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In a world of information overload, whoever appears to be the most reasonable can influence or control the overloaded.

There’s no historical precedent for the amount of information the average person has at their fingertips, today. Anyone with a phone can bring libraries of information to bear on each and every decision.

But information is not knowledge. And knowledge is not wisdom. Without wisdom, it’s hard to tell what information applies to which decision.

This challenge, to the average person, is an opportunity for:

  1. Those who would seek to influence.
  2. Those who would seek to control.

Influence vs. Control

Whether influence is good or bad can only be determined by context and discernment. For now, I’ll confine “influence” to that with no destructive intent.

Control, on the other hand, is the desire to obtain consent for the purpose of domination. I’ll explain why consent is necessary, later in this article.

How can you tell whether someone is seeking benevolent influence or destructive control?

Those Seeking Influence …

… behave like vendors in a marketplace. They present the pros and cons of an idea or product and leave you to decide for yourself.

Those Seeking Control …

… bully, rather than inform or persuade. For example, any one of Schopenhauer’s 38 stratagems might be used to give the appearance of being right; with little or no interest in actually being right:

  1. The Extension (Dana’s Law)
  2. The Homonymy
  3. Generalize Your Opponent’s Specific Statements
  4. Conceal Your Game
  5. False Propositions
  6. Postulate What Has to Be Proved
  7. Yield Admissions Through Questions
  8. Make Your Opponent Angry
  9. Questions in Detouring Order
  10. Take Advantage of the Nay-Sayer
  11. Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases
  12. Choose Metaphors Favourable to Your Proposition
  13. Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition
  14. Claim Victory Despite Defeat
  15. Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions
  16. Arguments Ad Hominem
  17. Defense Through Subtle Distinction
  18. Interrupt, Break, Divert the Dispute
  19. Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it
  20. Draw Conclusions Yourself
  21. Meet Him With a Counter-Argument as Bad as His
  22. Petitio principii
  23. Make Him Exaggerate His Statement
  24. State a False Syllogism
  25. Find One Instance to the Contrary
  26. Turn the Tables
  27. Anger Indicates a Weak Point
  28. Persuade the Audience, Not the Opponent
  29. Diversion
  30. Appeal to Authority Rather Than Reason
  31. This Is Beyond Me
  32. Put His Thesis into Some Odious Category
  33. It Applies in Theory, but Not in Practice
  34. Don’t Let Him Off the Hook
  35. Will Is More Effective Than Insight
  36. Bewilder Your opponent by Mere Bombast
  37. A Faulty Proof Refutes His Whole Position
  38. Become Personal, Insulting, Rude (argumentum ad personam)

Personal Favorites

  1. Declaring as “over”, debates that have hardly begun.
  2. Declaring as “debunked”, valid concerns yet to be addressed.
  3. Declaring as “discredited”, persons of integrity.
  4. Declaring as “concluded”, discussions that have hardly begun.
  5. Threats in lieu of persuasion.
  6. Imposing artificial deadlines for a decision.
  7. Declaring that “everybody does it” while providing no specific examples.

All of the above are attempts to deceive, rather than inform or persuade.

The Debate is Over!

Whenever I hear someone say, “The debate is over”, I know an end has been pronounced by someone desperate to avoid a beginning. I also know that the one making the pronouncement has made an investment, either monetary or emotional, that debate would put in jeopardy.

Global/Climate (Cooling | Warming | Change)

The first time I heard the phrase “Global Cooling” was in a sentence declaring the debate about it to be over. The phrase was then changed to “Global Warming” in the  same sentence declaring that debate to be over, as well.

Finally, the phrase was changed to something for which no debate is necessary: “Climate Change”. Indeed, climate is 100% guaranteed to change, forever!

The debate is over on a lot of things: ocean waves, morning dew, childish innocence. If the debate about something is declared to be over before it’s even begun, the one making the declaration has something to hide.

The Information Advantage

Due to the amount of information available, those who seek control must compete in the “marketplace” of ideas. They must not only to appear reasonable, but the most reasonable among competing alternatives. This “most reasonable” appearance must persist for as long as it takes to obtain a lasting form of control. The best of these is a binding contract, either signed or opted into.

Consent is Required for Lasting Control

Without consent, control is temporary. It lasts only as long as you remain fooled.

With consent, however, control lasts for the length of the contract.

The Jurisdiction of Reasonableness

Mere opinions, and the bullying tactics used to get them accepted, don’t matter unless there’s a valuable jurisdiction to be gained, and a judge to decide who gains them.

Those who don’t seek control rarely think about things like jurisdictions and judges. Those who do seek control, however, think about little else. They spend most of their time campaigning for appointment, by you, to be a judge in one of the most important jurisdictions of all: your mind.

Your mind is not only a jurisdiction, but the deciding jurisdiction of all others.

Agreement Types

Contractual opt-ins are becoming more and more subtle. For example, the mere breaking of a plastic seal on the box for a TV or appliance, is the opt-in for many EULAs (End-User License Agreements).

Still, an actual signature “on the dotted line” of a contract is the best legal mechanism of control.

The Debt-Contract Example

Only a handful of contracts, spread across the 7 Matters of Life, are needed to control most aspects of life. Three debt-contracts illustrate the point:

  1. Student loans — 10 Years.
  2. Car Loan — 5 Years.
  3. Mortgage — 30 Years.

One of these three contracts enslaves a large percentage of the world. To avoid that fate, consider two questions, before signing one of them:

  1. Are you fully aware of the educational, transportation, or housing alternatives that would fill these needs without going into debt?
  2. Do you not know that, if you present yourselves to anyone as an obedient slave, you are a slave of the one whom you obey? (Romans 6:16)

Some Legal Terms

Contracts are as good, or bad, as the words they contain.

Most liberties are not “lost” or “stolen”. They are surrendered, voluntarily, through legal contracts. It’s worth understanding some legal terms around such contracts.

To bear witness v. — To solemnly assert something, offering firsthand authentication of the fact; often concerning grave or important matters.

Truth (quality) n. — Conformity to reality or actuality; often with the implication of dependability.

Message — truth n. — A message that conforms to reality or actuality; whether historical (in space and time) or supernatural.

The Usual Campaign Sequence

The campaign to become an appointed judge in the jurisdiction of your mind follows a usual sequence. Think of it as a sales pitch, because that’s what it is.

  1. I am the most reasonable and provide the best options.
  2. You are less reasonable with limited options.
  3. “Those who love the truth hear my voice”1, and sign my contract.

Conclusion

Your mind is the deciding jurisdiction of all others, and you are its primary judge. The cost of retaining this position is choosing the highest source of truth, exploring all options available, and solving problems with a commitment to remain debt-free.

Pay whatever cost necessary to remain the primary judge of the jurisdiction of your mind. If you forfeit that position, all that isn’t immediately lost, is exposed to loss.

In a world of information overload, whoever appears to be the most reasonable can influence or control the overloaded.


  1. John 18:37 (ESV) 

One year ago, I took the plunge into Logos Bible software.

I’d seen it advertised for 10 years but never understood what it was. The hundreds of books in various collections were impressive, but so what? E-books and pdf’s are ubiquitous, nowadays, and I had a dozen Bibles and a hundred other books in Olive Tree, already.

Little did I know, it’s what Logos does with the books that makes all the difference. Every book is indexed and cross-linked with every other book in your library, as well as with powerful language tools. The result is the ability to see your whole library from as many vantage points as the books you have in it.

I wish my entire library was in the Logos format!

Mmm, that’s an interesting idea …

Could My Entire Library be in Logos?

Yes, of course it could. Much of my library is already in kindle; why couldn’t the same books be in Logos? It would be an enormous and ongoing challenge, of course. But I can’t think of a better company to do it.

There are 1575 books in my Logos library and about the same number on the shelf behind me. For space and research reasons, I no longer buy physical books. That’s why my kindle library is at 453 books and growing. Why not have all these books accessible from the Logos software “Engine”? Imagine the wonderful new tools and interactives that might be developed to view math, physics, and biology books!

Logos enables the import of books but they have to be in MS-Word format. No, thank you. Anyway, having the book in digital form is only the start of the work FaithLife does in cross-indexing books with the rest of the library.

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Library with a Spiritual Core

For much of recorded history, the words Philosophy and Theology meant the same thing. Since I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience, I find it natural to have a library (and viewing engine) built around a spiritual core. After all, the Bible was the first book run through a printing press. When you’ve got a large library to digitize, why not start there as Logos has done?

Pervasive Software

I’d like to say the software is central to my workday, but that doesn’t capture it. Logos is pervasive to my work and personal life. I may even use it continuously, depending on what I’m writing about.

Logos has a front page that resembles an online newspaper. For me, that front page has replaced the Drudge report as the first thing I read in the morning.

Logos Front Page
Logos Front Page

Other key features for me, are:

  • All Bible/Theological resources are in one integrated app and synced on the computer, phone and tablet.
  • Familiarity with Notes, Highlights, and Clippings has centralized prep for writing topics, group study, and presentations.
  • Combined with Apple TV and the Logos mobile app, I can prepare for studies and presentations on the desktop and present from the tablet to be displayed to on any TV or Computer monitor.
  • Prayer lists are synchronized across all devices.
  • Forum interactions are displayed on the front page.

Perhaps you can see why I’d love to have my entire library in Logos format?!

Level’s and Packages

Though I care deeply about the true meaning of every passage, I am, to borrow a phrase from Mike Heiser, denominationally apathetic. C.S. Lewis would describe me as a mere Christian. I would argue that such makes me a Catholic, in the true universal sense of the word, but that’s a discussion for another day.

My mere Christianity left me baffled by the denominationally tiered packages offered by Logos. After analyzing each one, at great length and with the help of a seminarian, I went with the “standard” platinum package and then supplemented with the suggestions of a seminarian friend (Thank you, Dennis!).

At the time of purchase, Logos 6 was the latest. The upgrade to version 7 was free, and I also have a Logos Now subscription. I’m not exactly sure about all the benefits of the subscription, but I don’t think FaithLife is, either. They’re trying to figure out how to roll out functionality, quickly, and still remain profitable. Adobe addressed similar challenges with a subscription model, as well.

Training Path

Upon installation, I felt the inevitable overwhelm of the vast resources and tools that FaithLife has been working on since 1992. There’s no lack of Logos training available, but even that can become a source of overwhelm.

It took a year, but I’ve now gone through most of the training available. Even so, it was only last month that I started to feel a sense of competence. To achieve the same in three to six months, I’d recommend taking the training in this order:

  1. 30 Logos videos (Came with Base Package)
  2. View 2 videos a day of the free online pro training videos
  3. Mastering Logos by Danny Zacharias was fabulous (And includes Logos 7)!
  4. Logos Bible Software Training Manual, Volume 1-3 by Morris Proctor
  5. Logos Blog articles by Morris Proctor on Logos.com
  6. Logos Blog articles by Mark Ward and Steve Runge on Logos.com
  7. LT271 Study the Bible with Logos: Jonah 1 (Came with Base Package)
  8. DIY Bible Study course (Came with Base Package)
  9. Repeat.

