Saturday, March 21, 2009
Hi. Welcome to Jud Presmont's blog, which he calls “The Museum of Utopian Art”. This “museum” is part of a virtual institution called “WAKE Free U” (more about that later in subsequent blogs).
I am called "Son Brad" because my first name is Brad and years ago I asked Jud if he would adopt me as his son. Jud has also given me the title "chief of stuff" because, well, I help him by doing a lot of stuff.
Now I can see the smile come over your face and hear you say something like “Jud and Brad, you should put the pipe down....”
It's true this blog will absolutely boggle and challenge your mind. Whether sober or straight this blog is a romp from the flower power of the 1960s to the creation of a “Flower Power Sales Force” currently and beyond as envisioned by the sci-fi fantasy movie “Back to the Future”.
First, let me offer you a little background info on Bro Jud. I've known Jud for about 15 years now. I was a member and minister of a metaphysical church in San Francisco. Jud attended the various services, classes, liturgies, and socials held by this church. He and I first met there met in the early 1990s.
Prior to attending this church Jud had been the founder of a “flower power tribe” that originated in the 1950s. Jud started a communal organization called the “Kerista tribe” or “Kerista villagers”. (Kerista is a mythical goddess who jumps out of a comic strip -- but that's another story I'll save for later in another blog piece.)
From the 1950s up to the present the Kerista tribe has morphed into and gone through many changes and iterations. At its pinnacle, throughout the 1980s to the early 1990s, the Kerista commune – “K-12”, as it was called -- consisted of over 20 participants who lived communally.
K-12 reached the zenith of its 21-year run by becoming the first Northern California distributer of Apple Macintosh computers. K-12 members also appeared on The Phil Donahue Show to share the philosophy and lifestyle of the Kerista tribe.
Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view – the Kerista commune disbanded in 1991. As is the case with many “divorces” there was emotional pain and suffering. Some describe the breakup in terms of betrayal and duplicity and even swindle. But the Kerista tribe moves on.
Today – K-13 – is comprised of members who are location independent and committed (or not) to other adult persons of straight, bi, lesbian, or gay (K-13 does not yet have a transgendered member) or celibate (can you imagine that?) relationships.
Jud currently has a brain trust of a dozen or so members. Each member offers his or her talent(s), intellectual gifts, and enthusiasm to further the ultimate cause of establishing safe, orderly neighborhoods all over the world. He refers to this goal as “Project S.O.N.” Neither he nor other members suggest a communistic, fascist, or other totalitarian form of governance and resource sharing. To the contrary Jud and other members envision a techno-utopia that nourishes the human spirit, mind, and body of everyone on the planet. “Voluntary communalism” is the best economic description of Project S.O.N.
What one wants or desires for oneself s/he also wants and desires for others. At this moment in history we have the opportunity to rid ourselves of all unnecessary suffering. The first goal is to eliminate abject poverty. There is absolutely no reason for people to go without clean drinking water. There is absolutely no reason (other than greed and the need to exert power over others) for people to lack the essential things in life such as food, shelter, clothing, education, and good health care.
Our planet also has needs. We stress the planet's immune system with our pollution and ecological destruction. We need to develop further ways and means to reduce the negative impact humankind has on our planet's eco systems. This blog addresses environmental issues as well as humanitarian.
Jud believes he has a plan to bring prosperity and everlasting peace on earth, indeed to create paradise on earth. He presents a comprehensive and detailed plan. Because of the sheer enormity of what he proposes his plan is sometimes difficult to grasp. Naturally, Jud calls this plan, “The Presmont Plan.” Throughout this blog his plan to bring utopia to humankind is laid out and explained.
I invite you now to relax and read the following pages with an open mind and to enjoy Jud's blog, the "Museum of Utopian Art”.
Best wishes and Cheers,
Chief of Stuff
Friday, March 20, 2009
Hello and welcome to my blog, which I call “The Museum of Utopian Art”. My name is John P. “Jud” Presmont. I like to be called “Bro Jud”. I consider myself a 21st century philosopher. I am the founder of W.A.K.E., Inc., which is an acronym for the World Academy of Keristan Education. The purpose of W.A.K.E., Inc. is to help establish a universal utopia in the quickest possible time – before the unthinkable occurs: the end of civilization.
W.A.K.E., Inc. is always looking for kindred spirits, people who share a set of values, concepts, principals, standards, and other common denominators. These folks are always ready to take the next step in their personal development. They are looking for a movement by which they can dance; a movement that enhances their self-esteem. The joy that arises from “shared success” comes to practitioners of team art and shared leadership.
Those who identify with the global crusade to achieve “heaven on earth” see others and themselves in the most positive way. What they want for themselves they also want for others. They feel an innate, moral responsibility to improve the human condition.
In the United States Declaration of Independence, which was largely written by Thomas Jefferson but ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, representatives from the original thirteen American colonies declared to King George III of England that individuals have the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. In the 21st century these rights should also include freedom from abject poverty, equal access to health care, gainful employment, and affordable housing.
I have a comprehensive plan to accomplish these goals. I call this plan “The Presmont Plan”. Throughout my blog I present the various aspects and details of The Presmont Plan. I invite you to select and read the parts of my plan that interest you. I am particularly interested in your comments. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me via the “Contact Me” section of my blog.
Thanks again for visiting!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Lil O'Lee
Once upon a long, long time ago on a planet in another universe (through the Black Hole) there were two villages, side by side.
In between them was a train track. The train came every morning to take people to work and returned every afternoon to bring them home again for dinner.
Just about everybody who rode the train to work lived on one side of the tracks. The people who lived on the other side of the tracks didn't ride it too much because most of them didn't have jobs.
