Sunday, August 26, 2012

Desdemona

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At the commencement of Shakespeare’s play, Othello, Othello is portrayed as a rational and incredibly trusting individual, who thinks calmly and logically. However, throughout the play, Iago masterfully and maliciously corrupts Othello, using his virtues against him to transform Othello into a paranoid and bitter man, who is simply Iago’s pawn.

The first passage portrays Othello as a fully rational and considerate husband and lover. An effusive and impassioned tone is created as Othello expresses his undying affection for Desdemona. Hyperbolic language is used to shape this tone, by exaggerating Othello’s immense joy at reuniting with Desdemona. He exclaims, “If it were now to die, twere now to be most happy.” This, and other exaggerations of the sea reaching as high as Mount Olympus and as low as hell combine to express Othello’s abundant joy and exuberance. Othello’s enthusiasm is also reflected by Shakespeare’s use of syntax. Throughout the passage, Shakespeare uses longer syntax, with more drawn out thoughts. This creates a largo rhythm, which adds to the idea that despite Othello’s excitement, he is still somewhat dignified and cultured. This idea is also furthered by Shakespeare’s use of periodic sentences. By separating the subject and verb, Shakespeare gives Othello a more scholarly and insightful language, by speaking in complex sentences. However, this rhythm is broken by an apostrophe, when Othello cries out, “O, my soul’s joy!” This phrase is particularly effective in emphasizing how deeply Othello loves Desdemona, and how enthusiastic he is about their reunion. Further reflecting Othello’s character at this point in the play, gallant imagery is used to reinforce his valor and courage as a general, as he challenges a tempest to strike him. Finally, the use of soft, blowing consonants create a whispering sound to the passage. This both mirrors the imagery of strong winds throughout the tempest, but also works to emphasize Othello’s contentedness and satisfaction with his wife, by speaking somewhat softly and gently to her. Thus, after the first passage, the reader imagines Othello as a gentle, logical, trusting, and loving husband and general.

This image of Othello is completely destroyed by the second passage’s portrayal of his darker side. In this passage, Othello is portrayed as vengeful and irate. A malicious and condemnatory tone is developed as Othello denounces Cassio and Desdemona for betraying him. In distinct contrast to the more formal and picturesque language of the first passage, Othello slips into more colloquial and informal language by the second passage. This is particularly effective because it reflects the idea that Othello is no longer thinking rationally or logically, and is simply expressing his true, unrestrained emotions. Such simpler language is also mirrored through the shift from periodic to loose sentences. The loose sentences employed in the second paragraph are simpler, with the subject and verb at the beginning, followed by a longer and more detailed description. This creates a sort of ranting style in which Othello expresses his ideas abruptly, and then continues to belabor his point. Furthermore, Shakespeare switches to a shorter syntax, which continues to emphasize Othello’s lack of rationality in comparison to his logical and methodical way of thinking in the first passage. The choppier and more disconnected thoughts are enhanced by use of many apostrophes throughout the passage. For example, when Othello shouts, “Arise, black vengeance from thy hollow cell,” the phrase expresses his malicious and furious emotions, since Othello has been driven to the point of summoning evil itself. Moreover, the use of such imperative, commanding sentences which are contained in the apostrophes emphasizes Othello’s enormous power, both over those in direct contact with him, and over his society through his position as general. However, it is indicated that Othello will misuse his power, since his authority in the second passage is use for revenge and destruction. Also, in contrast to the softer sounds of the first passage, Shakespeare utilizes explosive consonant sounds in the second passage, which makes Othello sound almost as if he cannot stand the taste of the words and thoughts he is presented with, and is ranting in disgust. These sounds, in combination with Shakespeare’s use of shorter syntax create a staccato and disconnected rhythm, further emphasizing Othello’s inability to think clearly. By the end of the second passage, Othello has proven himself to be thoroughly instable and downright dangerous.

