Thatís Using Your Brains!
The Fisherman And The Genie
The Hunter Who Was Saved By Eagles
Chess: The Problem-Solving Game
Hannibalís Phantom Army
Alexander The Greatís Victory Against The Scythians
The Training Of A Zen Thief
Many times, in life, we are faced with seemingly unwinnable situations: situations in which it seems that all is lost, that there is no way out, or no way in. Sometimes, when we are faced with situations like this, it is the Universeís way of forcing us to learn to "let go", to do without something we thought we needed, to find new and greater ways of reaching peace and contentment. Sometimes, losing is only the road to becoming a wiser, deeper, more beautiful human being.
On the other hand, there are other times, it seems, when the specter of defeat is not so much an invitation to outgrow illusions, as it is a stimulus to outgrow the limitations which have placed victory out of reach. As the old saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention", and it is often out of the most dire threats and circumstances that the greatest insights and achievements are attained.
Although many today, in the New Age, have reemphasized the importance of the human heart relative to the human mind - myself among them, for human brilliance, devoid of heart, is one of our worldís deadliest afflictions - there can be no doubt that human intelligence and ingenuity still do have tremendous value to us, and ought to be cherished as among our most precious assets.
Of course, it is not always clear what "intelligence" is, exactly; and "brilliance" remains even more of a mystery. Though some inevitably see it as the product of a "superior", more perfectly-structured brain, built for rational thinking - the result of a biologically inherited endowment, which has, perhaps, been sharpened by education - I think it is fair to say that the brilliant answer that flashes, like a match in the night, when all seems lost, is just as much a product of the human will - the desire to live, the desire to triumph, the desire to help - that propels the mind beyond its ordinary limits, into the realm of virtuosity, or just exceptional cleverness. Thomas Edison certainly believed that will was a component of intelligence. In fact, he is credited with having said: "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration."
On the other hand, Thomas Edison also demonstrated the critical importance of inspiration in raising the mind to its highest level. He is said to have practiced relaxation techniques while in the midst of his inventing, seeking to arrive at the state between sleeping and waking (the hypnagogic state) in which the fertility of the human mind is said to be elevated. (He would sit in a chair, holding ball bearings in his hands, until he became so relaxed that the bearings fell from his grip, awakening him. He would then start over again, drifting constantly towards sleep, but never allowing himself to go completely under.) What happened while Edison was in this curious state? He must have been put in touch with that inner problem-solver that resides in all of us, the subconscious mind, that somehow is able to access dimensions of reality that our conscious mind just canít seem to enter. (It is as though the conscious mind were a land creature, and the subconscious mind were a fish of the sea, able to move freely and easily in a completely different medium.) Or perhaps Edison, by quieting himself and opening a door in his mind, opened himself up to some benevolent angel, who came from beyond. Who really knows how to define or understand "inspiration"?
Besides will, and the mysterious angel, or "ghost in the machine", that sometimes comes to us with an answer if we open a door for it, there is the imagination, which must also be counted as a vital component of "intelligence." Reason, without the ability to dream (sometimes wildly), without the ability to fantasize and to be creative, often comes upon a chasm which it cannot cross. This is the moment when the ability to see reality in other ways, to re-conceptualize the dilemma, to allow visions to run free in oneís head, becomes the key to taking the next step. Whether this ability is called "thinking outside the box", or "shifting consciousness", or "stepping back to gain a new perspective", or just "leaving reality behind" for a moment to play with new ideas, there can be no doubt that this creative gift, this creative power, is sometimes needed to empower our reason with the something extra that it needs to prevail.
Certainly, it is also essential to believe that there is an answer. The individual who approaches a seemingly impossible dilemma with the belief that there is a solution - that there is, in fact, a solution to every problem - will have the morale, the conviction, and the faith, to persevere in his search for that answer; while he who believes that the situation is hopeless, will succumb, either giving up, or dooming himself with a mediocre answer.
One more thing I wish to say, before getting into the heart of this article, is that the "intelligence" I am talking about is not always obvious to the casual observer, or easy to measure, or "predict". Many times, it appears just at the moment that it is needed, like a whale rising up suddenly from the sea in which it has been hidden all along. I have seen students in Special Education programs, for example, and people considered unintelligent, and even despised, by others, display uncommon intelligence and problem-solving abilities, that had nothing to do with their "measured intellectual capacity." In many ways, they had been "trained" to see themselves as inferior, and they also had little patience for, or interest in, formal educational environments which sought to judge them and mold them in ways they did not care to be molded. But in moments of forgetting the limitations which they had been taught they had, and in moments of forgetting to doubt themselves, they would suddenly erupt with signs of great intelligence - the power of reason, alloyed with passion, will, and imagination. All of which goes to show that to solve a problem, you must not only believe that there is an answer, you must also believe that you, yourself, through your own efforts or the grace of God, can find it.
Following are some examples of exceptional thinking, drawn from mythology, folklore, and history. It is my hope, by means of them, to provide renewed support to the idea that our minds are equal to the challenge of any problem that can possibly be thrown at them. Believe it! Donít give up! Think! Thereís always an answer!
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The Fisherman And The Genie
One of my favorite "intelligence" stories is "The Fisherman and the Genie" from The Arabian Nights (1001 Nights). In this tale, a fisherman discovered a brass bottle in the net he had just pulled back, out of the sea. Curious, seeing it closed shut by an ancient and impressive looking seal, he decided to open it, whereupon a gigantic cloud of dark smoke rose above him, and the shape of a terrible, furious genie took form. "Prepare to die!" the genie told him, heartlessly, his voice as ominous as thunder.
"For what? What wrong have I committed?" gasped the horrified fisherman. "Have I not released you from the bottle in which you were confined? Have I not freed you? Should you not use your power to grant me a wish, rather than to destroy me?"
"Indeed, you have freed me," replied the genie. "And that is why you must die. As for the wish - I will grant you one," he said cruelly, looking down upon the trembling fisherman. "You may choose by which means you would die."
Amazed and terrified, near death from fright alone, the fisherman finally managed to ask, "How is it, genie, that you have emerged from the bottle with such a bitter heart?"
