Zen For The Intelligence Community
ZEN FOR THE INTELLIGENCE ANALYST AND OPERATIVE
By Ed Komarek
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A background in both the natural sciences and in religion can been extremely useful in the gathering, analysis and modeling of exopolitical reality. I was born into a family of well know and respected ecologists where I received a good background in the natural sciences at a very early age. My study of religion developed later in my early twenties following a existential crisis that forced me to educate myself in the nature of self and reality. I have intuitively always attempted to mentally grasp the biggest picture possible of life so as to able to guide my actions and the actions of others in a constructive manner.
Correct intelligence collection, analysis and modeling are as essential to the study of ecology as they are to the intelligence community. The ecologist attempts to grasp a understanding of the natural world just as the intelligence analyst attempts to comprehend a understanding of human world. Since humans are a part of nature it stands to reason that human culture can be understood using the same basic tools or concepts as used to understand the natural world.
If I sit out on my back porch and observe the life around the pond, I am using the same tools of observation, data collection and analysis, and modeling that a intelligence operative and analysis uses when steping into another culture. Just as the ecologist must remove himself from his human culture and programing to understand nature, so to must the intelligence individual step out of his culture leaving the comfort and safety of the embassy enclave for he rigors of the culture he is attempting to understand and model.
The first step toward understanding nature or another culture is to get out of ones own shoes and into the shoes of the other, a very difficult task. The process is greatly assisted by religious understanding. Zen Buddhism and Taoist thought provide very useful insights into the importance of self understanding to the understanding of both natural and human culture.
So just how does one step out of oneself and into nature or another culture. The first step is an awareness of just how we have become embedded or indoctrinated into the culture we are in and what is it that keeps us stuck in our self and our culture. I believe this involves the mental dialogue that is constantly going on in our heads. We share mental self and cultural reinforcements continuously amongst those we associate with and over time this mental dialogue can become a impediment to observation and analysis of ourselves, nature and human culture with disastrous results.
In order to step out of ourselves and our culture we must exert discipline over the mental dialogue of culturally reinforcing views and beliefs constantly streaming through our minds. This mental dialogue separates and distorts individual and collective perception of the outside world and keeps the individual or collective bottled up in their own mental imagery and in a state of conflict inwardly and outwardly. An extreme case of this are people with mental illness walking down the street constantly talking to themselves, oblivious to their surrounding.
Zen Buddhism and teachers of meditation understand this problem with the ever present mental dialogue and work to develop techniques and disciplines to deal with the problem.
The most useful techniques are techniques that focus the mind on one thing and hold it there. One learns through these techniques how to slow down and even drop the mental dialogue resulting in great clarity of perception, observation, and analysis of both oneself their surroundings. In other words one learns how to step out of themselves and their culture and into a greater reality unencumbered by preconceived notions and beliefs tied up in the streaming mental imagery. One really has to look no farther than ones own self to understand and resolve problems of the individual and of humanity.
I strongly believe that as more people grasp what is right before them, closer than even their nose, then the futile chase for that ever elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will stop. The problems of humanity will begin to abate as we learn to stop seeing our own reflections superimposed on our surroundings both natural and cultural. This would be a great step in our human evolution and great boon to both our political and exopolitical understanding.