The people who went to work got money from their jobs. When they got home, they could buy things with their money. They bought food. They bought cars. They bought toys. They bought houses to live in. They bought all kinds of things.
But the people who lived in the other little village didn't have much money at all. They could hardly buy any of the nice things the others could.
The people who had all of the nice things were happy and well fed. Sometimes they got sick but not very often and when they did there were doctors to help them get better.
The people in the other village who didn't have enough money for a good life didn't get to eat so well. They certainly didn't get to eat sweet treats and fancy stuff like the others did. When they got sick, it was hard for them to get well because they didn't have any extra money to pay a doctor to help them. These things made them very sad. Somehow it didn't seem fair but they didn't know what to do.
In the first village, one of the things the people liked to do most was drive around in their cars. Short trips. Long trips. Medium trips. One or two or three people would go on each trip. They would wave to their friends in the other vars as they drove around.
Then one day, someone said “Hey! Maybe we should buy some vans so that more of us could fit inside. Then we could all drive around together!”
“Yeah”, said his friend, “that would be lots more fun. It would be like a party!”
“Hooray!” shouted the children “Yippee!” said the grown-ups.
One boy asked if they could share the vans all the time instead of using cars because it would make things like shopping more fun.
“And easier, too,” said his friend. “If we share the vans, we can share the work. Less work – more time to play.”
“Right-o!!” said everybody, and that's exactly what they did.
Soon everybody was using vans. It was so much fun that they started sharing everything else too.
Watching TV was a lot more fun that way. Especially since somebody usually made popcorn.
Everybody was hanging out together more often and having a great time. They got to be better and better friends.
They spent so much of their time together that many of them started to live together. They figured out who their best friends were and built new houses big enough to fit whole groups of them.
Still, every day the train chugged its way along the tracks taking them all to work and bringing them back at the end of the day.
It wasn't long before everyone noticed that lots of their things were going to waste. Nobody was using them because everybody was sharing. Houses stood empty. TV's and stereos never got turned on. Washing machines and cars weren't needed.
People were making the same amount of money at their jobs but they didn't have to buy nearly as many things for themselves since they were sharing with their friends.
Even the money was just piling up unused. People thought this was a little silly but they didn't know exactly what to. They didn't feel good about themselves when they wasted things.
So one day, not long after they first began to share, someone else had a bright idea.
“Why don't we take the things that we have extra and give them to the people in that other village? They could sure use them. After all, we have more than enough and they have less than enough.”
Everyone agreed it was a great idea and wondered why they hadn't thought of it right away.
“Well, at least we thought of it,” said another.
They decided that a group of them would walk over to the other village and explain everything. The people in the two villages hardly ever talked to each other but everyone in the meeting was very nice. They all found out that they liked each other and started to relax more and more.
The people in the poor village were very happy. Some of them even started to cry because they were so happy. Some of the poor people said they wondered why the rich people hadn't thought of it sooner.
“After all, you had more than enough and we had less than enough.”
“Well, at least they thought of it!” said another.
“I think there is one more thing we haven't thought of yet,” said a woman with a good job in the city.
“What's that?” asked everyone else, puzzled.
“Well,” she said, “every day I ride the train to work and every day I ride it back. I work very hard even though there are other things I like to do besides my job. I used to work so hard because I needed a lot of money to buy the things I wanted and needed. But now the money just piles up. I don't need so much money because I'm sharing. If I don't need so much money, why should I work so hard? If I spent less time working, I'd have more time to play. I'd have a better life if I had more time for fun.”
“Me, too!” said someone else.
“And if you folks worked less,” said a woman who had been without a job for many years, “we could work more.”
“Then we'd have money to spend on the things we want,” said the others.
“Like toys!” said the children.
“Like food,” said the grown-ups.
“Like health care,” said the old folks.
“Like everything we need,” said someone else.
“We would all have enough. Not too much and not too little.”
“Just so long as we keep sharing and keep living together as very good friends,” said another.
“If everyone in our two villages lives pretty much the same way and if everybody has enough stuff, what is it – besides the train track, of course – that separates us?” asked a young girl.
“Good question,” said one man. “Does anyone have a good answer?”
No one did and so that very afternoon the people of the two villages decided to become the people of one village. They decided to name their village “Enough,” because of the wonderful idea that brought them together. Naturally, they decided to have a big party to celebrate.
One little boy offered to make a sign for the new village. When he put it up on the big oak tree, it read like this: ENUFF.
Everyone laughed and said they liked it better that way. And that is the story of how the village of Enuff, on the planet called Heaven, came to be.
Nowadays, nobody in the village of Enuff remembers the names of these first villagers. Nor does the train run right through the middle of the village anymore. No one in Enuff can even imagine what it must have been like to have had either too much or too little. But they all know the story of the village of Enuff and every year ('round about the time that you and I celebrate Thanksgiving) They have a big holiday party. Just to remember.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
W.A.K.E., Inc. is an acronym for World Academy of Keristan Education. We operate for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes as a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
As you read the following business plan please keep it mind that it is an “organic work in progress.” Also, be kind to yourself and try not to grasp entirely our business plan in one reading. I have not yet come up with a pill one can take to understand instantly the complexity of the plan.
Our main product is a global encyclopedia that is shipped in modules and assembled at the destination point. This encyclopedia is designed so that people can actually live within it. Each module is linked to a series of extensive databases in a global network called “A Wonderland of Knowledge, Electronic, Interactive, and Multimedia Encyclopedia.” This network delivers customized information based on the end-user's age, language, culture, educational achievement, and level of interest.
Our business plan is a work in progress and compromises a very important part of the marketing plan. W.A.K.E., Inc., which is an acronym for the World Academy of Keristan Education, intends to create a sales force that is second to none!
