RATIONAL LIVING IS THE WAY TO HAPPINESS Volume (4) |Episode (54)
Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: John Vespasian
In this episode of Healing From Within your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit: Answers for Healing and Infinite Love a tale of spiritual communication, healing, miracles, and of course, a guide to your Soul presence welcomes John Vespasian joining us today from the Netherlands and John is the author of his newest book, Thriving in Difficult Times 12 Lessons from Ancient Greece to improve life today.
On Healing From Within Sheryl and her guests search the past and present, sharing experiences and merging the new with old truths in order to better know the true nature of human and energetic life so we may begin to move through illusions, fears and limitations to realize our potential to thrive and find happiness and prosperity. John Vespasian the author of eight books on rational philosophy, psychology, and personal development including When Everything Fails Try This and Rational Living Rational Working: How to Make Winning Moves When Things Are Falling Apart and Consistency The Key to Permanent Stress Relief will help us explore ways to achieve positive result while not wasting time, finding resilience and using persistence and finding the key to self-reliance.
John tells us a common theme that runs through his books is focused on Rationality and showing that rational living can provide an ultimate advantage. Human action produces the greatest benefits when it is focused on providing rational solutions to critical problems. A wise man uses logic to determine which difficulties are to be addressed with priority. He applies his energies to overcome major obstacles and ignores small inconveniences. Also given sufficient time, logic and consistency usually produces positive results. A rational approach to living gives you the ultimate advantage in the fields of investment, health, career or relationships. Barring extreme bad luck or misfortune, ethical actions lead to happiness.
Sheryl was intrigued by the title of John’s new book Thriving in Difficult times 12 Lessons from Ancient Greece for she has had many coincidences dreams and events connected to Greece and felt a need to visit Greece about 12 years ago. The name of Sheryl’s first book Life Is No Coincidence shows readers that nothing is random and if you are interested in pursuing any activity there is often guidance from Universal Forces to learn more about yourself and the world. Sheryl is curious and asks John how he became interested in learning more about Ancient Greece. John tells us how understanding Greek philosophy or their life style may help us to thrive in difficult times and shares some of the 12 lessons from Ancient Greece that is valuable. As the Ancient Greeks demonstrated once and again, greatness is always self-propelled. Success and happiness are not determined by a person’s origin, background, or inherited advantages. It is up to each of us to pursue ambitious goals, and attain great results. The Ancient Greeks came up with highly effective methods to get what they wanted. They figured out how to enjoy life, trade successfully with distant cities, and repel the Persian aggressions successfully. The Ancient Greeks found effective ways to get things done, especially in difficult times.
John presents the principles they used. Prior to writing his book he had conducted extensive research with the goal of extracting the very best lessons from ancient history. John regards those principles as proven methodologies that can tilt the odds in favor of whoever applies them. An important factor that contributed to the success of the Ancient Greeks in times of trouble is that they possessed a strong determination. They knew what they wanted, and they deeply disliked wishy-washy, uncommitted attitudes. In his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides mentions that, whenever the Spartans had to make a major decision, they used to gather in an assembly called Appela. In the Appela, the Spartans declared war, appointed kings and commanders, approved treaties with foreign countries, and confirmed or rejected death sentences. On most occasions the Spartans voted by acclamation by shouting, “Yes or Nay” when a proposal was submitted to the Appela. However, sometimes they did not reach a clear consensus for instance when the Appela had to decide if war was to be declared. Such a decision was a question of life or death. If the Spartans declared war on an enemy that was stronger than them, they could be wiped out. The decision to declare war was so important that the Appela had a special voting method. Each voter had to express his view by walking to one or the other side of the room. Indecision was not an option. Each man had to show clearly which way he wanted to go. Similarly John suggests the ideas in this book need to be implemented with determination. Passivity is not a valid option during difficult times. If you want to attain good results, you cannot stay immobile. Like the Spartans, you need to show which way you want to go.
Another important consideration here is this: As long as you choose the correct path for yourself, you have no business in trying to force other people to see the truth. Imposition and coercion do not work. Sheryl relates this to what is happening in our nations Congress today and knows they could use some help possibly following these ancient Greek traditions in making major decisions at this time in history. War is so prevalent in the world and there is much dissension within our country and the Congress- Democrats and Republicans are in their own personal war. We might all need to consider the right path for the total good of the union and stop forcing others by coercion to think like them. It seems we need to prioritize important issues and spend less emotion and energy on division as there are serious world problems that concern all American’s well-being and an internal fight diminishes our chances for success.
