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Sunday, September 18, 2016



It is time to don your safari suits and pith helmets. I am going to provide you with a full documentary film of the life of someone, I'll guarantee you've never heard of before. This is the first time I'll be using a riveting biography, which demonstrates all the elements of 'Life Cycles Theory'. It describes a full account of Belzoni's age 36  'Year of Revolution', complete with diary dates, showing his unbelievable transformation from a disgruntled circus strongman in England, to becoming a renowned archaeologist in Egypt! His most famous discovery was made during this very year (1815) and if you watch the first 20 minutes of the video (preferably on Full Screen) all will be revealed. I also pay tribute to the wonderful ancient civilization of Egypt and to one of my main supporters, Atef Gad, who is a proud modern day Egyptian.

This detailed evidence is so accurate it is 'beyond belief'. Just as Belzoni laboured so long and hard to bring back the bust of Ramesses II; after bringing all this evidence to light, I too, am entitled to be known as a 'true pioneer' in the world of 'New Thought' (which my books are now classified under, along with Philosophy Movements). This is the greatest film account I've seen of the wonders of the age 36 'Year of Revolution' phenomenon. Others like the movies Joy and One Chance show the near miracle of a person succeeding in their chosen field, but with The Great Belzoni it is not his chosen field, or even what he hoped his new career might be. In short, the thing which defines his whole life was a miracle. Have I got you just a bit curious? That is, if you haven't already watched the video.

Belzoni pictured as a much honoured man in Egypt

Giovanni Battista Belzoni was born in Padua, Italy 5th Nov, 1778, the son of a barber. When he was in his age 19 first adult 'Year of Broken Pathways' he fled to The Netherlands after French Occupation in Italy, where he worked as a barber. His next development came in 1803, when he was in his age 24 'Year of Revolution'. To avoid being sent to jail, he fled to England where he met and married an Englishwoman, Sarah Bane. Belzoni was an exceptionally tall and strong man, standing 6' 7" and his wife also had a strong build. They both joined a travelling circus performing feats of strength, such as holding up 8 people (as shown in the video). Interestingly Belzoni had had a long held interest in hydraulics and engineering and he tried to incorporate this into his act, through the use of a magic lantern show. He used to do designs in his spare time.

So, because of his enquiring mind, he felt compelled to think of a life beyond the circus big top. After the circus did a tour of Spain, Portugal and Sicily, he decided to visit Malta in early 1815 (which just happened to be in the first part of his age 36 'Year of Revolution' - Nov. 1814 to Nov. 1815). Here he had a most unlikely meeting with an Egyptian emissary, who was working on land reclamation at the time. Belzoni showed this man his hydraulics designs and was invited back to Egypt to put these into practice on the Nile River. His invention turned out to be a big success and that should have been the end of this story and the beginning of a new, but related, career as an engineer. However, now we get to the really interesting part. The ruling Pasha of Egypt did not like the new ideas and as a result Belzoni's project was dropped and he suddenly found himself in the unfamiliar city of Cairo without a job.

Hauling the bust of Ramesses II

This was actually his "Moment of Frustration" or setback, of a temporary nature, that I write of constantly in the 'Year of Revolution'. It was worse than most, but certainly textbook and the video not only describes it, but gives actual dates in the year 1815. At this point Belzoni almost certainly would have :- "felt like he was at the bottom of a dark chamber and that he'd never get out". This is the exact description I have used in "The Life Cycles Revolution" of how the process works. Then we have an unlikely "Moment of Breakthrough" courtesy of the British Consul in Egypt, Henry Salt. Belzoni was introduced to him through an adventurer called J L Burkhardt. Burkhardt is a phenomenon I refer to as "The Agent Of The Revolution" - otherwise tangential to the subject's life, but does provide the missing link. Salt thought that a man in desperate straits, who had enormous physical capacities; might be willing to risk everything to remove the colossal bust of Ramesses II  from it's location 500 kms. south of Cairo, including dragging it a daunting distance across uncertain terrain to the Nile River, in an area still dominated by the French.

Belzoni was such a man. Once again this is a perfect case example and the key moment that changes Belzoni's life forever happens in just one day ie."the one day phenomenon". You can see how difficult the task was and how he even became temporarily blind through looking at the sun and had to wrangle to get some local tribesmen to help. All the while Salt sat back in his Cairo office dreaming of being recognized as the man, who brought the wonders of Ancient Egypt to Britain, but that was not how Belzoni saw it. He was not merely 'the hired muscle', but he was a true pioneer, a discoverer of ancient relics and a fledgling archaeologist. When he finally completed this difficult and dangerous mission, he was hailed a hero by the local Egyptians and couldn't wait to get going on his next expedition. He had finally :- "rounded the upward staircase and seen the light and was basking in the sunshine of a glorious day". I know it sounds poetic, but that is the exact description I use and I have many cases to back me up.

Bronze Medal Of Giovanni-Battista Belzoni 1821 - From The British Museum

Salt gained recognition for his own archaeological expedition at Giza and The Sphinx, but it was Belzoni, who is honoured for his breakthrough work with Ramesses II and uncovering the entrance to the Tomb of Seti I (known as Belzoni's Tomb at Abu Simbel) and also the first to penetrate the second tomb of Giza. There is a medal of him in the British Museum and the bust of Ramesses II is still on display. Yet, in one instant in his fated, age 36 "Year of Revolution', he went from an out-of-work, would-be hydraulic engineer and circus strongman, to transform into what he is known as :- 'Belzoni The Great'. I hope you enjoyed this presentation and are in no doubt about the truth and the evidence which I freely give to you. Till the next :- "May the cycles always bring you good fortune".

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Paradise Lost...........And Found - Life Cycles And Muhammad Ali

The whole world knows about the recent death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and there will be many tributes and obituaries, but since I alone can provide a unique insight into two of his most important years in career terms, this will make it different. What, however, is more remarkable is that these two key years in Life Cycles Theory are the same for everyone. You see I advocate a really simple notion of lives consisting of twelve year symbolic cycles, that begin with an important year I call a Year of Revolution. All I do in literally hundreds and hundreds of cases is see what it means to so many different people.