LearnLogos.com by John Fallahee looks promising but I can’t vouch for it since I’ve not taken John’s courses. He has 40+ hours of Logos 7 training with 1000 videos.

Interactives, 3 of 36!

The Psalms Explorer

Timeline Interactive

Concordance Tool (Make a concordance out of ANY book in your Library!)

You can see them all on the Logos Pro Training page.

Life Applications

So far, I’ve written five articles for which Logos was a key resource. One of them required knowing every New Testament reference made of the Old Testament by both Paul and Jesus. The ability to gather knowledge like that was not possible before software like Logos came along.

The exegetical summaries provide an overview of most commentaries in one place. These enable me to objectively say things like, “Most commentaries refer to X” or “Commentaries are divided on Y”.

The reverse interlinears are the equivalent of light-speed language travel for the Greek and Hebrew handicapped.

The list goes on and on:

  • What does the Bible say about X?
  • What does this passage really mean?
  • What did the church think it meant throughout history?
  • What are the primary story arcs and their relationship with each other?
  • Is this a reference to the Old Testament?

Missionary Work

A young couple in our church are thinking about doing missionary work in the Philippines. If they go, Logos on their laptop and tablets will enable them to travel and work without being anchored to the roomful of books they relied on in seminary.

The videos of their prospective outpost show people traveling for days, by jeep and moped, just to spend a few days with someone with a firm understanding of the Bible. Upon graduation, new pastors may, or may not, receive the treasure of a Bible, a dictionary, and a systematic theology book.

Imagine how the strategic placement of laptops and tablets with a Logos library would transform the renewal of minds in remote places in the world!

Already, but Not Yet!

As of the coming of Jesus, the Kingdom of God is already, but not yet fully, upon us. That’s a fitting metaphor for the way I feel about Logos Software. I’m already using it to great effect, but don’t yet fully understand the software and all it can do.

Given the work that FaithLife is doing to add ever more value and insight to the texts, I suspect the “already, but not yet” paradigm will describe my relationship with the software until Kingdom come!

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Grandma GG died on the twelfth day of Christmas, 2017.

In Catholic tradition, the following day is the Epiphany, the feast of the three kings, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the Magi. So, the original “12 Days” are not a children’s memory and forfeit game turned into a Christmas carol.

And yet, when a friend reminded me of the day, the first memory I had was of Timothy and Lucas singing that song in the shower of our ski lodge hotel, over the holiday. If there’s anything more beautiful than the sound of children singing it’s the sound of my children singing.

When we drove home, Timothy had the gifts of each day of the song memorized. Then, like my father did so many times, I changed things around on them. To show the boys they’re not stuck with the official version of things, I made up new gifts for the first four days and sang a new carol.

By the time we were done, our version had 12 strummers strumming, three french breads, two lady bugs, and a fish swimming in a glass jar.

Charlie’s Option ‘C’

It was a small change to a lovely song. But, small changes like that, initiated by my father, were at the core of why he and mom lived such an extraordinary life. The conventional was just one possible starting point for my father; a brilliant engineer certain that no one had the whole game figured out. As he would often say, that made running with the herd a most dangerous proposition.

As my cousin Keith put it, if there were options A and B for everyone else, my father had an option C to consider. Tell him that there’s two sides to every coin and he’d probably smile and point out that you missed the third side. You forget about the edge. That’s technically a third side.

I can just hear him saying, “Remember, Terry, nobody’s got the whole game figured out. The instant someone tells you they do, ‘Run!’.”

And yet, for all his insights, when visiting with them in Tokyo my father said the reason they were able to travel everywhere and do such fun things was because of my mom. He just went to work every day, as usual. Mom took care of the blizzard of details it took the relocate, setup another house, figure out the local markets, and pay the bills.

The Shenanigans Continue …

The Shenanigans of the Gillespie’s, the McNally’s, and now the Arbelaez’, continue with the next generation. We sing the beautiful songs given us with the audacity to change the lyrics. The melody eventually goes, too, and the composers are forgotten. New life sings its own version of ancient songs. And nothing but the Grace of God is so assured that it should be immune from re-examination or re-canted with the joy of a personal imprint.

In Everything I Do

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy… in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture…1

And so it was that my brother and I were able to study music and architecture. Everything I do is on the shoulders of my parents, and on my knees, for the glory of our Father in heaven. The sacrifices they made, and the small changes to the norm my dad would always make, compounded into an enveloping blanket of possibilities my brother and I had the luxury of taking for granted.

An Artful Life

Possibilities are the breeding ground of creativity. The fruit of creativity is an artful life and, hopefully, the appreciation of the liberties that make it possible.

My parents were always there to help. Only because I was so sure of that, did I rarely need it. It was a premise in our relationship and bestowed a freedom to compose an extraordinary life. May the compositions of Isabel and I be a worthy extension of their legacy.

The Highest Privilege

When friends used to ask about my childhood I didn’t know what to say. What’s the opposite of a shitty childhood? Whatever that is, that was us.

Such discussions now involve notions of privilege and what that might be. From my parents, I know the answer: the highest earthly privilege, of all, is to be born into a household with a loving father and mother.

I can’t say it enough, and can’t stop thinking it: everything I do only makes sense when viewed as an extension of them. While others may try to discard their heritage, or apologize for it, I will spend the rest of my life being thankful for, and exploring the depths of, my own.

Geraldine Marie Gillespie

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.2

My father found this in my mother, Geraldine Marie Gillespie. And because their lives reflected its importance, I eventually found the same in Isabel. So, Isabel was the perfect one to give my mother her most favorite title of all: Grandma GG.

It was a name quickly conjured to avoid confusion with Martha, the other grandmother living in our house at the time. And, though the role of grandmother is rarely exceeded in stature or importance, it was a role my mother never expected to play. But, as I was to learn in the hours after her death, there was even more than that bundled up into Grandma GG’s favorite title.

A Catatonic Epiphany

For the last three years of her life, I’d prayed to know the purpose of my mother’s increased suffering, being confined to a bed for the past 10 years, and even losing her words.

Then, as befitting the 12th day of Christmas, I was lead on the track of a catatonic epiphany to a small group meeting at our church. Perhaps only around other believers could something as heart-warming, yet terrifying, be revealed: that my mother’s highest purposes in life were identical to her work, which was, in turn, identical to her highest calling. All three of these cherished insights lined up into one for Grandma GG. Her purposes, work, and calling were, all three, the same. They were inextricably bound up, and poured into, her three great loves: my father, my  brother, and me.

The rareness of all three of these lining up —something that perhaps only a wife and mother of her time were afforded — is partly why I missed them.

A Mother’s Grief

Seen from that vantage point, it became more understandable that she had the strokes that put her in the bed shortly after my father, and then brother, died. Two-thirds of her life purposes had just left the planet. Her husband and firstborn son, were gone.

For those who haven’t walked that path, there’s no way to comprehend the loss. What I know of it are from the sounds of her weeping over my brother; cries I’d often wished could become unheard as they resonated through every dimension in a way that only a mother’s grief could.

Mom held on, in part, to save me from what she felt that day. She couldn’t bear for the same to happen to me.

A Secret Project

Maybe every child has a feeling their parents are working on a secret project that’s never revealed or talked about. You know they’re up to something; you just don’t know what it is. Then, one day, you realize that the secret project they’ve been working on, all this time, is you.

Every grocery bag, pair of sneakers, uniform, piano lesson, field trip, monthly check for Catholic school … and every drop-off and pick-up and late-night vigil waiting for you to come home, is one more stitch in the patchwork of a quilt they’re making, but don’t expect to use, for their own warmth. They’re sowing the soil, and tending to trees for decades, in hopes that it will bear the most delicious fruit the world has ever seen. And yet they’re perfectly content to die having never taken a bite.

The Unbearable Absence of Reservation

We pour ourselves out for our children, not because they’ve earned it, but because our love for them comes with an almost unbearable absence of reservation. It’s the only fitting metaphor we have of God’s love for us.

What Christ did for all, we seek to do for our children, within the realms of our limited authority: To guide them away from error and onto the path of their most complete fruition. And when they fall short, to plead forgiveness for their youthful trespasses and cancel any records of debt that might stand against them with legal demands.

Charlie’s 10% Solution

My dad said their marriage worked because he put 10% of everything he had into it. My mom wholeheartedly agreed with him on that, adding that the other 90% came from her.

A New Plague

The late 70’s were a tough time for my parent’s marriage. A new legal option of No-fault divorce was creeping across the country like a plague, leaving broken families in its wake. The machinery of separation was put into motion with a 9-syllable incantation: “ir·rec·on·cil·a·ble dif·fer·ences” were not corporate mergers gone awry, but a legal pretense for parents to live in separate houses.

Neutrality & Fairness

I remember my mom saying they couldn’t handle being Switzerland with all the couples they’d known who’d become separate and warring nations; the kids pulled around new artificial zones that, unlike the Vietnam news stories on TV, were anything but demilitarized.

So, there were arguments, and dishes thrown, and frustrations we felt, but didn’t understand. That’s how my brother and I knew that, just because we were born into it, didn’t make our parent’s marriage a guarantee.

We also learned that people playing fair with each other was a recipe for disaster; that it took a lot more than mere fairness to be happy. Only when they became resigned to giving more than received did a peace, that surpasses all understanding, come to our house.

Wedding Song

As sung in the wedding folk song, popular at the time:

Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.

But, the circle of the exchange in those lyrics spins faster than the inputs of the wedded couple. It’s that invisible extra energy the songwriter is asking about in the question, “Do you believe in something, that you’ve never seen before?”.

Grief is the Precious, Cut Short

I’ve learned from the deaths of my immediate family that the greatest cause for grief is when something precious is cut short of its expected completeness. And though I grieve for my mother, and still for my father and brother, I’m unable to view their lives as having been cut short; each for their own reasons.

Dad’s Bucket List(s)

In a conversation with my dad, a year before he died, he told me that when he was 10-years-old he made a list of things he’d dreamed of doing. By his mid-40’s he’d gotten to the end of that list, and made another. By the time of our conversation, he said he’d checked everything off that second list, as well.

The memory of that exchange was particularly comforting when he died, unexpectedly, a year later. How could his life be viewed as having been cut short if, by his own handwritten lists, he’d completed everything he’d set out to do?

Uncle Tim

When my dad’s brother came to visit, last year, I told him that story. He said he felt the same way and that his number was 75. Seven months later, nine days after Grandma GG, my Uncle Tim met his number.

Mom’s Unexpected Life

As for my mother, she never expected to get to do most of the things she, and my father, did. She raised two boys, traveled the world, got her high school diploma (about the same time we did), worked for a while to see what that was like, learned ikebana painting with the Japanese, and played golf with my father to her hearts content in their dream home, designed by their son, on the 5th hole of a private golf course in South Carolina. All of this, with her husband who’d retired at the age of 53.