Whereupon, the genie told him his story: That he had been punished for rebelling against Heaven, and for rising up against King Solomon, favored of God. That he had been locked into this bottle, and cast away into the sea. That during the first hundred years of his confinement, he had determined that he would make whoever set him free a rich man. That during the next hundred years, he had decided that he would uncover all the treasures contained within the earth to bestow upon his liberator. That during the next hundred years, he had promised to himself to make whoever released him from captivity the most powerful monarch of the world, and to grant him a wish per day - anything he desired - anything at all. But that as time passed, and the pain of his imprisonment grew and grew, the hope in his heart gradually perished, leaving nothing but fury, and the desire to destroy everything that crossed his path. "And it was then that I promised," said the bitter genie, "that whoever let me out of this bottle would feel the depths of my pain, and pay with his life! For after so many years of being a captive, what does freedom matter to me; what does it give to me, now, but a small taste of everything that was taken from me?!"
The fisherman, unable to reason with him, or to elicit the slightest trace of mercy from his hateful soul, at last told the genie, who demanded that he stop delaying, and choose the manner he would like to die, at once, said, "Very well, then. But before I choose my way of leaving this earth - may God take pity upon my family - will you not answer me one question?"
The genie, seeing no harm in it, agreed. And furthermore, swore upon everything sacred, to answer truthfully, as the fisherman insisted.
"Did you really emerge from that bottle, as it seemed to me? Or did you come from the sea, itself, or from the sky, perhaps?"
"No - verily, I did come from the bottle, just as you perceived, and just as I have related to you," said the genie, puzzled.
"Then, truly, genie, you are a liar," said the fisherman; "and as God is my witness, you have broken the most holy of vows, for your swore to be truthful in your answer. Woe unto you, evil genie, for as your power is greater than mine, so Godís is greater than yours, and if it is true that you were ever punished by God, then you must know it is so. O great God, behold this lying genie - this giant, who claims he once fit inside this tiny bottle which I unwittingly brought up in my net!"
"Liar? What do you mean to call me a liar, little man?" demanded the genie. "Everything I have said is true!"
"I donít believe you," insisted the fisherman. "You are too enormous, your dimensions are too vast, to fit inside that tiny bottle, as you say. It must be a lie! I would have to see it, to believe it!"
"You already did see it, once," retorted the genie.
"My eyes must have been playing tricks on me. I was distracted. Verily, I saw smoke rising upwards like a cloud, but I could not ascertain if it was rising from the beach, or perhaps from the waves, I was too mesmerized by the event to observe it with any precision. But now, as I come to think of it, you could not have emerged from the bottle, for a being of your height and build could never have fit inside such a minuscule prison."
At last, seeing there was no other way to convince the fisherman that he was telling the truth, and that he really had been imprisoned inside the tiny bottle for many centuries, the genie dissolved himself, once more, into the ominous dark cloud which the fisherman had first observed, and with a loud, hissing noise, began to shrink and disappear back inside the bottle, until he was at last fully contained in it. Whereupon the fisherman rushed forward, and replaced the seal upon the bottle, locking the genie back into his hateful prison. "Now, treacherous genie, back into the sea you go!"
"No! No!" begged the horrified, outwitted genie. "Please, let me out! I swear, Iíll grant you any wish you choose! Iíve learned my lesson! Donít throw me back into the sea!"
But the fisherman replied, "You, genie, do you take me for a fool? How should I ever trust such an ungrateful, cruel monster as you, as to take a chance upon releasing you again? I was but one thought away from suffering a most unjust and heartless end; one thought away from leaving my wife a widow, and my children fatherless, poor, and hungry. No, arrogant genie, your fate is sealed. Back into the sea you go! And may you stay there until the end of time!" Whereupon the fisherman threw the bottle, and the heartless genie, back into the sea, entrusting them to the harsh guardianship of the waves.
Yes, of course, a "dumb genie" did help the fishermanís cleverness to prevail! But this is an outstanding example of "thinking on oneís feet." Confronted with a terrifying situation that could have utterly paralyzed him, the fisherman didnít give up. While, on the one hand, his fear drove him to develop a strategy for survival, at the same time he overcame enough of it in order to think clearly, and allow his mind to work under difficult circumstances. And as for the outcome depending upon the "foolishness" of the genie, I must confess that I once used a variation of this trick, in real life, to solve a problem of my own! In this case, the "victim" was an intelligent person; I just found an emotional "weakspot" to deactivate his "brain power", and then tricked him (once his mind was "turned off") into doing what I wanted. (Donít worry, nothing sinister was involved!) The point is that this story really IS more about a "clever man" than a "dumb genie"! Itís not JUST an enjoyable, but useless, fairy tale, after all!
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Ulysses ("Odysseus", in Greek), is probably the outstanding representative of "intelligence" in Western mythology. "The wily Ulysses", "the crafty Ulysses", "the clever Ulysses", "the resourceful Ulysses", he has been referred to in all these ways, and with good reason. Often helped by the Goddess Athena, who sometimes came to his rescue, or gave him advice and guidance (she was the intangible power of inspiration that came to him at his moments of need), he was credited with having a supremely clever mind, to begin with. Together, this crafty, bold genius, and his brilliant, sheltering Goddess, made quite an effective combination.
In the beginning, Ulysses, the young king of Ithaca, was approached by envoys of the Greek army that was planning to set sail to attack the city of Troy. He wanted no part of this war, which was for the honor of the Spartan king, Menelaus, whose wife, Helen, had been stolen by, or some said run way with, a prince of Troy. And Agamemnon, Menelausí brother, and a greater king, still, wanted glory and power from this war. But life was sweet for Ulysses. He loved his young wife, Penelope, and his infant son, Telemachus, and the sun-drenched island which he ruled. Thus, when the Greeks arrived to put pressure on him to join their expedition, they found him, apparently insane, attempting to plow the sands of a beach beside the sea. Of course, who would take a madman on an expedition like this? But this first display of Ulyssesí cleverness was deflected by a clever Greek, who threw Ulyssesí young son Telemachus down in front of his fatherís plow, whereupon Ulysses swerved to avoid running over his child. That proved, to all who witnessed it, that Ulysses was not "out of his mind", but instead, knew quite well what was going on. His ruse uncovered, he had no choice but to join the Greek army, in what turned out to be a long and bitter war against the resilient and heroic Trojans.