Reinforcing the sales force will be the Scientific Utopian News Syndicate (Suns). W.A.K.E. will utilize an innovative journalistic style called “Proactive Network Journalism”. This work will be performed via e-bay, Google, and other Internet sites.
The group of artists who have designed the new industries and new projects are projecting a $200 billion annual industry that could ultimately become a $1 trillion industry.
Life-support, self-improvement, betterment of society, and musical comedy.
We humans, for the first time in history, have access to previously unimaginable technology and the ability to overcome poverty around the world, once and for all.
Never before has the need for a positive, collective self-image been greater than it is now. More and more we see ourselves as global citizens who live with and depend on each other.
In the famous monologue before As You Like It Shakespeare began, “All the world's a stage...,” spoken by the melancholy Jacques. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play. The technique of theatricalizing one's life is an extension of that keynote phrase. In the Cosmic Opera Repertory Theater, we go one step further and see ourselves as pioneers on the frontier of building the “new world order” -- one that establishes safe, orderly neighborhoods all over the world.
In production “fleets” of 10,080 players, books and plays are written, treatments and scripts are plotted out and multimedia is used to weave together socially constructive material and entertaining themes. The “glory trail” is depicted as a spiritual and creative path on which all players are heroines and heroes for the betterment of society. This heroic self-image, combined with sophisticated camaraderie-building techniques, creates optimal self-esteem in each player, with effective social improvement programs as by-products.
Each “fleet” breaks down into 36 production companies; clusters of 280 friends who are harmonically interconnected, “acting out” interchangeable roles on the multitudinous “sets” of the Cosmic Opera. For example, the University of Utopia, one of the major sets in the Cosmic Opera, features 9,600 clubs, forums, and seminar circuits. Multimedia outreach to an audience of 25,600,000 beneficiaries, makes available an ever-expanding menu of entertainment, educational and augmentation options through the various activity centers.
“Sets” which cannot be constructed physically can be constructed in virtual reality, the sophisticated computer technology that allows “environments” of myriads of shapes and forms to be mathematically “built” into the computer's memory and visualized while the end-user manipulates and interacts with this virtual landscape. “Cyberspace” is the term for this electronic phenomenon, emerging from science fiction to
become a current reality.
Moral philosophy is the difference between what is and what ought to be. The bridge between what is and what ought to be is virtual reality and the many models that can be built into the computer using the imagination. A whole body of solutions in virtual reality can set out looking for problems they were designed to solve. The theme becomes “solutions finding problems.”
The players of each geographic area are networked and interconnected with the WorldBrain Module, which makes solutions-information available all over the planet. The WorldBrain Module is divided into 27 divisions, each of which have 27 departments, which each have 27 agencies. The divisions represent distinct areas, or theaters of operations, around specific societal and individual functions and activities. The most efficient and cost-effective methodologies become readily accessible, with no expense to the end-user, like the public library.
Inside of this environment is the constant enhancement process combining self-awareness, introspection, and
gestalt-group interaction. Each of the participants is action out the role of being a player in a troupe of repertory performers who wish to improve themselves and improve their world.
Launching a Business Driven Peace Corps
The conception of a “global village” emerged as the result of a wide variety of ideas and influences. The intensive studies of mathematics, science, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, theology, religion, economics, marketing, and advertising have all played major roles in this new rendition of the concept of “spaceship earth.”
It is quite apparent that the world is daily becoming a smaller and smaller place, in terms of communications, travel, and ideology. One is constantly barraged by the media with positive themes and negative themes, from the great to the terrible, and everything in between. Given the tremendous wealth that has been built up from the natural resources of the planet, an ironic and frustrating distribution process still has great masses of people “pinned down” in sub-human conditions. Equally, moral fragmentation has many facets of life boiled down to a “vending-machine” existence. Integrity, quality, consideration, fair play and The Golden Rule are becoming more the exception than the norm.
We can remember Big Brother from the novel, 1984, as the all-seeing, all-powerful, ultimate fascist machine. Now, imagine that same technological ingenuity being applied to the betterment of the human condition, and its freedom and liberty, rather than its control and subservience. We can visualize life-support systems, educational facilities to teach, tools of the trade to employ, medical, dental, nutritional, and general health facilities readily accessible, political, religious, geographic and economic freedom; these are basics for each person as a sovereign entity. A global society that supports, augments, and uplifts each and every global citizen.
This opportunity has never existed before. Mainly because the intensity and scope of our projected goals are so profound and wide-ranged that we had to wait for technology to catch up! Our ideas would be impossible to comprehend or implement without state-of-the-art electronics and the most sophisticated programming
that exists today. We needed the advent of developments like satellite communications and global networks. The '80s was considered the “era of the personal computer”; the '90s is widely seen by experts as the “era of connectivity & networking.”
In conjunction with the practical and pragmatic approach to global solutions, is the philosophical or “religious” side of the concept. For which kinds of people could unite together in such a vast, far-reaching undertaking but those who were glued, or bonded, in a mutual ideology of righteousness, fairness, opportunity, equality, and liberty?! The philosophical base of Kerista is best rendered in nine words:
“Universal Wellbeing Including the Elimination of All Unnecessary Suffering”
As simple as this concise phrase may appear, when broken down into every joy to be included and every sorrow to be eradicated, a multi-myriad of complexity arises and the mechanics are astronomical. Our drive is to joyously conceptualize, plan, and carry out the necessary functions of alternative creativity while always remembering that the means and the end are one and “holy is as holy does.”