The importance of language and syntax in these two passages is evident through their portrayal of Othello’s moral disintegration. He evolves from a loving and gentle husband and logical general in the first passage to a frenzied and malevolent madman in the second paragraph. This abrupt contrast gives the reader a sense of uncertainty and impending doom, since Othello is proven to be unstable and almost neurotic.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Characters

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J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye Compared to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn All famous American authors have written novels using a variety of characters, plots, and settings to illustrate important themes. Throughout literary history many of the same themes have been stressed in different novels. In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, each author writes about the common theme of coming of age. The two novels were written more than half a century apart about two boys who seem like complete opposites, yet they bear striking resemblances to each other. Each author wrote his book depicting settings from his own past and based the plots on personal experiences. While the two novels are in different times and places, they have remarkably similar characters, plots, and themes. To completely understand the two novels, it is necessary to know about each author’s background and how he got the ideas to write them. J. D. Salinger was born on January 1, 11 in New York City. His father was a Jewish importer, his mother a Scott-Irish housewife, and he had one older sister. His parents were divorced in September 147 before he began his career as an author. He grew up in Manhattan and attended public school until he was enrolled in Valley Forge Military Academy, where he had trouble adjusting. Later he attended New York University, Ursinus College, and Columbia University. Before he became a writer he worked as an entertainer on a Swedish cruise ship in the Caribbean and had a four-year military career as a staff sergeant in World War II (“Salinger” CA -4). Salinger began writing popularly in the late 140’s and 50’s in the Post-Modernist period. Authors of this period showed despair, paranoia, and irrational violence due to threatening implications of the world after WWII. In this era, Salinger wrote his most creative works such as Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories. These books show the dilemma of people trying to come to terms with either a self-created or contemporary hell with a common theme of coming of age or loss of innocence. Recurring incidents of adulterated emotion can be seen in many of Salinger’s works, and he believes that is “the history of human trouble and the poetry of love” which explains many controversial events in his works (“Salinger” CA 4-5). In most of his works, it is obvious that Salinger wrote about his background and personal experiences although he never dealt with adultery. Most of his fictional characters grew up in New York and were of mixed parentage. For example, Holden Caulfield, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye, grew up in New York City and had a hard time adjusting to life at school. Also, Pencey Prep, the school Holden went to, was modeled from Valley Forge Military Academy (“Salinger” CA ). Salinger’s work was very controversial, especially his characters and his language. Some critics concentrate on his characters, saying that the heroes in his works are self-righteous and self-centered misfits, indicating immaturity in Salinger’s vision. He also brought back the concept of vernacular dialect and idiomatic phrases previously unused in American literature but popular in everyday speech. Some critics object to his use of foul language, while others feel that his use of speech is a brilliant technique to help shape his theme. James Miller says he is one of the most controversial writers yet, and he is greeted with praise as well as condemnation (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 1 ). Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri in 185 to Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton. He grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, a frontier town, where he got his richest sources for his writing. Between 185 and 1857 he was a journeyman printer in St. Louis, New York City, Philadelphia, and other places around the U.S. In 1857 he went to the Mississippi River, became a river pilot’s apprentice and won his license shortly afterward. He piloted until 1861 when the Civil War broke out, and he served in the Confederacy for a short period of time. In 186 he was released from the army and became a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise in Nevada where he discovered that he was quite the humorist. He took the pen name Mark Twain from riverboat terms in 186 and worked for newspapers until 186 when some of his stories were collected, revised, and published. In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon and began writing books and novels. He wrote many classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Gilded Age. However, he went bankrupt in 184 because of bad investments, and became pessimistic in his work (“Samuel Langhorne Clemens” 1-). Salinger and Twain lead similar lives and used similar techniques in writing style. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn have much in common just as Salinger and Twain did in their lives. Both novels use a first person narrator, vernacular, and autobiographical settings, but the most significant similarity is the common theme of coming of age or loss of innocence. Both main characters are adolescents, runaways from society, seeking independence, growth, and stability in their lives (Lamazoff 1). Published in 151, The Catcher in the Rye was the first of Salinger’s works to catch the reader’s eye and help him gain popularity. Holden Caulfield’s rebellion against fake people or “phonies” shows the rejection of some adult qualities, leading into the major themes innocence and coming of age (“Salinger” CA ). The plot is not very extravagant, but Salinger used many other aspects to convey his point. After Holden was kicked out of Pencey Prep he was planning to head west and start over, but he first went to New York City to say good-bye to his little sister, Phoebe. During his time in New York he participated in humorous events involving an acquaintance, some nuns, a prostitute, a cross dresser, and an admired teacher each with their own message helping Holden realize his false dreams. Holden said he wanted to be like a catcher in the rye to keep all the children, symbolizing innocence, from falling off of the cliff, symbolizing coming of age. This is a gesture of selfless love coming from his confusion and grief (“Salinger” CA 6). Holden is a double-minded, self-critical, frantic adolescent making his first movement into the adult world, and he realizes that the values of the world can be judged as stated by David Galloway (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 445). Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Boltner believe Holden’s quest was to preserve an innocence that is in danger of disappearing. This is the innocence of a spotless childhood in the ordinary involvements of life. First he rebelled against society, then he was inspired by his honesty against phoniness, and he finally realized what a small role he actually played (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 1 5). Harvey Breit says Holden figured this out in the climax of the novel when Phoebe, Holden’s ten-year-old sister that he wants to keep pure and innocent, was riding the carousel in Central Park. He watched in the rain and his dream shattered because he could do nothing to prevent any coming of age, and at this is the time Holden passed into adulthood (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 56 18). The irony of this story is that Holden could not even prevent himself from “falling off the cliff” much less save others (“Salinger” CA 6). Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884 shortly almost ten years after its prelude The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (“Samuel Langhorne Clemens” ). The setting of this novel is on the Mississippi River, where Twain once lived, and the plot of this story is like the rural version of Catcher in the Rye. Huck escaped from his father and took a raft down the river along with a black slave, Jim, trying to reach their freedom. Along this journey Huck and Jim encountered many controversies such as the Grangerford/Shepherdson feud, the king and duke, and the events on the Phelps farm. Walter Allen wrote that much like Holden Caulfield, first Huck rebelled against his society, then he was inspired by his honesty against sham, and finally he gained a sympathetic awareness of his melancholy role in life. Huck’s attitude toward coming of age was ambiguous; he intervened in the activities of the adult world and made moral choices that repudiated that world (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 1 8). In John Aldrigde’s comparison he wrote that both books rely on the concept of innocence to show how their main characters reach their coming of age. In The Catcher in the Rye innocence is a compound of urban intelligence, juvenile contempt, and New Yorker sentimentality. The symbol of innocence in this book is the children of the world, especially Phoebe, which are continuously challenged by “phonies”, profanity, and adult life. In this novel, innocence calls for genuineness and sincerity in a dull and loveless world. In Huckleberry Finn, innocence is a compound of frontier ignorance, juvenile delinquency, and petty heroism. The symbols of innocence are the raft and the river. The challenging factors of innocence in this book are thugs, thieves, feuds, and other dangers on shore that call for narrow escapes. The raft represents innocence because that is how Huck and Jim make their narrow escapes from the dangers of the shore, and the river because its time, faith, and continuity, move endlessly and dependably beside and between the temporary problems of men. In Huck Finn, innocence calls for escape from violence because innocence and the world of violence are seriously and effectively opposed (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 56 ). When Huck headed down the river with Jim to seek freedom, he was actually seeking a new home free from the injustices of his old life. Just like Huck, Holden too was seeking a new “home” where he could have a life without the pain and disillusionment that comes with becoming involved with anything life has to offer. Both Huck and Holden encountered tests for them to pass on their way to adulthood. For Huck the tests were mostly physical, but the tests that Holden had to overcome were primarily metaphorical dangers created by the loss of individuality, accepted values, and self-reliant intellectuality (Branch “Mark Twain and J. D. Salinger” ). Not only are the two books similar in their themes, but they also share other common writing devices. They have similar comic irony, informal language, picaresque structure, anti-phony themes, and both boys represent the average American boy at different times (Branch “Salinger A Critical and Personal Portrait” 5). S. N. Behrman wrote that Holden and Huck are neither comical, nor are they marked by hatred or contempt of mankind; they just repudiate mankind’s faults. They always pay attention to what is happening whether involved or not. The two novels are one-way journeys from holy innocence to the enlightenment that the world offers. Both works are concerned with the problems that people were facing at the times they were written. And finally, they both have been repeatedly banned and restricted because of the use of questionable language that people use in everyday speech (“Salinger” CLC Vol. 56 1). The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have strikingly similar plots, characters, and themes even though they were written in different time periods and settings. Their primary similarity is the resemblance between Huck and Holden as they lose their youthful innocence and grow up. Huck tries to escape injustice to gain freedom floating down the Mississippi River on his raft, and Holden tries to escape the “phoniness” he found in the adult world to gain a pleasant life. Both boys realize in the end that they play minor roles in life and loss of innocence is inevitable in the emergence of adulthood. In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn both authors stress the themes of coming of age and loss of innocence to prove the point that everyone grows up and passes into adulthood. They show that this is a natural and unavoidable part of life.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