It was after ten years of fighting and dying outside the dark walls of that proud city, that Ulysses finally came up with the idea that gave the exhausted Greeks victory. What they had tried and failed to gain by force and valor, he found a way to win with the power of his mind. Since they could not fight their way through the defenders who guarded the walls and gates of Troy, he devised a way for the Greeks to sneak past these defenders, so that they could attack the city from within. Of course, this is where the "Trojan Horse", Ulyssesí brilliant invention, came into play. Pretending to be worn out from the long years of fighting, the Greeks carved a giant wooden horse, and seemed to leave it behind as an offering to their Gods, as they sailed away in their ships, abandoning the fruitless struggle against the valiant Trojans. But the Greeks did not really sail back to Greece, instead, they hid just out of sight, within striking range. Meanwhile, within the wooden horse, which was actually hollow, Ulysses and a choice band of warriors remained concealed, ready to emerge from a secret door when the time was right. Although there was some disagreement within the Trojan ranks, it was finally decided to bring the horse inside the walls of Troy, as an artifact which would bring divine favor to the city, as well as serve as a constant reminder of their great victory over the Greek invaders. Imagine the irony as it was the Trojans, themselves, who rolled Ulysses and his men, who had been unable to fight their way into the city, through the gates that had, for so long, denied them. Once within, of course, as night fell, Ulysses and his Greeks opened the secret door and emerged from the hollow of the horse. Swiftly, utilizing surprise, they cut down the guards by the gate, and signaled the hidden Greek forces waiting outside, who rushed forward through the gate the Greeks now controlled, and fell upon the astonished city without mercy.
This was the end of the Trojan War, but only half of Ulyssesí struggle, for following the war, he and his men were lost at sea, as they attempted to return home to Ithaca, and subsequently exposed to the series of incredible adventures related to us in Homerís Odyssey. Not surprisingly, Ulysses once more had the opportunity (and necessity) of displaying his keen wit.
One episode which I really enjoyed was his handling of Polyphemus, the Cyclops. In this adventure, Ulysses and a good-sized band of his men ended up trapped inside the cave of a fierce, one-eyed giant, an island shepherd such as none of them had ever before seen. This monstrous and cruel brute, upon discovering the Greeks taking shelter in his lair, rolled a giant stone across the entry way, blocking their escape - (it was also his way of keeping his sheep penned in, by night) - and determined to eat a number of his captives every day. On the first night, he utterly terrorized the Greeks, who could find no way to elicit pity from him; and next morning, went out to take his sheep to pasture, resealing the cavern with an enormous boulder to keep his prisoners secure until he should return in the late afternoon. The situation appeared hopeless. The Greek warriors, hard as they tried, could not move the enormous boulder that blocked their way to freedom, and it was doubtful that they could overpower the giant, even though they were still well-armed. Some suggested that they attempt to attack the monster while he slept at night, but even if they were to succeed in killing him, that would only leave them trapped within the cave, and doomed to perish in the future. It was Ulysses, driving his legendary brains to the limit, who finally devised the Greeksí desperate, last-ditch plan for survival.
One night, as the giant Cyclops toyed with them once again, Ulysses said: "Polyphemus, though you are a most ungracious host, perhaps we can change the way you feel about us by responding to your cruelty with kindness, and repaying your heartless conduct with generosity. We have here, still preserved from our journey, a giant skin filled with wine."
"Wine? That drink I have heard so many rumors of?"
"The very thing," Ulysses told him. "A drink that will make the whole world seem beautiful. Perhaps you may even end up loving us!"
At that, the cynical giant laughed, and took the wineskin from their possession, proceeding to guzzle all the wine contained within, down to the last drop. "Yes, yes! It is wonderful!" he exclaimed, after a while. "No wonder Iíve heard so much about it. And youíre right - I do feel better! So much better. In fact, I believe I have fallen in love with you, exactly like you said I would - with you, especially, captain - so much so, that Iíve just decided to eat you last!" Whereupon he seized up two more Greek sailors, hurled them against the walls of his cave, killing them instantly, and removing their useless armor, proceeded to eat them, laughing at his cleverness. "Your time, too, will come," he warned the indignant Ulysses. "But, until then, letís enjoy life! Letís be friends! Why not make the best of it? Whatís your name, wine-giver?"
Thinking ahead, though his men did not yet comprehend what was going through his mind, Ulysses answered, "Noman."
"Well, Noman, thanks so much for the drink! Noman - my dear, dear, temporary friend. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" And suddenly the giant, dazed and in a drunken stupor, began to snore loudly, every once in a while jerking his body about in agitation, before drifting back to sleep. After ascertaining that he really was unconscious, the Greeks quickly removed a giant pole from the back of the monsterís cave, one of several poles which Polyphemus sometimes used to stir the fire which he used to keep himself warm at night, and to cook his meals with. During the day, they had taken advantage of the giantís absence to sharpen this pole with their swords, to a fine point, and now they heated the pole in the blazing fire, whereupon several of them, wielding it like a great battering ram, rushed upon the sleeping giant and used it to put out his single eye. At that, the Cyclops screamed frightfully, clutching his ruined eye as the blood poured out in gory streams. The noise was so terrifying that the Greeksí hearts pounded, and they could barely move. Then, they heard the sound of other giants outside, and, at that moment, all of the Greeks, save Ulysses, felt certain it would be their last moment upon the earth.
"What is wrong Polyphemus?" the other Cyclopes asked. "Why are you screaming so dreadfully? Are you hurt? Is someone trying to kill you? Here we are, brother, ready to stand beside you!"
But Polphemusí only response to this earnest offer of assistance was, "Brothers! Brothers! Noman is killing me! Noman, I tell you!"
"In that case," replied the irate Cyclopes, angered to have been awakened and brought running all the way to Polyphemusí cave for nothing, "go back to sleep. There is no reason that your nightmares should become our own!" And it was then that Ulyssesí men understood the extent of their captainís foresight.
But still, one final problem remained to be solved. How to get out of the giantís cave? Fortunately for the Greeks, this was a problem Ulysses had thought through, as well.
When morning came, the wounded Cyclops rolled aside the boulder that guarded the entrance to his cave, enabling his sheep to leave to pasture. He, himself, however, blocked the exit, and felt the backs of the sheep as they left, to make sure the Greeks, his hateful tormentors, who he now wished to punish more than ever, did not try to ride out upon their backs. But Ulysses had anticipated this, as well, and his men, tying themselves beneath the sheep, rode out underneath the giantís probing hands, returning, once more, to the liberating light of day, to the freshness of the open air, and the reassuring sound of the sea, not far away, where their companions waited for them in the ship that would carry them far away from this nightmarish island.