Our goal, is to ultimately touch every person on the planet ensuring that all receive the opportunities for joy and happiness they deserve as human beings, and to laissez faire those who wish to be left alone. By constantly seeking out new systems and information; by storing, analyzing, re-organizing and structuring an implementation process, using the latest techniques of environmental scanning, electronic numerical projections, computer generated virtual reality, self-esteem enhancement and character development, we plan to fulfill that destiny in every righteous way possible.
In the past we in the West have lived largely by two business models. In Business Model I, it is thought that the sole function of business is to serve customers and employees. The U.S. Economist Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 to November 16, 2006) held this view. In Business Model II, there is some realization that business has a responsibility to help society. However, there are only “token” gestures made to “give something back” to society. Many prominent business people (e.g., Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, J. Paul Getty and many others) and their large corporations have created “foundations” to serve underprivileged individuals, communities, societies, and even nations. However, in terms of overall income and profit the aid from such foundations is minuscule.
We have entered Business Model III, wherein social capital formation and collaboration on a grand scale in the market place are developed and brought to fruition. We are now talking about the survival of the planet and of the human race. We need no-nonsense, practical idealism and solutions to problems that work.
In my experience there are three things that must be sold. They are 1) poetry, 2) encyclopedias, and 3) peace. They generally do not sell in and of themselves. Two of the biggest obstacles to selling peace are abject poverty and ignorance. Through our technological know-how we have the ability and opportunity to phase out all that is “ungood” in the world by gradually marginalizing it to the edges. We can do this by a massive transfer of wealth from those who have more than enough to those with less than enough. At the same time foundations and infrastructures must be built concurrently in order to bring parity among peoples and societies.
The Economist writes that “tribes of genius” scout ahead for new opportunities. Great minds think a like. Each have a name, have written and done things that inspire others just by their names. These “Techno-Utopian scouts” are searching for talented people to transfer the power of computer based training (CBT) that is linked to research and development that also provides on-the-job-training that is similar to the “Compensated Work Therapy” program of the Department of Veterans Affairs. [Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program that endeavors to match and support work ready veterans in competitive jobs, and to consult with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs. In some locations CWT is also known as Veterans Industries; these designations are synonymous. Website: www.cwt.va.gov]
In Business Model III information is free, universal, and ubiquitous. “Knowledge Navigators” assist the learning process through co-mentoring. Dogmatists seek to indoctrinate belief in things that are not proven to be true. Knowledge navigators endeavor to provide only the facts.
The Big Idea
Our sales force will scout out talent and willingness to “ABC” (for “Always Be Cool”) and “ABCD” (for “Action Beyond the Call of Duty”). We are calling our sales force the Flower Power Sales Force. The Flower Power Sales Force is energized by harnessing “Love Energy”. A description of Love Energy will be presented in a future article in this blog. For now, let me define love energy as “the force that arises from a compelling desire to want for others what one wants for his- or herself.” The notion of “flower power” or the “energy of love” arose during the 1960s in response to bigotry, intolerance, and war. A generation imagined a world of humanity living in peace.
Despite the “hippie-dippy” sounding name and goal, the Flower Power Sales Force (FPSF) is committed to preventing the unthinkable -- the destruction of Western civilization – and to bringing everlasting peace to the world. The FPSF is committed to phasing out all that is “ungood” in the world. This includes gradually marginalizing “shadow governments”
of terrorists and thugs who feed on prohibitions and prey on humanity through crime.
[Left] What I call the “Love Energy Lotus Flower mandala” on the exterior of the Maitri-Compassionate Care building at Church and Duboce streets in San Francisco.
Photo by Son Brad
The museum will introduce “Art to the Rescue”, a program designed to bring out ones inner beauty, creativity, talent – ones very best! As an example, when we listen to music we find soothing to the soul and evocative of the “Spirit” living within us, we often find ourselves feeling refreshed, inspired, renewed, invigorated, healed, etc. These are some of the benefits we receive from really listening and allowing ourselves to be carried away by the music. This is Art to the Rescue!
The museum will also send out the “Traveling Caravan(s) of Gestalt-O-Rama”. These caravans will present the latest in technology, social networking, and social capital formation. They will also feature 9,604 Special Interests Groups. (More about this later.)
I imagine a spread sheet divided into 39 columns by 52 rows, producing 2,028 cells or workstations where individuals research the very best minds in any given field. This provides a well spring of creativity and innovation.
Business has a responsibility to provide on-going education to promote personal growth and self-esteem enhancement to leaders and their supporters. This is the primary focus of the Business III model. Businesses that qualify for a Business III designation haven't yet arrived. We are close but we are not there yet.
Business III criteria include: 1) a tremendous transfer of wealth from "those with more than enough" to those with "less than enough"; 2) an entirely new approach to work; 3) continuing education; 4) equal health care coverage for all persons, and 5) a central focus to create paradise on earth.
PROJECTED REVENUE INLETS OF ALL FIVE SEED-FUNDING DRIVES
Each mission has its own sales force! (The benefits, advantages, and features to each medallion holder are spelled out and ever-expanding.)
This coalition of artists then move Project W.A.K.E. Forward to its destination: universal prosperity.
Preconditions for Take-Off
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
We face a crucial time in history. There are two paths before us: the way to utopia and the way to oblivion. There is no “middle road”. The consequences of our action and inaction lives have global implications. We all live on the same planet. Our lives are intertwined and interconnected.
We see now the consequences of betting on overly inflated housing markets to keep growing. The poor decisions made both by financial institutions and borrowers is having a devastating affect on world economies. Credit is drying up. Financial institutions do not trust the solvency of other financial institutions and will not lend to each other. Banks do not have the capital to lend to borrowers. They also wonder if loans will be repaid. Without access to credit, businesses cannot invest in research, development, production, etc necessary in order to grow. When folks are laid off from work or fear loosing their jobs they curtail spending. Businesses stop growing and shrink in size when demand for their goods and/or services ceases. We call this an economic recession, which we know describes the current state of affairs worldwide.
