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9.9.13

Expecting The Spanish Inquisition

UPDATE: Mother Agnes Mariam al-Salib and the Monastery of Mar Yakub (St James) Syria are trying to get the truth out about events in Syria.  Look them up on Facebook and support their efforts.  Thanks!

UPDATE2: First, a disease that only affects Semitic people called MERS.  Then, the Saudis agree to back US invasion of Syria, and *POOF* - cure for MERS.  Coincidence?
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On the back of the US dollar bill, there is a Latin phrase, "Ordo ab Chao," widely considered to be a motto of the Council of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry, meaning 'order out of chaos.'

The Chinese have similar expressions, even down to the language itself, where the word for 'crisis' (weiji or 危機) is composed of wei or 'perilous', and ji, which can imply 'flexibility', 'an integral part', 'pragmatic', and 'natural' (no, it doesn't mean 'opportunity' in itself).

For those who are mentally and physically prepared, chaos and crisis can be beneficial.  The secret is to remain aloof enough from the immediate situation to be able to seize opportunities when they come.

The problem most people face is that they panic when things start to go awry.  Being caught up in the turbulence of chaos, they lose their grasp on rational thought and miss the chance to strike.  For instance, in a panic market, people are selling wildly while the prudent investor waits for the right moment to sweep up bargains that will gain value once order is restored.

As Max Lucado reminds us, "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd."  It's one of the most apt summaries of individuality I've yet found.  Those who will have the greatest impact on the future are rarely those who are entangled in the popular culture.  Those who are entangled will see themselves extinguished with the masses, but those who go a more lonely road will stand out in times when leadership is most direly needed.

The crowd chose Barabbas, but it was Jesus who changed the world.  And here is the crux of the problem.  Those who chose their own path are often ridiculed, even punished severely for their independence.  It is extremely difficult for the individual to chose that sort of abuse in order to take advantage of changing currents.

As the Chinese word weiji tells us, change in inherent in the system.  Those who follow the current will flourish for a time, but eventually they will be caught in the eddies and sucked under.  Those who choose the harder path will suffer up front, but they will benefit in the longer term.

It is difficult for people to embrace chaos.  They desperately crave routine and sameness.  They default to a world with no surprises, but this defies reality.  The unexpected always comes, and we are either ready or not.

Being ready does not mean you foresee every possible hazard,  Rather, it means that you have prepared yourself to accept it when it arrives.  Thus prepared, you cannot be stunned into inaction and will see the opportunities in the otherwise chaotic mess.  These are the people who change the world and whom the crowd ultimately follows.

No one admires a victim.  They may pity the person, even come to their aid, but they will not follow a victim because the outcome is obvious.

Instead, people naturally follow those who walk away from the train wreck seemingly unscathed.  Regardless of why they are unharmed, the crowd is naturally attracted to those who are apparently prepared to survive and prosper the worst catastrophes.

While it seems trite, there is a great wisdom to the expression, "Expect the unexpected."  We will rarely see exactly how things will change, but that we are ready for the change itself means that we are not caught off guard, and thus are ready to act when the crowd is stunned to silence.

True leaders do not set out to lead.  Rather, they are created by their ability to remain standing when all others are laid out.

Many people know the expression, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."  Few, however, stop to consider why the one-eyed man is that way.  It is because he had the presence of mind to cover one eye when events conspired to rob the rest of their sight.  His readiness led to action that gave him a slight advantage over the rest.

Ordo ab chao.  Extropy out of entropy.  Spring follows winter.  The ant and the grasshopper.  Weiji.

No matter how you express the concept, it pays to keep an open mind, to expect the unexpected.  No, it won't make you popular, nor likely rich, but it will ensure a far better outcome from the inevitable chaos of life than for most.

You cannot lead when you are part of the crowd.  In a crowd, you are just one of many all clambering for the same position.  A leader is, by definition, different and apart and creates a position, he doesn't inhabit an existing one.

Preparedness is not about stock-piling groceries, it's about being mentally and spiritually ready for the fact that nothing stays the same.  If your plan is to build yourself a fortress against the chaos, then you can be absolutely assured that you will be forced to abandon it when the unexpected comes.

As any rafter will tell you, you read the currents as you come to them.  All the planning means nothing in the face of a 10-foot standing wave.

Tomás de Torquemada would not approve.