Reverence, Conflict, and Contention – Understanding Improves Capability

Several commenters have erroneously confused conflict and contention and harangued me for promoting conflict.  With this article, I intend to dispel the confusion and encourage understanding.  These three principles, reverence, conflict, and contention, are paradoxically connected, and a greater understanding is needed.

Reverence

Some of you think that reverence only belongs in church settings, and frankly, your lack of insight into this word is why we are discussing reverence.  Please, turn off the voices in your head for a minute.  M. Russell Ballard provided etymological understanding for the term reverences pertinent to this discussion.

Reverence may be defined as profound respect mingled with love and awe. … The root word revere also implies an element of fear.  Thus, reverence might be understood to mean an attitude of profound respect and love with a desire to honor and show gratitude with fear of breaking faith of offending.” – God’s Love for His Children

Webster also provides additional insight into reverence.  Reverence contains definitions, including an action to show respect; a feeling of mingled awe, respect, and admiration; veneration; esteem heightened by awe (wonder), as of a superior; especially, such a feeling toward deity.  Finally, we find more insight; reverence includes treating with profound awe (wonder) and respect, or veneration.

Many Christian religions sing a hymn that encapsulates reverence, “How Great Thou Art.”  The first stanza is my favorite:

O Lord my God!
When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works
Thy hands have made,
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
the power throughout
the universe displayed.”

Take anything you see out your window right now.  Flowers, trees, grass, snowfall, frost, cars, asphalt, window glass, etc., and consider the hands, science, and creation of that item with wonder.  With awe, consider the birds, bugs, animals, humans in all their variety.  Want to know a secret?  You just showed reverence.  More importantly, you made a choice to open your mind to see past the mundane and explore the higher plains of existence with your human eyes.  What are the consequences of awe and wonder, joy!  Reverence brings joy!  Want to know another secret; one of the most challenging problems all societies face is choosing to show reverence and look with wonder and awe upon the world around us.

I can build a house; well used to be able to build a house, now all I can do is teach my skills to someone else.  But, guess what, I am the first to declare I am no expert, and their remains much I can and want to learn.  Want to know another secret; learning shows reverence and brings joy.  I marvel in awe at craftsmen displaying their skills, be it building a house, fixing engines, creating delectable goodies, or simply watching small children explore the world, I choose to view in wonder the majesty around me, and this brings joy!

What is Joy?  Why pursue Joy?

Joy is defined loosely by Webster as “Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.”  But does not fully encapsulate what joy is; joy is mental peace, mingled with an uplifting spiritual feeling, leading to physical contentment and feelings of well-being.  Joy is a pursuit, not the object, not the destination, and is a drug you can become addicted to quickly.  However, pursuing joy for pleasure is a pathway to problems, for joy does not contain truth, only the recognition of accomplishment.  Joy is a by-product of choices leading to success in achievement.

The pursuit of joy includes failure, feelings of hopelessness, and even despair, physical and mental pain, and anguish.  Yet, joy is still sought and pursued, why; because at the end of the day, joy occurs when goals are accomplished, and in evaluating the goal, we find the struggle worthwhile!  When we, as individuals, choose to stop pursuing joy or achieving a goal, we die inside, leading to physical and mental disease.  This is why retirement is such a bad idea, why giving up is so physically, mentally, and spiritually destructive, the loss of joy can physically, mentally, and spiritually kill a person.

The lack of joy precedes a loss of hope, bringing with it soul-crushing despair, depression, and opening the door for that individual’s destruction.  Why pursue joy; to avoid the death inherent in hopelessness.

Contention

Let me be perfectly frank, contention and conflict are not the same.  While the terms are close, they are distinct and tell different sides of the same story.  First, contention is an act of striving or an assertion.  Contention is a violent effort to obtain or protect something vehemently!  There is effort, struggle, exertion in contention; there are violent efforts, and the core of contention is pride.  Pride breeds animosity, animosity breeds struggle, and struggle is contention, where pride is demanding that violence is acceptable as a means to achieve the desired end goal.  When contending, “The ends justify the means.”

