Perhaps the Biggest Question of All


Dear reader, this morning I messed up and set an incorrect date on an unfinished  draft message “More Lemonade”.  Here is the message you should have received.
Will the truth work anymore?
That’s one of the biggest questions we (I mean all of mankind) face right now.  In the answer lies a fortune and fulfillment as well.
Humans are different from every other species.  We control the world because we are the only animals who can cooperate flexibly in very large numbers.
Our language allows us to imagine and communicate and agree on stories that are not based in fact.  Mankind can generate large-scale cooperation, based on an ideal such as America is “home of the brave”, “land of the free”, “every person is created equal”.
Such ideas are figments of the human imagination, but when they are positive in nature and when enough people believe the story and cooperate…  the tale becomes truth.  We can accomplish a lot by all agreeing on positive ideals.
Sadly, though many of these stories we rely on to hold us together are based on really strong ideas… they are not practiced by all.   The dishonesty, especially at the top of a hierarchy as it is revealed, weakens and then destroys the cooperation.
And remember it’s that cooperation and nothing else, that puts humans at the top of the food chain.  Cooperate, we live.  Stop communicating effectively, we die.
The glue that holds the cooperation together is an agreement of what is true.   Yet large organizations and nations favor, short term, leaders, who lie.  The lies are not always deceitful or with malicious intent.  The simple fact is that no one can foresee the future.  Yet we humans love positive stories, the simpler the better.  We have a tendency to look up to (or vote for) those who how to handle the complexities of living in an uncertain world.

Winston Churchill explained this phenomenon”  “A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

Simply put, the future submits challenges that no one can know all the answers to.  Failure to keep promises at some level is a requirement of being a leader.

When promises made by leaders are broken enough times and the followers lose faith, the typical reaction, rather than finding the truth and explaining it, is to censor the truth.

In the past censorship meant that information was hidden or forbidden.

As technology of communication has evolved, censorship by hiding information doesn’t work anymore.  There are too many sources and the ability to project information to large groups is too easy.

Instead the alternative form of censorship is to flood enormous amounts of contradiction, misinformation, and irrelevant data until the human brain’s limited channel capacity kicks in.  A lot of this is going on right now.

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Do you ever feel this way about the daily news?

In the era of broadcast, media relied on getting one message to millions of people.  In the current era of broadband the winning strategy is to get millions of messages across each individual to a single person.

History shows us that since the beginning of the recorded word, there have been cycles of rises and declines in the wealth of the major countries that were in power at any given time.

The rising cycles often run for 100 years so changes in current cycle, caused our changing ability to communicate, is rapidly shifting in ways that have never happened in our lifetimes (even for 70+ year olds such as me).   When looked at in a deeper perspective we see equally important evolutions in communication  have happened many times before in history.  In many ways the printing press was a big a change as the internet. The telegraph equaled  social media. The radio and televison had more power than Facebook and Twitter, etc.

These better forms of communication shook the fabric of what was considered truth in each case.  Improved knowledge exposed monetary and credit excesses, big wealth gaps, and increased the fighting over wealth and power.  Better communications weakened censorship and started revolutions and wars.  The revolutions and wars brought an eventual better order.  All prospered more until excess and new forms of communication started the next downward spiral.

Severe acts of nature (like droughts, floods, and pandemics) have at times accelerated the process.

The inability to communicate leads to a decrease of mankind’s most vital asset, cooperation, and leads to growing divisiveness, intolerance and unwillingness to learn and gain from one another.

I fear that internet driven communication has shifted the world far enough into a turbulent cycle of separation that it’s unlikely we’ll see any reuniting of the minds of the left and the right in the next four years.

However this dilemma also creates opportunity.  History tells us that the answer to the question about truth is YES.   The truth will work again and does work now.

Eras of turbulence are generally short. The overall path of humanity has always been up, so those who can project a story of truth not only possesses a rare valuable commodity in the here and now, but also stands in a position to surge ahead when the next upward cycle begins.