It wasn’t until after my father died that I realized that Grandma GG was another artist in the family. Her opinions on logos, and colors, and ideas for business names, were always refreshing. And the grandchildren on her lap were the vitamins she took for her last eight years.

The fullness of Grandma GG’s life is the license we have to limit our grief to that of a life, not cut short, but fully lived.

Death ≠ Life Incomplete

A life is not devoid of purpose, nor incomplete, due merely to the fact that it has ended. If that were so, there is no hope for any of us, nor has there ever been.

I know this is not so, if only because of the memories I draw from them. My father may have helped me make more decisions, after his death, than before it. And though I believe it to be a mere fractal of a larger truth, there’s an undeniable life continued, here and now, in our memories, alone.

They Don’t Feel Gone

Staring at the bed of all the photos of my family it doesn’t make sense that they’re all gone. They don’t feel gone. After another series a fleeting moments, Isabel and my photos will be added to the pile. Then, it will be Timothy and Lucas staring at our pictures with this same odd feeling.

Memory is Proof of Life

Among the dead are those whose memories and past deeds are still having more of an impact on my life, today, than anyone currently living, ever will. So, the separation of who is here, and who is gone, becomes a more ambiguous proposition with each passing year.

After all, if memory of the once living is of no importance, then why punish a murderer? The victim’s gone and justice won’t bring them back. But, murderers are punished because the living will not put their memories away. The bell of the victims life will not be un-rung. And neither will the absence of justice be forgotten, or un-factored in to the righteous behavior of the survivors.

I believe the soul is sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and continues a new life in the unseen realm, as the body falls away. Still, unbelievers can take comfort in the memories of loved ones who’ve died, and the life contained in their memory of them.

Outer Limits

Many are grappling with end-of-life care issues, these days. The beginning of our story, and how four generations came to live under one roof, is in Why I Live with my In-Laws and Living With My In-Laws (One Year Later).

In the first few years, not a day went by without a citation of the fourth commandment, in one direction or another. We eventually got the hang of it in seeing the final years of Grandma GG’s life through. Her care was part of our purpose, while she was in the final stages of completing hers. We were like mirrors pointed at each other, each unaware of the reflections compounding into infinity.

Through the Eyes of Visitors

But, our children, and others, saw those reflections.

Every once in a while we’d get an outside perspective on our lives, through the eyes of visitors. It was like having a puppy and a friend stops by, two months later, and breaks the news to you that what you’re calling a puppy has become a dog.

As friends and family passed on condolences, one of the first things they’d say is how wonderful it was that Grandma GG spent her final years with her family.

They’re right, it was wonderful. But, it was just as wonderful to spend the long beginning of my life, with her.

End of the Rainbow

In retrospect, the struggles I had in caring for my mom were like a man complaining about a rock in his shoe while walking to the end of a rainbow. The treasure, waiting to be collected, is more than one house can hold. Part of that treasure is the proof that Grandma GG’s highest calling was met, so that even 1/3rd of its fulfillment was more than enough to reap for the care she needed.

Another part is that our boys woke up, everyday of their four and eight-year lives, with a grandparent living in the same house.

“God’s law is an unspeakably good and precious thing, and to live within it is to live the life that is eternal. To be sure, (God’s) law is not the source of rightness, but it is forever the course of rightness.3

The Potency of Holiness

Our bodies know the differences between darkness and light better than our minds. While surprised that a candle has lit up the whole gymnasium, our bodies have already started walking towards it.

Light is more than the absence of darkness. And holiness is more than the absence of sin. If sin is the drum of water we drink from, then holiness is the teaspoon of bleach that makes the whole drum potable.

Her Inheritance

My moms inheritance is in answering her highest calling. It was poured out into her three men, into her new family, and also for those who saw her race, finished well.

And like the story of the thief on the cross, who had no hope before that fateful day, may the retelling of her story inspire other families to stick together and light their own candles with the fire within. And may a spoonful of that be credited to the account of Grandma GG’s inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

In Our Muscle Memory

Grandma GG is still in our muscle memory and in the walls of the house. While writing these words, I’ve kept the room monitor on in my office in case Grandma GG needs something. Isabel and I still hear the bell she used to ring, and the pitch of her voice, calling for something. We’re still quiet on the phone so as not to wake her, and we keep feeling the need to break away from dinners with friends, because mom’s been alone for too long.

The Smirk on Lucas’ Face

Grandma GG did not abide orders or directives. There was a certain way she’d purse her lips and stare when orders were detected. That’s when you knew there wasn’t a thing in the world that could move her. You’d just settled the matter; nothing would move her until she was good and ready.

One day, while giving an order to our two-year-old, I looked over to see something that brought chills of deja’vu. Lucas had the same eyes, and curled up smirk, I’ve seen on my mothers face for fifty years. I knew immediately the battle lines were drawn, and he had the upper hand. My mother’s will-not-abide smirk had been transmuted right onto Lucas’ defiant face.

I can only imagine the deep-rooted pig-headedness originating from ancient celtic roots that is now a weapon in his arsenal. And, boy, it’s a good one. Grandma GG would love knowing that she had left her Lucas Michael, so well-armed. As foreboding a look as it is, I love seeing her smirk on Lucas’ face. Even though I know what I’m in for.

Timothy’s Willy Wonka House

“When you love someone you go to the ends of the earth for them.”
— Aunt Bernie

Timothy doesn’t have Grandma GG’s defiant smirk. What he inherited from Grandma GG is waking up for the first eight years of his life with grandparents living in the same house. He has the cookies and candy in her drawer, her birthday gifts, the coca-cola Santa Claus kisses, and grandparents’s day at school.

When watching the original Willy Wonka, Timothy saw nothing odd in all the grandparents in the bed. To him, it was a matter-of-fact depiction of the way all families live. Families take care of one another, come what may, and no one is left behind.

Conclusion

Prior to my mom’s passing, Isabel had never experienced the death of an immediate family member. Now, as a reluctant veteran, perhaps she’d agree that death, compared to life, is a simple thing.

Death doesn’t give meaning to life; it just imposes a deadline on the project to perfect the soul our bodies are bound to, for a while. The body gives out, and the soul is released, to forever be what it became under the care of our earthly stewardship.

The greatest gift of life is the chance to shape, and try to perfect, the state of our immortal souls.

May we prepare for death like a bel canto singer navigates through the passagio of the upper-middle voice; switching over to a new set of involuntary muscles so the voice may gracefully ascend into its highest range.

But, She’s Ours!

Two weeks after she died, Lucas asked, “When are they going to send Grandma GG back?”

“What do you mean, Lucas?”, Isabel asked.

“When are they going to be done working on her body … (counting on his fingers) … “1-day, 2-days, 3-days, 4-days, 5-days?”

“She’s not coming back, Lucas. We have to go see her.”

“But, she’s ours!”, he said.

Then, last week, Lucas asked the same question. When Isabel told him Grandma GG was gone he yelled, “But, she’s ours! Why can’t they fix her body and send her back?!” before crying for five minutes; an eternity for a four-your-old.

Yes, honey. She’s ours.

And we will never forget her, nor the last time we saw her, this morning as she prepared for her journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.4

Songbirds, P.S.

Alright, mom. These words hardly begin to summarize your life. But, you’d be happy with a few highlights in your son’s voice. It must have been awesome to get out of that bed and stretch out into a walk!

Remember when Dad borrowed Wendell’s RV and we camped and drove across the whole country? Dad wore out those Fleetwood Mac tapes and almost killed us on the mesa verde mountain curves.

My least favorite song is the one I can’t get out of my head. It reminds me of you and dad. You guys are together, now, like you imagined for all those years watching the golf channel. Every time that bell rings it feels like you’re still here. I’m glad, we’re glad, that, “For you, there’ll be no more crying.”

For you, the sun will be shining.
And I feel that you’re with us
And It’s alright, I know it’s right.

My songbirds are singing, like they know the score.
And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before.

I love you, mom, dad, and Tim, like never before.

So long, Grandma GG.


  1. Paraphrasing a quote from John Adams. 
  2. Proverbs 31, ESV. 
  3. Dallas Willard, “The Divine Conspiracy” 
  4. Adaptation of Reagan on the Challenger tragedy, 1/26/86. 

… that life can be optimized with respect to a minimum of seven areas. Delete any one of them from the equations of your awareness and your life will degrade, sooner or later. Since these areas are irreducible I call them the Seven Matters of Life.

I believe …

… that words are how the truth comes to us. They’re also how it can be taken away. Seen only as symbols and grammar, truth and lies are made from the same raw material. Your only hope is discernment. Your life depends on it.

I believe …

there’s something wrong with every body and finding out what it is could be one way we can save our own lives.

I believe …

… as long as mankind is walking the planet, words are here to stay. They’re the hardest ingredient to delete with any hope of communicating fully. Take away someone’s words and you rob them of the dearest part of their humanity.

I believe …

that almost everything against us, and for us, has an invisible origin. Master this unseen realm, and what obstacles remain of the visible world are child’s play to contend with, in comparison.

I believe …

… that life is optimized around these variables in approximately this relationship:

Your Optimal Equation

 I believe …

… that Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship with God centered around His presence in our actual lives. Without transformation of character and supernatural power there will be no great works. But, with them? The world is yours!

I believe …

… in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

“Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler.”

— Albert Einstein

I’ve found that life can be optimized with respect to a minimum of seven areas. Delete any one of them from the equations of your awareness and your life will degrade, sooner or later. Since these areas are irreducible I call them the Seven Matters of Life. They are: Personal, Health, Spiritual, Business, Family, Law, & Government.

The Seven Matters exert an inevitable, if not invisible, influence on our lives. As with natural laws describing gravity, time, the speed of light, etc. they persist whether we ignore them or not. We “escape” them only through acknowledgement and mastery.

My writing is an informational vortex swirling around the Seven Matters. Ideally, it serves as a generational boost to reduce the time needed to put your own life on optimal track.

A Portrait of the Seven Matters

To portray the seven matters I’ll use a pattern-type at the core of natural design: Fractals. Before fractals were discovered, Hollywood was unable to reproduce mountain landscapes without using artist renderings or real pictures of mountains. Now, they use triangles, a computer, and a dash of randomness to create breathtaking landscapes.

The point of using a fractal to portray the seven matters of life is this:

Fractals prove that stupefying complexity can emerge from utter simplicity. The reverse is not true.

Also, I want to make a point, graphically, about the nature of optimizing one’s life:

Even when a complex solution is needed it will inevitably be constructed with simple (not simplistic) components.

The Metatron Cube

One of my favorite fractals is the metatron cube, sometimes referred to as “the flower of life”. It’s formed with 13 spheres set in relation to each other, like this:

Wire Metatron Cube
Within the metatron cube are many other shapes. For example, it contains all five platonic solids.

metatron platonic

In this revolving view the cubic relationships of the same fractal are emphasized.