OK then, the first two adult Years of Revolution I usually study are the birthday to birthday ages of 24 and 36. Were important new ages/achievements correlated with this? Couldn’t be simpler and I regularly do it for celebrity deaths because it’s a blind test and I surely can’t keep coming up with results………..but I do you know. Check out recent articles on Prince, George Martin, Harper Lee, David Bowie, Robin Williams, Umberto Eco, Cilla Black, Ben E. King and many more….(hint just search their name with mine for the link).

In fact, similar to my last post where I featured the incredible 100% match of an objective list of The Top 10 Most Influential People Of The 20th Century, I am going to list a brief summary of the evidence I have found on the recently departed celebrities. This evidence is equally important, because news on celebrity deaths is something completely outside my control. If you will, I am at the mercy of a randomly generated list. Yet you will see, once again, that I am able to produce an unbelievable 100% match of these people and Life Cycles evidence. So, without further ado, let’s check it out:-

1. Prince:- At age 24 Year of Revolution he has a major breakthrough with the album 1999, which produces some of his biggest hits and catapults him into the pop music ‘big league‘. At 36, begins split with Warners' over not releasing enough of his material. Song The Most Beautiful Girl In The World begins this and cements his grand passion with Mayte Garcia. Unfortunately this also begins an era of lessened influence and personal issues, such as the loss of their child, which wrecks his marriage.
2. Umberto Eco:- At 24, he began his lecturing career and publishes his first book on St.Thomas Aquinas. At 36, he publishes The Absent Structure which marked his first entry and milestone in the field of Semiotics (ie. what he became known for). At 48, he publishes the runaway best seller The Name Of The Rose, which gets made as a successful Hollywood movie starring Sean Connery. He was very much the forerunner of Dan Brown. This is a staggering match at every major Life Cycles Year of Revolution!
3. Harper Lee:- At 24, goes to New York at Truman Capote’s urging and begins writing in her spare time. At her age 31 Year of Broken Pathways, she gets a manuscript Go Set A Watchman accepted. This will turn into To Kill A Mockingbird over the next several years. At 36, the film of To Kill A Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck is released and becomes a huge success, winning an Oscar and being called:- “one of the best films ever made.”
4. Bart Cummings (Australian legendary horse trainer and winner of 12 Melbourne Cups) :- At 36, the horse that made Bart Cumming’s name - Light Fingers - began her amazing run with 2 Group One victories. She won the Melbourne Cup in the next year, so this is not a perfect correlation, but it’s pretty close.
5. Ben E. King :- At 24, leaves the Atlantic label under which he had made all his big hits. Begins an era of decreased success. At 36, King (who was reduced to singing in bars and clubs) was re-discovered by the head of Atlantic Records and revives his career with the song Supernatural Thing. At 48, the movie Stand By Me is released and his hit song gets rediscovered all over again.
6. Christopher Lee :- At 24, begins acting career by default with the Rank organisation. At 36, the movie that makes his name - Dracula - is released and leads on to a ‘Golden Age’ as a horror actor. At 48, and tired of being typecast, he argues with the studio owner and begins doing other movies. Once again this is an incredible match like that of Umberto Eco.
7. George Martin :- At 24, he began his career with Parlophone Records working in classical music. At 31, he began to concentrate exclusively on comedy records. At 36, he reluctantly hires The Beatles after being petitioned by Brian Epstein (which comes to define his whole life). At 43, The Beatles break up, which ends the era. Again a magical mix of correlations.
8. Cilla Black :- At 19, gets discovered by Brian Epstein and begins her career with a string of big hits. At 24, begins her own TV Show, which leads on to a very successful second career as a TV host.
9. James Clavell :- At 36, begins his career as a writer of Asian Stories with the release of his best-selling, largely autobiographical novel King Rat. In other words what he is known for (once again).
10. Robin Williams :- At 24, begins career as a stand-up comic after leaving the famous Julliard acting school. At 31, TV hit series Mork and Mindy finishes and he begins film career with The World According To Garp. At 36, his signature breakthrough movie role in Good Morning Vietnam is released leading to huge success and many awards. This is absolutely textbook Life Cycles 101.

Doing this exercise brought back quite a few memories for me, as I had forgotten some of these tribute posts. Please note this is a completely BLIND TEST of the theory, since although I may have heard of these subjects, with their disparate lives, I have no detailed knowledge of their biographies or control about who gets included. I have quite a few more of these analyses, but let’s just say the results are overwhelming in terms of matches with what I have hoped for. Life Cycles is such a thin framework, I am always left with the thought :- “Why should it work at all?” Instead of that I find it works almost perfectly in these admittedly limited in-depth studies.

Neither am I saying that all cases will yield such fantastic results and being scientifically-minded I shall examine cases where there is a ‘lack of fit’ in future years, but right now I am busy showing you and the world-at-large just what a miracle I am dealing with.

But enough of others, you really want to know about Muhammad I AM THE GREATEST Ali don’t you? I always assume that people know nothing of my work, that’s why I bother to introduce it. Well this story is in two chapters, so let’s begin.

Ali defeats Liston for the Heavyweight title in 1962


There is no doubt that a young 22 year old Muhammad Ali had the world at his feet when he beat a much older Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Boxing title. He had climbed to the top of his own personal mountain and declared - "I am the greatest!" This must have felt like paradise on earth to him then. He had such a future in front of him, to truly make his mark with a long title reign. The last thing that would have been on his mind was the possibility of jail time, combined with losing his boxing licence in every state, along with his passport. Yet, barely nine fights later, that’s what happened when he refused to be inducted into the armed forces.