Similarly, in terms of waste and pollution, environmental policies, standards, and practices in San Francisco affect the quality of life in Beijing -- and vice versa. Unfortunately, the poorest people – those who live in the world's low lands and who farm for a living will be the most adversely affected.
Abject poverty worldwide is the leading cause of disease and death. It is also the biggest obstacle to everlasting peace and security. Desperate people will resort to desperate measures in order to survive. For this reason abject poverty threatens the earth's resources and health. As examples is this hemisphere rain forests have been clearcut and plowed under for wood and land. In this category are Haiti and Brazil. Closer to home Hurricane Katrina would have done less damage to the Gulf States if monies were set aside to repair, rebuild, or build systems and levies.
Today we have the resources to phase out abject poverty. As I see it, there are three basic and essential building blocks to create everlasting happiness and peace on the earth. I call these building blocks “Mega Intelligence Fields”. They are:
- Positive Collaboration on a Grand Scale – Research Revolution; a collaboration market of those motivated to end thug capitalism ("shadow" governments and gangsters who earn their money from victimless social prohibitions and taboos). The Harvard Business Review devotes numerous articles regarding collaboration as an effective management style (in http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org do a word search on “collaboration” and see what you get).
- Computer Based Learning (CBL) and Computer Based Training (CBT) – The best companies have the best educational programs. An excellent example of a blue chip company employing a brilliant and innovative scientist is the mathematician and father of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot, who works at IBM.
- Offer network services to “medallion holders” (to be explained in the Business Plan article of this blog) of research pertaining to their business, group, interest, hobby research project, etc. Every W.A.K.E., Inc. name, plan, or project offers network services to medallion holders.
The “financial glue” of these three building blocks come from the revenue received from sales to medallion holders and in “billboard” advertising to sponsoring agents of special interest groups (or SIGs).
Those with “more than enough” have the opportunity TODAY to share with those with "less than enough" to lift humankind out of abject poverty. (For the background of this concept see the article story of “Enuff” on this blog.)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Southwestern wall of nave of Grace Cathedral
San Francisco, CA
Photo by Son Brad
Throughout history there have been and are and will be extraordinary men and women who uniquely demonstrate genius, talent, innovative thinking, ingenuity, creativity, etc. to the extent that they embody the very best of a given people, nation, culture, religion, profession, field, etc.
The gifted men and women serve as “icons” or “images” of beauty, intelligence, virtue, etc. They are our heroes, role models, ideal examples, or archetypes by which everyone and/or everything is evaluated and judged. In terms of Platonic philosophy and Jungian psychology these heroes are “archetypes”. Archetypes are images of thought or symbols that are derived from humankind's past collective experience and present in an individual unconscious. Our heroes take on mythic or legendary proportions when they are seen through such an “archetypal” lens.
What follows are some of my personal heroes, as well as some of Son Brad's. They are listed in the order they appeared in history.
(Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides February 10, 2009 and condensed.)
Maimonides is one of my heroes.
He was one of the greatest Torah scholars of all time. He was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. He was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher whose ideas also influenced the non-Jewish world.
One of the central tenets of Maimonides's philosophy is that it is impossible for the truths arrived at by human intellect to contradict those revealed by God. Maimonides held to a strictly apophatic theology in which only negative statements toward a description of God may be considered correct. Thus, one does not say “God is One”, but rather, “God is not multiple”.  Although many of his ideas met with the opposition of his contemporaries, Maimonides was embraced by later Jewish and many non-Jewish thinkers. St. Thomas Aquinas held him in high esteem, and the fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah today retains canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.
Although his copious works on Jewish law and ethics were initially met with opposition during his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history. Today, his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study.
As I said, Maimonides was born in ca 1135 in Cordoba, Spain. He was born during what some scholars consider to be the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early age, he developed an interest in the exact sciences and philosophy. In addition to reading the works of Muslim scholars, he also read those of the Greek philosophers made accessible through Arabic translations. Maimonides was not known as a supporter of mysticism. He voiced opposition to poetry, the best of which he declared as false, since it was founded on pure invention -- and this too in a land which had produced such noble expressions of the Hebrew and Arabic muse. This Sage, who was revered for his saintly personality as well as for his writings, led an unquiet life, and penned his classic works with the staff of the wanderer in his hand. Maimonides studied Torah under his father Maimon, who had in turn studied under Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash.
The Almohades from Africa conquered Cordoba in 1148, and threatened the Jewish community with the choice of conversion to Islam, death, or exile. Maimonides's family, along with most other Jews, chose exile. For the next ten years they moved about in southern Spain, avoiding the conquering Almohades, but eventually settled in Fez in Morocco, where Maimonides acquired most of his secular knowledge, studying at the University of Al Karaouine. During this time, he composed his acclaimed commentary on the Mishnah in the years 1166-1168.
Following this sojourn in Morocco, he lived briefly in the Holy Land, before settling in Fostat, Egypt, where he was physician of the Grand Vizier Alfadhil and Sultan Saladin of Egypt, and also treated Richard the Lionheart while on the Crusades. He was considered to be the greatest physician of his time, being influenced by renowned Islamic thinkers such as Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali. He composed most of his œuvre in this last locale, including the Mishneh Torah. He died in Fostat, and was buried in Tiberias (today in Israel). His son Avraham, recognized as a great scholar, succeeded Maimonides as Nagid (head of the Egyptian Jewish community); he also took up his father's role as court physician, at the age of eighteen. He greatly honored the memory of his father, and throughout his career defended his father's writings against all critics. The office of Nagid was held by the Maimonides family for four successive generations until the end of the 14th century.