Metatron in Motion

Fractals can represent infinity by putting the same fractal within itself. Here’s what a metatron cube looks like with each sphere filled with its own metatron cube:

Metatron Infinity

Working Portrait

Please don’t mistake the colorful portrait, below, as “New Age” philosophy with its nauseating relativism. To the contrary, it’s a working portrait of the seven matters  at the core of each person. Though we’re all unique, and at differing levels of development, our design is specific and persistent.

Self Portrait 1
Notice these aspects of the portrait:

  1. The seven inner-spheres of the core correspond closely to the seven matters of life.
  2. The “matter” at the center is Spirit; a reference to the spirit inside you and to God.
  3. Each sphere is a fractal identical to the others, and to the whole.
  4. The outer spheres represent personal interactions with the external world. They are the natural outward reach stemming from the inner core.
  5. To the extent the inner-core is balanced, so is the person, and so are interactions with the external world.

Everyone has these “matters” in their life, in one formation or another. My choice of their positions is, therefore, a kind of self-portrait. Change the position of the “matters”, especially the one in the core, and the resulting life of the person will be quite different.

Psychopaths are all the rage, lately. About 1% of the population meet the clinical criteria for psychopathy.1 That percentage rises to 3-4% in senior executives.2 Many articles and books list their attributes and behaviors. Still, advice on what to do about them is sparse.

I have an idea: use the new tool enabling psychiatrists to standardize their diagnosis and communicate accurately about such “patients”. That is, use the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised) to detect the potential psychopaths in your life. Then eject them before they have a chance to do the damage they seem born to do. You don’t have to be an expert to protect yourself.

If that seems harsh then avail yourself of the innumerable books and articles about these human predators. They rarely create anything but chaos. They’re usually parasites that rely on the productivity of others to supply for their every need. And yet, human hosts abound. Hosts, who don’t realize they’re facilitating their own demise until it’s too late.

I wrote a book about a suspected psychopath to thicken the non-fiction part of his résumé. He hasn’t been brought to justice, yet, but perhaps my book will put a digital noose around his neck, in the meantime. In Chapter 13 of “The Creature from Galt’s Gulch” I used eyewitness accounts to compare the suspect with Dr. Robert Hare’s PCL-R checklist for psychopathy.

Beginning of Book Excerpt

Johnson and the Psychopathy Checklist

Here’s a list of eyewitness accounts of Johnson and their correspondence to the attributes and behaviors on Dr. Robert Hare’s PCL-R checklist for psychopathy.

Preserving the term, “Psychopathy”

Words are often used with little respect for their original meaning. They’re used in propaganda and strung together in phrases that become memes. Memes are captured in social media, sitcoms, and movies. Within a few short years the word bears little resemblance to its original meaning. The first casualty is that the word in question may never recover it’s original, and most powerful, meaning. Even greater damage is done by obscuring the definition of a perfectly good word and thereby shrinking the vocabulary of humanity. It then takes that much more effort to  communicate effectively.

We’re all familiar with the trivial use of the word “Fascist” hurled at anyone, and anything, the accuser may not like or that presents a maddening obstacle to their whims. Only when fascism describes the merger of corporate with state powers does meaning reappear. Another word that must be recovered to understand Galt’s Gulch Chile is “Psychopath”.

If your understanding of the word “Psychopath” is anyone acting in a way you don’t understand or agree with, then maybe the word “Psychotic” or “Psychosis” is a better fit. At the heart of the GGC story there sits a man exhibiting behaviors I believe (As a layman) to be consistent with the medical use of the term “Psychopath”. I refer to him as the “Creature” or Kenneth Dale Johnson. I have been careful to refrain from throwing the word “Psychopath” around in the irresponsible manner in which the word has become a cultural meme since 2010. That was when the Showtime series, “Dexter”, portrayed one as an ersatz hero. The word “Psychopath” is a medical term used to describe someone who lacks all empathy with their fellow man, someone who has no conscience, someone who can lie about millions of dollars of stolen money as if he were handing you an ice cream cone. It gets worse, but, let’s just leave it at that, for now.

As a layman, with no psychiatric medical training, I’ll stick with the PCL-R standard the professionals use to diagnose psychopathy. Dr. Robert Hare’s revised checklist for psychopathy is something I recommend all people become familiar with as a tool to assist in spotting, and then avoiding, the psychopaths that cross their path.
If there should be some kind of future “therapy” to shift the behavior of psychopaths towards that which, at least, acknowledges empathy with their fellow man (And not their pets or animals as is characteristic of the psychopath) then I welcome it. As of today, there is no such therapy that I’m aware of. The best course of action is to understand the behavior, recognize when they are being exhibited by someone, gauge the extent to which the person under consideration may be a psychopath, and avoid them in equal measure.

I believe that, unless Johnson ends up in jail, he’ll move on to live somewhere else in the world. May what’s been written here about the damage he’s done to so many people be added to his resume.

As of June, 2015 Johnson is making the mistake of recording himself on dozens of video updates he calls “Farm updates”. As with the rare movie, “I, Psychopath” where Sam Vaknin allows a filmmaker to create a documentary about him, this is a rare opportunity to study the behavior of a likely psychopath, in real time, and on video.

“Each of the 20 items in the PCL-R is scored on a three-point scale, with a rating of 0 if it does not apply at all, 1 if there is a partial match or mixed information, and 2 if there is a reasonably good match to the offender. This is said to be ideally done through a face-to-face interview together with supporting information on lifetime behavior (e.g. from case files), but is also done based only on file information. It can take up to three hours to collect and review the information. Out of a maximum score of 40, the cut-off for the label of psychopathy is 30 in the United States and 25 in the United Kingdom. A cut-off score of 25 is also sometimes used for research purposes. High PCL-R scores are positively associated with measures of impulsivity and aggression, Machiavellianism, persistent criminal behavior, and negatively associated with measures of empathy and affiliation.”
— Wikipedia entry for “Psychopathy Checklist”

GGC Logo
GGC Logo

PCL-R1

pcl-r2

PCL-R3

With five categories unknown Kenneth Dale Johnson already rates a score of 29, in the collective recollection of those who’ve tangled with him. If correct, that makes him a psychopath in the UK and 1 point shy in the US. What do you think are the chances of him scoring a 0 in the unknown categories?

End of Book Excerpt

 

If you’re interested in the full story of Galt’s Gulch Chile the 186-page book is free for those who have access to the resource library.

Dealing with Psychopaths

You have two options:

  1. Detect and Avoid.
  2. Disentangle, Starve, and Extract.

Detect and Avoid

The unhired employee is the easiest to fire. The unentangled friend has no pretense to interfere. The unmarried crazy-maker is the easiest to divorce. Memorize the attributes of the PCL-R checklist so you can vet strangers that want to become more than strangers. Be on guard for anything over a score of 10 or for any attributes you find disturbing. Call former business associates and friends (If there are any). Did your candidate get along well with others? Did they show genuine empathy for other people? Would they do business with them again? Are they still friends? Just those four questions are probably enough.

I have a friend with an uncanny ability to detect the unseen factors about people and situations.  She refers to it as her “Spidey Sense”. In the seven years I’ve known her she’s never been wrong. Now, when she tells me something is up I adjust my thoughts and actions to be in line with her intuitions. My friend has rare abilities. However, perhaps you can assemble a group of friends to achieve a similar result? Why not invite your candidate out for coffee for an informal vetting session?

Learning to recognize an aggressive move when somebody makes one and learning how to handle oneself in any of life’s many battles has turned out to be the most empowering experience for the manipulation victims with whom I’ve worked. It’s how they eventually freed themselves from their manipulator’s dominance and control and gained a much needed boost to their own sense of self-esteem. Recognizing the inherent aggression in manipulative behavior and becoming more aware of the slick, surreptitious ways that manipulative people prefer to aggress against us is extremely important. Not recognizing and accurately labeling their subtly aggressive moves causes most people to misinterpret the behavior of manipulators and, therefore, fail to respond to them in an appropriate fashion.3

Heavily Scrutinize Claims of Pain, Hurt Feelings, or Victimhood from Prospective Friends, Partners, etc.

Are they sharing a real experience or merely evoking feelings of sympathy to put you off-guard?

The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they’re hurting, caring, defending, … almost anything but fighting. These tactics are hard to recognize as merely clever ploys. They always make just enough sense to make a person doubt their gut hunch that they’re being taken advantage of or abused. Besides, the tactics not only make it hard for you to consciously and objectively tell that a manipulator is fighting, but they also simultaneously keep you unconsciously on the defensive. These features make them highly effective psychological weapons to which anyone can be vulnerable. It’s hard to think clearly when someone has you emotionally on the run.4

Disentangle, Starve, and Extract

If you fail to detect or avoid a psychopath it will be much harder to get rid of them once they’ve embedded themselves into your life or business. It will be like trying to capture a spider while preserving the web. There will be people, assets, and money to preserve during the extraction. You can’t possibly care less about these things than your psycho already does. A psycho will think and feel nothing in “burning” through all of them just to see your reaction. Your best bet is to proceed slowly and document their every move so that contradictions and lies can be made visible to all. Get them talking and record everything (which is what psychos, themselves, are famous for doing). The biggest lies of their twisted premises must be debunked to the satisfaction of those who don’t yet see the spider for who they are. Those who don’t yet see through the psychos deceptions are unwittingly feeding the spider that will eventually bite them. In the meantime, the spider will continue to feed on the energy of those who still believe their lies. The idea is to cut off this source of the spider’s food so it eventually starves amidst a desert of unbelieving attention.

The ideal outcome is to have the spider eject themselves from the web. They will do so in huffs and indignant cries of counter-accusations. The psycho will go down with the ship repeating the same tired stories of how they have always been the victim and don’t care how many people don’t believe them. If you’ve done your homework such cries and accusations will now be seen and recognized by all to be ridiculous.

Of course, psycho extractions are rarely smooth and are difficult even when they can be done, at all. Perhaps Kent Kiehl’s, “The Psychopath Whisperer” can help. You may also enjoy Ann Barnhardt’s presentation on Diabolical Narcissism.

Their Words are Dead until You Make them Alive

Repeating the accusations of a psychopath makes dead words come alive. You are the source of that life. The more you repeat their words the more life the words have to impact the living. Stop repeating them, or even listening to them, and a psychopaths words remain dead in their own mouths. I’ve had personal experience with this.

A former boss of mine used to plant lies among his small group of five or so consultants. The point of his lies were to gain information from how each consultant reacted to them. I knew what he was doing but was never able to persuade the others to ignore his lies, altogether. When a co-worker would feel cornered into admitting to some trivial error the boss held it up as proof of the entire group being “liars”. That story reminds me of a simple and effective method for …

Extracting the Truth from a Psychopath

It’s easier than you think. Psychos are all blabber-mouths and can’t keep their own mouths shut. Your job is to listen and record. Then, translate their accusations as what they are: projected admissions of what the psycho, themselves, have done or are doing. It really is that simple. Psychos don’t so much create their own lies as much as they describe what they’ve actually done, and what their own motivations were. Then, a few names are swapped around, and fresh accusations can be launched. If cornered, your psycho will, of course, extend the web. But that be plausibly and quickly done with the inside knowledge of having been the original culprit.