Again, you may say, SOME lesson! Itís just a myth! Yet even so, Ulyssesí problem-solving, in myth, says a great deal about intelligence in the real world. It reinforces the idea that there is a solution to virtually every problem that exists, even to a problem which has defied solution for many years! It reinforces the idea that imagination - a creative, almost artistic aspect of the soul, given room to express itself - may often play a crucial role in reaching an answer that pure reason, without that freedom, may fail to attain. It also indicates the crucial nature of foresight, in devising an intelligent solution: for, in more than one instance, Ulyssesí ability to think ahead, to envision what reactions would follow from his actions, and to devise plans for dealing with those reactions, as well as the original problem, proved to be the key to his success.
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The Hunter Who Was Saved By Eagles
Somewhere between myth, and written history, lie the oral traditions of various peoples, the world over: tales which Western historians may choose to dismiss as legend, but which these peoples, themselves, may sincerely believe to be true. And, in many cases, they may be right. The following story is reported by Luther Standing Bear in his wonderful little book, Stories of the Sioux.
In this case, a wise and brave Sioux (Lakota) hunter, returning from a hunt, discovered a nest of eagles which was located on a rocky ledge, some distance down from the top of a precipitous cliff. Intrigued, he went up the cliff from behind, along a trail that was readily passable, and leaning over the cliffís edge, discovered that, in the nest, sat two young eagles - fully-feathered and strong, probably close to being of the age when they would take their first flight. Looking above, in the sky, to make sure that the eagleís parents, who were out hunting, would not interfere, he prepared a rope of hide, and tying one end to a pine tree near the top of the cliff, used it to begin the descent from the cliffís peak towards the ledge on which the eagleís nest lay. At first, it seemed like a great adventure, and he was ecstatic, thinking of the eagle feathers that would soon be in his possession. But, all at once, the hide rope that supported him broke from the strain, and he plummeted to the ledge of the eagleís nest, below. Stunned and winded, he finally recovered enough to see that his situation was, in fact, quite desperate: for the top half of the rope now swung above his head, out of his reach, meaning he could not climb back to the top of the cliff, where the easy trail down awaited him. Likewise, below him - below the ledge which he now shared with the nest of eagles - there was nothing but the sheer rock of the cliff side, falling straight down, much too far for any man to safely jump. He was stranded, trapped on a merciless cliff, in a distant country, far from his home and passing bands of Sioux hunters, and thus, it seemed, doomed to perish of thirst and hunger after a while. Only a moment before, he had dreamt of the glory of attaining eagle feathers; but now, it seemed, the whole world had turned against him, and death would be the only answer the universe gave to his daring heart.
The warrior prayed and meditated, but no solution came to him, until, at last, perhaps, the ironical thought that only the eagles who lived here could ever escape from this towering deathtrap, lit an idea in his mind. Silently, carefully, as the skilled hunter that he was, he began to work his way across the ledge towards the place where the young eagles sat, looking out over the world, below. Closer and closer he came to their nest, knowing how to seem as harmless as the ledge, itself, knowing how to make his desperate intentions seem passive and unthreatening. Until suddenly, finally in range, he pounced upon the eagles, restraining them, and preventing their escape, securing their feet with pieces of the rope that he had left. He then tied the eagles to his wrists, and walking to the brink of the intimidating ledge, prayed to the Great Spirit to save him; whereupon, he leapt over the edge. The young eagles, sensing themselves falling, instinctively began to beat their wings with all the power and determination that they possessed, seeking to remain in the sky, and the result was that the brave hunter did not plunge to the rocky bottom, below, with the heaviness of a falling stone, but rather, was slowed down enough by the eaglesí valiant efforts to fly, to survive his desperate landing. It was almost as though the young eagles had been parachutes, holding him back from certain death. The hunterís hunch had been borne out by the facts; his fantasy, offered to reality (with his life on the line), had passed the test, and become a new part of reality.
Afterwards, so grateful was the hunter to the eagles who had played a such a crucial role in saving his life, that he fed them, watered them, and returned them, in a reverent and ceremonial manner, to the cliff from which they had been taken.
This incredible story, which was believed to be true, shows, once more, the vital role sometimes played by the imagination in expanding the powers of "intelligence"; as it also shows us the importance of maintaining a healthy balance of urgency and calmness when faced with pressing challenges - enough urgency to drive one past the normal limits of the mind; enough calmness to let the mind work (for too much fear most always shuts the mind down).
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Chess: The Problem-Solving Game
Chess is definitely one of the most fascinating games ever invented and played by human beings, and it is also a wonderful field for testing and developing oneís problem-solving abilities, although it is far from an accurate or thorough measure of oneís talent in this regard. For life has many more possibilities, threats, opportunities, and options than the chessboard.
One chess story that I particularly like deals with a man who won a chess game even before it began! He asked his opponent one or more questions, evidencing uncertainty about how the pieces moved, and then proceeded to whip him! Furious, at the matchís end, his opponent demanded: "Whatís going on? I thought you told me that you barely knew how to play chess!" Whereupon, the trickster-player replied: "That was my first move!" Pretty clever, though hardly noble, or recommended. After all, brains really shouldnít part company with basic rules of human decency! ("The toolís to be used, not abusedÖ")
Besides this, there are many tales of brilliant problem-solving in chess, though most of them require a respectable knowledge of the game in order to make sense, and are, in any case, quite difficult to convey without the use of chess notation, and accompanying positional diagrams. One of my favorite games - and unfortunately I do not remember the players involved, though they were both top-of-the-line grandmasters - involved a miraculous escape from defeat. For those unfamiliar with the game, "stalemate" is a term used to designate certain conditions which can produce a "draw", or "tie." In the world of high-level chess competition, draws ( Ĺ point) play a major role in defining the winners of tournaments, as outright wins (1 point) are, many times, hard to come by. One way that a stalemate can occur is when one player is left with no move on the board, except for one which would place his King in "check." "Check", of course, means "exposed to direct enemy attack." As most of us know, even those who are only peripherally familiar with chess, if the enemy player makes a move that puts oneís King into check, and one canít move "out of check", itís called "Checkmate", and one loses. But if one is not in check to begin with, and it is oneís own move, and one has no other move than to place oneís King in check, then the game is not lost. Then, it does not count as a checkmate, but as a stalemate. (Being in a situation in which no further action is possible without violating the rules of the game, the game is automatically ended, and declared a tie!) Why this slightly technical explanation? Observe!