Maimonides was a devoted physician. In a famous letter, he describes his daily routine: After visiting the Sultan’s palace, he would arrive home exhausted and hungry, where “I would find the antechambers filled with gentiles and Jews ... I would go to heal them, and write prescriptions for their illnesses ... until the evening ... and I would be extremely weak.” 
He is widely respected in Spain and a statue of him was erected in Cordoba by the only synagogue in that city which escaped destruction, and which is no longer functioning as a Jewish house of worship but is open to the public.
Maimonides was one of the most influential figures in medieval Jewish philosophy. A popular medieval saying that also served as his epitaph states, From Moshe (of the Torah) to Moshe (Maimonides) there was none like Moshe.
Radical Jewish scholars in the centuries that followed can be characterized as “Maimonideans” or “anti-Maimonideans.” Moderate scholars were eclectics who largely accepted Maimonides's Aristotelian world-view, but rejected those elements of it which they considered to contradict the religious tradition. Such eclecticism reached its height in the 14th-15th centuries.
The most rigorous medieval critique of Maimonides is Hasdai Crescas' Or Hashem. Crescas bucked the eclectic trend, by demolishing the certainty of the Aristotelian world-view, not only in religious matters, but even in the most basic areas of medieval science (such as physics and geometry). Crescas's critique provoked a number of 15th century scholars to write defenses of Maimonides. A translation of Crescas was produced by Harry Austryn Wolfson of Harvard University, in 1929.
The 13 principles of faith
In his commentary on the Mishna (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10), Maimonides formulates his 13 principles of faith. They summarized what he viewed as the required beliefs of Judaism with regards to:
The existence of God
God's spirituality and incorporeality
God alone should be the object of worship
Revelation through God's prophets
The preeminence of Moses among the prophets
God's law given on Mount Sinai
The immutability of the Torah as God's Law
God's foreknowledge of human actions
Reward of good and retribution of evil
The coming of the Jewish Messiah
The resurrection of the dead
These principles were controversial when first proposed, evoking criticism by Rabbi Hasdai Crescas and Rabbi Joseph Albo, and were effectively ignored by much of the Jewish community for the next few centuries. (“Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought,” Menachem Kellner). However, these principles became widely held; today, Orthodox Judaism holds these beliefs to be obligatory. Two poetic restatements of these principles (Ani Ma'amin and Yigdal) eventually became canonized in the siddur (Jewish prayer book).
Through the Guide for the Perplexed and the philosophical introductions to sections of his commentaries on the Mishna, Maimonides exerted an important influence on the Scholastic philosophers, especially on Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. He was himself a Jewish Scholastic. Educated more by reading the works of Arab Muslim philosophers than by personal contact with Arabian teachers, he acquired an intimate acquaintance not only with Arab Muslim philosophy, but with the doctrines of Aristotle. Maimonides strove to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy and science with the teachings of the Torah.
The principle which inspired his philosophical activity was identical with the fundamental tenet of Scholasticism: there can be no contradiction between the truths which God has revealed, and the findings of the human mind in science and philosophy. Maimonides primarily relied upon the science of Aristotle and the teachings of the Talmud, commonly finding basis in the former for the latter. In some important points, however, he departed from the teaching of Aristotle; for instance, he rejected the Aristotelian doctrine that God's provident care extends only to humanity, and not to the individual.
Maimonides was led by his admiration for the neo-Platonic commentators to maintain many doctrines which the Scholastics could not accept. For instance, Maimonides was an adherent of “negative theology” (also known as “Apophatic theology”.) In this theology, one attempts to describe God through negative attributes. For instance, one should not say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; all we can safely say is that God is not non-existent. We should not say that “God is wise”; but we can say that “God is not ignorant,” i.e. in some way, God has some properties of knowledge. We should not say that “God is One,” but we can state that “there is no multiplicity in God's being.” In brief, the attempt is to gain and express knowledge of God by describing what God is not; rather than by describing what God “is.”
The Scholastics agreed with him that no predicate is adequate to express the nature of God; but they did not go so far as to say that no term can be applied to God in the affirmative sense. They admitted that while “eternal,” “omnipotent,” etc., as we apply them to God, are inadequate, at the same time we may say “God is eternal” etc., and need not stop, as Moses did, with the negative “God is not not-eternal,” etc. In essence what Maimonides wanted to express is that when people give God anthropomorphic qualities they do not explain anything more of what God is, because we cannot know anything of the essence of God.
Maimonides' use of apophatic theology is not unique to this time period or to Judaism. For example, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor, Eastern Christian theologians, developed apophatic theology for Christianity nearly 900 years earlier.
He agrees with “the philosophers” in teaching that, man's intelligence being one in the series of intelligences emanating from God, the prophet must, by study and meditation, lift himself up to the degree of perfection required in the prophetic state. But here, he invokes the authority of “the Law,” which teaches that, after that perfection is reached, there is required the “free acts of God,” before the man actually becomes a prophet.
The problem of evil
Maimonides wrote on theodicy (the philosophical attempt to reconcile the existence of a God with the existence of evil in the world). He took the premise that an omnipotent and good God exists. He adopts the Aristotelian view that defines evil as the lack of, or the reduced presence of a God, as exhibited by those who exercise the free choice of rejecting belief.
True beliefs versus necessary beliefs
In “Guide for the Perplexed” Book III, Chapter 28 , Maimonides explicitly draws a distinction between “true beliefs,” which were beliefs about God which produced intellectual perfection, and “necessary beliefs,” which were conducive to improving social order. Maimonides places anthropomorphic personification statements about God in the latter class. He uses as an example the notion that God becomes “angry” with people who do wrong. In the view of Maimonides (taken from Avicenna) God does not actually become angry with people, as God has no human passions; but it is important for them to believe God does, so that they desist from sinning.