Think of it this way: They’re not performing the mental feat of keeping track of multiple lies and the rippling consequences of multiple conflicting stories. They’re merely reciting from memory what they, themselves, have done.

Example

Psycho: “You’re a lying buffoon who has doctored up your resume with false experience while taking credit for the work that Joe and Marcia have done! You’re also using company money to pay for non-business events and expenses!”

You: Excellent. Now I know that my psycho has:

  1. Lied.
  2. Doctored up his resume
  3. Taken credit for Joe and Marcia’s work
  4. Used company money for travel, food, and events.

This is as close to a direct admission of deeds and guilt as your ever likely to get from your local psychopath. Enjoy it. Now you know exactly what they’ve been up to and how they mucked things up.

Herd Immunity from Psychos?

There is little hope or evidence that such creatures will self-correct and change their destructive ways. As with most problems facing humanity the hope lies in what changes the victims can make to avoid or neutralize the attack.
In the long-term, humanity must confront and overcome the following deficiencies if “Herd Immunity” is to be attained:

  • A pervasive lack of awareness of their existence.
  • Inability to diagnose and, therefore, to defend against, avoid, or thwart.
  • No understanding of how they fit-in, demographically, with humanity.
  • Apologetic denial that notorious figures of history were obvious and diagnosable psychopaths but my “friend” (Partner, Business Associate, City Councilman, etc.) is different.
  • No spiritual discernment of the possibility that some people are just plain evil and that’s all there is to it.
  • A knee-jerk tendency to dismiss outrageous behavior happening right in front of them.
  • A tendency to take responsibility for outrageous behavior so as not to upset the guilty offender with the truth, or upset the sensibilities of the group.
  • A long willingness to “Strike-a-Deal” to cap the bleeding despite an established string of lies.

Anyone wanting to avoid being victimized by covert-aggression must redefine the terms of engagement with a would-be manipulator. To do this effectively, one must: 1. be free of any harmful misconceptions about human nature and behavior, 2. know how to correctly assess the character of others, 3. heighten self-awareness, paying special attention to aspects of one’s own character that increase vulnerability to manipulation, 4. correctly recognize and label the tactics of manipulation and respond to them ap- propriately, 5. avoid fighting losing battles, and 6. know how to maintain a position of power and strength in interpersonal relationships.5

But, what about the short-term? What might you be able to do right now about the potential psychopaths in your life?

Adopt-A-Path

Ex-CIA agent Robert David Steele advised bloggers to adopt their own zip-code and illuminate whatever hanky-panky is going on.

“If you bloggers self-organize and attach yourselves like leeches to specific issues, corporations, organizations, challenges, whatever, you will be the intelligence minutemen of this century. The power is in your hands.”

Perhaps the same could done for Psychopaths or Diabolical Narcissists?

For those inclined I recommend being quite sure of the informal diagnosis of your adopted specimen. Preserve your integrity by using words and terms accurately. You won’t need to use hyperbole as there’s no need to exaggerate behavior that’s already quite outrageous. I’ve also learned from experience the many benefits of the writer having no ties, whatsoever, to the subject or their crimes. Human cooperation confuses the living daylight out of these creatures. They can’t understand something that’s not within them to ever do. I suppose that leaves them without much light, at all.

May it leave them with no victims, either.


  1. Hare, R. D 1994, ‘Predators: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths among Us’,Psychology Today, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 54–61 
  2. Baibak, P; Hare, R. D Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work (2007) 
  3. In Sheep’s Clothing, Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, George K. Simon, Ph.D., page 8. 
  4. Ibid., 9. 
  5. Ibid., 93. 
The Rulers
The Rulers

We have met the enemy, and they are invisible.

Almost everything against us, and for us, has an invisible origin. Master this unseen realm, and what obstacles remain of the visible world are child’s play to contend with, in comparison.

A shift in focus to the invisible root causes of oppression enables an enormous reclamation of human resources. This is the Way to advance, directly, in what is a spiritual wrestling match masquerading as conventional warfare.

from Within

The seven deadly sins of greed, pride, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth reside within. It’s only their effects that become visible. All of these sins can manifest physical obstacles onto our path until we get them under some kind of control.

from Without

The book of Ephesians has the clearest and highest view of the invisible rulers that originate from without.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”1

The placement of the final four elements to be in opposition to “flesh and blood” makes them all inhuman. A word study reveals them all to be of supernatural origin, as well.

Ephesians Table
Ephesians Table

“6:12 This list of spiritual rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers (see 3:10) gives a sobering glimpse into the devil’s allies, the spiritual forces of evil who are exceedingly powerful in their exercise of cosmic powers over this present darkness. And yet Scripture makes clear that the enemy host is no match for the Lord, who has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Col. 2:15; see also Eph. 1:19–21). 6:13 Therefore. Because the Christian’s enemies are superhuman spiritual forces, he cannot rely upon mere human resources but must take up the whole armor of God.2

Given their destructive potential, understanding rulers and authorities to refer to an invisible realm has a profound impact on the optimal deployment of human resources in what Paul refers to as a spiritual wrestling match.

A Divine Council of Evil?

With the detail in this and other passages I wonder if it’s possible to make an Org Chart of what might be called the Divine Council of Evil. Scholars are divided on the question:

“Some scholars have believed that it is possible to reconstruct at least in part some of the hierarchy represented by these various supernatural forces and powers, on the basis of the neoplatonic system of nine such powers arranged in three orders of three each. NT terminology and usage does not, however, lend itself to such a classification, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what are the significant differences between these supernatural powers and forces.”3

But that hasn’t stopped people from trying:

Botticini Painting
Botticini Painting

The Origin of the Invisible

If Ephesians tells us what we’re up against and what to do about it, Colossians tells us who created what we’re up against:

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”4

Paul uses three powerful rhetorical devices in this verse:

  1. He sets up a pattern of contrasting opposites: One is visible and the other is invisible.
  2. The nature of the opposites show the completeness of the creation being described. Nothing is excluded from a creation that includes all that is visible and all that is invisible.
  3. Instead of completing the AB pattern of the first two opposites Paul lists four things of the same type, for emphasis. All four are invisible “sacrificing the balance of the hymn in order to add a further reference to Christ’s superiority over all beings in heaven as well as on earth.”5

The pattern is A-B, B-A for the first two comparisons. Instead of extending that pattern it’s followed by A, A, A, A:

Colossians Table
Colossians Table

From the Inside Out

Against these invisible rulers of sin, weaknesses, and the “Divine Council of Evil”, where does one begin to “wrestle” free? As all the great masters have concluded: from the inside out.

Sins manifest into physical obstacles. For example, when sloth combines with natural entropy and results in clutter, “Who” is the oppressor making things hard to find? Similar examples would illustrate the same pattern with the other deadly sins.

One Stone, Many Birds

The “schemes of the devil” use sins and weakness as their primary means of control. Any “stones” you may throw in the direction of their elimination could hit many “birds” of prey.

  1. Taking action on your own sins and weaknesses is under the jurisdiction of your own will. There is no permission required and you can start immediately, if you like.
  2. By doing so you begin to remove both yourself and the primary sources of leverage used by external rulers and authorities (both visible and invisible) to control you.
  3. By doing so you start to “clear the decks”, removing clutter and complexity from the “battlefield”.

A Nod to the Visible

There are visible counterparts to the invisible thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities. We do have kings, governments, tyrants, and pricks on earth, just as there are in heaven. Sometimes, a rock is just a rock.

But, appearances can be deceiving. Visible obstacles may be put on your path through invisible means. David Pawson defines a miracle as “a natural event with a supernatural cause”. Looking in the mirror I find it hard to argue the point.

Most of the Biblical references to “rulers” are to the unseen realm. In 55 uses of ἀρχή or Archē only two might refer to something visible:

  • Luke 12:11
    “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say.”
  • Titus 3:1
    “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.”

In 53 out of 55 cases the reader must jar themselves out of the natural tendency to mistake the word for its earthly equivalent. Just as legal terms in Black’s law dictionary have only a small overlap in meaning to their common use, so does this Biblical word rarely resemble the vernacular.

Reclaiming Human Resources

There is much visible work to do. To ignore this fact is to carelessly devalue precious human labor (The most noble form of money). However, by shifting the focus of that work to the invisible root causes of oppression, we may reclaim the enormous human resources currently wasted on merely resisting the damage of effects!

We have the means to throw the originating rulers off our backs. We have a helper to inspire us to bridle, and then repudiate, the sins within. Every time we do so we gain immediate ground. Soon, it becomes obvious that evil is weak, and always has been. Its appearance of strength was only relative to our lack of clarity and unwillingness to remain squared-off, no matter the cost, to what intuition always informed us were the Real perpetrators.

Even our direct work (at last) is only part of a long-running cleanup operation of an ancient victory. For the Lord has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him”.

We are beneficiaries to the inheritance of that victory. The cost is no more, and no less, than its recognition.


  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Eph 6:11–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 
  2. ESV Study Bible comments on Ephesians 6:12-13 
  3. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 147). New York: United Bible Societies. 
  4. Colossians 1:16, ESV 
  5. “The fact that all four terms thus refer only to the invisible, heavenly realm and the repeated emphasis on Christ’s supremacy and triumph over the “principalities and powers” in 2:10 and 15 do therefore strengthen the likelihood that the two lines were inserted by the author(s) of the letter, sacrificing the balance of the hymn in order to add a further reference to Christ’s superiority over all beings in heaven as well as on earth” … Dunn, J. D. G. (1996). The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: a commentary on the Greek text (pp. 92–93). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: William B. Eerdmans Publishing; Paternoster Press. 

My mother had two strokes leaving her unable to walk. She hates not being able to walk. A few years later her eyes glazed over with cataracts and she couldn’t see. Since she lives with us, and we see her everyday, we didn’t notice it as it happened slowly over so many months. Her eyes were a tough case but the doctors were able to fix her eyesight with an operation.

Off all her losses, by far the worst was when she lost the ability to talk. We had to use a board with letters enabling her to point to letters to slowly make a word. To say that she hated it would be glib. She was furious! Her fury turned to desperation and then to depression.

Thankfully, over the next four months, her speech was largely restored through swallowing exercises. Along with the gift of that restoration to her was a restored confidence and insight given to me about words.

As a lyricist I felt I’d reached the limits of what words can hold or convey. I’d received the Irish “gift of gab” to the extent that, when my mother and I went to Ireland and had the opportunity to kiss the Blarney stone, I declined in disgust saying, “No thanks, mom. I talk too much already. You guys make me kiss that thing and see what kind of blabbermouth you’ll get then!”

