Marilyn M. Barnewall
May 2, 2009
People are worried about our government, our currency, our indebtedness. They are worried about losing their jobs and paying their bills. Most of all, they are worried about the direction in which they see America moving. It does not reflect their values or their dreams.
Dreams – yearnings – are very important. They are the critical element of change. They are part of the magic. Without dreams, people are unlikely to risk what they have today so they can change their lives. That is the basis of capitalism… of America and the American dream. It’s why it is important to direct your energy to positive achievement rather than wasting it on negative reaction.
If you think I just said you should ignore negatives, you misheard me. I said you should waste no energy on them… use energy to build up, not tear down.
I was talking with a friend Sunday night. He is a worldly man who has seen more than I will ever see… and I’ve seen a lot. He is an American who is a citizen of the world. He said, “I have literally seen people in other countries implement great change simply by willing it to happen.”
I know what he is saying is true because I have both witnessed and experienced it. The question we need to answer is: What positive outcome will I support each day with positive thoughts, beliefs and actions?
I frequently hear the words “new paradigm.” Business writers and economists like that term: paradigm (pare-ah-dime). They use it a lot. A paradigm is society’s model or perception of how things work – or, don’t work. The changes in American society are being wrought by changes in the economy which, in turn, impacts everything we do as a society.
We have been going through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in the way things work in America – since the 1960s. I believe the result is a paradigm of what doesn’t create the best possible social order.
What does this new paradigm dictate? Abortion must be legal, God must be kept out of schools, teen sex and alternate sexual practices must be accepted, it’s okay to cheat if you don’t get caught and if it moves you forward in your world. People who label themselves as “progressives” offer this as social progress. Most of us do not agree.
It was in the early ‘60s that the technology, information and service economy began to dominate business. Society had to get rid of the engine driving the old economy so new high tech products could fuel and direct the nation’s economic direction.
Just as agriculture had to move aside as the primary economic drive of the late 1800s so industry and manufacturing could get behind the wheel, today industry and manufacturing paradigm must move aside to let technology drive the economy. We have to get rid of the industrial paradigm to move into the high tech paradigm.
Paradigms, like anything else, exemplify that for every equal there is an opposite. One of the most basic laws of our universe is that two forces of equal but opposing energy levels create balance. We have day and night; we have strength and weakness; love and hate and we have heat and cold. There are uncountable equal/opposite examples. For every equal, there is an opposite.
Technology has increased the productivity of the world exponentially. Suddenly Worker A became ten times more productive today than he or she was yesterday. That made it necessary to reduce the number of workers doing Worker A’s job.
Farm boys, used to rising early to work the fields all day, had to learn to stand on production lines in factories when we moved from an economy driven by agriculture to industry. Today’s city girls and boys must be educated in the use of computer technology to qualify for even basic word processing and cash register jobs. To go beyond entry level employment requires a much more sophisticated insight into technological applications. Thus does the economic paradigm impact the social core of the country. The entire value system gets redefined and restructured to fit the needs of what’s driving the economy.
All of the change brought to the marketplace by technology suddenly became big and powerful - more powerful than the energy created by industry and manufacturing. The values that grew up around our industrial base - the values that accompanied the old economic paradigm - began to disappear. New, more “progressive” values began to assert themselves. Suddenly, America was facing a paradigm change. Our fundamental way of doing things presented us with a new social and business order. A very large percentage of us don’t like the changes.
So far, it appears the paradigm standard is to remove more of our freedoms with a fascistic form of socialism. But maybe we need to look more deeply at alternatives. Remember, the world runs on the basis of balance created by opposites of equal strength fighting for dominance. Evil always fights good – and good always fights evil. The human race has known this since Genesis was written.
What I’m saying is there is not just one paradigm change out there fighting and trying to get your attention – and support. The paradigm that appears to be winning the fight – the evil paradigm – is getting all of the attention, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only new paradigm in the fight or that evil is going to win.
It is always difficult for good to fight evil because evil has the advantage of a no holds barred approach to conflict. Evil can do anything it wants because it has no constraints placed on it like “Thou shall not murder… and you can’t steal or lie, either.” Good cannot compromise with evil. When it does, it loses its “goodness.” If it gets down in the gutter with the dogs of social conflict, it will get the fleas that live in gutters. This is the weakness terrorists saw in America’s underbelly: Her goodness.
Sometimes, it is difficult to see the good paradigm working because it is very subtle. Evil builds its new paradigm based on no values. Thus, evil paradigms lack honesty, goodness, loyalty, caring, faith, family, positive traditions – and, yes, even dreams. And it is positive dreams that destroy evil.
How do I know a good paradigm exists? I know it because I believe in the laws of physics… though I personally prefer to think of them as the laws of Nature created by God. Those laws tell me that for every equal, an opposite exists. I also know it because I saw it displayed at the hundreds of tea parties held across the country on April 15th. The people who attended the parties are those who dare to dream positive thoughts – and do something to achieve the dream!
The people who attended tea parties didn’t just dream… they did something. They got off their butts and made a statement. That is how dreams overcome evil. The tea parties were not reactive as some people characterized them. They were proactive… they were taking a step that said to government: “Here’s a line you shouldn’t cross.”
If we watch carefully, we will recognize the sudden, inexplicable demise of something bad. Those who have thought very much about this phenomenon have come to understand that trying to make things “easier” rather than “better” has a moral price.
The people involved in the bad paradigm become lazy. “You don’t need to study for a test; cheat instead.”
They lie and commit fraud. “Well, no, I didn’t pay my taxes… but I still deserve to be named Treasury Secretary.”
They become arrogant. “I know what’s best… the dumb people out there don’t know what’s good for them.”
The point is, their paradigm eventually fails. No endeavor – including a paradigm – can exist without strength and strength comes from what most people define as “good.” Work, humility, commitment, fortitude… many things build strength. When tough times happen – and they always do – strength enables a paradigm to remain standing.
Through the rockets great glare, that flag was still standing. So says Frances Scott Keyes in our national anthem. It is the best possible example of why good, in the end analysis, triumphs over evil.
I believe we have two paradigms in play… one good, one evil. I believe in the end, the good paradigm will defeat the bad one. How much will we have to sacrifice to get from where we are to the positive paradigm? I believe that depends on you and on me. I believe that depends on our ability to dream our dreams, take actions each day to make them come to fruition, and pray hard that those currently in power will be made to see that the result of their evil paradigm will be unable to stand against a free people and their dreams.
The paradigm shift we are experiencing is the result of the move from an economy driven by industry to one driven by technology… a new social order has emerged, as a result. We cannot afford to forget that we are the ones who will ultimately determine how our social and business paradigms are structured. “They” want us to forget… that’s why we’re currently having one crisis right after the other. It’s part of the “divide and conquer” game plan.
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One of the hardest things people can do is fight negatives with positives. It is so tempting to fight against something rather than fight for something… to be reactive rather than proactive.
That, however, is our task.
© 2009 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn Barnewall received her graduate degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978. She created the first wealth creation (credit-driven) private bank in America in the 1970s. Prior to her 21-year banking career, she was a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter, public relations director, magazine editor, assistant to the publisher, singer, dog trainer, and an insurance salesperson and manager.
She was named one of America's top 100 businesswomen in the book, What It Takes (Dolphin/Doubleday; Gardenswartz and Roe) and was one of the founders of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America's top 200 businesswomen. She can be found in Who's Who in America (2005-08), Who's Who of American Women (2006-08), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who's Who in the World (2008).