Right Man or Wrong Man?
By Susan von Reichenbach
There is an enlightening Taoist proverb that helps us discern in any given circumstance if an individual is the “right man/woman” or the “wrong man/woman” for any task at hand. It guides us to see with what Jesus called “righteous judgment,” that is, beyond appearances, a perception that sees clearly and is not fooled. The proverb goes like this: “If the right man does the wrong thing, then the wrong thing will work the right way; but if the wrong man does the right thing, then the right thing will work the wrong way." The wisdom in this Chinese riddle points us to see that motivation is the determining factor between who is the “right man” and who is the “wrong man.”
The “wrong man/woman” is one whose motivation is impure—it is self-serving, self-promoting, self-aggrandizing. This ancient adage warns that no matter what the “wrong man” does, it is destined to end in the wrong way—even if it might be the right idea and apparently the right action. Because whatever the “wrong man” does, it will always be tainted by the polluted contents of his consciousness and the destructive thought-energies it contains. The Bible tells us: “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Js 1:8).
The “right man/woman,” on the other hand, is the one who has valid motivations, that is, motivations that bestow harmony and order, motivations in alignment with spiritual principles and universal laws, motivations which work to bring into expression and support what is good and healthy in life; this individual is interested in ideas which heal divisions and which liberate people from fear. If this person is a leader, he or she is inspired and guided to find ways to enhance the quality of the lives and overall well-being of those who look to this individual for leadership.
The “right man/woman” is prompted to action by a sincere desire to be helpful, not by partisanship or personal loyalties; this individual (as the “right man/woman”) must, by definition, be issue-oriented (not personal)—i.e., able to identify the issues, and then be interested enough to be informed, thoughtful, and humble as he/she seeks solutions. This individual’s motivations are unpolluted and relatively free of seeking recognition for him/her-self or taking credit for the good accomplished. However, as long as an individual has “wrong” or crooked impulses, he/she is not the “right man/woman,” and things will keep going awry, even if this person pretends otherwise, denies the reality, or attempts to behave in a Christian way. And the prevailing “vibes” will spread and not only affect but also infect the environment, too, in which this individual’s thought-energies dwell and dominate.
We can know the “right man” vs. the “wrong man” quickly by the results of their participation. Is there peace, harmony, order, clarity? Jesus gave us a helpful way to identify and differentiate between the right and the wrong man. He said: “You shall know them by their fruits.” It’s simple: The “right man” manifests “good fruits”—the “wrong man” manifests “bad fruits.” Does this ancient koan give us some guidance as to whether our new President is the “right man” or the “wrong man”?
In our current reality with the new administration in Washington D.C., many of us feel unsettled and are deeply concerned. Our new President seems to be confused, uninformed, inappropriate, indiscreet, and often incoherent in his responses; he tosses words around haphazardly and carelessly, and lacks clarity on too many important issues; Constitutional laws seem to be violated on a daily basis; his and his families “conflicts of interest” violations abound and seem to be brushed aside as insignificant when they reflect chicanery; improprieties, accusations, blame, “alternative facts,” empty rhetoric, personal insults, and lies (debunked on a daily basis by replays of his own statements on video), along with bullying and vulgar threatening from the President’s tweets are flooding the news reportage as if they are perfectly normal when they are an abomination. This President is not above the laws or excused for aberrant behavior, even if he believes he is entitled to be. Nearly every one of his communications incites some kind of ill will and provocation, and such flimflammery moves the nation into greater and greater division and possibly into harm’s way, as we have recently witnessed with North Korea and the civil unrest and its ensuing violence in Charleston, VA.
The bragging and boasting of personal power to “destroy evil,” make us “safe,” and “fix” everything all on his own is hubristic enough to make one suspicious of our new leader. And, in passing, we might observe that nothing much of any actual, constructive significance has occurred in Trump’s presidency to date—not really—no matter what his “fake news” tweets say. Hence, Trump appears, from this Taoist perspective, to demonstrate accurately what it means to be the “wrong man” as most of the nation is coming to agree that he is certainly not the “right man.”
If the “wrong man” happens also to exhibit a deluded mind, then there is a dangerous dynamic of which we need to be acutely aware here: It is the energy of hypnotism. By hypnotism, in the instance of Trump, we mean, from the Meta viewpoint, mental influencing, which operates in our human interaction through seduction, provocation, intimidation, and persuasion, and which has the effect of dulling our awareness, making us angry or scared, and thereby of diverting our attention away from what we need to see and how to respond effectively.
