or Activity. Those in the room without T/A skills won't know what happened, but the room got shifted – and the shifter will, if his attendant boss has any smarts, be noted as being the source of that shift.

        Back to baseball: It is not the content of the conversation that matters. If two guys watching their kids at the park get talking about last weekend's game, that is Pastiming. However, if you take a transcript of that same conversation and have the coach and the star pitcher repeat those exact words, that would be Work or Activity. Their context is different, though the content is identical: there are now consequences to a correct rehash or assessment of the strategies (real or imagined) and the sequence of events of the baseball game in question.

        Again, all six levels of Time Structure are valid. Ritual may be a good idea on the first sales call to a new client. And Pastiming is a good way to take a break – in the break room. But the habit of staying in 'lower' states when Work or Activity is promised in return for one's paycheck is a good way to lose one's job, or when such is prevalent across the board in a culture like the U.S. of A., such a habit is the source of a stagnant company or a failing economy. (Which, in large part, is how we got into the mess/es that we are in.)

        Shift the context of a meeting or two from Pastiming boredom to engagement in Work or Activity and you will see the difference in the folks you have thus empowered. Do this a lot and the results will show up in the company's bottom line – and likely in personal reward.
        Do this at home. Get the kids to watch the History Channel with an eye to the value of history for its own sake, its relevance, rather than Pastiming or Ritual or Withdrawal – all of them the habits of the couch potato – teach them that there can be purpose and engagement with even the content of the television medium.
        Engage your kids and other family members in Work or Activity rather than dull Pastiming, rather than mind-numbing Ritual, rather than the disfunction of Withdrawal.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        The fifth level of Time Structure is much more intense even than Work or Activity. The same elements apply – team, results, results, consequences – but one thing that is added is that in the basic state of Game, somebody will lose. In Work or Activity, you might fail – if not enough sales or results are produced – but in the realm of Game, part of the desigtn includes (a) working to win, and (b) working to make the opposition lose.
        Business need not be win/lose, but since males are mostly in control, and everybody spends more time a t work than at home, the Game of Business itself becomes intensified and very important and even significant and can reach the point where nothing matters but the Game. Thus the state of the U.S. [and other] economy at present – the Game of Business is more important than any other Value or False Value here in America and around the world. (A topic for another day; see also the WMail index page for prior commentary.)

        Eric Berne's T/A centered on Game Theory because it is the most effective level of Time Structure. Work or Activity produces some results, but get a company or a community involved in a Game – the entire purpose of attempts to get employees 'motivated' – and such a cohesive team's engagement in the Game will move mountains.
        Berne discovered Game Theory while studying alcoholics; their interactions under his examination made the mechanisms clear to him. The unwitting participation in games of that type is called 'enabling' and 'co-dependency' nowadays. WMail Issue #17 merely touches on the concepts involved, and we still have one more level of Time Structure to cover, so I will only specify here the bare minimum of what constitutes a T/A-defined Game.

1) There are three roles in a Game: Victim, Rescuer, and Persecutor.

2) Games come in all sizes, from two people to nations.

3) How you know there is a Game is that there is a 'switch': The boss says "Please, please work for my company" [come Rescue me], then pulls the standard 'deroga- tory memo' gambit and threatens to fire the new-hire unless he/she does X [switch to Persecutor, so the new-hire can switch to Victim].

4) There are standard Games, given names by Berne and others, such as "Ain't It Awful" or "Rapo" or "The Meeting Is Over". Rush Limbaugh's entire career is based on the Game "Let's You & Him Fight". Before Berne, many Games were taken from old fairy tales & folklore: "Cinderella", "Lone Ranger", "Superman"; I once dated a gal who did the whole "Rapunzel" schtick. Unfortunately, recent generations make up their standard Games from television programs.

5) There are levels with a standard Game: Level One is playful, such as a prank in the Game "Cops & Robbers"; Level Two is for real, like actual, though minor crime: shop- lifting, speeding, cheating on a test; Level Three is where 'public record or tissue damage is involved', such as arrest of the game player, emergency room visits, or identity theft (serious damage to another).

        Games are a good thing, most of the time, if well managed, and any child with knowledge of the distinctions of Game Theory is better able steer his/her own life-course, as well as better able to cause or avoid 'state changes' in their environment: stop the bully, get asssistance, help others over hurdles and beyond messes.
        Games are there – all people in all cultures DO Games, but virtually none of them have a clue that there are rules and that a manual exists to consult for guidance.
        Imagine driving to Billings, Montana without a map. Or playing chess without understanding what moves the knight or bishop are allowed. That is what YOUR life is like without the technology of T/A and Game Theory: you do it, everybody does it, but nobody knows the actual rules.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Originally the T/A professionals concluded that the state of Intimacy was something that most people could expect to experience for fifteen minutes – in their lifetimes. If they were lucky! Yes, that was actually official policy back in the 1960's and 70's.
        I hope that that is no longer a concept being promoted anywhere, but just in case, I will state right here that the idea is completely incorrect.
        Sadly, for many people, the statement is not far off the truth. People hunger for Intimacy, though they cannot define it and basically fear it. They think that they will get hurt or that they don't know how, and thus will look foolish. The Culture-Structure promotes Intimacy only as a commodity, which will magically appear if you buy the newest self-help book, get a tummy-tuck or a new car or job or spouse. Intimacy is made to appear as a rare commodity, the masses had better try harder, kiss more a**, throw others aside to climb the ladder because the Holy Grail of Intimacy is right up there just out of reach – and out of reach of those you see at the top, too, cuz aren't they also driven to climb even higher?

