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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


How To Sit Quietly
In A Room Alone

How To Answer A Question 



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Honest questions, requests for detail, should be answered forthrightly, supplying the requested detail.

But many questions are not honest. They’re not really a request for information but speak to a hidden motive. When this happens to you, address the unspoken, underlying issue and ignore the surface query.



In the Word Gems’ “Clear Thinking” article I outlined many common debating tricks and tactics. One of these, I labeled as: "Diversion to another question, to a side issue, or by irrelevant objection."

When an interlocutor has nothing of merit to say, and is intent upon deception, he or she may pose a question, or make a claim, focusing upon irrelevant minutia. The purpose is to distract, to divert attention, to provide decoy, from larger issues which, the speaker hopes, will be lost in the verbal scuffle.


"I am not a footnote to another's work"

Martha Gellhorn devoted her life to journalism as a war correspondent. For many decades, she covered every major world conflict, putting herself in the line of fire to report the news. For a time, Martha was also the wife of Ernest Hemingway.



Both, just prior to World War II, journeyed to Spain to report on its civil war and the rise of fascism.

Returning to the United States, they were invited to speak at a gathering featuring a newsreel, to which their investigative efforts had contributed. In the movie, "Hemingway and Gellhorn,"

... addressing the audience, she becomes classic example of speaking to underlying major issues, refusing to be diverted by minor claims:



exposing the lies that mask evil with glorious rhetoric

"Ladies and gentlemen, people speak of the glory of battle, the sweep of government, the majesty of leaders – but go into the towns and hold the hands of a starving, half-burned child, and you will know differently. My job – our job – is to give voice to the voiceless, to bear witness to the innocent, and to expose the lies that mask evil with glorious rhetoric."

Martha Gellhorn lived a courageous life, exposing the lies that mask evil with glorious rhetoric. However, for our purposes here, we must understand that unless we find and create for ourselves, what Dr. Campbell called a secluded “sacred place,” a “center of transformation” allowing for introspection, it will be difficult for us to perceive the “larger, unspoken issues” of which we speak.

Editor’s note: Martha’s 60-year career took her to hot spots all over the world. And, in each one of these, a theatre of war had been created by some Dear Leader, some focal-point of a grasping for and confluence of power. The 1930s witnessed a dramatic rise of socialism’s ineluctable result, the mature, vicious forms, the contorted face behind a “mask of evil.”

We see socialism on an upward trajectory in the United States today. It’s said that, in the stock market, major calamity strikes about every generation or so – long enough for the last hubristically-charged participants to have fled the market, replaced by a new cadre of "confident" ones. So, too, in the political world, new generations, having known only peace and prosperity, those who have no idea how wealth and freedom are created, are gulled and lulled by the lies, the glorious rhetoric, of socialism, masking an evil face.

And what is so wrong about socialism? Is it not a movement of the people, with focus on the common good and shared wealth? Only the terribly naïve and deluded, those who lack a sense of history, to say nothing of a paucity of "know thyself," would believe in such shallowness. Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek explained it to us in his “Road To Serfdom,” but who knows of such things today in a world intoxicated by “glorious rhetoric”?

Every socialistic movement, while promising largess for the people, gathers power to its leaders and, in the process, reduces personal freedoms, which, they claim, is necessary to usher in the new utopia. The confident naïve ones just love it. And soon the shooting will start.