When did all this begin? This public denouncement of the Vietnam War on both religious and personal grounds at the early stages of his new era of Boxing Paradise? Ali was born Jan 17th, 1942, so he was in his age 24 Year of Revolution for the year 1966. On 29th. Mar. 1966 he got up at a Press Conference and said publicly he wouldn’t fight in Vietnam, which caused a media and public outcry. His fight with Ernie Terrell in Chicago was cancelled by the Illinois Athletic Commission. He was now on a collision course that would see him one year later, in March 1967, stripped of his title for refusing to be drafted for army service. All commentators agree that his almost four year period of inactivity :- “robbed him of some of his best years.”

Yes, there are strong grounds for saying that this whole lengthy episode could be called Paradise Lost.

Ali Refuses The Draft in 1966


There is no doubt it could also be stated that Paradise may have been reclaimed when he eventually regained the Heavyweight Boxing crown a second time by beating George Foreman in Oct. 1974. But things were much different this time around. Ali did not have an easy time of it. Joe Frazier dished out a lot of punishment when he inflicted his first-ever defeat in 1971, in what was called the match of the century. He was no longer untouchable in the ring and he resorted to a tactic of staying on the ropes to deliberately take punches, known as the ‘rope a dope’ strategy. When he fought Frazier in Manilla in 1975 he took so much punishment he called it :- “the closest thing to dying that I know”.

Now we are properly poised for events to unfold in the twilight of Ali’s career, when he was in his all-important age 36 Year of Revolution, in the year 1978. One of my premises is that ‘things usually get worse before they get better’ and I study events I call setback or frustration moments. I have also called them Trafalgar Moments, in honor of Napoleon’s ignominious loss to Nelson just before his greatest-ever victory.

So what was Ali’s Trafalgar Moment? Well, just as he had a whirlwind victory over an ‘older bull’ named Liston many years ago, he now had a close and hard-fought, split decision loss to a new ‘young bull’ named Leon Spinks, who only had seven professional fights to his name. This was in Feb. 1978 and at the early part of his age 36 year. It was to be his Trafalgar Moment, his ‘moment of frustration’. It was considered one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.

Ali was under-prepared for the Feb. fight. He was seriously out of shape, and knew that if he wanted to get his title back he better do some strenuous training. So he punished himself for this date with destiny, rising at four in the morning to run miles down lonely roads in combat boots in the mist of Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. He was preparing all along for what he felt would be a 15-round fight, realizing his punching power had deserted him, realizing, too, Spinks was not going to cave in lightly.

Ali was always good for a pithy quote, but for him this fight was just going to be pure slog to get the job done. Here’s how he summed it up:- “I killed myself to get ready for Spinks. I suffered and sacrificed more than I ever did.” He was about to face his moment of destiny on 15th Sept. 1978 in the New Orleans Superdome in front of 63,500 people, the largest-ever for an indoor boxing match and an estimated US. TV audience of 90 million, as well as being seen in 80 nations. He was a 2 ½ /1 favourite. The dice were loaded. Was it about to be Paradise Regained or retreat to the shadows?

This time around things were very different from the beginning of the fight. Ali was fully fit and properly trained and he had his winning tactics of jabbing and grabbing perfected. This reduced Spinks’ offence and though, as expected, he went the full fifteen rounds, the match was scored 12-3 in Ali’s favour. Yes, this was his night, his time to bask in the warm glow of becoming the first boxer ever to hold the World Heavyweight Title on three separate occasions (although there was some dispute as to whether it was fully sanctioned, as the WBC - one of the main Boxing authorities - didn‘t accept it). None-the-less he had done what no others had ever done and had set the yardstick for anyone else who followed on and wanted to declare themselves ‘the greatest of all time’. All commentators at the time agreed this would be the perfect moment in which to announce his retirement. To go out on a high note and enjoy a nominal period as the three-time champion.

Ali Beats Spinks in 1978 to become the only 3 Time Champion

If ever it was a case of Paradise Found this would have to be it. Even Spinks conceded :- “I congratulated Ali. He is still my idol.” Ali himself said :- “This will be my last fight. I will go down as the first man to win the title three times.” However after announcing his retirement he found he had to make a comeback soon after, motivated by a need for money and ended his career with an ignominious loss to Larry Holmes in 1980. So, real life is not a Hollywood script, but this ultimately messy finish cannot rob him of his true moment of glory two years before.

People today, don’t remember this awful final fight, they remember his glorious reign as the only three-time title holder in the history of his division. They also remember that his career was affected by his decision to refuse the draft and by his controversial outspokenness. But mostly, they remember him as one of the true sporting icons of the 20th. century. A name that transcended the sport of boxing and came to be synonymous with fighting on your own terms, whether that fight is in the ring, or in a civil rights meeting, or finally the carrying on of your public life while suffering the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease.

I hope you enjoyed this more extensive tribute article. You can see the importance in Ali’s life for the major direction-setting events that took place in his two important adult Years of Revolution (ie. 24/36). This indeed would form a number 11 example to the 10 listed so far. In the side column you’ll also see a couple more I have done and the simple fact is :- “in every single instance I have studied of celebrity deaths, Life Cycles evidence is present.”

Now can you see for yourselves, that if someone else, who wants to see my theory easily debunked, goes out and finds even a similar amount of non-correlating evidence, it can’t take away from this fantastic result. I would say :- “So what, you believe you’ve reduced the instance of Life Cycles examples to 50% (and I’m not saying this is easy to do). This is still so far in excess of a rational explanation, that it is completely off the radar.” Anyway, as always, stay tuned because I have so much more to tell you. We haven’t gotten past the first few articles in Pandora’s Box. Till the next time :- “May the cycles always bring you good fortune.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Sara, Franklin and Eleanor
I have now studied quite a few instances of what I call the 'one day phenomenon' where a person's life is fundamentally altered by events that happen in one single day of their entire age 36 Year of Revolution. Some of these are standouts in terms of the person's subsequent career (like Joy Mangano and the Miracle Mop). Some are moments where a person's life hung in the balance and this experience led on to significant change (like author Patricia Cornwell's Day Of Crisis). Few, however, had the potential to alter the very course of world history. In this regard, the day (and the one moment in that day), that caused Napoleon to win the Battle of Austerlitz, is such a case. In this post we are going to explore this type of example in reverse - namely, that had things turned out differently, the very course of 20th century world history would have changed. Yet it is a deeply personal and private moment. One that only the very famous would see aired in public, such is the price of being a public figure. However this is precisely the reason I study public figures - because it's all there - the moments of glory alongside the dirty linen.