        So what then is Intimacy? Whatever the dictionary may say, I say that Intimacy is a state where there are no barriers. When I was married and then divorced, and my ex-wife asked to move back in with me (and did – twice!), that was all rather a roller-coaster ride at times, but this I can say: the woman who is my ex-wife told me the truth for nine years – something few other people on the planet have attempted on even a short-term basis. (And my ex-wife held me to the same standard.)
        THAT is Intimacy: the good, the bad, the fears, the pain, the ups & downs, the joy, the defeats and triumphs and surprises and heartbreak and the many unanswered questions and unresolved issues that arise in just the interaction of two people. In Intimacy, everything is included, nothing held back, all is essentially What's So.
        If others have done so, then they are able to invoke innate skills and are practicing Relationship.

        Intimacy is doable en masse, but is usually accidental and it goes away real quick. Tragedy will invoke Intimacy among strangers – 9-11-01 or any flood or firestorm or tornado or earthquake. But as soon as the water recedes or the smoke abates the design of the Culture-Structure requires that we return to Ritual and Pastiming.
        Hearts open up at the shelters, but when the Red Cross starts packing their gear it is back to Business As Usual: "I'll call you when we're settled", "Let's do lunch", "Call if you need anything". And the moment of Intimacy devolves into a name on the Xmas card list.

        But the difficulty is not real, you just don't believe that the Possibility of Intimacy exists. Any course at Landmark Education, for another example – which I've now participated in for 25 years – will produce the space of Intimacy for the days of a major course or the hours of a weekly seminar. Not every participant may be in the state of Intimacy, but the course material operates in the context of Intimacy, so Intimacy can be said to be present in an expanding and perhaps contracting number of the participants over the duration of a Landmark event. The space of Intimacy is incredible – no wonder the Culture-Structure prevents your access: if you already have Intimacy, entire product lines and industries become worthless to you as a consumer.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        You now have some knowledge of the six possible levels or ways of Time Structure technology, used for millennia by Mankind and only recently defined and reported by Eric Berne and others.
        How many of the six did YOU operate in today?

see also "Game Theory In A Nutshell": http://www.working-minds.com/WM2001d.htm#17

see also WM Transactional Analysis page: http://www.working-minds.com/TApage.htm

see Landmark Education Corporation's website: http://www.LandmarkWorldwide.com

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

Each issue of WMail is posted on the Working Minds website; quotations are posted alphabetically by author.

==>  For those interested in details, the Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper #146
        lays out the "Severity of the Current Labor Slump" of the U.S.
        ('in a recession since March 2001')

==>  Found the greatest site for folks with a website:
        Doctor HTML will test a webpage for all sorts of errors (max. 5 webpages per
        session) and does a really good job. I have only 385 more webpages to go...

==>  The Italian film "We The Living", based on Ayn Rand's novel is being re-released
        December 2003, with a Hollywood premiere.
        The Atlasphere website has a 2-part interview about the re-release at

==>  New additions to the WM website include:
        along with the usual on-going updates & changes...

N E X T   M O N T H: 'The 100-Year Exercise'

        You can obtain a free e-version copy of the Preview Edition of "Working Minds: A
Philosophy of Empowerment" by visiting the WM website ebooks page at
        The free Preview Edition can also be requested via the link here:
GENordell [at] Working-Minds.com - just put "FreePrvwEdition" in the Subject field, and specify your choice of Adobe Acrobat PDF file or Microsoft Reader LIT file or M/S Word DOC file.

==>  Visit and-or bookmark the Working Minds website:
        http://www.working-minds.com     [note the dash!]

==>  Forward this e-mail to anyone who is into philosophy or economics.

==>  Take a serious look at the Working Minds Manifesto: For a World
        That Works, Where Quality of Life is the Most Important Value
        http://www.working-minds.com/manifesto.htm [now in eight languages]

==>  Participate in these philosophical webrings:
        ..and the Ayn Rand Webring at

==>  Take a look at previous issues at

        EDITORS: Want one of the previous essays for your publication?
        Not difficult. Just make a request & agree to attribute to WMail.
        See all previous issues at http://www.working-minds.com/WMailindex.htm

CONTACT: G.E. Nordell (editor) at GENordell [at] Working-Minds.com

Easy enough to ADD or REMOVE yourself from this mailing list
==>  SIGNUP: reply [ or send to WMail2002 [at] email.com ]
        with 'SignMeUp-2003b' in the Subject
==>  CHANGE: reply [ or send to WMail2002 [at] email.com ]
        with 'Change Address' in the Subject
        BE SURE to specify the OLD email address [before any redirects]
==>  REMOVE: reply [ or send to WMail2002 [at] email.com ]
        with 'Remove' or 'Unsubscribe' in the Subject

After ezine Issue #72 in October 2007, the email hotlinks for subscribing were removed from the archive pages.
Go to the Dateline Chamesa blog & sign up there to receive further content.

jump to Issues #39-41

index of all 'WMail' ezine issues
back to 'WMail' Newsletter main page
back to Working Minds Philosophy homepage