John discusses next the deadly mirage of continuity and tells us Biblical systems are non-linear. One of those principles about continuity suggest that continuity can rarely be expected in human affairs. The expectation of continuity constitutes a deadly mirage. The belief that things will continue tomorrow the same way they are today is going to prove mistaken on most occasions, and this is the kind of mistake that can bring down a person, a family, or an empire. Beware of people who preach that tomorrow is going to be the same as yesterday. Such a conviction is dangerous, and can easily turn you into a victim of disruptions, accidents, and setbacks. Change represents normality, even if large numbers of people stubbornly demand continuity. On any given year, millions of individuals will change their profession, lifestyle, and place of residence. Attentive observers will sometimes be able to perceive changes even in how individuals behave from day to day. If you assume continuity in all aspects of life, you are bound to be disappointed, and if you build your career upon the expectation that the world will remain unchanged, you will suffer the negative consequences. The belief in continuity, like all unrealistic views, will rarely go unpunished for long.
John goes on to relate that Biological systems are non-linear. This principal was advanced by the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa 460-370 BC) who gained numerous insights that have been later confirmed by modern science. Hippocrates did not possess the tools of modern medicine, nor the methodology to gather samples and make statistical analyses, but this did not prevent him from discovering the truth. He gathered his wisdom by direct observation of how different treatments worked on different patients, and by identifying the underlying patterns. When we read his writings, we learn not only about medicine, but also about human society in general. We learn about aspects that are common to all cultures, and that have not changed in the last thirty centuries.
One of the major insights gained by Hippocrates is that biological systems, including the human body, do not behave linearly and uniformly. This means that certain specific characteristics of the human body and psyche can vary from year to year, season to season, or day to day. This variability arises not only from the fact that people get older as times goes by, but also from changes (expected or unexpected) When interpreting this idea of change and how the body does not behave linearly Hippocrates wrote…”At the beginning of a sickness, it can be appropriate to use a strong medicine, but at its height, it’s better to abstain from strong medicine, and let the patient rest.” Hippocrates, Aphorisms II, XXIX
John writes, “Despite massive evidence to the contrary, many individuals still expect their lives to move on a straight path, and run smoothly and pleasurably. Such expectations are against the non-linear nature of human psychology, human society, and to a certain extent, human physiology. The truth is that, in human affairs, variability represents normality. Conversely, perfect predictability should be regarded as extraordinary. Understanding this principle is crucial to your success, happiness, and personal effectiveness. If you insist on demanding that your results should be uniformly positive day in and day out, and that all aspects of your life should run smoothly, you will be setting yourself up for frequent disappointments. Sooner or later, the results of your actions are bound to fall short of your expectations. This is a phenomenon that each of us has observed in his own body while recovering from a cold, a sore throat, or a swollen ankle. Granted, it requires an additional intellectual step to generalize this principle to aspects of human activity such as economics, relationships, and social organization.
Mental flexibility is a prerequisite of physical resilience, and one of the keys to thriving in difficult times. Unless you learn to view biological variability as normal, you will give up too easily in times of adversity. You will feel tempted to stop fighting, and give way to despair. Understanding biological variability can help generate physical and psychological strength. The right philosophy can help provide extra energy to the human mind and body. The right ideas can enable you to face problems courageously, take decisive action, and keep persisting until you come out a winner.
Plato wrote about the ancient city of Atlantis in order to share how the Athenians principals helped them survive long after the people of Atlantis disappeared. For hundreds of years, the myth of Atlantis has attracted the attention of historians and archaeologists. According to Plato in his dialogue Timaeus, Atlantis was a large island located in the Atlantic Ocean, a few hundred kilometers beyond the Strait of Gibraltar. Plato tells us that people from Atlantis were superior to the rest of humankind. The Atlantes were taller and stronger, and thanks to their superior qualities, they made themselves masters of Europe and Africa. The text of Timaeus seems to point to the fifteenth century before Christ, that is, ten centuries before Plato wrote his books. Plato tells us that when the Atlantes tried to impose their will upon the Mediterranean, only the Athenians managed to stop them. Although the Atlantes were taller and stronger, the Athenians were adamantly determined to defend their liberties. In any case, Plato’s goal in mentioning Atlantis was not to recount a fairy tale, but to let us know how Atlantis was destroyed. According to Plato, the Atlantic Ocean rose ten meters at a certain moment, and generated a wave that submerged Atlantis, and made its civilization disappear. Nothing remained of Atlantis. Its cities, temples, and inhabitants were engulfed by the sea. In order to be able to draw the right lesson from the story, the important thing is to understand why Plato wrote about Atlantis in Timaeus. Plato did not fundamentally care whether Atlantis had existed or not. He just wanted to point out that Atlantis and its civilization had been destroyed because the sea level had risen a few meters. The message from Plato is crystal-clear. If you want to protect your life from disruptions, you need to take precautions. You need to diversify your risks, spread your assets amongst different territories, and avoid single-point failures. The Ancient Greeks were no strangers to massive disruptions. Once and again, they had been forced to fight against other peoples in the Mediterranean and had been triumphant not destroyed.