Contention is animosity personified into action, effort, and desires become evident as contention unfolds.  We cannot forget these facts about contention.  Consider the following; I went to work in a hostile atmosphere; due to a contract signed, I could not quit and find a new job, and reassignment was not going to happen.  Jealousy and pride entered because I was very good at my job, and violence followed like the sun rising after a moonless night.  The result was that contention was born and festered, violence was perpetrated against me, and the violence was acceptable to the leaders as it gave them feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The violence was justified because I was “too good” at my job, made “decisions above my paygrade,” and “I needed to be taught humility.”  The result was four disastrous years of struggle, incredible stress levels, and mental torture, with physical acts of violence thrown in to spice up the environment.  Contention is pride expressed through violence and justified to fit the individual’s desires.

Conflict

I have written a lot about conflict, conflict’s benefits, how conflict is a tool, and the dark side of conflict.  At its most fundamental level, conflict is all about helping spur growth, development and bring about change.  However, I cannot stress this enough; conflict is NOT contention.  Conflict is not born of pride and a desire to feel better about yourself through violence.  Conflict can be observed in a disagreement or difference in opinion, but conflict does not include emotional hyperbole (pride).  Conflict should be about mental disturbances spurred by people seeking greater ideas and ideals, personal growth, or team development.  Does conflict lead to contention?  Yes, because pride enters into the disagreement, emotions are injected, and desires to be right at any cost dictate it is time for violence.

My wife and I have a conflict.  She does not like being mentioned, even obliquely, in these articles as she feels it is disrespectful.  I disagree because she has achieved much, and when she is mentioned, even obliquely, it is not to denigrate or deride, but as an example of what can be achieved and what I want to become.  She has gained a lot in self-mastery, and I long to learn how to achieve similarly; thus, it is not disrespect, but profound awe and wonder, mixed with desire, that I mention her.

Our marriage has been a long string of conflicts leading to personal growth, primarily for me.  I have learned that when I feel my emotions begin to boil, it is not her that is wrong in the conflict, but me.  Those emotions are pride screaming, “Oh, please let me be right!”  When the reality is, if I took some time to cool down, mentally focus, and look at my perceptions, I could see where and how I was wrong.  My parents possess a contentious relationship, and many times I have longed to see them divorce and go their separate ways.  I have observed them get into physical fights, watched them argue over BS while something else was the real problem, and I have witnessed several seasons of intense warfare between them.  Hence, I possess a motivating influence to be different, even if I have to unlearn and relearn.

Thus showcasing the significant difference between contention and conflict, growth never occurs in contention, EVER!  Contention only breeds more violence, not personal growth, not individual development, not team cohesion and goal attainment.  When the dust settles from contention, there are generally physical, mental, spiritual wounds and scorched earth between the opposing foes. In contrast, conflict breeds individual growth, personal strength, and goal success.

Leaders, followers, encourage conflict, teach how conflict can lead to contention, monitor conflict closely, and do not try to solve the conflict.  Settle contention, but do not deprive people of conflict.  Use wonder and awe as tools to breed an inquisitive nature and explore with a mind full of reverence.  Therein lay the path to joy; pursue the path!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

NO MORE BS: The Rule of Law – A Primer

ApathyAll advanced human actions, the weather, the natural world all operate on the law.  Understanding the rules of that law enables all the sciences, arts, music, and advanced human action the world has witnessed as humans have gained and lost civilization throughout history.  The following is a primer on the rule of law, a concept oft mentioned in these articles, to advance our collective understanding and provide impetus towards correcting the government.

Consider electricity; it exists in nature in uncontrolled ways and means.  Static electricity, lightning, other discharges exist when electrons get free and need to be grounded.  It took millennia for man to understand and harness electricity in the crudest of manners and methods.  It took another millennium for man to understand the laws of electricity, create, harness, and purposefully use electricity to improve the human condition.  Ancient examples of electricity exit in Egyptian tombs and other sites of antiquity that amaze and mystify us in the current history of man, for we do not understand the why behind the ancient uses and make guesses as to why electricity was used.

