Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D. - Author, Editor, Nonprofit Consultant, Wisdom Coach

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The Dangers of Mysticism
Kneedy No More?
Right Use of Money
Don't Worry! Be Happy!
Not the Team or the League But the Sport


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right use of power

Right Use of Money

The recently resolved U.S. debt-limit crisis has been described by some as a form of extortion, with a doctrinaire faction of one party holding the entire country hostage to their inflexible beliefs. The nation’s greater good seems to have taken a back seat to the greater good of the few.  Nowadays Republicans strike one as the party of greed, while the Democrats come across as the party of need.  Republicans have a point when they argue for hardy self-reliance, entrepreneurship, and creativity rather than dependence on government handouts.

Licensing Adults

July 3, 2076. An America chastened by the crises of the 21st Century is about to celebrate its Tercentenary. No longer the sole superpower, it has abandoned its role of global policeman to a more mature U.N. and is now using its limited funds for the needs of its people—more Denmark Anno 2011 than the United States of that era. Congress has just enacted a National Maturity Test, better known as the Adult Licensing Act. Unless a citizen passes this multi-phasic exam, he or she may not open a bank account, purchase or drive a motor vehicle, matriculate at a college, apply for a salaried job, buy property, run for office, or even marry. As you can imagine, parents, the schools, churches, health clubs, summer camps, tutoring organizations—everyone is teaching to this test. The ten things everyone is required to know and be able to do to qualify as a “mature American”—include (1) RELATING effectively to others. This is one “R” no one born in the 20th Century ever was expected to know. Included are leadership and collaborating skills. (2) SOLVING PROBLEMS efficiently. Research skills are part of this requirement. (3) MANAGING TIME and FINANCES well. Living within one’s means, saving money regularly, and knowing the difference between important and urgent are all de rigueur. (4) Showing SELF-DISCIPLINE in one’s lifestyle, including eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising every day. (5) Understanding and practicing responsible HUMAN SEXUALITY. (6) BEING CHARITABLE. (7) Expressing FORGIVENESS and GRATITUDE on a daily basis. (8) Showing CIVILITY in all one's interactions. (9) Exhibiting a SENSE OF WONDER. And (10) USING POWER WISELY in everything one does. During the first three-quarters of the 21st Century, humankind suffered from a collective lack of these behaviors. The President, a forty-year-old Muslim woman, will sign the bill into law tomorrow.         

Marco! . . . Polo!

“Marco! . . . Polo!” Kids in a pool. One yells “Marco!” Another answers, “Polo!” After the fifth iteration, I’m wondering why I decided to go swimming that afternoon. After the tenth, I begin to entertain homicidal thoughts. Yet this dumbest of games honors one of the West’s greatest human beings. Why do I say that? For contrast, consider that other great Italian discoverer, Christopher Columbus. A century and a half after Polo’s travels to Xanadu, Columbus arrived in the Bahamas. As Howard Zinn reports in

Everyday Magic

My new brother-in-law, Dan Barstow, has a number of distinctions: He’s born on the Fourth of July, president of the Challenger Space Education Centers, a heckuva guy, and, most importantly for today’s reflection, he’s a magician. He does amazing tricks with silver rings, even if you’re just a few feet away. He’s been wowing audiences for decades yet still manages to fit into the black robe that transforms him into Merlin. (I guess that’s a trick in itself.) But here’s some news. We’re all magicians. Every one of us is a Merlin, a Gandolph, the Kind Witch of the East—or at least we have the potential. As Jesus promised his disciples, “Everything I do, you will be able to do—and more!” What does this mean in practice? Simply that through our words, deeds, and example we can change the lives of others for better or worse. That is, we can do both black and white magic. We perform our tricks for spouses, kids, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, housemates, peers, even ourselves. Sometime our magic is as simple as keeping a promise. Or it may stem from a word spoken in or out season. Here’s an example. The summer after 7th grade a classmate threw a party. She and the other girls all knew how to dance jitterbug. That evening Linda, the hostess, taught me—a good deed which has stood me in good stead ever since. To my lifelong shame, however, I did not return the favor. Instead, I made unkind remarks to some mutual friends about her prominent aquiline nose. My words must have gotten back to her, since in fall Linda appeared with a new nose. Since then I hope I’ve been more careful in what I’ve said and done. Yet our challenge remains—to use our magical powers wisely.  

Using Power Wisely and Well

Today’s blog is a tale of two years: 1513 and 1516. In the first, Nicolò Machiavelli published THE PRINCE. In the second, Desiderius Erasmus published a much less known book: ON THE EDUCATION OF A CHRISTIAN PRINCE. Machiavelli’s classic was meant to help princes gain, maintain, and enhance their power. As such, its principles (!) are still used by today’s CEO’s to increase market share, acquire new territories and companies, and grow the bottomline. Erasmus’s work, by contrast, was meant to train princes to use their future power for the well-being of their subjects.
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