But before I do, I want to set this analysis in it's true context. You probably don't remember when I wrote about Henry Ford - Cars For Everyone, I mentioned how this fits into a list of The Top 10 Most Influential People Of The 20th. Century. His analysis completed work (most, but not all of which, is published) on 8 out of the ten listed. It left only Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (the father of modern Pakistan). This current article will now make it 10 profiles out of 10 studied, all with matches to Life Cycles Theory. Some of these matches (viz. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, Albert Einstein) are so comprehensive as to fit every single Life Cycles significant year in their lives.

To demonstrate statistical significance I would only have to show the merest fraction of my evidence, because a random or null hypothesis that Life Cycles doesn't exist, would say that in the case of an age 36 correlation (the most basic stat I work with), there should not be even one match for any of the 10 cases (ie. an adult life span, of say, 40 years has a 2.5% chance, ie. 1 chance in 40, of showing dramatic evidence in just one particular year). Well how about 10 out of 10 matches for just one year!? Even if you considered some of my casework examples on all years a bit subjective, it would still leave UNIVERSAL COVERAGE for the age 36 phenomenon. I keep telling you my work is a complete statistical miracle and I defy anyone to check my data for authenticity. Let's now quote this list, so you can see for yourself:-

10. Henry Ford (presented material at ages 12/19/24/31/36. At 36 he leaves Edison and founds his own car company.
9. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (preliminary evidence now done, but unpublished). At 36, he joins the Muslim League and visits London with Gokhale -Indian statesman- to plead reform. He becomes leader of the Muslim League until Pakistan's creation.
8. Mao Zedong (analysis done but as yet unpublished). At 36, survives the Futian Incident where pro-Soviet forces try to overthrow him.
7. The Wright Brothers (detailed evidence on both brothers at respective ages of 36/31). When Wilbur was 36 (and Orville was 31), it coincides with the first landmark flight and when Orville was 36, it also coincides with the famous Le Mans flight, which sealed their reputation.
6. Adolf Hitler (Detailed evidence on every single adult significant year ie.19/24/31/36/43/48/55, but mostly unpublished). At 36, publishes Mein Kampf and regains control of the Nazi Party after almost losing it.
5. Winston Churchill (already featured in BOOK ONE). At 36, gets major promotion as First Lord of the Admiralty. Leads on to the development of tanks, naval aviation and switching fuel from coal to oil.
4. Franklin D. Roosevelt (featured in this article)
3. Mahatma Gandhi (extensive analysis already featured in THE LIFE CYCLES REVOLUTION. Covers every single significant year in his life). At 36, first public demonstration of Satyagraha - non-violent protest, enshrined as the birth of the civil rights movement. Also a subject of my independent statistical analysis project.
2. Nelson Mandela (already featured in this blog and coverage of every single significant year in LIFE CYCLES). At 36, adopts the Freedom Charter at a meeting of 3,000 delegates at Kliptown. Wins reputation as a statesman.
1. Albert Einstein (extensively featured ie. every single significant year - in THE LIFE CYCLES REVOLUTION). At 36, publishes the General Theory of Relativity leading on to the new age of Physics.

Now that you can appreciate the overall context of this article, I just want to say, that what I found for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's age 36 Year of Revolution was the weirdest, most left-field example I have ever studied (and I've studied a few as you know). Not one for the textbook, because when I casually glanced at the twelve months in question, nothing stood out. No landmark events. At first I said to myself :- "Well you can't win them all and this one is a loser." Franklin had already entered politics and was serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson during the entire time. Some two years later he ran unsuccessfully as Vice Presidential candidate with James M. Cox. One year after that he was stricken by a debilitating polio attack, which cost him the use of his legs.

So I had to turn the question around (as I sometimes do in these cases) and ask instead :- "Were there any key events in the year in question, that might not focus on his career life?" That was when I began an investigation that eventually led me to an article in USANews called "FDR's Secret Love. How Roosevelt's lifelong affair might have changed the course of a century." So, you see, the title of this article isn't mine. I borrowed it from Joseph E. Persico who wrote a book called "Franklin and Lucy. President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherford and other remarkable women in his life." The way I see it there were three main players in this struggle for outright control of Franklin (leaving aside Missy LeHand, his secretary who had a crush on him) and he was 'piggy in the middle', who could never fully satisfy any of them. If it wasn't so tragic, it would be melodramatic. 

For those now either 'on the edge of their seats with anticipation' or muttering to themselves 'get on with it', I'll begin. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born Jan. 30th, 1882 to one of the oldest and most distinguished Dutch families in New York State. In short, he was a blue blood and the strongest influence by far in his upbringing was his domineering mother Sara Delano. It was Sara's father, Warren, who provided the bulk of the family's wealth and the very possessive Sara was on record as saying :- "My son Franklin is a Delano, not a Roosevelt at all." So in matters to do with marriage and family you can bet your bottom dollar she had plenty to say and what she said went.

FDR, Eleanor and family in 1919

Now you might have thought that when Franklin announced he intended to marry his fifth cousin once removed, 19 year old Eleanor Roosevelt, it would have got his mother's blessing, but it was the exact opposite. She saw Franklin as too young to marry and for her to potentially lose control to this quiet young girl, who didn't match either her or Franklin's outgoing, exuberant temperament. She made Franklin keep the engagement secret for a year and took him on a Caribbean cruise to take his mind off things. She may have become 'the original mother-in-law from hell' after their marriage in 1905, but she was 'on the money' about mismatching temperaments. Like putting a show-pony, party animal together with a wallflower, relations were always going to become strained. 