In the game in question, a renowned grandmaster was in desperate straits, hemmed in by his brilliant rival, and now short on pieces with which to continue the struggle. His position was quite hopeless, and he could have resigned at this point, which is always the respectable thing to do, in chess, when defeat is imminent. However, quite unexpectedly, this grandmaster saw something that his confident opponent did not yet notice. His King was boxed in by enemy threats, and could not move anywhere without being put into check. However, the condition was not yet a stalemate, because the embattled grandmaster did have a couple of other pieces on the board which were still mobile. With eyes and mind like a hawk, he quickly realized that if he could either immobilize these pieces, or get rid of them, leaving himself with no mobile piece but his trapped King, which was forbidden by the rules to move into check, then he could produce a stalemate, and snatch a tie from the clutches of certain defeat! Scouring the board for options, he realized that his salvation lay in staging a "suicidal attack" with his remaining mobile pieces, which is what he then proceeded to do. Launching a series of daring "sacrifices", he hurled his remaining mobile pieces into hopeless attacks against the well-guarded enemy position, compelling the enemy to take them, however, in order to avoid the danger of checkmate. Under normal circumstances, the attacks would have been foolish blunders - but under these circumstances, they were exactly what he needed. The enemy was forced to eliminate the last vestiges of his mobility, leaving him with only his penned-up, King, who was not allowed to move into check. As it was his move, and there was no legal move left for him to make, the rules automatically dictated a stalemate: a tie! From losing badly, he had suddenly managed to salvage a draw, and to prolong his chances for a successful outcome in the tournament!
Again, this example shows the importance of alloying logic with imagination, and of preserving the ability to look at old positions from new angles. In this case, a tie, less disastrous than a loss, was really a victory. Reality was not superseded, or escaped, but better results were, nonetheless, attained from reality than had previously been thought possible.
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Hannibalís Phantom Army
Sad to say, some of the best examples of human intelligence, and the wonders it can produce under pressure, are to be drawn from the annals of military history. How much better it would be if our intelligence worked to prevent wars, instead of to win them! (That is why we cannot, even as we celebrate the power of the human mind, ever neglect the role of the human heart, which is what drives the mind to save or destroy, to give life or to take it.) Nonetheless, since this article is about intelligence, it is useful to take a look at these military examples as demonstrations of the human problem-solving ability, at the same time as we pray that these problem-solving abilities will be put to use in the service of compassionate and life-enhancing, rather than destructive, objectives.
Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who once upon a time nearly toppled the power of Rome, before its day had come, was a military genius of towering ability, who mesmerized the Romans, who hated him and fought against him for fifteen bloody and dramatic years. From his astonishing crossing of the Alps in 218 B.C., to his repeated brilliant victories against Roman armies, frequently relying upon ambush and deception to overcome the discipline and training of his formidable enemies, he turned himself into a living legend, an incarnated nightmare, who haunted a whole generation of Romans. One of the stories which I think best illustrates the theme of "using your brains" concerns his solution to a most desperate military problem.
At the time, Hannibal was marching through the south of Italy, ravaging the land and securing provisions. He had already won two decisive battles against the Romans, and the new leader Rome had sent to oppose him had decided to take an altogether different approach. Rather than risk another devastating defeat by challenging Hannibal in battle, this new leader, Fabius, preferred to shadow the wily Carthaginian, always staying on the high ground as he did so, limiting Hannibalís room to maneuver, and making it hard for him to get supplies. Although there is evidence that his strategy was beginning to wear Hannibal down, it was hard for the passionate Romans to accommodate themselves to Fabiusí patient style. "Hannibal is despoiling the lands of our friends and allies, and here we are, just following him around, and watching." For this reason, Fabius was soon wearing the unwanted nickname of "Cunctator" - or "the Delayer."
Nonetheless, Fabiusí strategy at last seemed to pay dividends. Hannibal, marching in unfamiliar territory, became entangled in a complex landscape of valleys and ravines, in the shadow of hills and mountains controlled by the Romans; whereupon Fabius moved in quickly to block his possible escape routes, and pinned him down in a narrow valley. Hannibal, the brilliant fox, it seemed, was finally trapped, with no way out! However, for Hannibal, it was but one more opportunity to enhance his legend.
Gathering together the large herd of oxen which was traveling along with his army, swept up from the lands they had passed through, he had his men tie torches to their horns. Then, in the middle of the night, he ordered a detachment of light troops to ignite the torches, and drive the herd up the steep side of one of the hills that confined them. Looking down from their positions far above, the Romans beheld a huge mass of torches advancing up the hillside, out of the steep valley, and mistaking it for the Carthaginian army climbing up the slopes in an effort to break out of the encirclement, rapidly shifted their troops to meet the threat. Hannibal then moved the main body of his army up through the positions which the Romans had abandoned as they began to concentrate their forces against the false threat - the phantom army of the oxen! (Imagine the Romansí surprise when they discovered that the army they were maneuvering against was nothing but a mass of furious, wild oxen with blazing torches affixed to their horns!)
This audacious and imaginative escape, naturally, infuriated the impatient Roman public. "Fabius Cunctator, the old fogey," they must have said (for similar words must have existed in their day), "let Hannibal escape right through his hands!" Hannibal, who respected Fabius as much as the Romans despised their leader, further undermined the popularity of his most effective opponent, to date, by sparing Fabiusí own countryside properties from the effects of his brigandage and pillaging, creating the impression that Fabius was, in some way, cooperating with him, and being rewarded for it. This was the last straw. Fabius was moved out of power, and new, aggressive, battle-hungry Roman leaders were brought forth to replace him - men who turned out to be perfect foils for Hannibal, who used their eagerness to fight against him to his advantage, maneuvering them into the most devastating defeat of Roman history, to that time, on the battlefield of Cannae.
This tale is especially impressive, as it comes out of the pages of documented history, and cannot be questioned or doubted as fairy tale, myth, or folkloric episode. Again, logic, stymied, must turn to the imagination for a solution; thought must rise to another level, driven by the will to find an answer that does not appear to be there. Rather than surrender, and give in to a hopeless situation, or resign himself to a brave, but inevitable death, Hannibal found a solution - created a solution - on another mental plane - a plane that is always there, but which will only be discovered by those who have the passion and desire to reach it.
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Alexander The Greatís Victory Against The Scythians
Another military genius who produced many instances of brilliant problem-solving, albeit in violent forms, was Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, who led an expeditionary force of Greeks against the Persian Empire in 334 B.C., and went on to advance as far as India. One of the most intriguing of his victories, though not the strategically most significant, occurred during an encounter against the aggressive, nomadic Scythians.