To be fair to the legend, kissing the stone purports to confer “Eloquence and persuasiveness”; much loftier and more useful gifts than mere gab. Still, I didn’t kiss that thing and don’t regret it.

Kissing the Blarney Stone in 1897

While searching for a picture to portray the point of this article I found the poster for the film, “A Life without Words”. The trailer is fascinating with the film telling the story of a brother and sister in Nicaragua who are deaf and can neither speak, write, nor read until a sign language teacher comes along and teach them their first “words”.

Their father says (At 0:30 seconds on the film trailer) that, “Because they are disabled the authorities can’t touch them. They’re incomplete. The law can’t touch them.”

No Law? No Transgression!

True enough. When you have no words you can’t legally consent to contracts (That you can’t read!). As you look at the kids (Young adults, really) you can tell they’re intelligent and can think clearly even though they “have no words”. And yet, think of it from the state’s point of view: If the kids were to “sign” a contract they could always claim they had no idea what they were signing. If problems arose, later, how could one argue the point? “For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.”1

Self-Defense from Psychopaths

The father’s words remind me of another story where a known criminal psychopath was able to manipulate all those around him except for those who didn’t speak his language. The criminal spoke English and was perpetrating his schemes in a Spanish speaking country. The English speakers around him were manipulated, one by one. The Spanish speakers were immune. The psychopath could not “get inside their heads” with his words. His power was neutralized. Now that’s an idea someone could write a book about!

(I didn’t emphasize this phenomenon in the book I wrote about the story. However, if you’re interested in knowing more about the exploits and damage one psychopath can do, read “The Creature from Galt’s Gulch” (Free).)

That these two groups of people “with no words” were protected from their adversaries shows the power of words from the opposite side of the usual vantage point. Without words, you can’t be mislead or fooled by them.

The truth (And law) comes to us in words and can be taken away using words. Most of our liberties are not taken but rather given away by our own consent. We consent through various contracts and sign away precious liberties. I tackle these dangers in my book, “The Outlier’s Handbook”. In short, the wise must sometimes find ways to retain the advantages of the fool.

Better than Words?

Word Alternatives

These contenders are wonderful tools that may greatly assist your communication. They’ll probably decrease the number of words you’ll need to communicate. But, they won’t eliminate the need for words, entirely.

If you hand someone a picture without saying anything they’ll just look at you with questions in their eyes. You have to write or say something to put pictures in context. The inverse is not true: If you say something to someone you don’t have to follow it with a picture of what you talked about. Pictures and the rest are great, but optional.

Here to Stay, Forever

As long as mankind is walking the planet, words are here to stay. They’re the hardest ingredient to delete with any hope of communicating fully. “Use your words.”, the teachers at my children’s school say when the kids get frustrated. Those teachers know what they’re talking about!

Blindness is a dreadful affliction as would be the loss of any of the senses or faculties. However, take away someone’s words and you rob them of the dearest part of their humanity.

Postscript: My mother lives with us, now. We talk, everyday.

Mom and I on the cliffs of Donegal, Ireland


  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ro 4:15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 

Your Optimal Life Equation (YOLE) is an algebraic formula to describe, contemplate, and re-calibrate the optimality of one’s life.  The relationships of the major elements are shown as well as the potential  impacts a change may have. The equation is introduced, here, and referred to throughout the “The Outliers Handbook“.

When I got the idea to describe an Optimal life with an algebraic formula the flaws in the approach were obvious: The units don’t match and assigning one number to something that, by its very nature, is multi-dimensional is absurd. Such absurdities are built-in to something else passed on as knowledge, every day . . . the IQ. Who in the world thinks something as multi-faceted as intelligence can be fully captured and described by an integer? It can’t. And yet, the IQ is still, somehow, useful. So is YOLE.

Cross-discipline metaphors are useful for the same reason any metaphor can be: Patterns in nature are like other patterns in nature. Sometimes, the same fractal pattern in one natural structure is duplicated exactly in another. Fractals prove that stupefying complexity can emerge from utter simplicity. The reverse is not true.

Those who have no problem “dividing” a mountain by a triangle  or seeing the golden ratio in a conch shell or human face may find YOLE useful. It doesn’t reach fractal-like perfection (Yet) but Your Optimal Life Equation may show how some of the major elements of life may be changed to lead to a more optimally functioning one.

Your Optimal Equation

Where all people have S,W,V,G,H,T,El,j,c and at least one Pg. Not every person has Pr, Pb or EB.

 

YOE-Variables
Key

Talking Through the Equation

The sum total of your Strengths and Weaknesses is all you have to maintain everything you Value, your Goals, the People in your life (H), and the Things you own. The results of that division is multiplied by  the purposeful roles you play in the lives of others, the purpose of your business activities, and whatever you most desire or worship (Your God). The resulting numerator is what you bring into (Is divided by) your larger environment: The physical or virtual stage of  your life and business. The major elements of your Environment are physical location, legal jurisdiction and community. Your business may have a separate environment with its own physical location, legal jurisdiction and community.

Small Changes Can Have a Huge Impact

The legal jurisdiction of one’s physical body and business could be the sole determining factor of whether one is at liberty to accomplish anything, at all. Likewise, the wrong community could leave one alone and bereft of the amplifications (And enjoyment) that a strong and thriving community can provide.

Whether or not one has an immediate family, an optional component of Pr , will have a huge impact on the nature of the most purposeful roles in one’s life.

What You Control . . .

You determine the inputs and amounts of most variables. You may have little to no control over some of them, in the short-term. You can have some degree of control over most of them, eventually. It’s  daunting to realize how most of the important aspects of life are the direct result of personal choice. The sheer amount of decisions one could make to optimize life is probably why people rarely take full control over all the elements they could potentially control. Of course, depending on resources available  (Strengths) an attempt to control everything might lead to a failure to control anything.

. . . and What You Don’t

Your unique disposition of strengths and weaknesses is part of your natural disposition at birth. You have huge latitude in honing and deploying strengths. You also have many options for minimizing the impacts of natural weaknesses. However, it’s still mostly a matter of playing smarter with the hand you’ve been dealt.

Likewise, you don’t choose to live on “The grid” of planet earth. You choose where to locate the various elements of your life on that grid.

You don’t choose the members of your local (And virtual) communities. You choose the location and subjects around which those communities are organized, and possibly united.

On Values

Values present a cost to maintain and uphold. Hold to as few of the best values in life while tending to values.  Discard bad values and replace merely good values with great ones. Great values are consistent with Purpose(s) and decrease net costs to Strengths.

On Goals

Goals are costly to achieve. Achieving goals is usually a good thing. A great thing, however, is achieving great goals. Great goals align with the purposes of your life. Discrimination between good and great goals requires awareness of purpose(s).

On People (H)

People can be among the greatest sources of abundance on earth. They can also be the most taxing. The task here is to have the right balance of people in your life. Those congruent with your purposes will bring abundance to your life (And you to theirs) even if they’re taxing. For one thing, people tend to motivate growth. Growth makes us stronger and leaves us with more strengths to optimize life. Therefore, the tax of people in our lives may be a large cost in the short-term and change the fundamental balance of the equation in the long-term. People are a “Capital” investment in the grandest sense of the world.

On Things

Things, or possessions, require some combination of storage, maintenance, insurance, licensing, money, time, registration, bill processing (Registration renewal, licensing updates, etc.) and on and on. The least number of Things you need to accomplish purpose(s) the better.

On Purpose(s)

Ants, snails, and bugs may have one purpose. People have multiple purposes. The popular myth that people have just one purpose is harmful and tends to thwart the discovery of what one’s purposes may be. There’s a purpose for every role, family member, business activity, ongoing responsibility and activity in your life. The YOLE encapsulates them all into the roles you play in the lives of others, business purposes, and God (Pr,b,g).

On Environment(s)

Personal and Business environments might be separate. Therefore, the equation allows for both E and EB. Each have their own components of physical location, legal jurisdiction and community.

Location has a dramatic affect on the prevailing Law, Jurisdiction, and Community with which you’re interacting with in time. However, physical location is not a static, one-time-only, choice. With cyberspace, jet travel, dual-citizenship, and multi-state and national entities a person’s Environment is no longer determined solely by physical Location. Of course, if your E and EB are tied to one physical location then it makes the equation easier to “Calculate”. The cost of that simplicity will probably increase as technocratic mechanisms of control and taxation become more refined and perfected. Also, as such mechanisms are refined and perfected E, EB, and their subcomponents will tend to merge into one. The more completely merged, the more each component will be the same for more people. Physical locations will always vary but characteristics of legal jurisdiction and community may become so similar that distinctions are of little importance. In some ways this can be seen as one drives across the US stopping into the “Same” fast-food franchises in every state.

Environments are multi-locational and sometimes virtual. Where is the PT (Perpetual Traveler) located if his business is in one country, money in another, investments in another and body in another? His body can only be in one location at a time, of course. But will he be there long enough to be viewed as a resident (Legal jurisdiction)? Even so, his business may be in a different jurisdiction. Complex combinations can grow out of varied components of E and EB.

Reality has ~10 Dimensions, Not Four

Theoretical physicists now presume Reality presents in 10 dimensions. That’s six more than most people assume comprise the Reality in which their life is taking place. To distinguish the standard four from the 10 I’ll use the convention of uppercase Reality (10) and lowercase reality (4). I might turn YOLE into a graphic to account for Reality. For now, think of E as not limited to the dimensions of X,Y,Z and Time/Space but extending into dimensions that may or may not be discernible to the five senses.

People with a keener sense of dimensions, beyond the four, may possess either a physical, intellectual or theological strength. Some choices of Pg enable such awareness and some preclude it. Since anything that obscures the full  dimensions of Reality is a handicap one can better optimize life with a Pg that enables full awareness.

What God?

Desire provides powerful insight into purpose. People align their lives with what they most desire in the moment. What people most desire can be described as their god of the moment.

There are as many gods (Idols) as there are nouns in the dictionary: Money, alcohol, sex, prestige, control over others, Buddha, Allah, nature, Lucifer or the Holy Trinity of the God of the Bible, etc. Gods are swapped in and out over time. Whatever one desires most during a given period is the god of that period. Sex in the morning, money in the afternoon, control over others at night . . . gods tend to become the sole purpose of one’s life for the time period they are most desired. During that period everything about the person tends to be oriented around obtaining or reveling in (Worshipping) whatever it is. Such desires effect physical, mental and spiritual changes in the person experiencing them. In a sense, we become what we most desire.

Business (Job) vs. Calling

If what you do for a living is also the highest purpose of your life, i.e., your business or job is also your calling,  then Pb will be a higher “Number” or of greater magnitude, to be more accurate.. The components of your business environment (EB) will still have a large impact on the equation but the first main numerator of the equation will tend to offset any negatives that may be components of EB.