THE FIFTH DISCIPLINEThe Art & Practice ofThe Learning Organization

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Peter Senge is a Director of Systems Thinking, an organizational learning program at MIT, and is also a private business consultant. Senge and some of his colleagues for a long time have discussed what they call a learning organization. This book is a presentation of some of the lessons they have learned.

Relating it to the QPI Virtual Management System, the first three are probably the most mysterious of the QPI Principles. The first Principle, An organization should strive constantly to improve and advance the interest of all its stakeholders, comes from deep understandings in mathematics. A book that explains that to some extent is The Goal by Goldratt.

The second and third Principles are particularly mysterious. The second Principle says, Everything effects everything. All parts of an organization are interconnected in both known and unknown ways. The third Principle says, All actions are important. Even very small ones can have very large, sometimes unpredictable effects. While one must be aware of those two Principles, it isnt clear, -------, what can follow from them.

Senges book actually addresses the consequences of the second and third Principles and gives us some tools for learning to manage a QPI organization. You might suspect if there is a Fifth Discipline, there must be four preceding it and indeed there are. Peter Senge discusses those, but he does it in reverse order.

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He begins in Part One of his five part book simply giving a background explaining to us why we need to have a learning organization. I might think of it myself in terms of having a QPI organization. In Part Two he discusses The Fifth Discipline and in Part Three, the first Four Disciplines. In Part Five he discusses prototypes and his approach to managing a learning organization. Part Five is the summary of the book. I will give the review in the order of Parts One, Three, and then Two.

In Part One Senge discusses that there is such a thing as leverage in operations. He quotes the old Archimedes statement, Give me a lever long enough...and single-handed I can move the world. The idea behind that is that if you engage in the proper ------ with enough leverage, then you can achieve tremendous accomplishments beyond what you might have originally thought. The Fifth Discipline will particularly look at this concept of leverage, but it certainly goes beyond that.

In Chapter Two of Part One he discusses the concept of whether or not your organization has a learning disability. The idea of this chapter is to essentially open up your mind.

He first wants to get across the idea that you cannot only assume a local viewpoint, but you must also look at a global viewpoint. In other words, if you think only of your own job in your own department without looking at the global perspective, you will really not be able to do your job very well. That is consistent with Principle One and also Principle Three. To think of the enemy out there is Senges second observation and the bottom line is that we tend to blame external forces for things that happen when in fact these are things we have actually done ourselves.

He then discusses the concept of pro-activity and points out that being pro-active without understanding the total system is not going to be productive. If you are reacting to things that you dont fully understand even though you may think youre pro-active, you will probably be doing things that hurt the organization.

An example that would be the QPI Principle Six that says do not tamper. Often tampering is considered to be pro-active. One might think they were improving a process, when in fact they were hurting a process. To be pro-active in a truly efficient way you must understand the total system.