These Central Asian warriors, masters of the horse, were among the most difficult of enemies, having previously battered and humiliated the formidable armies sent against them by the mighty Persian kings. Their strong point was their lack of civilization, as "civilization" was understood by the ancients (and is still understood, by many, today). They lacked great cities and powerful towns, they lived with their herds of animals, their horses, their mobile dwellings, moving from place to place, seeking pasture, and frequently raiding their neighbors for plunder: riches which they, themselves, did not produce, but delighted to possess. Not being bound to the defense of any fixed position - being free as the wind to move about the vast plains which they inhabited - they could not be maneuvered or compelled, like other peoples, to fight pitched battles against better-armed foes. (In most cases, by advancing on a crucial enemy city, an invader could force the enemyís army to make a stand - in the case of the Scythians, however, this approach did not apply.) Instead, the Scythian approach to war was patient and opportunistic. They would ride up to an enemy, attempting to destroy his forces at long range by means of arrows and other projectiles. Against these tactics, infantry was helpless. If the enemy had a contingent of cavalry, and sent it charging out against them, the Scythians would merely retreat, leading the cavalry on a wild-goose chase, then, once it was beyond the support of its infantry, turn on it, either destroying it at close quarters, or decimating it at long range with their bows. Skirmishing, baiting, appearing to flee, then counterattacking, they would habitually lead great armies into the wilderness, until they were swallowed up by the emptiness; then they would slowly bleed them to death, exhaust them, cut them off from water and food supplies, until they could no longer resist. Years later, in 53 B.C., the Romans would suffer a disastrous defeat when faced with similar tactics, executed by the Parthians; while during the Middle Ages, many an army would fall victim, yet again, to these tactics, as applied by the Mongols. It is doubtful that Alexander the Great wanted to take on the Scythians during the course of his epic war to "conquer the world" (for they seemed not to live in the world); but they openly challenged him, and demonstrated, threateningly, on the other side of the Jaxartes River which bounded his new domains, preparing, it seemed, to attack him at the slightest sign of weakness (and he was busy, at that time, quelling a dangerous revolt). Feeling he had no choice but to eliminate the threat of these turbulent and opportunistic warriors, he finally crossed the River Jaxartes, under cover of his catapults, which drove back the Scythian horse archers who were there to oppose him, and then sought to accomplish what no man before him had ever done, and what few after him would ever do: win a victory against these wily, virtually intangible opponents. To catch the wind in his hands, and conquer itÖ
The plan which Alexander used to accomplish this objective stands out as one of the most brilliant products of human intelligence which has ever emerged from the dark context of war. Faced with an enemy which had no immobile citadel, or possession, which it must defend and which could, therefore, tie it down, placing it at the mercy of Alexanderís army (which was unsurpassed in close combat) - and fighting in a terrain which had few natural obstacles, such as rivers or mountains, that could restrict his enemyís mobility and in any way impede its retreat - Alexander, nonetheless, devised a way to trap the Scythians, and compel them to fight on his own terms. What he did was to conceive of the idea of creating an artificial barrier in this featureless land, which would cut off the retreat of the Scythians, preventing them from avoiding the full force of his charging army, and trapping them as he attacked. What he did was to imagine a new terrain in his mind, and then find a way to inject this new terrain into the real world. What he did was to realize that men might become a new expression of the land, a new form of mountain, or river, blocking the escape of his enemy.
But I am speaking in an obscure, practically mystical way, now. In concrete terms, Alexander advanced against the Scythians in the outward manner of any foolish army, proud, and unaware of the doom that awaited it, in spite of its strength. The Scythians expected this confident advance. They had seen it many times before: the first hours and days of an enemy not yet worn out and lost in the wilderness which they called home.
Next, Alexander sent out a large force of cavalry to pursue the Scythians. As usual, the Scythians gave way, then, once the detachment was well beyond the main force of infantry, they turned on it, encircled it, and began to rain showers of arrows down upon it. The surrounded detachment was forced to form a protective ring or square, facing out on all sides, as it tried to weather the deluge of Scythian "missiles." Little did the Scythians know that this "foolish" detachment, which they thought they had lured into a vulnerable position, was actually bait given to them by Alexander.
Alexander now came up with the rest of his army, infantry leading the way, his remaining cavalry apparently masked from enemy view behind the screen of his foot soldiers. Exactly how Alexander was able to so effectively hide, from the Scythians, the presence of the cavalry that remained with him, is a nuts-and-bolts type of question, intimately related to the tactics of the day, that is not easy to explain. Perhaps it advanced dismounted for most of the way, well mixed up with the infantry, or else covered by units of light troops which kept Scythian scouts away, preventing them from effectively monitoring Alexanderís formation. Perhaps the Scythians believed that Alexanderís entire force of cavalry had already been deployed in the first charge, and did not know that he had any left. However he managed to accomplish it, Alexander succeeded in approaching the Scythian horde, which was busy riding round and round his trapped cavalry detachment, raining arrows down on it, quite closely. At that point, he suddenly opened lanes up through his infantry force, enabling the columns of heavy cavalry lurking among his foot soldiers to rush through, descending with unexpected velocity upon the Scythian horsemen, who moments before had seen only slowly advancing infantry, and therefore thought they still had time to do some more damage, before disengaging. The Macedonian and Greek troops which previously had been "trapped", were suddenly revealed to be the "human barrier" which Alexander had ingeniously created in the middle of the barren plain. Scythian forces riding around the "helpless" detachment unexpectedly found themselves driven towards it, and pinned against it, by the new cavalry advance. On three sides, but particularly on the side closest to Alexanderís line of advance, they were utterly trapped. With no room to maneuver, and no chance to escape, they were forced to stand their ground against troops far more competent and deadly in close-quarters fighting, and a great many were cut down.
Those who fled, amazed by Alexanderís brilliant solution to their style of war, sued for peace, and Alexander left, having accomplished his goal of impressing and pacifying the Scythians, so that they would never again threaten the fragile empire he was in the process of building.
More than ever, this example, when extracted from the bellicose context that may lessen its appeal to many, shows us the incredible power of the human imagination to lift "intelligence" to a whole new level. Indeed, throughout his life, Alexanderís thinking displayed a remarkable fusion of cold, calculating logic and creative genius, a blend, perhaps, set into place by the influence of his pragmatic, clear-minded father, and his mystical, intuitive mother, a priestess who cherished the power and mystery of snakes.