Some Output Examples

O = (((S + W) / (V + G + H + T)) * Pr,b,g) / (El,j,c * EBl,j,c)

  • Strength(s) and Purpose(s) are the positive inputs used to optimize life. Their number, amount, deployment and alignment determine the positive “Numbers” of the equation, after which, everything gets divided.
  • By minimizing the impact of your weaknesses the impact of your strengths is greater.
  • Choose only the highest quality Values to uphold or maintain because any value presents a cost to your strengths to maintain. Replace merely good values with great values.
  • Choose only the highest quality goals to accomplish because any goal presents an achievement cost to your strengths. Replace merely good goals with great goals. Great goals still tax your strengths but are also components of Purpose and, therefore, counterbalance the equation.
  • Surround yourself with high quality people. All roles and relationships tax your strengths but the right people are components of Purpose and counterbalance the equation.
  • The less Things you own (Store, maintain, insure, move, sell, buy) the better. Anything that owns you must go. Such things make an optimal life impossible unless the purpose of your life is Thing(s).
  • If you have no Purpose(s) the chance of optimizing life falls to zero.
  • If you get stronger (Or deploy existing strengths more efficiently) you can support more Values, Goals, People and Things in your life. However, the least number of these you have, ideally keeping only those that will be factored with  purpose(s), the more optimal your life.
  • If the impact of your weaknesses are lessened you can support more Values, Goals, People and Things in your life because the tax (Direct subtraction) to your strengths is lessened.

This is a short list of example outputs from YOLE. It is, by no means, exhaustive.

On and On It Goes

There’s no end to the complexities of even one human life. The YOLE can be referred to in the middle of a storm (When nothing seems clear because everything is happening fast) or tranquil waters (When everything is fine and you want to focus on what small changes might have the best impact). Whatever the context it can show how some of major elements of life may be changed to enable one’s life to function more optimally. In “The Outliers Handbook” I refer to the equation in the context of the subjects and areas of life being addressed.

As promised by investor Lt. Col. Thomas Baker, the forensic reconstruction of Galt’s Gulch Chile has been completed and was hand-delivered to the FBI and the IRS on June 8th, 2015. Informed by the reconstruction, investor David McLeod filed criminal charges against Kenneth Johnson and Pamela Del Real in Chile (Docket number RUC 4710-2015) on May 20th. More US civil suits against Johnson are likely to follow.

On a phone call with Cathy Cuthbert, she described the forensic recontruction as a wellspring of previously unknown facts and details about what actually transpired around GGC. Timelines, Contracts, Accounting, Wire Transfers, Corporate reports, Recorded conversations between Johnson and investors, Videos, Credit reports, etc. showing Johnson to be at the heart of the problems surrounding GGC he has blamed on others. In other words, despite Johnson’s claims of working for the investors as a developer the reconstruction shows that the “service” Johnson has been providing them is similar to that which the bull provides the cow.

Readers of this GGC series will find it no surprise that Johnson used investor funds to spin a complex web of deceit involving multiple entities, off-shore trusts, multiple bank accounts, share swaps with Mario Del Real and others, inflated prices, ridiculous late fees, absurdly negotiated prices, etc. all while using corporate bank accounts like a personal checking account.

It’s tempting to leave Jeff Berwick out of discussions about GGC now that he’s so publicly apologized. Unfortunately, his involvement in cutting Cobin and German out, starting a different entity into which to take title (IGGSA) and trying to get the New Zealand trust and offshore structures in place is quite evident in the reconstruction documents. There’s little doubt Ken Johnson was the instigator of the most serious problems with GGC, and continues to make all things worse with his presence and current behavior. However, to say Berwick wasn’t right there at the beginning is to not tell the story, correctly, at all. As mentioned in Part 3 my hope is that Berwick will externalize his contrite heart into some modest assistance to ongoing recovery efforts or investors in extreme need. With the introduction of these new charges, with more to follow, the publicity surrounding the aftermath of GGC is not going away, anytime soon.

Note: The criminal charges filed by David McLeod, and some documents of the forensic reconstruction I was able to coax from the recovery team, have been added to the free E-book, “The Creature from Galt’s Gulch”. I will continue to add such elements to the book as I receive them and within the boundaries of preserving the privacy of the investors.

Justice Provided by the People Involved

As described by Cathy Cuthbert and Thomas Baker, the breadth and depth of the forensic reconstruction they’ve put together is quite impressive. It’s not only a meticulous investigation and gathering of documents but they’ve formatted the whole thing into a package that makes it accessible to outside parties.

I’m not sure what may have transpired between Tom and Ken but the USMC motto of “No better friend, no worse enemy” might echo in Johnson’s mind for some time to come. That is, if Johnson is able to comprehend what has just happened to him. The agencies he’s just been reported to will hound him for the next decade. Half of that decade will be spent defending himself against the criminal charges that were filed against him in Chile on May 20th, by David McLeod. And, there’s more to come. A rather obvious tip to Johnson would be: The next time Tom makes an offer of either “Friend” or “Enemy” . . . go with the former choice. Who knows? Maybe the recovery team would still let Johnson wiggle out of his fraud if he’d just hand over the land the investors paid for.

The FBI white collar crime fraud division will find that most of the investigative, forensic accounting, and reconstructive work has been done and hand-delivered to them by the recovery team. With so much work already complete perhaps the agency will bump the case to the top of their case-load so they may stand in front of their logo at a news conference and receive some good publicity.

The Del Real Factor

Johnson is solely responsible for inviting a local Chilean, Mario Del Real, into GGC affairs. And yet, investors have been made to suffer Johnson’s endless complaining about problems he’s had with Mario and his daughter, Pamela. That’s because Johnson performed a bizarre GGC stock swap with Mario hoping to make big money on the value of water in an Andes Water company called Rio Colorado. By the time the smoke had cleared Mario owned most of IGGSA and his daughter was the general manager of the company! In other words, Johnson was no longer the dominant share holder of GGC and had lost all control over the entity that holds the land. What great “Development” work, Ken!

(To understand more about this failed deal see Chapter 7, “The Rio Colorado/GGC Share Swap”, in the GGC E-book.)

If you’ve read my “Stolen Car Metaphor” at the end of Part 7 you know my take that Johnson’s epic fail with the Del Real share swap is merely the lamentations of a thief who bungled and lost the proceeds of a previous theft. The fact that Johnson’s audience for these lamentations are the victims of the first theft is exactly the kind of behavior I find consistent with Dr. Robert Hare’s psychopathy checklist.

Any deal Johnson made with stolen shares of stock can, and should be, overturned. Therefore, whether the Del Reals colluded with Johnson, or are merely his victims, is a matter for a judge to decide (Yes, there is no longer any way to resolve GGC disputes without involving state agencies, unfortunately). Pamela Del Real’s resume (She’s now the general manager for IGGSA) shows substantial accounting expertise. Such expertise will make it impossible for her to plead ignorance if there was any foul-play on the Del Reals part.

Johnson’s Latest Ploy, Revealed

Johnson has now revealed his latest ploy and what’s behind his re-occupation of the GGC hacienda and grounds. And, surprise, surprise, it’s a variation on his usual … lies mixed with just enough truth to confuse and divide his listeners against themselves while holding out a carrot and stick for those who either cooperate or resist.

More specifically, Johnson is trying to confuse and divide investors against lead investor Josh Kirley hoping they’ll put pressure on Josh to relent in his legal actions which have locked up Johnson’s sale and pillage of IGGSA assets. He also wants the investors to help him get rid of his “Del Real” problem. The carrot Johnson offers is the same old title to land he’s been promising investors, and not delivering, for the past two years. The stick is his continued presence and purported counter-attacks on investors who “continue to attack him”. For those not familiar with Johnson-speak, the word “attack” describes the actions of anyone who points out to Johnson another of his own broken promises.

If only the investors will help him convince Kirley to relent, and help him get rid of the Del Reals, then Johnson can deliver, at long last, the coveted Titles to actual land the investors have been pestering him about, all this time.

E-mail Between Host and Parasite

A recent e-mail exchange between Josh Kirley (The host) and Ken Johnson (The parasite) is an excellent illustration of what actually went wrong with GGC. It’s also an excellent example of what happens when “The creature” is confronted with truth.

My thanks to Josh Kirley for making this e-mail exchange available:

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at 12:27 PM, Josh Kirley <joshkirley@gmail.com> wrote:

“Ken,

For two years, you keep sending out the same emails. Always full of juicy drama, promising the release of more information in the future. This behavior is unprofessional. It inspires no confidence. Why can’t you just do your job?Try building something. Try living up to your responsibilities. Produce something. Be accountable. If you are GGC’s Minister of Propaganda, who is the Project Manager? Your accusations are baseless and defy all logic.

Tell me if you can refute the accuracy of the following facts. I swear to their order and authenticity.

1) You are wholly responsible for bringing the del Reals into this nightmare.

2) You pleaded with me to give 1 to 2.5 million dollars to Mario del Real for his Rio Colorado Project. You personally vouched for Mario, insisting the Rio Colorado deal was a “No Brainer” and a “Homerun”

3) I told you that I had my suspicions about del Real and would get back to you after performing some due diligence.

4) Once I told you that I was not willing to put money into a second Chilean investment, you totally reversed course.

5) You refused to provide me with del Real’s Ruta number, or even his full name, intentionally stonewalling my attempts to research his background.

6) You told an entire room full of defrauded investors at the second festival that your deal with del Real was a “totally separate” matter between you and him.

7) You told all of us that your alliance with del Real was “none of our business” and would have no impact on our contracts.

8) When I offered to pay, out of my own pocket, to have del Real looked into for you, you refused my help, saying that you feared if I looked into del Real, he might “get spooked” and walk away from your deal.

9) Weeks later, you came back to me, begging for a million dollars. You said that you were double crossed by del Real and you needed me to buy back the shares that you gave to him.

10) When I would not bail you out, you predictably changed your characterization of my relationship to the project from savior to saboteur.

I’m sorry if I cannot respond to each of your lying emails. But, I have to give priority to my day job. I suggest you do the same. Maybe start by paying employees, repaying loans, and living up to the contracts you signed.

Josh Kirley”

The Parasite Responds

“Josh,

As you know, you are lying about most all that you discuss. There are communications between you, Monica Wehrhahn, Ken Carpenter, Alison Sherman, the Del Reals and more. Do you think that those just disappear because you are now pitching your false storyline to yet another news outlet? This has always seemed to be a publicity stunt for you, just as GGC always have been for Jeff Berwick.”

Johnson then goes on a bizarre rant about Jeff Berwick and BitcoinATM, Wire Transfers, Cafayate, Argentina (If you can believe it) and ends with:

“We are working on completing what Mr. Aguirre was unable to complete, or was unwilling to complete. We are working to fix the $1m+ damages that those labeling themselves “rescuers” of GGC have inflicted upon the farm, buildings and property. We don’t spend our time pitching a false story line for our own publicity, as Mr. Berwick and yourself seem to focus on quite a lot.