Resurrection, acquired immortality, and the afterlife
Maimonides distinguishes two kinds of intelligence in man, the one material in the sense of being dependent on, and influenced by, the body, and the other immaterial, that is, independent of the bodily organism. The latter is a direct emanation from the universal active intellect; this is his interpretation of the noûs poietikós of Aristotelian philosophy. It is acquired as the result of the efforts of the soul to attain a correct knowledge of the absolute, pure intelligence of God.
The knowledge of God is a form of knowledge which develops in us the immaterial intelligence, and thus confers on man an immaterial, spiritual nature. This confers on the soul that perfection in which human happiness consists, and endows the soul with immortality. One who has attained a correct knowledge of God has reached a condition of existence which renders him immune from all the accidents of fortune, from all the allurements of sin, and even from death itself. Man, therefore is in a position not only to work out his own salvation and immortality.
The resemblance between this doctrine and Spinoza's doctrine of immortality is so striking as to warrant the hypothesis that there is a causal dependence of the latter on the earlier doctrine. The differences between the two Jewish thinkers are, however, as remarkable as the resemblance. While Spinoza teaches that the way to attain the knowledge which confers immortality is the progress from sense-knowledge through scientific knowledge to philosophical intuition of all things sub specie æternitatis, Maimonides holds that the road to perfection and immortality is the path of duty as described in the Torah and the rabbinic understanding of the oral law.
Religious Jews not only believed in immortality in some spiritual sense, but most believed that there would at some point in the future be a messianic era, and a resurrection of the dead. This is the subject of Jewish eschatology. Maimonides wrote much on this topic, but in most cases he wrote about the immortality of the soul for people of perfected intellect; his writings were usually not about the resurrection of dead bodies. This prompted hostile criticism from the rabbis of his day, and sparked a controversy over his true views.
Rabbinic works usually refer to this afterlife as “Olam Haba” (the World to Come). Some rabbinic works use this phrase to refer to a messianic era, an era of history right here on Earth; in other rabbinic works this phrase refers to a purely spiritual realm. It was during Maimonides's lifetime that this lack of agreement flared into a full blown controversy, with Maimonides charged as a heretic by some Jewish leaders.
Some Jews at this time taught that Judaism did not require a belief in the physical resurrection of the dead, as the afterlife would be a purely spiritual realm. They used Maimonides' works on this subject to back up their position. In return, their opponents claimed that this was outright heresy; for them the afterlife was right here on Earth, where God would raise dead bodies from the grave so that the resurrected could live eternally. Maimonides was brought into this dispute by both sides, as the first group stated that his writings agreed with them, and the second group portrayed him as a heretic for writing that the afterlife is for the immaterial spirit alone. Eventually, Maimonides felt pressured to write a treatise on the subject, the “Ma'amar Tehiyyat Hametim” (“The Treatise on Resurrection”).
Chapter two of the treatise on resurrection refers to those who believe that the world to come involves physically resurrected bodies. Maimonides refers to one with such beliefs as being an “utter fool” whose belief is “folly”.
- If one of the multitude refuses to believe [that angels are incorporeal] and prefers to believe that angels have bodies and even that they eat, since it is written (Genesis 18:8) 'they ate', or that those who exist in the World to Come will also have bodies -- we won't hold it against him or consider him a heretic, and we will not distance ourselves from him. May there not be many who profess this folly, and let us hope that he will go no farther than this in his folly and believe that the Creator is corporeal.
However, Maimonides also writes that those who claimed that he altogether believed the verses of the Hebrew Bible referring to the resurrection were only allegorical were spreading falsehoods and “revolting” statements. Maimonides asserts that belief in resurrection is a fundamental truth of Judaism about which there is no disagreement, and that it is not permissible for a Jew to support anyone who believes differently. He cites Daniel 12:2 and 12:13 as definitive proofs of physical resurrection of the dead when they state “many of them that sleep in the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence” and “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”
While these two positions may be seen as in contradiction (non-corporeal eternal life, versus a bodily resurrection), Maimonides resolves them with a then unique solution: Maimonides believed that the resurrection was not permanent or general. In his view, God never violates the laws of nature. Rather, divine interaction is by way of angels, which Maimonides holds to be metaphors for the laws of nature, the principles by which the physical universe operates, or Platonic eternal forms. Thus, if a unique event actually occurs, even if it is perceived as a miracle, it is not a violation of the world's order. 
In this view, any dead who are resurrected must eventually die again. In his discussion of the 13 principles of faith, the first five deal with knowledge of God, the next four deal with prophecy and the Torah, while the last four deal with reward, punishment and the ultimate redemption. In this discussion Maimonides says nothing of a universal resurrection. All he says it is that whatever resurrection does take place, it will occur at an indeterminate time before the world to come, which he repeatedly states will be purely spiritual.
He writes “It appears to us on the basis of these verses (Daniel 12:2,13) that those people who will return to those bodies will eat, drink, copulate, beget, and die after a very long life, like the lives of those who will live in the Days of the Messiah.” Maimonides thus disassociated the resurrection of the dead from both the World to Come and the Messianic era.
In his time, many Jews believed that the physical resurrection was identical to the world to come; thus denial of a permanent and universal resurrection was considered tantamount to denying the words of the Talmudic sages. However, instead of denying the resurrection, or maintaining the current dogma, Maimonides posited a third way: That resurrection had nothing to do with the messianic era (here in this world) nor to do with Olam Haba (the purely spiritual afterlife). Rather, he considered resurrection to be a miracle that the book of Daniel predicted; thus at some point in time we could expect some instances of resurrection to occur temporarily, which would have no place in the final eternal life of the righteous.