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The Training Of A Zen Thief
The following tale is drawn from Daisetz Suzukiís wonderful book, Zen and Japanese Culture. In illustrating the fact that Zen believes that the deepest knowledge of life is to be gained, not by memorizing formulas or doctrines, or by studying about the world in books, but by actually living (in a conscious and alert manner), and learning from oneís own experience, he presented a most fascinating story: the story of a thief and his son! Not exactly your typical protagonists - especially in a tale utilized as a teaching tool by a spiritual path! On the other hand, the point, here, was not to deliver a moral lesson, but to give a vivid example of how knowledge and expertise are attained. And, admittedly, there has always been something alluring about the antics of tricksters and thieves, such as the ancient Greek God Hermes, or the Native American Coyote, or Iktome the Spider-Being - especially when their exploits are safely confined to fairy tales or myths, hurting no one, yet educating us all.
Following is Suzukiís own account of the thief and his son (along with introductory material leading up to it) - a tale which many believe to be based upon actual events (Zen and Japanese Culture, p. 9-10):
ÖWe may say this is a practical lesson Ö learning by doing. The following story Ö illustrates how important it is to grasp a trick by going through a practical situation oneself without any outside aid. It exemplifies the pedagogic methodology of Zenís spirit of "self-reliance." This is in perfect accord with the teaching of the Buddha and other masters: "Do not rely on others, nor on the reading of the sutras and sastras. Be your own lamp."
Goso Hoyen (Wu-tsu Fa-yen, d. 1104), of the Sung dynasty, tells us the following to illustrate the Zen spirit that goes beyond intellect, logic, and verbalism:
"If people ask me what Zen is like, I will say that it is like learning the art of burglary. The son of a burglar saw his father growing older and thought, ĎIf he is unable to carry on his profession, who will be the breadwinner of the family, except myself? I must learn the trade.í He intimated the idea to his father, who approved of it.
"One night the father took the son to a big house, broke through the fence, entered the house, and, opening one of the large chests, told the son to go in and pick out the clothing. As soon as the son got into it, the father dropped the lid and securely applied the lock. The father now came out to the courtyard and loudly knocked at the door, waking up the whole family; then he quietly slipped away by the hole in the fence. The residents got excited and lighted candles, but they found that the burglar had already gone.
"The son, who had remained all the time securely confined in the chest, thought of his cruel father. He was greatly mortified, then a fine idea flashed upon him. He made a noise like the gnawing of a rat. The family told the maid to take a candle and examine the chest. When the lid was unlocked, out came the prisoner, who blew out the light, pushed away the maid, and fled. The people ran after him. Noticing a well by the road, he picked up a large stone and threw it into the water. The pursuers all gathered around the well trying to find the burglar drowning himself in the dark hole.
"In the meantime he went safely back to his fatherís house. He blamed his father deeply for his narrow escape. Said the father, ĎBe not offended, my son. Just tell me how you got out of it.í When the son told him all about his adventures, the father remarked, ĎThere you are, you have learned the art.í"
The idea of the story is to demonstrate the futility of verbal instruction and conceptual presentation as far as the experience of enlightenment is concerned. Satori must be the outgrowth of oneís inner life and not a verbal implantation brought from the outsideÖ
In this case, we see that need inspires its own response. The sleeping power of the mind is forced, by circumstances, to wake up to its true potential, to demystify the impossible, and find a way out of what seems, at first, to be a hopeless predicament. While Suzuki and Goso Hoyen have used this story to illustrate the fact that it is experience that is the master teacher - that it is doing something that is the greatest way of learning - I have included this story, here, as one more example of how our human intelligence is able to work miracles on our behalf, if we can only establish the right mixture of emotions to liberate it.
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Of course, this is but a tiny sampling, a minute inventory, of the great feats our mind is capable of, once we believe in it enough to allow it to work for us. Every day, everywhere we go, we are surrounded by countless examples of this intelligence. Think of the amazing things that permeate our lives - the electric light bulb we turn on, the automobile that drives through the street, the plane we see flying through the sky, the water that we bring into our homes merely by opening a faucet, the telephones which we use to talk to our friends, hundreds of miles away, the refrigerators in which we store our food, the computer I have used to put this article within your reach, and by means of which you have probably come into contact with these words I have just written. Beyond that - consider language itself: the fact that we are able to communicate so many complex ideas and emotions. Consider our clothing. Consider our government. - Everywhere we go, signs of human intelligence - signs of our ability to solve problems - surround us, sometimes taken for granted, like the air we breathe, yet no less significant on account of our indifference to them. How many inventors, how many thinkers, how many problem-solvers have imprinted themselves into the texture of our daily lives?!
Sometimes it is possible to let the cleverness of others steal away our own. So much has been done for us, that we may, at times, forget to think for ourselves, forget to use our own minds, and let the intelligence of others turn ours off, until our minds begin to atrophy, and we become mere shadows of the brilliance of other people, losing touch with our own creative, problem-solving powers. Although we may get by, in this way, it is a shame to be so diminished; and each of us, in our life, may one day face a challenge that no one else is willing or able to solve for us, but ourselves.
The purpose of this article is to restore confidence and inspiration to anyone who is faced, or may be faced, with such a challenge, that there is an answer, and that he can find it; to remind him of the intelligence, the brilliance, that dwells within him, part of our human heritage, that is stronger than any voice that says he canít find it, that he canít do it. Sadly, in our culture, both on a personal level and on a social level, there have been many efforts by those who want all the power for themselves, to convince others that they are not smart, not beautiful, not capable. I want to say, now, that you are capable.
I want to say that believing there is an answer, and that you are capable of finding it, is the first step in solving a problem. You must let the brainwashing, the hurtful things, the setbacks, the perceptions of self that interfere with your search, recede, in order to reach your true power and potential. You are so much smarter than you think!
This having been said, it must be understood that there are many components that go into making "intelligence." Just as ordinary light actually consists of many different wavelengths of energy, and can be broken down into its separate components by a prism, so what is called "intelligence" is actually a mysterious conglomeration of many different elements. Among these elements, besides the obvious one of logical/rational thinking capabilities, are:
Will. The old adage, "Where thereís a will, thereís a way", is no meaningless slogan of old-timers. Will, desire, determination, whatever you call it, itís the engine that drives the mind to find answers when there seem to be none. A man who performs far better on an IQ test, or solves puzzles in a flash, may, in a real-life situation, not find the answer that his test-taking "inferior", motivated by a stronger will and spirit, perseveres to find.