The next topic Senge discusses in this chapter is fixation on events. I interpret this to mean reacting to things without looking at the total underlying process. Again that is tampering which we try to preclude. Very often we look at the symptoms of a problem without seeing through to the core. That is we have the tendency to fixate on outcomes and not look at the underlying process.

In Section Five of this chapter, Senge talks about the parable of the boiled frog which is that if things get worse gradually, you will not notice them. In fact you will continue to tolerate things that you would not have had they not happened all of a sudden.

The idea is that if you put a frog in hot water, it will jump right out. If you put a frog in cold water and gradually heat it up, it will not try to get out and will stay in the water until it dies of overheating.

Often as our own organizations evolve situations will worsen and worse without our really noticing until it is too late.

In Section Six Senge talks about the delusion of learning from experience. He says the problem we have with this is that very often we do not understand the causes of the things we are experiencing. Therefore we are only learning from the symptoms and not from the core. It can particularly be a problem if you are looking only at just the localness of an organization.

In Section Seven Senge describes the myth of a management team. Again his point is that it does not do any good to have team management if it is not done appropriately. If people are just reaching a compromise and really are not communicating properly, worse decisions may result if it were done otherwise. The implication is that the team management may not be inherently bad, but that we simply often do not implement it properly.

He then talks about disabilities of organizations and disciplines. The problem is that if you suffer from any of the things he has already talked about this could be considered a learning disability.

In Chapter Three Senge gives a very interesting example of a simulated study that comes all too close to things that happen in real life behavior. He analyzes the problems involved in it and basically talks about an idealized distribution system that has three stages of distribution.

The simulated study is of a brewery that brews a certain brand of beer and sells its beer to wholesalers. The wholesalers in turn sell it to retailers. There is an interconnection between these three phases.

The retailers order beer once a week, but the order they place at a given time is for delivery several weeks hence. So, there is a built-in delay time in their ordering of the beer. It is the same for the wholesalers when they order to the brewery.

Retailers look at their backlog of inventory, compare it to their demand and try to control their inventory level by adjusting the order level. Wholesalers do the same. They look at their inventory and backlog, and try to balance that by placing orders that keep them in balance. Of course, the brewer has to balance their inventory and backlog with their capacity.

In the beginning this system is stable. The retailers are selling a certain average volume, per month, the wholesalers are selling a certain monthly volume and so is the brewery. The whole system is in control and it is capable, that is each part of the system is doing what it needs to in order to meet the needs of the ultimate customers.

We might say that the fourth stage of this system is the customers. Something happened that caused the customers to respond differently and that caused the change in demand. Senge does not recall exactly what happened in the beginning, but only that people started buying more of a particular brand of beer at the retail level. When the retailers noticed and their inventories started to deplete they began increasing their orders.

Because of the lag period from the time the retailers placed their orders until they received it, the retailers inventories were depleted. They then began missing sales. In an effort to correct that problem they stepped up their level of orders.

The wholesalers of course noticed the surge in demand somewhat later because there was a lag from the time the retailer noticed an increase in demand until they started increasing their orders. At a later date the wholesalers noticed the orders had gone up substantially and that their inventory was being deplete so they increased their orders to the brewery.

Of course when the retailers started increasing their orders in an effort to obtain more beer to sell as they were losing sales, they actually increased their order level beyond what they really needed. It was a case of wanting the beer now and since they could not get it now they increased their order level hoping that it would decrease the time it would take to be delivered.

At a later point in time the wholesalers did the same thing. As the brewery noticed an increase in demand they finally started increasing their capacity.

The point that Senge makes is that at each stage the system was behaving in a rational manner and doing what was in its own best interests. But, the result was that eventually the brewers started delivering more to the wholesalers and the wholesalers delivered more to the retailers. Soon the system was over-saturated. In fact they all had great inventories built up beyond their normal needs so they then quit ordering.

