Thought for the Day (from Paris)…

“Those opposed to the humanity of a commander towards his corps are the real enemy.”

Getting through middle school without hearing the old adage ‘I lead by example’ or even ‘be the change you seek’ would have been hard at best. And to those who made it through high school, congratulations, without getting trapped in the brick snares: I commend you. Truly, it is what is in your heart, and the quality of one’s deeds that make one a good leader. Born into wealth, I gladly fall on my own sword in the defense of the truth.

The first thing a good leader needs is to win the hearts of his people. He won’t win men of virtue with gifts of gold because they do not seek such things. To win the heart over is far more worthy than bestowing material gifts. It is for a cause that hearts are won. And it is by deeds that good men are appointed.

Now for my rant about why I love Paris. I’m unalterably surprised by the free thinking of the people of France. Even in the busiest parts of the city there is a serenity and peace, a peculiar quietness, that one cannot find in the quietest parts of California. I wonder at this because of the values that they hold and the way they conduct themselves; it is a significant transformation embedded in their cultural DNA: Equity, liberty and fraternity are the cornerstones of this society. People are treated very well here regardless of race, sect, creed, religion or income level.

Have you ever been to starbucks? The workers are akin to slaves. They open at 5am and close at 9pm. This is ridiculous and circumvents basic rights. Lower and middle class Americans are uneasy and I understand why. The unrest is due to the cultural DNA of our nation: a cultural narrative of defiance, disrespect, slavery and injustice. The constant cultural wars may have more to do with the way we treat our workers, more than anything.

Economy and riches are really all people in America seem to care about. Personal success is the one and only that defines who you are in this country. Yet the people are NOT HAPPY, so they invent these pointless cultural wars to battle with one another. I wonder why this is. I think it is because our American culture prioritizes the wrong values. Hardwork is important, but it is not to be worth a penny at the cost of freedom. A person of moderate income, if free and with his dignity, is more wealthy than the richest who is enslaved to commodity.  So I say, treat people well, for in a community one’s happiness depends on the happiness of the whole. The community, if it is charged with iniquities, will bite those who live presumptuously. Cultural rivets such as racism, classism change the fundamental framework of the whole society, unshackling not one of us. To be truly free we must build to it TOGETHER.

So why does the common wheel in France seem to reinforce one another? Walking on the streets for endless hours I realized: they still have the age old values of courtesy, gentility, modesty and freedom. They don’t want ceaselessly, and live in a culture of diseased greed and avarice. So, generally, the people are more contented.

A further note on France: It isn’t just the workers who are treated well- as the shops close at reasonable hours and they aren’t overly busy- but the immigrants. They have free reign to worship as they please, dress and express their own cultural values as they wish. There is an absence of tension between races. The general population is indifferent about skin color and religious freedom. As a white catholic, I find this particularly appealing. It is safe to say racism doesn’t exist here.

Growing up in America, born in 1993, I never failed to get an ear full from my indoctrinators- or I mean educators- about slavery. THE WHITE MAN IS EVIL was played over and over and over again in my head like a broken record. It wasn’t subliminal but direct messaging. So it comes as culture shock to be in a place that nobody cares that I’m white. Ha! Look it here: slavery happened 150 years ago. It is over and done with and America has to just get over it already. Any more bickering about it is wasting time and energy and only dividing the nation that much further.

I see many black men here who come from Africa. They are very nice and suddenly I realized that I’ve always been addressed with hostility in America because of this cultural phenomenon of racism. This race narrative in America has to end or we will plunge into the dark ages.

One more thing: True love is a basic right. Following your heart is the whole purpose of living, for if you don’t follow your heart what are you doing anyway? Toil, distraction, excess of wealth or pleasure are all a significant loss and a wavering from the road. Simplicity is where one finds true love. There is love in Paris. People aren’t unplugged from life. Yet, I don’t speak two words of french and I find myself having conversations everywhere. They are conversations of the heart, which require no words.

In other places I could speak ten thousand words in english and the meaning would be less than a mere glance here. The conversation of the heart doesn’t need words, just understanding through the eyes and body. The limitless plain of resonance does not get impeded by the wall of language or the walls of distraction. Maybe I’m truly home now. I have found my people. And the wandering knight can be at peace now. Love, and the kindness, transcends all barriers. Even though I’m not at my earthly home, I’m at home. This is a family of love that binds me.

Only a look is needed to understand the heart of the person. We think we do bad deeds in secret but they show plainly on our face. The quality of virtue and character are more distinguishable among the French by the way of culture. Here, to be kind and full of love and free-truly the call of liberty and purpose of life- is something that is encouraged. Because freedom is regularly endorsed and workers are treated well, people get along famously. America has constant unrest because the culture denies freedom: being enslaved to commodity. We neglect virtue in favor of an “image of success” that is really only the way to “avarice, excess and unhappiness”. And yet America actively promotes greed, and we wonder why everyone is bickering? America says: Be a slave, workaholic and lusty man. Get chained to commodity and become a slave to it. And we say that this is liberty. And they call America free. It is a hoax, I say. Nothing is free about that. Freedom is in words from the heart and love from the people and nothing more. This freedom that America speaks of is a indoctrinating principle to continue the slavery and atrocity of industry, which kills people through corporate structures. They want recruits to join the ranks. Forget it. IT is a lie.

Those in power who promote this narrative are not deserving of their pins. Is deceit a way to lead people?

So what is the secret? Well being, personal liberty, and acceptance of diverse cultures. In a place of great diversity: African, Muslim and Christian people all get along together. No one is persecuted or judged because of their skin color.

America has a long road ahead to become this cultivated, and it is likely they will not make it. America is a place of many words but little meaning. Rights are free until they conflict with the powerful narrative. Servitude to the God of money puts all in chains and infects the society with unrest-fulness. This chase, a wild hunt with little reward, debases all virtue and cultivation. “The dungheap will always smell, wasps will always sting and hornets buzz, and a brute will always slander and vex others.” We choose gain over growth, and suddenly it has become apparent we are governed by a bunch of children while the rest of the world has to take care of us! Even more so, like the spoiled and rotten, we glorify ourselves with pride and air of greatness, when we are the defilers of the world. Globalization glorifies our American values and may harm the rest of the world as this ineffective narrative continues its way across the globe, converting simple people of virtue.  And while this sweet song puts us to sleep, our enemies overrun us on all sides. Western culture will be destroyed if we don’t wake up to the reality: our industry and gain has corrupted us completely.

“To my mind a courteous man, though dead, is more worthy than a living knave.”

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