Just to highlight the continued all-embracing influence of Sara; in 1910 when a friend suggested to Franklin that he consider a political career by running for the New York legislature he replied :- "Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to discuss it with mother." This from a 28 year old married man with, by then, three children. Have you got the picture? Now we are primed to see the entrance of the third and most important member of the trio of principal women in Franklin's life - Lucy Mercer - who took a position as Eleanor's secretary in 1914, but is believed to have begun an affair with Franklin in mid-1916. She was Franklin's one true love, his grand passion. 

The scene is set, the dye has been cast and we are entering Franklin's most important age 36 Year of Revolution at end Jan.1918. In September of that year Franklin has just returned, ill, from an overseas trip as assistant secretary of the Navy. However, as she was unpacking his suitcase, Eleanor discovered a packet of love letters written to Franklin from Lucy, leaving her in no doubt about the seriousness of their affair. This was crushing to her fragile ego, as she had always perceived herself as :- "not attractive enough to hold the charismatic Franklin" (something she confessed to her cousin before marriage). Worse than this however was the open deception by Franklin with her trusted employee. His protestations about missing her as he packed her off to Campobello (the family's summer home), while claiming he had to stay behind because of work.

To be fair, Franklin was certainly not an idle womaniser. It was stated in Persico's book that he had qualms of conscience and understood the risks to his marriage and career, but when he was in the company of the beautiful Lucy, it all vanished. Just think for a minute about the invasion into the minutest corners of the personal lives of the very famous, that the likes of you and I will never encounter. Anyway, a confrontation was brewing between Franklin and Eleanor and when it came Franklin admitted the strength of his feelings for Lucy and said he wanted to marry her. This was probably the most reckless thing he had ever done in his carefully constructed life. Eleanor offered him a divorce, but asked him to consider the children and really think things over before giving his answer. He later told her he wanted to proceed.

The alluring Lucy Mercer
So, was this the moment that could have changed the 20th century? No, it was just the overture before the main performance. The moment of moments came when he had to face mother with the truth. The domineering and all-powerful Sara. What would she have to say? You just knew he had to run it past her before settling anything. On a day (not precisely known), Franklin and Eleanor would have had to walk along a passageway, that interconnected Sara's section of house with theirs (yes, mother was always close by) and sit down in her living room to tell her the news. Eleanor, resignedly, spoke of her desire to give Franklin his freedom. Sara was aghast. I'm going to quote from the article here :-
The idea that her son wanted to divorce Eleanor was the greatest shock she had suffered since 13 years before when he had told her he intended to marry her. It is "all very well for you, Eleanor, to speak of being willing to give Franklin his freedom," she said. But imagine the wagging tongues and shaking heads at Oyster Bay. Adultery could be concealed, even tolerated, but divorce was a calamity. After Cousin Alice Longworth's failed attempt to divorce the chronically faithless Nick Longworth, she noted, "I don't think one can have any idea how horrendous even the idea of divorce was in those days. I remember telling my family in 1912 I wanted one and, although they didn't quite lock me up, they exercised considerable pressure to get me to reconsider." Indeed, no one in either branch of the Roosevelt family had ever been divorced.
Sara was too clever to simply say she forbade it. Instead she told Franklin, that if he went ahead, then she would cut him off without a cent. So there it was. Freedom at a very high price or living in a comfortable prison of convention. Suffice to say that this was not what he expected to hear. He was thoroughly used to his lavish lifestyle. If mother cut off her money supply then who would pay for it - the upkeep on the homes, the private school fees, the servant's salaries, the club memberships? He had to admit he was kept on a golden leash. Then there was his political career. He consulted one of his advisers, who told him it would be wrecked by this news. The grounds for divorce in New York State were adultery and the details of the affair, if revealed would spell his political death.

Then what would he do? He was no businessman, no great shakes at the law. He might even lose his current role, because the Naval Secretary was a puritanical man. In the face of all this gloom and doom Franklin suddenly became practical. The first thing he did was prepare a detailed report for his boss on his trip to Europe. This was sent to President Wilson with a note attached calling it:- "a clear-headed and illuminating report by the able FDR". Then he went to Lucy and disingenuously claimed Eleanor would not give him a divorce. So now, to save his skin at all levels, he deceived Lucy. What he most probably did not tell her just then, was that Eleanor had made him promise to efface her from his life and also that he could not sleep in the marriage bed again.

This became the defining moment in his all-important age 36 Year of Revolution. Not a career high point or a major breakthrough, but in terms of his personal life, it defined and shaped his new reality until his death at age 63. It also shaped and defined the lives of Sara, Eleanor and Lucy to the end of their days. Like I said previously, there were no winners in this three way tug-of-war, only a series of unsatisfying compromises. However, in terms of The New Deal and many other initiatives from the record 12 year Presidency of FDR, it spelled outward success. Let's take each woman in turn.

Firstly Sara, who lived until 1941 (almost as long as Franklin). She had firmly taken Eleanor's side in relation to the affair, but once matters were settled differences began to appear. Sara did not like politics and activism in particular and when Eleanor got involved in this, it soured their relationship. She remained fiercely protective of Franklin, but she must have known deep down, that she had ruined his personal happiness and this was indeed a high price to pay.

Next to Eleanor, who lived on till 1962, dying at age 78. After banishing Franklin from her bed, but still maintaining her marriage, she came out of her reticent shell. She began to carve out her own identity in public life that gave her a tremendous legacy as a politician, diplomat and activist. She persuaded Franklin not to give up his political career after his debilitating polio attack in 1921, giving speeches and appearing at campaign events in his place. She went on to redefine the role of First Lady, by holding press conferences, writing a syndicated newspaper column and speaking at a national convention. On occasions she even controversially disagreed with her husband's policies. After Franklin's death she went on with her political career and served at the UN and as Head of the JFK's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. At the time of her death she was regarded as :- "one of the most esteemed women in the world".