The bottom line was that the system was basically out of control and became incapable. When the orders finally collapsed then the brewery, which had built-up their manufacturing capacity, had a saturated inventory and had no place to send the production.

Senge describes all of this in a very interesting story. When it is all said and done the whole system basically was destroyed. Senge then stands back and asks, What happened?

First of all what actually happened was that there was a doubling of demand from the consumers in response to some advertising. It was an inadvertent advertising that came from a music video that featured this beer.

None of the three levels of distribution understood what was happening so they did not react in a way to deal with the situation from global perspective. Each one tried to do what was in their own local best interests. Because they were ignorant of the effects their actions were having on the total system and they all were trying to do what they thought was in their best interests they ended up destroying the system.

They were all blaming each other and felt the consumers were quite fickle. Actually the consumer demand had simply risen from one level to another and the system had not responded to that increase in demand. It is a classic case of a situation in which there are feedback loops and delays. The system simply did not react properly to the change in input and sent the system out of control.

This sort of lays the groundwork for Senges concept of the Fifth Discipline that well talk about later. I will be discussing the book out of sequence and Im going to skip ahead to Part Three and then come back later to Part Two which is the Fifth Discipline.

In order to engage in the Fifth Discipline, which is what the book is about, Senge says you really must have four core disciplines in your organization. They are

Personal Mastery

An Understanding of Mental Models

A Shared Vision

Team Learning

I will discuss each of these and that is Part Three of the book. Then Ill come back to discuss the Fifth Discipline which is Part Two.

The First Discipline is Personal Mastery. The basic idea is that if an organization is going to be a learning organization or what I would call a QPI organization, it is important that individual components, that is the individuals within the organization, have a Personal Mastery.

I think that this can best be achieved by reading Steven Coveys book, The Seven Habits of Effective People which is reviewed in another QPI Book Review. However, it is consistent and it is compatible with what Senge allows and I will briefly outline his views on Personal Mastery.

First Senge says it is important to develop a systemic view. That means you have to look at the entire system in which you are embedded. This is quite important if you hope to do things that actually improve the total system.

Secondly you need to look upon your own tacit beliefs or your own core principles. Of course Covey talks about developing the principles you live by. The principles you live by and the beliefs you have are going to be a strong determinant in what you actually do.

The third step in Personal Mastery is to develop a vision or mission for yourself and also to become involved in developing shared missions and visions with the people with whom you associate. This is true whether your organization is a family you are trying to achieve objectives with or it is the business you work for or whether it is some other type of organization you may be a member of.

The fourth thing you need to do in Personal Mastery is commit to seeking truth and knowledge and really understand things as they are.

The fifth step is to integrate yourself into the whole. This implies that you need to achieve an interdependence with the people with whom you are dealing be it family, a social group or a business organization. Again we come back to Coveys idea that first you have to be independent and then you need to be interdependent in a healthy way.

Step number six is that you need to recognize creative tension. Senge says that the first thing you need is a vision of what you want to go toward. Think of a rubber band as attaching you to that vision. That will help you go toward the vision however the reality that you are currently emerged in and your core beliefs are going to restrain you from going toward that vision. Think of those as rubber bands in the opposite direction so as you go toward your vision. You sometimes are held back by your basic beliefs and by the reality of your current situation.

The tension created is what Senge calls creative tension and you need to exploit the gap between where you want to go and where you are with some action. My recommendation would be that you create intermediate visions that is you move to each new vision and re-examine and change your core beliefs as appropriate and your current reality will change.

You will also find that it is possible to change your beliefs very quickly if you do it properly. If you study neuro-linguistic programming, you will certainly see that there are techniques for doing that.

We feel that when you change your management from its current structure from whatever it currently is to QPI that will be a very sudden change. It may take a long time to perfect and fully exploit it, but you can actually make the change very quickly.

For example the adoption of the Adizes PAEI Management Team Decision Making Techniques can have an overnight effect on your organization. If you adopt QPI Marketing as exposed by such people as Jay Abraham, that will also have an overnight impact on your organization. You are all probably familiar with the born-again concepts of Christianity in which you can suddenly change your core beliefs. Beliefs can change suddenly.