The ability to detach. Sometimes, on the other hand, individuals may become so attached to a particular outcome, that they insist on attempting to attain something that really is impossible. It may be possible to attain something very similar, or at least an optimal real-world result, by releasing some of oneís attachment to oneís original goal, and letting go of some of the things one wishes to retain or attain. For example: an army determined to hold onto a position may be doomed, by its attachment to that position, to be defeated by a stronger army. Its only hope for victory may be to abandon that position, even to utterly transform the nature of its struggle - perhaps by turning from conventional to guerrilla warfare. Although this represents "defeat" according to the old model of thinking, the reality is that this "defeat" is actually a transmutation of the form of struggle, which allows the struggle to continue. If things go well, the guerrilla army may wear down the invaders over a period of time, and in a very different way than originally planned, finally regain control of their country in the future. The key to this flexibility is the ability to detect what is the essence, and to give up parts of the periphery or form of oneís objectives, when that becomes necessary in order to save the essence. Such a mental shift was, in fact, what enabled the Russians to defeat the invasion of Napoleon in 1812. In other words, this is not just theory.
The ability to Think Out Of The Box. Many people are quite effective at using logic to work their way through familiar problems. But sometimes, the patterns of thought that have produced results in the past, only bring one up against a dead end. Under such circumstances, the ability to "shift perspective", to look at things from another angle, in fresh and new ways, in unorthodox and unconventional ways, sometimes even in "weird" ways, can be the difference between remaining quagmired in a problem, and breaking through to an answer. Some experience in nonconformity may be helpful, at such times - a spirit that is not used to being imprisoned by othersí expectations and assumptions, may be more accustomed to cutting loose of the limitations that bind most thinkers. Additional tools - (after all, not everybody wants to be a "culture rebel") - which could help to develop oneís ability to think "out of the box", would be to practice with "brain teasers" (there are many books of them), many of which pose bizarre problems that can only be solved by "breaking free" of certain assumptions. Also helpful - believe it or not - is the technique of role-playing! Imagining that one is somebody else, and trying to get into that role, is often an excellent way of releasing oneself from the limitations of oneís present mindset, and opening new paths of thinking in oneís mind! It is sometimes also a way - as proven by the work of Dr. Vladimir Raikov - of enhancing oneís confidence, and unlocking the problem-solving powers of oneís mind from the prison of low self-esteem, in which many of us have been confined by the prejudices and attitudes of others.
Imagination. Definitely, imagination - the creative, dreaming, fantasizing, reality-changing part of the mind, is a huge component of "intelligence." Often, there is no solution out there, made of the material of normal thought. The only answer that can be found is one that can be dreamt, and solving the problem becomes less of a logical, than a visionary, process. Reality is used as the raw material, but one approaches it with the creativity and daring of an artist, not discarding it, but molding its possibilities into a new outcome. Over and over again, imagination has proved to be the decisive element, the spark, which brought "intelligence" to life, under the most difficult of circumstances.
Courage. And then, of course, there is courage. Courage? Yes, courage! Without courage, oneís mind may be paralyzed by fear. Like the zebra who, outrun by the lion, reaches the stage of giving up, and suddenly freezes into inertness, just lying down to be devoured, one may lose the ability to use oneís mind at moments of extreme stress. At that moment, oneís brain, and all of its possibilities, may remain like a bud that cannot open, kept shut by the cold. Courage is the inner fire that keeps the mind alive, and fighting, when the world outside is cold with hopelessness. Courage is what lets thoughts flow, when everything else is frozen and still. Courage is also what makes some solutions possible, that other people would not dare to take - and when no tame answer exists, courage may be the only way to reach any answer. In the same way, patience, stamina, the ability to sacrifice, and other attributes, may make some solutions possible for those individuals who possess those attributes, while other people, without those attributes, may find themselves stranded in situations from which they cannot escape.
Necessary Defeats. Even so - though I have insisted, throughout this article, that there is almost always a solution to any problem which can arise - there must, indeed, sometimes occur challenges and setbacks for which there is no solution; challenges and setbacks beyond the power of intelligence, even with all of its diverse elements intact, to overcome. For Destiny sometimes intends for us to taste defeat. "Thank you, Great Spirit, for my victories," Chief Dan George said, in his part in Little Big Man. And, "Thank you for my defeats." For defeat is one of the great teachers of life, one of the great paths to wisdom, one of the great destroyers of illusion, and revealers of truth. Defeat sometimes comes into our life to remove the mask from the face of the Universe, and show us the beauty that our fear and our desire did not let us see. Although we should fight for what we want, and use our intelligence to help us reach our objectives, we should also understand that defeat is a part of life, and we will all experience it at some time, now or later. When our turn does come to taste defeat, we should struggle to learn from it, not be broken by it; we should struggle to accept it and use it, rather than deny it or flee from it. We may find that our defeat, if we determine to learn the lessons that it has so generously and painfully brought to us, can fertilize us with new wisdom, and enrich the tool of our intelligence, so that we may win new battles in the future. Or, on the contrary, we may find that what we have been fighting for is not worthy of us, and turn our intelligence to new, more meaningful tasks.
One more time, I tell you to respect, believe in, and develop the power of your mind to overcome obstacles. The mind is like an alchemist, able to transmute lead to gold. In the same way, it may turn the impossible into the attainable, defeat into victory, death into life, catastrophe into triumph, despair into hope. The mind is a magician. Believe in it!
There is a saying, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Donít waste it, by allowing it to sleep, or by mistaking its sleep for its absence. Awaken it!
And yet, all this having been said, I must conclude this article with one final reminder that as "intelligence" is made of many components, so are we made of many components. Intelligence without heart, intelligence without compassion, intelligence without respect for others, intelligence without love, intelligence on the little field that cannot see the larger field which contains the little field, is unsafe. It is as unsafe as a drunken driver, driving down the road. As our human mind has sometimes given us moments of unrivaled grace and beauty, so it has also given us moments of unparalleled destruction and horror. As it offers us the hope of reaching our dreams, so it threatens to end all dreaming, forever.
I have written this article as a way of helping those with problems, to awaken the power of their minds to solve those problems. But let the context in which human "intelligence" has value, never be forgotten. Let the mind always be allied with heart. Let it never forget its place, never forget the deeper meaning of life, that goes far beyond what this world, in an era of blindness, calls "success."
Peace, Blessings, and True Success (as a Human Being), to All.
- J Rainsnow
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Weapons of Depth Contents