The critical part in our discussion of electricity is discovering and then living obediently to the rules and laws governing electricity.  Without exception, if you abuse the power of electricity, harm occurs, and death is ever-present.  I have witnessed surges of electricity start fires, throw people across rooms, and stop hearts as effortlessly as I type.  Speak with an electrician or engineer, and you will hear tales of inexperienced, uneducated, or fool-hardy people breaking the laws of electricity and the amazing results that transpired.  Speak to these same people, and you can see the advantages and blessings of obedience to the laws of electricity and the power of electricity to improve lives, heal the sick, and raise the dead; all, because the rule of law is adhered to by practitioners and electricity, is safely harnessed and used according to the understood laws.

Image - Quote Poltics is DirtyTesla understood electricity’s laws and rules better than any other person in history and died too soon for his knowledge of those rules to be both accepted and applied to the human condition.  Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla had a unique and troubled history and relationships.  Due to the desire to make money on delivering electricity, Tesla’s Tower for providing electricity through the air without a delivery network of wires, substations, and generators, was forced to be suspended, and Edison and Westinghouse beat Tesla into obscurity almost.  Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla’s relationship is not the topic; although highly interesting and an excellent example of capitalism working to destroy people, the rule of law and obedience to the understood rules and laws is the topic.

Consider the internal combustion engine.  I have heard it postulated on more than one occasion that after gravity, the internal combustion engine is continuously being researched and debated by engineers, physicists, and other scientific people in an attempt to improve human understanding.  Electricity remains on this list as we are learning more laws and rules that expand knowledge, which then develops human applications.  Hence, when we speak of the rule of law, we speak of current law, future discoveries, and historical application.  The historical applications of laws and rules often lead to insights into everyday situations and predict where the future may lie on a particular topic.

The Duty of AmericansSome may complain; I  am speaking only about natural laws, and man’s laws, as applied through government, are different from natural law.  To those who suggest this, I say, unequivocally, “Hogwash!”  How did man form the government; they watched the natural order and created a mimicry of the natural order into society, and then began working to improve that social order to achieve what nature, or the natural world, does automatically.

Consider the starlings, little birds, that fly in concert so intricately and beautifully, acting in a harmony of motion that appears to defy the social order and government of bird flight.  Yet, the starlings’ rules and laws allow for their society to fly and mystify humans.  Deer, Elk, Moose, Mice, and so many other animal societies have been mimicked by humans into a form of government and social order, bringing with it rules and laws that apply, strictly, to that society.

Editorial - Educational TruthAmerica has a lot of rules and laws.  In an attempt to capture the width and breadth of laws and rules in America, the following statement is made, “Congress has enacted approximately 200–600 statutes during each of its 115 biennial terms so that more than 30,000 statutes have been enacted since 1789.”  A more straightforward explanation is made on a different source, “Nobody Knows!”  The first and most fundamental law is the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights.  Under the rule of law, the judicial and legislative branches of government are expected to follow and closely adhere to these fundamental documents when creating laws and rules.  However, the legislative branch has abdicated its role to the judicial branch.  The judicial branch has become infested with activists and militant and mutton-headed pillocks from both current political parties’ extremes until the law has become defiled, and American Society suffers.

The same pattern has been observed in every democratic society across the globe, with the United Kingdom, France, Greece, and Germany, leading to diminution of the understanding and governance of law.  Hence, according to just laws and rules, the social orders that used to mimic natural orders have become lost in the morass of bias and opinions forming a legal quagmire where even obeying the law has become too difficult no one knows the laws sufficiently.  Even though the legal premise remains, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

PatriotismAmerica, consider the number of “Executive Orders” written by the current and fraudulent president?  The UK, consider how long it took to leave the EU and the bureaucrats who continue to thwart the people’s will?  Israel, how many elections will it take for you to have a stable government again?  German, you get the same question as Israel, and we all know how France and Greece could not form a cohesive government even though their lives depend upon a functioning government.