In any event the first step in Personal Mastery is to set up your visions, recognize your core beliefs, create the creative tension and then begin to move toward your vision. I might add that I feel your core beliefs are directly related to your principles that Covey exposes.

The Second Discipline is to recognize that there are things called Mental Models. These are the paradigms that Covey talks about whereby you view the world and your Mental Models will determine how you see the world. They will determine how you interpret facts and even how the kind of facts that you see.

History is replete in both science and non-scientific subjects with Mental Models very much determining how people view the world and, of course, we all have Mental Models. Thats part of being a human being. It is important to understand what your Mental Models are because they determine how you interpret facts and what facts you see.

Senge points out a Case Study in which the Royal Dutch/Shell Oil Company changed their Mental Models in the late 160s and it enabled the company to deal with the vicissitudes of the oil industry in the 170s and 180s. It helped them to move from a last place position to a tie for the number one position.

A part of changing your Mental Models is to adopt a global view. I maintain that QPI is a business management system model and how you interpret things that happen is very important. For example, Principle Six alone can greatly change the way you view things and they way you react to situations that arise in business.

Adopting a Mental Model can and will have a profound impact on how you view things. You need to think about your Mental Models whether you are dealing with your friends, family, or business.

The Fifth Discipline is a rather long and rich book and I highly recommend that you read it. The review I am providing of it is a brief one.

The Third Discipline is a Shared Vision and the idea here is to have a common vision and a common mission within the organization in which you are working. The point Senge makes is that you will only achieve a Shared Vision when it is combined from the combination of personal visions and they are melted together in a synergistic way to create the common vision.

If you have a mission or vision created by a few people at the top and then shared, you will have what Senge calls Compliance. That means people will go along with it, but will not have truly bought into it. If people are involved in the creation of the vision, then you will get commitment which is what is really required to get the full strength out of a Shared Vision.

Of course you need to have your vision rooted in basic principles for how you are going to run your organization. I would maintain that the QPI System, the QPI Principles, are a very significant part of a Shared Vision that one would have.

The Fourth Discipline is Team Learning. Team Learning is much more powerful than individual learning even though teams are composed of individuals. This gets back to the concept of synergy which is extremely important in Team Learning.

One of the aspects of Personal Mastery that Senge talks about is in Communication Skills.

He discusses inquiry versus advocacy.

Inquiry is a situation where you are talking with another person or a group of people and learning from each other. It implies that you are not judging each other, arguing, or trying to present your own viewpoint, but that you are really trying to learn. You do however ask the others about their Mental Models so you can try to understand where they are coming from and what they are really saying.

Covey described this as Empathetic Listening. It is very important that you learn the technique of inquiry so you can truly learn from other people, see things through their eyes and understand facts from their viewpoint.

I must say that a person who is high in I is probably good at inquiring. I think that one of the strengths I have had over the years is the ability to dialogue with people and learn from them.

A second aspect of communication after you have experienced the inquiry stage is advocacy. Advocacy is where you are then selling an idea or position or directing attention to certain facts you think are relevant to your fellow colleagues. Inquiry should come first and advocacy should come second.

At a team level that is comparable to dialogue versus discussion. A team should dialogue which means that everyone should be in an inquiry mode in which there is simply a sharing of facts, ideas, and opinions and there is no judgment being made. In fact you can share ideas without making them opinions. You do not have to defend anything you say in an inquiring mode.

One of the weakness of many team meetings is that they move prematurely into the discussion and the advocacy before they have had an adequate chance to dialogue. Dialoging is to really plowing the ground, planting the seeds, and cultivating the discussion. The resulting discussion is advocacy in which you now try to come up with an idea that is going to achieve some kind of a consensus.

If you have done the dialogue and the inquiry properly, you should know all of the facts and viewpoints and everyone involved should understand them. You can then try to see what you believe in. It is very helpful at this point to apply the QPI Principles to determine what is right, what is not, and what may or may not be optimal.