Yes, she had much success on her own, but she could never have the one thing she desired above all else. She still greatly loved Franklin till the end of his days you see. She was stung all over again when she discovered that her daughter Anna, had deceived her by acting as go-between for Franklin and Lucy, particularly towards the end of his life. She and Franklin never did 'kiss and make up' as Hollywood might have written it. She sublimated her disappointments in her career and even though she may have looked like the big winner in the game of life, I'm sure she would not have seen it this way. She did, however, have some other relationships with both women and men (as mentioned in the side column).

FRD and Lucy maintained correspondence through the 20's, 30's and early 40's.
Finally to Lucy. She died early of leukemia in 1948, but immediately after Franklin terminated their relationship in 1918 she married wealthy socialite Winthrop Rutherfurd, a widower in his fifties. In spite of their promises and her marriage, she and Franklin were in surreptitious contact for the next three decades. There are details of their correspondence (see above photo) and Persico thinks that there were coded messages about possible meet-ups. Their passions remained undimmed and after Winthrop died in 1944, they became very close, thanks to the collusion of Franklin's daughter Anna. Franklin died in Lucy's arms. It was a fitting if tragic end for them. We'll never know what would have happened if they simply defied all conventions and got together, but history would have been forever changed. No FDR Presidency, no New Deal, none of FDR's strong military leadership in WWII. The 20th century would have looked very different without FDR at the helm. Till the next time we meet :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Breakfast And Lunch At Tiffany's

This is the last in my series of posts to do with families and Life Cycles. Where possible I have tried to concentrate on a couple of generations, or other strong family links. As befits the last article, I will be featuring two generations of one famous family - the Tiffany's. So therein lies my poetic licence in the title. They are a standout example of all elements of Life Cycles Theory. The genesis of this came from looking at some of Louis Tiffany's most famous works in Chicago - the magnificent ceiling in the Macy's store (formerly Marshall Field) and the equally famous ceiling in the auditorium of the Cultural Centre (where they hold free classical music concerts every Wednesday). Then, of course, wherever there's a cultural shop (like the Architecture Society shop or the Institute of Art shop), you see photos and books on the iconic Tiffany glass. But that isn't the whole story.......there's the equally famous Tiffany Jewelry shops on which Truman Capote based his novella Breakfast At Tiffany's (and the title picture shows New York 5th Avenue headquarters). So there's much to cover and I won't be drawing things out.

Let's begin at the beginning. At first came Tiffany's shop. The father of Louis Tiffany was named Charles Lewis Tiffany and he was born Feb. 15th, 1812. When he had just passed his age 24 Year of Revolution (1836), he began a stationery and gift shop in New York (Sept. 1837), with $1,000 borrowed from his father. This was the beginning of his new age/direction in running his own business, and even though it was not a perfect match, it is fairly close. The first three days brought he and his partner John B. Young only $4.38 in sales, but they gained a reputation over the next several years, when they started selling fine glassware and porcelain as well as cutlery, clocks and jewelry. Now we're at the most important age 36 Year of Revolution (ie. most of the year 1848) and the question is :-  "what happened to represent a major breakthrough and life-changing new direction?" How many times do I ask the same basic question and get the same stunning results? But you may be sceptical and of very rational mindset and couldn't be bothered about other cases; it is in this case alone that you want proof.

OK then, he we go. In the year 1848 there was much turmoil in France generally and the city of Paris in particular. It was known as the February Revolution, resulting in the overthrow of the Orleans monarchy, and by year's end, the establishment of the French Second Republic. But to Charles Tiffany, who had recently sent a representative to Paris, to buy and import a range of fine giftware, this spelled opportunity. I am quoting from the Biographical Dictionary of America Vol. 10 :-
"In 1848 the firm began the manufacture of gold jewelry. During the panic that followed the disturbances in France in 1848, diamonds declined fifty percent., and Mr. Tiffany invested all the available resources of the firm in the purchase of these gems. They consequently became the largest diamond merchants in the country."

So what are Tiffany and Co. known for? Anyone can tell you - they are the worldwide premier dealer in luxury jewelry and design, particularly diamonds. I mean if money is no object for the finest diamond ring, then where do you go? Do I have to spell my evidence out in letters two feet high? The very thing Charles became known for, began in 1848 (not in 1837, when a stationery and gift shop was opened). It was, no doubt, preceded by a moment of frustration, as he had to deal with the day-to-day vagaries of life in the war-torn French capital, as well as putting all his money on the line.

But what else of significance happened to him in 1848? Not that I would need to, I might add, but let's really grind our rationalist 'you're simply deriving meaning where none exists pals' into the dust, shall we? On Feb. 18th, 1848, his even more famous first son, Louis Comfort Tiffany was born. Now in Life Cycles terms this is about as auspicious as it can get. Not only are father and son Confluent (ie. they share time in every Life Cycles significant year, which according to the theory, would promote empathy and understanding); but it is for almost 12 full months (ie. nearly 100%) - and in the single most important Life Cycles year of 36! It is, in my terms, a special and fated relationship and history will bear me out. Well we've just had breakfast at Tiffany's and a more hearty and satisfying meal you could not wish for. Now we're well fuelled up, let's journey onwards.

Louis Comfort Tiffany

We'll visit the same two years in Louis's life ie. the ages of 24 (the year 1872) and 36 (the year 1884). In lieu of joining the family business, he chose to pursue painting as a career and studied under noted artists Georges Inness and Samuel Colman. Thanks to his father's business he was able to extensively travel in North America, Europe and Africa during 1870-1. In 1872 he produced a painting called Snake Charmer At Tangier (shown below). It was exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. He also began to work with glass in this year and it is significant, because this is what he would become famous for. I'm now going to quote from a book called Art Nouveau by Jean Lahor :-
"Tiffany first became interested in working with glass in 1872, at the age of 24, with the funding and support of his father's business. Although Louis quickly became an expert in the glassmaking field, he continued to sell his picturesque oil and watercolor paintings for the next seven years At the age of thirty-one he started an interior decorating firm with a number of other specialists. (here again we see the unbroken 7 year journey to his age 31 Year of Broken Pathways)...."
So yet more concrete evidence of a very significant new age opening up in a person's Year of Revolution (this time the age of 24). Mind you, he still retained his interest in art (and this year also marks the completion of his first important work), but it will be glass that he is remembered for. It should also be pointed out that the friendship side of Confluence is readily apparent between father and son. Even though he was expected to take over the family business, Charles never pressed this and totally backed his son in all his ventures. Louis began his interior decoration business with some of his father's influential clients. This led on to a high point of receiving a commission to redecorate a section of the White House. His father provided backing for the launching his main business - the Tiffany Glass Company (which came to employ hundreds of staff) and in 1885 Louis came to help design as well as occupy the top two floors of his father's multifamily dwelling on Madison Avenue.