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Some foundations of real truth

Truth can be in words that withstand tests of logic. It can be honest products that provide value, durability and reliability. The truth can be in an honest service that has the customers agenda as its first goal. Things that continually provide genuine fulfillment create the most powerful true stories.  Positive stories supported by the laws of nature contain the most truth and fortunately we can see them if we take a moment to calm ourselves and stop listening to the barrage of noise.

A multitude of forces are trying to drown us in false narratives.  Filter them out with a little common sense and logic.  When you project truth you become more valuable and you’ll you survive and prosper more in the turbulence and beyond.

Gary

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The foundation of human society is the ability to communicate ideas through words.   Words support a framework of love, hate and desire and all the emotions throbbing through the heartbeat of mankind.

Writing builds shelters against the storms of stagnation and creates progressive energy that artistically leads us from the tyrannical grasp of existing thought into new dimensions and ideas.

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Marco Polo photo

Take Marco Polo and the impact he had on changing the thought process of the Western world.

Marco Polo was a merchant and an explorer.  He saw wonders when he ventured into the Eastern world.   When he shared these wonders it altered the entire way that mankind in Europe lived…  from the introduction of gun powder to paper money.

Yet what made Marco famous was his ability  to share these innovations due to his writing!

Biography.com says of Marco Polo’s exploits (bolds are mine):   Just a few years after his return to Venice, Marco commanded a ship in a war against the rival city of Genoa. He was eventually captured and sentenced to a Genoese prison, where he met a fellow prisoner and writer named Rustichello. As the two men became friends, Marco told Rustichello about his time in Asia, what he’d seen, where he’d traveled and what he’d accomplished. His stories were soon committed to paper and eventually published as a book called The Description of the World,

The book made Marco, who was released from prison in 1299, a celebrity. It was printed in French, Italian and Latin, becoming the most popular read in Europe. But few readers allowed themselves to believe Marco’s tale. They took it to be fiction, the construct of a man with a wild imagination. The work eventually earned another title: Il Milione (“The Million Lies”). Marco, however, stood behind his book. He also moved on with his life. After his release from prison, he returned to Venice, where he married, raised three daughters and, for some 25 years, carried on the family business. 

Marco died at his home in Venice on January 8, 1324. As he lay dying, friends and fans of his book paid him visits, urging him to admit that his book was fiction. Marco wouldn’t relent. “I have not told half of what I saw,” he said.

Marco’s desire to earn more money, his travels and adventures were the foundation of his destiny, but his writing was his legacy.  Here is one more excerpt from Biography.com.

In the centuries since his death, Marco Polo has received the recognition that failed to come his way during his lifetime. So much of what he claimed to have seen has been verified by researchers, academics and other explorers. Even if his accounts came from other travelers he met along the way, Marco’s story has inspired countless other adventurers to set off and see the world. Two centuries after Marco’s passing, Christopher Columbus set off across the Atlantic in hopes of finding a new route to the Orient. With him was a copy of Marco Polo’s book.

Writing to sell is one of the most powerful forms of marketing  and marketing is what we do in every aspect of life… every day. 

The heart of all events requires marketing.  We market ourselves, our business, our thoughts ideas and beliefs all the time.  In business, marketing covers strategic planning, product design, packaging, distribution, advertising, public relations, promotions and sales.  Marketing is the process by which anything and everything, product, service, idea, person is introduced and promoted. Without marketing, you may be or have something great, but no one knows it.

All marketing begins with writing… whether, a speech, picture, video, movie, advertisement, announcement, banner,  jingle, song… the birth place is in the written word.

Why words are better than cash.

You can turn words into cash.  Mix in a little wisdom and deliver benefits.  The value of honest word’s never deflate.  A dollar, decades ago, was worth 15 greenbacks today… or more.   Useful, wise words, even hundreds of years aged… are often worth more now.

Take these 153 year old words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Has time diminished the value of these words?

Sometimes Merri’s and my writing led us into incredible adventures.

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Here I am with Merri and an Ecuadorian Yatchak deep in the Llanganatis Jungle creating a shamanic tour.

We even built a…

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Yet during the pandemic we have been able to continue sitting away from the madding crowd in our cabin on Little Horse Creek and at our Florida farm.

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Sincerely,

Gary Scott