Ken”

Notice that Johnson does not dispute, nor even address, any of Kirley’s questions or statements. This is the way e-mail “Exchanges” and “Dialogues” go with Johnson. For readers who may have wondered . . . “Why don’t they just ask Johnson if [Insert simple question here] the above exchange with Josh Kirley is your example. Josh speaks the pure truth and asks sincere questions and, in response, Johnson doesn’t respond, at all.

The last paragraph is classic Johnson-speak. For readers who don’t understand the dialect his e-mails usually end with a payoff like this if you know how to read Johnson-speak. That is, you take all accusations as a literal description of what Johnson, himself, has done or is doing. In his last paragraph, therefore, we learn that Johnson has caused more than a million dollars of damage and is pitching false story lines for his own publicity.

Johnson’s Assaults

I’ve spoken with two people who were physically assaulted by Ken Johnson. The first was a young man Johnson tried to push around (Mentally and physically) during Johnson’s employment with The Dollar Vigilante. This young man would not tolerate Johnson’s nonsense and was the first person to speak up to Berwick about his suspicions about Johnson poisonous behavior. If Berwick had listened it’s anyone’s guess how Galt’s Gulch Chile might have played out without the involvement of Ken Johnson.

The second assault was that of a 70-year-old Salesman that worked for GGC who didn’t fare so well in the “Encounter”. Sandy “Clarence” Sandfort was grabbed by the lapels and thrown over a couch by Johnson when he learned that Sandy was about the leave Chile after all of Johnson’s promises had remained unfulfilled. Sandy was severely bruised and Johnson had almost managed to break a few of Sandy’s ribs. He was so shaken up by Johnson’s assault that Berwick had to fly in the next day and negotiate an NDA and payoff to keep Sandy quiet about the assault. Johnson later broke the terms of that NDA by talking about the assault with a third-party. Hence, Sandy’s retelling of the assault to me.

and Taunting . . .

Tatiana Moroz, who worked for Ken Johnson and wrote the GGC theme song, shares her experiences with GGC and with sociopaths in the liberty movement. Most of what involves GGC is in the first 25 minutes of the video, but, the ladies (With Julia Tourianski, BraveTheWorld.com, and Gigi Bowman, gigibowman.com) go on to tell other fascinating stories around the theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqQW5a4dJMk

Contrast the story Tatiana tells in the above video with the excitement she started out with and you’ll get a feeling for the roller coaster ride that was GGC. Tatiana perfectly captures the cognitive dissonance felt by most who’ve followed the promise, and then the reality, of GGC in the hands of Ken Johnson.

Favorite excerpts:

“This nonsense [Sociopaths in the Liberty Movement] is disgusting and ridiculous … and what’s gonna happen, here, is that people are going to leave and they’re not going to want anything to do with it (True Liberty) and all we’re going to be left with is the dirtbags who think this kind of behavior is ok. … And I’m sick and tired of the people that are trying to call attention to the sociopathic behavior within our own movement getting trashed.”

Tatiana’s right, of course. Natural law doesn’t evaporate around people who wish to retain and use their liberties. If anything, we must be more mindful of universal human truths because we are the people exploring the boundaries of liberty. A tolerance for lies, manipulation, sexual assault, and broken contracts is not “What’s up!” in Liberty. Anyone claiming that such tolerance is “Cool” is not a libertarian. They’re just another asshole in disguise.

John Cobin Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing John Cobin about GGC for 1.5 hours, last week. The interview was mostly for my E-book about GGC. However, of interest, here, is the remarkable consistency of Dr. Cobin’s story with everything he’s said from the very beginning. Cobin is abundantly forthcoming about every meeting, document, e-mail and conversation he’s had with respect to GGC. My reaction to the interview was to tell him that it was a pleasure to speak with someone involved in GGC that looks better and better with each discovered and documented fact about the project.

Cobin said the impression he got from Jeff Berwick and Ken Johnson was that, they alone, might be able to supply the funding for GGC. He had no idea that they would, almost immediately, take his extensive research and information about Chile and GGC and cut him out of the deal. Although he concurs with the possible psychopathy of Johnson he puts Berwick in the same category in terms of the way they defrauded him. And yet, I had the impression that, even now, he would be forgiving of Berwick if approached in some meaningful way to make restitution.

Cobin said Johnson came after him, very agressively, in a libel suit in Chile. Guess what happened when the court date arrived? Johnson was a no-show! I won’t compare a libel suit with a podcast debate, but, I’m becoming quite familiar with Johnson’s cowardice in the face of someone determined to tell the truth. So far, Johnson’s been a no-show on two podcasts about GGC that he, himself, dared me to participate in.

For those interested in Chile I highly recommend the interview James and Johnathan conducted with Dr. Cobin on Monday over at Borderless. Cobin proves himself to be THE reliable source for all of Chile and much of the rest of the “Expat” world, as well. Cobin’s book, “Life in Chile” greatly increased the effectiveness of my 21-day country-vetting trip to Chile in 2012. I look forward to reading his latest book, “Living in Chile” when I can come up for air over the summer.

GGC Theatre

Johnson has been roaming around the property making absurd videos in an attempt to document the damage done by the recovery team. Perhaps the investors share my hope that Johnson continue making these videos as they are helpful in documenting what Johnson, himself, has done.

One of the things Johnson harps on in the videos are the “Damages” done by the recovery team causing a poor yield from the wells. In fact, such poor yields were caused by Johnson’s complete ignorance and inept handling of the well work around the property. Despite the pleadings of the local workers Johnson put Manuel Hermosillo in charge of the wells and the work was terribly bungled. And yet, somehow, the investors end up blamed, yet again, for Johnson’s incompetence. Such GGC Theatre might be a useful prop to help Johnson influence the Chilean locals who have no idea what’s going on with GGC. To those who’ve read the first thing about GGC, however, they are just that much more documentation of Johnson’s failings.

Message to local Chileans:

Johnson’s accusations of others are a reliable confession of his own failings. There is truth in many of the disasters he documents but your messenger is the culprit, not the victim. Johnson’s “Investment” into GGC remains at zero while 76-investors and buyers have given $10.45 million dollars for the purchase of everything you see associated with GGC. 72 of the investors have been begging Johnson to leave for over a year.

What happens next?

First, most of the predictions made in Part 6 seem to be coming true. That includes Johnson hinting that he wants to sell water rights, again. Happily, he’s unable to do so with the current injunctions in place.

Johnson has some time while the ocean water recedes in preparation for a tsunami of new legal problems.

Some think Johnson will stick it out to the end because his claim to be “Working for” the investors is his only defense against the legal actions that have been filed against him. But, Johnson also claims he controls or owns everything (Vacillating between claims of control or ownership) depending on his audience and the phases of GGC. How could someone who owns everything be an employee? How could a trustee (Controls everything) claim to be a trustee of beneficiaries who have been begging him to leave for the past year?

Perhaps Chile, and the local populace of Curacavi, will no longer tolerate Johnson as the criminal charges pile on. If he’s made to flee then we may see more pictures of his backpacks of stolen money while he’s on the run. I think he still has a Paraguayan passport from the passport scandal he was conducting at TDV. Still, all these charges filed with state agencies will haunt him wherever he goes. As of today, Johnson has put a digital data noose around his own neck that will follow him around the globe.

NOTE: Version 1 of this book is ready as of June 11th, 2015.

I’ve put all the articles of the McGillespie.com GGC series into book format and am supplementing it with the latest developments and documents from the recovery efforts. In addition to all the articles of the series the book contains:

  • An Index and description of all people involved, or referenced, in the GGC story.
  • QR Codes for videos, websites, media articles, etc.
  • Links to ALL publicly available articles and documents related to GGC.
  • A Chapter describing the types of fraud that were conducted around GGC.
  • A Chapter describing the five types of contracts that were used with investors and buyers of GGC “Products”.
  • A Chapter describing the Rio Colorado/GGC Share swap.
  • A comparison table of the eye-witnessed actions of Kenneth Johnson to Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R).
  • Copies of all legal actions or criminal charges filed with regard to Galt’s Gulch Chile.
  • The original “Founders Club” document Cobin wrote, and Johnson later modified, and sent out to all investors who expressed interest in GGC.
  • The original Business Plan that got things started.
  • Download links for all PDF files related to GGC that are too large to be included in the book.

The book will be updated with all the latest developments around GGC including legal actions, criminal complaints, media articles, youtube videos, articles by Terence, and any significant releases from the recovery team.

This is not a traditional book but a working document meant to help the people involved and inform (And entertain!) the public. It’s currently 200 pages, and growing. I may add an index but the e-book format already enables the reader to search for their term of interest, quite easily. It’s currently in PDF format but I could convert it to EPUB and .MOBI if there’s enough interest. Please send me an e-mail if you would appreciate that potential effort.

The purpose of the Book

  • To Document, on an ongoing basis, what is happening with Galt’s Gulch Chile to assist recovery efforts, underway.
  • To be a trusted and reliable source for journalists and media outlets who may wish to write about various aspects of GGC.
  • To tell the truth about GGC while the facts are clearly in the memory of the participants and the evidence is freshly available.
  • To document the crimes of Kenneth Dale Johnson and others so possible future victims may be warned.
  • To Document GGC for legacy reference and lessons that may be gleaned for both GGC restoration and other such ambitious liberty-minded projects.

How to Get Your Copy

Version 1 is ready as of June 11th, 2015. If there’s an update I’ll post the version and date, here, on the page you’re reading.

Go to McGillespie.Com, type your name and e-mail into the boxes under “McGillespie Resource Library”, then hit the submit button. An e-mail will be sent with the password to the McGillespie Resource Library which contains the book and many other resources you might find useful.

For future updates (Or any problems downloading the book) use the “Contact Us” tab or leave a comment, below, on this page with your name and e-mail.

The Jetsetter Show with Jason Hartman

Jason Hartman and Terence Gillespie discuss Galt’s Gulch Chile and many ways to optimize the path for expatriates in Chile and Colombia. Jason has a wonderful transcription posted just below the link for the podcast:

JS 101: What Happened with Galt’s Gulch, Chile?

Borderless Network Podcast

In this episode we have Terence Gillespie on the show to discuss what happened with Galt’s Gulch Chile and some of the lessons that can be learned from what happened there.

Show notes:

The background on Galt’s Gulch Chile (0:50)
Who is Terence Gillespie (4:13)
Why does he care (5:18)
Was Galt’s Gulch a libertarian project? (6:36)
At what point in time did this deal fall apart? (9:40)
How was this theft possible? (11:42)
How much of the blame should go on the investors? (13:15)
What caused the change is perception in August 2014? (17:15)
What was Jeff Berwick’s role in this fiasco (22:30)
What is going to have to happen in order for this to turn into a successful project? (27:35)
Will the $10.5 million be recovered? (32:09)
Affinity Scam
Was GGC a fraud from the beginning? (34:54)
Lessons learned from GGC (36:36)