Snake Charmer At Tangier by Louis Tiffany
But I've digressed a little and we'll now backtrack to 1884 (the year in which he was in his age 36 Year of Revolution) and ask again :- "what significant new age/direction opened up for him in this year (if indeed any could be found)?" In this year Tiffany dissolved a partnership he had had with a group known as Associated American Artists, over business differences. He then decided to form his own glass factory in Corona, New York, determined to provide the designs that improved the quality of contemporary glass. His leadership and talent together with his father's backing saw the business, known as the Tiffany Glass Company (opened in 1885), thrive and secure a very prominent and unique place in the Art Noveau world.

So there it is again, the genesis of the thing that Louis became known for, began in his age 36 Year of Revolution. Also, it should be pointed out that his first wife, Mary Goddard (whom he married at 24) died in 1884, leaving Louis very distressed for some time. Here is the period of frustration, preceding the breakthrough, that I constantly write about. It should also be noted that it was his father Charles (his best friend and confidant), who was most concerned about his welfare at this time and sought to have him design and live in his own new sprawling residence (shown below). This is as clear a case of Confluence in families as I have ever found.

The Tiffany Mansion At 72nd and Madison
We have now completed our lunch at Tiffany's Glass Company and again found the fare full of flavour and richness. But I sense what you'd really like to see is just some of the many things Louis Tiffany is famous for - his wonderful stained glass windows, his well-known Tiffany lamps, his fabulous mosaic ceilings and indeed all his glass, enamel and pottery works; as well as his use of hand-blown glass (known as Favrile Glass). Those are in the side column, but I guess you've already looked at the pictures first.

This brings to a close the current 12 month cycle of posts. Though I keep reminding you, you probably wouldn't remember that this blog traces the shape of the 12 year symbolic journey we all undertake in our lives. Each year has a theme and the next one due soon is the one which corresponds to my second significant year ie. the Year of Broken Pathways. This is the culmination of the unbroken 7 year journey from the Year of Revolution of the blog (ie. its birth in April, 2009) to it's eighth year beginning April 2016. What should you expect? Well you'll have to wait and see, but I can promise you will see changes in the nature of the posts. Not straight away, but gradually over the course of the next 12 months, you'll come to a realisation that our pathway has altered and we can never return to where we have been. Till then :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune".

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Ugly Truth Behind The Self Development Industry

It's Not All Just Hype And Excitement


Justin (not his real name) bounced into my office one Monday morning with a completely changed appearance. Gone was the rather scruffy-looking and inconspicuous former manager from the Defence Department and in his place stood Sydney’s answer to Gordon Gekko. He sported a sharp suit and pin-stripe business shirt, shiny new leather brief case, topped off with a pair of eye-popping red braces.

He appeared a changed man too. No longer unsure about his next position or indeed if he would get one, he was imbued with a dauntless zeal to open his own management consulting business and call it ‘Pygmalion Enterprises’ with the banner phrase ‘We do anything for money’. He eagerly showed me how he had spent a sleepless night filling an exercise book with ideas and illustrations and then announced he was going to take out display advertising in the business classified section of the phone book in every state in the country. I became aghast at this point. Just what the hell was going on I said to myself.

What indeed? Why had he suddenly acquired this massive ego trip? Did he have a bi-polar personality disorder? Unlikely, as he had no former episodes of this nature. Then we got to the answer :- “He’d just attended an NLP (that’s ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming’ to the uninitiated) weekend seminar.” This totally discredited Self Development movement (which co-incidentally is the basis of Tony Robbins’ doctrines) is designed to imbue participants with almost boundless self worth and a sense they can 'conquer the world'. And here was my very own brush with what it can do.

Poor Old Justin Thought He Was Gordon Gekko

So, what do you think happened to poor old Justin? Did he indeed launch a successful national management consulting practice based on nothing more than running an ad in the phone book?…….Unfortunately not. He stopped coming to my outplacement counselling sessions, but was seen by a fellow participant wandering about a local shopping mall during the day, looking more dishevelled than ever. You see, not only was he depressed and unemployed, but he had commuted his guaranteed lifetime pension as a lump sum and had spent a reasonable amount of it on this failed venture. Just another victim of the $10 billion a year (in the US alone) Self Development industry.

Want more of this reality check material? Try these :-

  1. Rebekah Lawrence, after attending the Turning Point seminar, has a "psychotic episode” and kills herself though she had no history of mental illness;
  2. Lesley Grogan adopts the training of Marianne Williamson ("A Return to Love") and becomes so confused about her identity that she uproots her life and abandons her family;
  3. Michael Scinto attends the ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure and becomes so appalled by the sexualized peer pressure and psychological abuse that he kills himself.
  4. This is not to mention the three people who died and the 20+ people who were injured in James Ray’s Sedona sweat lodge and many, many others.