Citizens of Democratic governments, and America, a Republic, must understand the basic role and functioning of government to not cradle-to-grave care for a citizen, but to protect the national boarders and do as little harm as possible.  That is the government’s entire function; look at any social order in the animal kingdom, and this truth becomes evident very quickly.  Yet, humans continue to try and shape government into an instrument to beat and betray their fellow men in the name of plastic terms like “fair,” “equity,” and “New,” among many others.

Andragogy - LEARNWhat does a citizen of these governments do?

I have some suggestions, but the leading and most crucial request is to understand and then act.  We must fundamentally shift our understanding of, and then actions of, the governments that have grown beyond control.

      1. Observe natural order and consider your current government. If they do not match, you have a problem.  Acknowledge that problem exists!
      2. Understand the role of the “Rule of Law.” As the natural order goes, so should human government.
      3. Without a doubt, when natural laws are broken, death follows. Governments are dying because they have disregarded this simple principle.  Awake and arise before the globe enters another World War; because we all know how those turn out!
      4. Once you know, ACT! Vote!  Raise your voice!  Disclaim that in no uncertain terms, you are refusing and refuting the government’s power to rule you!
      5. As you learn, teach, so you may learn more succinctly, thus empowering your ability to train more powerfully. Your neighbors need this same information so you can act in concert.  Consider the starling; how fast will a starling die if they do not fly in formation properly; not bloody long.

Never Give Up!Remember, this is but a starting point in changing government, but we must start!  Embrace a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” and let us citizens act, for we own the government, not the other way round!  Never stop trying, learning, and reaching out.  When the government breaks the natural order, death becomes a real possibility, either through war, rebellion, or simply anarchy as government dies.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Wanted A Leader – The Leader’s Job Description

cropped-snow-leopard.jpgThe best job descriptions address the common questions of Who, What, When, Where, and How.  The common question ‘Why’ is excluded because it remains self-evident, there is a “something” desired from the job, or the job would not be considered worthwhile.  Since value and rewards are the beholder’s sole facets, ‘Why’ has been excluded as superfluous.  The sum of these points and positions is derived, deduced, and selected from the following resources, and this list is not all-inclusive, Avolio (2008), Boylan (2005), Brady (2005), Carpenter (1868), Chaleff (2003), Lundin (2000), Costa (2008), Hamlin (2008), Hinckley (2000), Oyinlade (2006), Morrow (1935), Sandburg (1926), Wren (1995), and Yukl (2006).

Wanted: a Leader

Literary FiendThe successful leader is morally obligated to embrace loyal opposition.  Loyal opposition is found in those following, taking and giving counsel and guidance to improve plans, implement ideas, and garner the individual buy-in from free agents.  Loyal opposition ensures that integrity, responsibility, and accountability are not lost or forgotten.  The leader is a teacher, and a teacher is a leader.  The cycle for learning and teaching does not become lost or less significant as rank is increased.  The inverse occurs. The greater the position, the higher the responsibility to remain engaged in the learning/teaching cycle.  All Applicants must have the following characteristics:

      • Drive and Determination – This is required as the task is difficult, the work often arduous, and the pay is never sufficient.
      • Education and Experience – Knowledge is good, but a continued thirst for learning must supersede past educational experiences. Experience in applying education is critical.  Without experience in application, academic success is not enough to obtain this position.
      • Willingness to sacrifice – As a leader, the followers need to be trained and supported; this requires a considerable measure of sacrifice in time, resource allocation and demands innovation in thinking and flexibility in approach.
      • The power to delegate – A leader does not have enough time to meet all their responsibilities; if a leader cannot delegate, oversee, and inspire others to action, that leader cannot achieve success and is not a leader but a manager.
      • Willing to follow without sacrificing the need to lead – Leaders can never sever the ties to being a follower, but the leader must act to lead. Above all else, leadership requires balancing between being a follower and leading well.
      • The ability to exude a ‘Quiet Confidence’ – Knowing you know what to do, have the ability to find the answers, and still meet achievement goals is required to inspire confidence and determination in others.