There is a disturbing atmosphere of fear going to and fro across our land, especially pronounced since the last Presidential election. Psychiatrist, Thomas Hora, founder of Metapsychiatry, elucidates the inherent danger of fear beyond its emotional impact: “Fearfulness is a state of mind induced by something that is threatening our security system. When we are frightened, we are also hypnotized…and the first sign of hypnotism is a loss of joy.” We go to sleep—that is what hypnotism means—we are lulled into inaction. We need to be very alert at this time to hypnotism and to know how it operates: Hypnotism ceaselessly impresses our mind with an idea, an idea it wants us to grab and believe; it repeats this idea until we begin to accept it, until we are lulled into drowsiness and cannot see the issues clearly (e.g., that we are in mortal danger; that we will have a nuclear war; that all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers; that all Muslims are terrorists; that racism, bigotry, and neo-Nazism are the “other side” of two legitimate sides, which they are not; that global warming is a hoax, etc.) Hypnotism wants us to believe that something that is actually real (like global warming) is unreal or something wholesome (like, clean air energy versus coal mining) is not wholesome, when it is not so. This dynamic is also known as “gas lighting,” after the title of that spellbinding film of 1944 with Bergman and Boyer, which illustrates this experience perfectly. The husband convinces his wife that she is losing her mind (through his deceitful tricks and wicked sabotage) until she finally believes it is true (when, we, the audience, can plainly see it is not). As Hora says, “Hypnotism is folie à deux”—both the hypnotist and the hypnotized are crazy!* Trump is not only hypnotized into false beliefs and delusions about himself, but he is also very good at hypnotizing others to believe what he says is truth (when it has been proven, even documented, not to be so).
Hypnotic ideas can influence us adversely and gain control of our minds and equilibrium; hypnotism skews facts and figures to convince us it is honest (and this hypnotist often chants, “believe me!” to pretend he has our best interests at heart); hypnotism offers propaganda and lies instead of substantiating documentation for its claims, thus confusing our perceptions—then we lose clarity of the issues at hand. The hypnotist believes he can control our minds, influence and pressure us to follow him, so he exaggerates and prevaricates, and distracts attention away from truth, perhaps to serve a clandestine agenda or as a diversionary tactic; in this way, we will lose sight of other corrupt and unlawful situations, simultaneously and surreptitiously, that may be taking place in our new government. Hypnotism is ultimately wicked, and its agenda does not find its source in any honorable principles. Ultimately, hypnotism numbs us from seeking creative and intelligent solutions for difficult and challenging problems. Hypnotism intends to deceive us, and its aim is not ever wholesome. Ignorance, of course, and not a person, is the culprit here, albeit, ignorance is dangerous and harmful.
The moment we become afraid, or antagonized and inflamed by insults or threats, or tempted into any inadvisable activity (being first intimidated, provoked, or seduced), we need to acknowledge that we are hypnotized; and then we must break the spell immediately. For when we are hypnotized, we feel threatened, powerless, and helpless. The problem here is that in the face of a threat, real or imagined, we will either react improperly or be paralyzed into inaction. This is a state of mind, which we do not want to invite—it fosters domination and mental despotism. History has reflected the inherent tragedies that such a state of mind invites. Intimidation and fear especially make us vulnerable to making unwise choices. We need to wake up and shake off the suggestions flying at us and be sure we are seeing correctly. When our attention is hijacked, we and our experience are at risk. As David Brooks wrote on Trump recently in a New York Times op ed. piece: “Character really does matter. A guy can promise change, but if he is dishonest, disloyal, and selfish, the change he delivers is not going to be effective or good.” This description would seem to shed light on what it means to be the “wrong man.” It is a mistaken notion and an unreasonable expectation, which we often hear voiced, to hope that the “wrong man,” in this instance, our president, will somehow change and magically appear “presidential.” Phony behavior and scripted words do not reflect change—without an inner transformation of values and motivation, there can never be a change. Hence, this “wrong man” cannot ever convert to the “right man” without the necessary introspection and alchemic process to purge him of the false motivations, which govern his actions and behavior.
[* Folie à deux: French for "madness of two" or shared psychosis, is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another.]
Susan von Reichenbach, who has enjoyed an international career as an opera and concert singer, is currently a spiritual guide, teacher, and writer in The Meta Way of Metapsychiatry, while maturing/diminuendoing gently into quiet obscurity. www.theMetaWay.com