The Three People Killed In The 2009 Sedona Sweat Lodge Incident

Getting the message? Just Google <self development is dangerous> if you don’t. It’s chock full of misery stories. These hyped-up large group presentations, in prices ranging from $500-00 one day workshops to Robbin’s $5995-00 Date With Destiny seminar, might have some satisfied customers (after all, if you pays your money you’ve got to feel it was worth it), but it has way more potential for personal harm or just a general lack of satisfaction with your own life (which is only alleviated by buying into the next book/tape/seminar). If you don’t believe me try reading SHAM (stands for Self Help and Actualisation Movement)  : How The Self Help Movement Made America Helpless by Steve Salerno Crown Publishing Group, 2005. He should know, he was a former insider - a self-help book editor.

He says :- “Extensive market surveys revealed that the most likely customer for a book on any given self help topic was someone who had bought a similar book within the preceding eighteen months.”  The irony of ‘the eighteen-month rule’ for this genre, Salerno says, is this: "If what we sold worked, one would expect lives to improve. One would not expect people to need further help from us--at least not in that same problem area, and certainly not time and time again."

Now let’s visit the murky world that underpins the self help movement. Let’s go to the fancy and very scientific sounding term - ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming’. This was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California in the 1970’s. It claims a connection between neurological processes (‘neuro’), language (‘linguistic‘) and learned behavioural patterns (ie. learned by ‘programming’). In other words if you can “model” the skills of exceptional people, then they can be learned by anyone (ie. as long as you learn it by attending one of their fee-paying seminars). Not only that, but you can use it to treat phobias, depression, allergies, the common cold etc. etc. Oh yes, I almost forgot the truth in a wave of faux-enthusiasm - it is also rejected as a failed pseudo-science, that contains numerous factual errors and doesn’t support the results asserted by Bandler and Grinder.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming Certainly Sounds Scientific

Bandler and Grinder openly boast of being unqualified in a science discipline, although they do hold psychology degrees (saying that this is, in fact, beneficial). They proceed to pinch ideas from many prominent academics (like the well-known linguist Noam Chomsky) and misapply it to their own ends. See articles such as ‘Not-so Linguistic Programming’ by Karen Stollznow. Tony Robbins trained under John Grinder and began his career as a teacher of NLP. In his book Unlimited Power 1986, he asserts that by using NLP :- “anyone can become successful at almost anything.” Look the stark reality is that the whole industry is based on little more than failed pseudo-science and quackery.

This isn’t just me asserting this. Try this :- “ A systematic review of experimental studies by Sturt et al (2012) concluded that "there is little evidence that NLP interventions improve health-related outcomes."  In his review of NLP, Stephen Briers writes, "NLP is not really a cohesive therapy but a ragbag of different techniques without a particularly clear theoretical basis...[and its] evidence base is virtually non-existent." Eisner writes, "NLP appears to be a superficial and gimmicky approach to dealing with mental health problems. Unfortunately, NLP appears to be the first in a long line of mass marketing seminars that purport to virtually cure any mental appears that NLP has no empirical or scientific support as to the underlying tenets of its theory or clinical effectiveness. What remains is a mass-marketed serving of psychobabble (you know, in other words ‘rubbish‘)." I mean how can these dudes lie straight in bed at night? Unfortunately I imagine that they sleep very soundly on their expensive bedding in the surrounds of their luxury homes….

"Anyone can become successful at almost anything" !? Oh yeah? Many will beg to differ.

This brings me to own story about the Self Development book industry. When I completed my first book Life Cycles (2008), I naively thought it best belonged in the Self Development category. I spoke with an agent, who had been associated with The Secret (then a best seller) and sent her several chapters. She said it was interesting, but wasn’t presented like a typical Self Development book ie. no exercises at the end of the chapters and no specific advice on how to improve your life. I took this feedback seriously and even included a chapter in The Life Cycles Revolution on the “10 Ways To Use Life Cycles In Your Life”. I had my book read by one of the major international publishing houses (through a networking contact, they usually don’t let this happen). I was told my book was fascinating and well written, but that they wouldn’t publish it, because it wasn’t ‘Self Help’ enough. I now wear these rejections as a badge of honour. The simple truth is they’re right Life Cycles is NOT like Self Help.

You want to know why? Well it’s because I don’t offer any panaceas for people’s lives. The sad truth is change is difficult - very difficult - in whatever sphere of activity you look at and the more water under the bridge of life (so to speak), then the harder it may be to effect real change. Why do I make this seemingly dismal assessment (after all the news is full of stories of momentous deeds and successful decisions to change one habits)? It’s because I study whole lives (often just after people have died) and what do I find consistently? I find the patterns of a lifetime are well ingrained in most cases. Not always, I grant you, and that certainly means you should try and swim upstream if you can. But it’s not easy.

The second and even more powerful reason, that Life Cycles has nothing to do with the Self Development industry, is money. The Self Development industry focuses to a large extent on promising you a better life and that usually means getting richer. To do this you have to pay them rather exorbitant amounts of money to buy their books/tapes/seminars etc. Participants should really question just who is getting richer; them or the demagogues who lead them. Just Google <Tony Robbins Sued Over Franchise Fees> to get the real picture. Why the big boys even sue each other :- try <“Robbins Sued For $2 Million By NLP Inventors Bandler and Grinder Over Ownership”>. It’s avaricious and unseemly at the top isn’t it?

I give my research to a small web audience freely and I occasionally do live presentations, but I’m not in this to suddenly become rich. You see the value of what I have uncovered is not just measured in commercial terms.  I keep doing what I do every day, because I acknowledge getting any new idea/philosophy understood is difficult - very difficult. It will take time, patience, diligence and a willingness to tolerate ambiguity (ie. as I encounter an indifferent response I learn to ignore it). Still I have a very long term perspective and part of the process is showing how easy it is to be blinded by false advertising and slick marketing campaigns, that seek to demand your attention.

Do yourselves a BIG favour - DON’T SUPPORT THE SELF HELP INDUSTRY! Don’t buy the books and listen to the tapes and pay way too much to attend the expensive seminars. Instead as you wake up each day, make a promise to yourself that whatever it is you seek to do in life, you will do some activity towards it this very day. Only you and you alone can set this in motion. This folks is real SELF DEVELOPMENT and it’s FREE.