Lessons from Ancient Greece also suggest we use our resources wisely in order to succeed or even survive. Are you for instance deluding yourself by expecting your career to run smoothly at all times and feeling irritated by problems in your relationships because you had erroneously convinced yourself that those relationships should be perfectly stable?
Those are examples of the variability of biological systems. Human beings can never be perfectly stable, neither physically nor emotionally. By extension, the principle of variability also applies to human organizations such as corporations. Human actions are influenced by the circumstances and ideas of the day. Human psychology reacts favorably or unfavorably to the social environment just as the human body reacts favorably or unfavorably to the weather. Thus a person’s level of motivation is going to depend on the expectations that this particular person can sustain at that particular moment. For this reason, it is in your interest to make biological variability one of the pillars of your personal philosophy. Understanding this principle can add greatly to your long-term strength, motivation, resilience, and capacity to achieve complex goals. If you take into account biological variability when you plan future projects, you will not become emotionally paralyzed if the projects’ results fail to meet your expectations. If you grasp the fact that different people are going to react in different ways to the same stimuli, you will not be surprised to see your co-workers, employees, or customers react differently to exactly the same event. Each person, depending on his physical and psychological traits, is going to have a different perception of the risks and opportunities in his financial, professional, and family life. The search for perfect smoothness and predictability in any area of life is a waste of time. The belief that bad luck will never hit you is completely unrealistic. Being alive always entails risks, challenges, and variability. Only death provides perfect stability.
It would appear that principles are more reliable than beliefs Aristotle explains what cause means. Instead of looking for practical applications of the principle, Aristotle devoted his energies to speculating about what “cause” really means. In his writings, he argued that every entity in the world serves as a link in a causal chain that transforms reality in some way or another. This train of thought led Aristotle to invent an unnecessary concept or Belief that he called “final causality.” What he meant by “final causality” is that every entity in the world is driven to pursue certain goals. For example, plants would be driven by the final causality of nourishing themselves, growing, and reproducing. Animals would also be driven by the final causality of eating, growing, and reproducing.
The concept of final causality and the mirage of continuity should be discarded according to John. The concept of final causality is useless and counter-productive. In history, this false concept has been employed to justify many abuses and impositions. Some beliefs imprinted in our minds over time are less reliable than principles which stay the course.
IN CONCLUSION THEN…..There is no excuse for people who fail to adopt measures against well-known risks, and there is also no excuse for those who unnecessarily weaken their defenses by adopting a defeatist attitude. Changes are inevitable and often destructive, but this does not mean that you should throw the towel, and refrain from protecting yourself.
An example of this is if you know what’s right, and you see other people stubbornly doing what’s wrong, you have two options. Option one: you can get upset, and devote your energies to changing other people’s behavior. Option two: you can go your own way, keep doing what’s right, attain success, and let your experience inspire everybody else. The Ancient Greeks adopted a highly pragmatic approach for dealing with prejudice, arrogance, and ignorance. Whenever they figured out that something had to be done in a certain way, they just did it, and did not waste time trying to convince people who preferred to do things otherwise. The truth is that your personal example is the only valid method to make someone else think things over, admit his mistakes, and change his behavior. There is simply no other way.Serenity, modesty, and initiative are the marks of personal effectiveness because they express at the same time the acceptance of our own limitations, and the confidence in our capacity to solve problems.
In helping others achieve rationality sensibility and a higher state of consciousness and to heal problems John wrote….” It seems that the Ancient Greeks demonstrated that learning to cope calmly and effectively with adversity is one of the keys to success and happiness. …. you have to accept that your expectations might be proven wrong, and that some of your endeavors may fail despite your enthusiasm and hard work. Sometimes, people will oppose you and block your initiatives for no good reason. On other occasions, unexpected circumstances might derail your plans, and prevent you from getting what you want. Non-linearity is disruptive and unpleasant, but statistically common. ….What made the Ancient Greeks resilient to adversity was the conviction that they could overcome all sorts of obstacles by employing their creativity, determination, and persistence. What renders people unsinkable in all centuries is their willingness to face problems courageously, and keep looking for solutions even when the whole world seems to be falling apart. I want to underline the importance of having a proactive attitude. ….Flexibility, adaptability, and self-confidence constitute the antidotes to this mirage. A certain amount of disruption is unavoidable in life in human life. The Ancient Greeks understood that social harmony can be disrupted by unexpected.