Maimonides, the physician
Maimonides was trained as a physician in Cordoba and in Fez. He later practiced his profession in Egypt, probably in 1166 or 1167, after the death of his brother who had supported him, and did so for the remainder of his life. He gained wide-spread recognition and became a court physician to the Grand Vezier Alfadil, then to Sultan Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the royal family . In his writings he described many conditions including asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, and pneumonia, and emphasized moderation and a healthy life style.  His treatises became influential for generations of physicians. He was knowledgeable about Greek and Persian medicine, and followed the principles of humorism in the tradition of Galen, however, did not blindly accept authority but used his own observation and experience.  Frank, however, indicates that in his medical writings he sought not to explore new ideas but to interpret works of authorities so that they could become acceptable.  Maimonides displays in his interactions with patients attributes that today would be called inter cultural awareness and respect for the patient's autonomy. 
The Oath of Maimonides
The Oath of Maimonides is a document about the medical calling and recited as a substitute for the Oath of Hippocrates. The Oath is not to be confused with a more lengthy Prayer of Maimonides. These documents may not have been written by Maimonides, but later.  The Prayer appeared first in print in 1793 and has been attributed to Marcus Herz, a German physician, pupil of Immanual Kant. 
Maimonides and the Modernists
Maimonides remains the most widely debated Jewish thinker among modern scholars. He has been adopted as a symbol and an intellectual hero by almost all major movements in modern Judaism, and has proven immensely important to philosophers such as Leo Strauss; and his views on the importance of humility have been taken up by modern humanist philosophers, like Peter Singer and Iain King. In academia, particularly within the area of Jewish Studies, the teaching of Maimonides has been dominated by traditional, generally Orthodox scholars, who place a very strong emphasis on Maimonides as a rationalist. The result of this is many sides of Maimonides's thought, for example his opposition to anthropocentrism, have been obviated. There is some movement in postmodern circles, e.g. within the discourse of ecotheology, to claim Maimonides for other purposes. Maimonides's importance to diverse systems of thought lies in the philosopher's embrace of paradoxical and often contradictory ideas. Maimonides's reconciliation of the philosophical and the traditional has given his legacy an extremely diverse and dynamic quality.
Works and bibliography
Judaic and philosophical works
Maimonides composed works of Jewish scholarship, rabbinic law, philosophy, and medical texts. Most of Maimonides' works were written in Judeo-Arabic. However, the Mishneh Torah was written in Hebrew. His Judaism texts were:
Commentary on the Mishna (Hebrew Pirush Hamishnayot), written in Judeo-Arabic. This text was one of the first commentaries of its kind; its introductory sections are widely quoted.
Sefer Hamitzvot (trans. The Book of Commandments).
Sefer Ha'shamad (letter of Martydom)
Mishneh Torah, also known as Sefer Yad ha-Chazaka, a comprehensive code of Jewish law
Guide for the Perplexed, a philosophical work harmonizing and differentiating Aristotle's philosophy and Jewish theology. Written in Judeo-Arabic. The first translation of this work into Hebrew was done by Samuel ibn Tibbon
Teshuvot, collected correspondence and responsa, including a number of public letters (on resurrection and the after-life, on conversion to other faiths, and Iggereth Teiman -- addressed to the oppressed Jewry of Yemen).
Treatise on Logic (Arabic: Makala Fi-Sinat Al-Mantik) has been printed 17 times, including editions in Latin (1527), German (1805, 1822, 1833, 1828), French (1935), and English (1938), and in an abridged Hebrew form.
Extracts from Galen, or The Art of Cure, is essentially an extract of Galen's extensive writings.
Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates is interspersed with his own views.
Medical Aphorisms of Moses titled Fusul Musa in Arabic (“Chapters of Moses,” Pirkei Moshe in Hebrew) contains 1500 aphorisms and many medical conditions are described.
Treatise on Hemorrhoids discusses also digestion and food.
Treatise on Cohabitation contains recipes as aphrodisiacs and anti-aphrodisiacs.
Treatise on Asthma discusses climates and diets and their effect on asthma and emphasizes the need for clean air.
Treatise on Poisons and Their Antidotes is an early toxicology textbook that remained popular for centuries.
Regimen of Health is a discourse on healthy living and the mind-body connection.
Discourse on the Explanation of Fits advocates healthy living and the avoidance of overabundance.
Glossary of Drug Names represents a pharmacopeia with 405 paragraphs with the names of drugs in Arabic, Greek, Syrian, Persian, Berber, and Spanish.
Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain
Goldin, Hyman E. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch - Code of Jewish Law, Forward to the New Edition. (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1961)
“Maimonides Islamic Influences”. Plato. Stanford. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/maimonides-islamic/.
Maimonides (1135-1204) - ReligionFacts
Moreh Nevukhim 1:58
Seder HaDoros (year 4927) quotes Maimonides as saying that he began writing his commentary on the Mishna when he was 23years old, and published it when he was 30. Because of the dispute about the date of Maimonides's birth it is not clear which year it was actually published
Last section of Maimonides's Introduction to Mishneh Torah
Moses Maimonides, The Commandments, Neg. Comm. 290, at 269–71 (Charles B. Chavel trans., 1967).
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp164.htm Guide for the Perplexed, on sacred-texts.com
Gesundheit B, Or R, Gamliel C, Rosner F, Steinberg A. “Treatment of depression by Maimonides (1138-1204):Rabbi, Physician, and Philosopher". Am J Psychiatry (2008) 165:425-428. http://www.jewishmedicalethics.org/data/treatment%20of%20depression%20by%20maimonides%20rabbi%20physician%20and%20philosopher.pdf.