Charismatic people need not apply.  Those possessing ‘Chutzpah’ are always welcome.  Charisma is a potent drug and, when combined with the power of leadership, tends to lend itself to abusing followers.  People possessing ‘Chutzpah,’ e.g., having the backbone to make a stand and remaining standing long after others consider quitting, are always in demand.  Determined ‘Chutzpah’ will be the order of the day to make a change, lead in flux, and drive the change in others while putting followers at ease, delivering praise, and inspiring others to achieve.

quote-mans-inhumanityThe ideal candidate possesses a working and living knowledge of history, politics, sales, marketing, customer service, and a devotion to seeing others succeed.  The ideal candidate must be willing to be an example and remain engaged mentally to the tasks of leadership.  Other qualities an ideal candidate would possess include:

      • Appetite
      • Passion
      • Honesty
      • Forthrightness
      • Morals
      • Ethics
      • Motivation
      • Imagination
      • Understanding of the difference between monitoring and overbearing
      • Emotionally stable
      • Enthusiasm for learning and living

To apply, follow current leaders well, be engaged, be positive, and ask questions.  Shortly leadership positions will develop to begin the leadership training process.  Never forget, being a good follower remains key to being a good leader!  While awaiting your opportunity to become a leader, increase your literacy in general, including fiscal literacy.  Be the best follower possible, even if being a good follower requires you to stand apart from your peers.  Be willing to stand for principles, morals, and ethics without budging or giving way in the face of adversity or temptation.

quote-mans-inhumanity-2Learn that a good leader is a teacher, and a good teacher is a leader, even if all they do is follow well.  Delegation requires teaching; teaching requires knowing and using knowledge to gain experience; hence, volunteer, ask for additional jobs, take on assignments, and open your mouth to offer advice and suggestions.  A good follower and the best leaders speak up, speak out, and reflectively listen to gain mutual understanding in all they do.  Never allow peer pressure to silence you!

References

Avolio, B. J., & Yammarino, F. J. (2008). Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead. Vol 2. Bingley, United Kingdom: JAI Press – Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Boylan, Bob (1995). Get Everyone in Your Boat Rowing in the Same Direction. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble.

Brady, C., & Woodward, O. (2005). Launching a leadership revolution: Mastering the five levels of influence. New York, NY: Business Plus – Hachette Book Group.

Carpenter, F. B. (1868). The inner life of abraham lincoln: Six months at the white house. New York, NY: Hurd and Houghton.

Chaleff, I. (2003). Leader follower dynamics. Innovative leader, 12(8), Retrieved from http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/551-600/article582_body.html

Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108008/chapters/describing-the-habits-of-mind.aspx

Hamlin, R. G., & Sawyer, J. (2007). Developing effective leadership behaviors: The value of evidence-based management. Business Leadership Review, IV(IV), 1-16. Retrieved from www.mbaworld.com/blr-archive/scholarly/5/index.pdf

Hinckley, G. B. (2000). Standing for something: 10 neglected virtues that will heal our hearts and homes. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Lundin, S. C., H. Paul, and J. Christensen. Fish!, a remarkable way to boost morale and improve results. Hyperion Books, 2000. Print.

Morrow, H. (1935). Great captain: The lincoln trilogy. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company.

Oyinlade, A. (2006). A method of assessing leadership effectiveness: Introducing the essential behavioral leadership qualities approach. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 19(1), 25.

Sandburg, C. (1926). Abraham lincoln: The prairie years. New York, NY: Blue Ribbon Books.

Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader’s companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Yukl, G. (2006). Leadership in Organizations. 6th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
All rights reserved.