John gives an example of this thinking that had to do with trade and perhaps that is why good or bad trade agreements for our country now can ensure world safety.”It must not have been easy for the Greeks in ancient times to convince Amasis the Egyptian leader to accept their trade proposals. The Greek fleet represented a risk of invasion for Egypt, but the Greeks put forward a strong argument in favor of a trade agreement: It was the best way to prevent hostilities. Compare this peaceful approach with the military aggressiveness of Alexander the Great, who subjugated Turkey, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and India, and killed thousands of people along the way. Alexander established himself for a decade as dictator over a large territory, but when he died, his empire disintegrated into broken pieces that never came together again. In contrast, the Greek merchants in northern Egypt chose a peaceful approach that worked well for hundreds of years. We should follow their example because peaceful cooperation constitutes the best method for preventing or minimizing disruption. The best defense against non-linear disasters is to make arrangements that allow you to increase day by day your knowledge, prosperity, and personal alliances. The trade agreement that the Ancient Greek merchants concluded with Amasis enabled them to develop with Egypt commercial relations that lasted for centuries. Peaceful cooperation generates friendship and prosperity instead of enmity and destruction.
John concludes by saying that like all of nature, human life is governed by the law of cause and effect, but the multiplicity of factors that influence our lives make it impossible to predict the future with certainty. If you work hard and productively, you should normally become successful, but there is no hundred-per-cent guarantee that this will be the case. Unexpected obstacles could block your path, and even if you are doing your very best, other people might oppose your plans, waste your time, and exhaust your resources. The law of cause and effect governs the universe, but no computer can accurately predict a person’s future. The number of factors involved is so large, and the relations between those factors are so complex, that it becomes impossible to make an accurate forecast. If you want to become highly resilient, serene, and self-confident, you have to accept that human history, on a societal and personal level, has strong elements of non-linearity. Nevertheless, it is precisely your ability to deal with changing circumstances that is going to increase dramatically your chances of success in the long term, even if you have to suffer the vagaries of non-linearity in the short term.
Since all humans seek happiness we can refer to Antisthenes one of the first philosophers in history to link his reflections to a particular purpose, namely, the pursuit of happiness. . If the purpose of philosophy is to attain happiness, then the purpose of ethics is to prevent mistakes, make better decisions, and provide you with a clear sense of direction. All disciplines led to understanding the human condition and how to become better versions of ourselves. Like other Greek philosophers they discovered the accumulation of knowledge is more valuable than the accumulation of wealth.
In today’s episode of Healing From Within we have taken a journey into the past visiting with fine thinkers and have found whatever culture or country we explore, people simply need to find a more realistic view of human nature, their reason for living a physical life, and ways to balance thoughts and lifestyles in order to forget about problems and work on positive values and meaningful situations. In learning to embrace what is more in tune with the gracious human emotions of higher values and by turning away from the negativity and need to fuel our lower emotions, we can avoid endless pain and suffering. The choice is always ours, and learning more about how past thinkers approached their challenges helps us, now, in modern times to overcome many of our societal and personal infringements. The key of course is resilience consistency persistence and not allowing self-doubt, lack of resources, massive ridicule, or lack of contacts to deter you from your dreams or your goals.
As John writes…. “History recounts the same tale again and again. When difficulties arise skepticism turns into discouragement and irrationality into fear. Pragmatism leads to counter-productive actions and confusing results. Without a long-term perspective, problems soon strike the ship under the waterline. A full human life is impossible without thoughtfulness. This principle is universal. It knows no exceptions. No one can escape it. Learn from experience abandon wishful thinking and embrace a philosophy that works. Rationality determination and consistency are the essential factors of happiness and prosperity. Let them carry the day.”
John and I would have you remember that aligning to your own inner spiritual wisdom and knowing yourself every day a little bit better is the way to find contentment with your choices and to bring into your energy field that which you discover most important to your own heart values. The giving and receiving of love is a universal factor and one we were born to discover. Understanding that change is inevitable and life is non-linear offers us the way to respond with grace and good sense to all challenges.
Guest: John Vespasian