Team Learning is very powerful. It is synergism at its best. It is where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. A group of people who engage in proper Team Learning can achieve tremendous things.

You can probably think back to experiences in which you have dealt with other people that by dialoging and learning from each other. Going into a problem solving mode, you have come up with solutions to problems that no one individual in that group was likely ever to have thought of on their own.

That certainly has been the case in my own experience. Some of the best things we have ever done have been a result of good synergy between two or more individuals.

These are the first Four Disciplines Personal Mastery, Understanding Mental Models, A Shared Vision, which again is a form of synergism, and finally, Team Learning. These Four Disciplines are necessary in a Learning Organization according to Senge. I agree with that opinion and say that they are necessary to properly implement QPI.

In fact, in a sense the Disciplines are implied by the QPI Principles simply because they are all necessary to most effectively implement the QPI Principles. If you dont do all of these things, you will not be able to satisfy the QPI Axioms. These are very consistent with Adizes PAEI concepts and with Steven Coveys lessons on Personal Mastery.

Once again this is a long book, almost 400 pages, and it is not a quick-read or an easy-read although it is not difficult. It is quite well-written and how easily you understand it depends on what you bring to it and how compatible it is with the ideas you already have.

The Fifth Discipline is a very interesting one. It insists that you look at a system or organization from a systemic view which takes into account factors that are implied by Principles Two and Three.

The first thing that Senge starts out with is a discussion of the Laws of the Fifth Discipline. Let us remember that the Fifth Discipline is looking at total system and all of its interconnections in a way in which you can predict systemic behavior by understanding the total system. These are things we have learned that are consequences of Principles Two and Three. A review of those Principles is as follows



1. Todays problems come from yesterdays solutions.

Management in a system does things all the time. The things you do today to solve what you perceive to be problems today are the things that will create the problems of tomorrow. This is often an interesting situation. Very often the things you do today are reacting to symptoms and the actions you take then have bad results.

We certainly would believe that because of the tampering Principle. A process may be creating some outputs that you dont like that are well within natural variation, but you might go ahead with action based on the outputs. In other words, you try to solve a problem. It turns out that you are tampering and you actually hurt the process in turn creating even larger problems tomorrow.



. The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.

In many systems certain processes are quite stable. If you try to change those process, they it does not happen easily. In fact this is because of the way processes are intermingled and sometimes there are feedback mechanisms that tend to correct or balance the situation. Senge calls this balancing feedback or compensating feedback.



. Behavior grows better before it grows worse.

Many times you will do something at the local level that will improve a situation. You will think you have actually made an improvement when in reality things worsen in the long run.

An example is that you might have someone who is not behaving properly and in order to induce them to do better you give them a raise. That may induce temporary improvement however this person later falls back into their old behavior and things are no better than they were before.

Now there is a bigger strain on the organization because you are paying them more. Then other people find out you have raised their wages and you have to raise their wages, too. Soon you are overpaying certain stakeholders in the organization and the whole organization, including other stakeholders, is suffering.

What started out as an action that was intended to improve a specific local situation ended up having a long term global effect that was quite negative. This is why it is important that you maintain consistent compensation principles in your organization and you can not allow certain stakeholders, be they customers, suppliers or employees, to blackmail you into doing something that is going to have a long-term global negative effect. Another example is that you have a customer who says, I will only buy from you if you give me a discount. In order to get the sale today you give the discount to the customer. Often it turns out that you do not get their business in the long run anyway because they can always find someone who will ultimately be less expensive or will give them some kind of an advantage.

In the meantime your other customers find out about it and you now have to give them discounts to keep their business. Before long you experience the effect of lowering your prices.

One of the principles we have always maintained in our companies is that we treat all of our customers exactly the same and we never offer anyone a special discount that we would not give to all of our other customers. We also assume that our other customers always know what we are doing so that we do not have to worry about what they may discover later.

Lying comes in a similar situation. If you tell a lie to improve a situation today at the local level. The lie spreads and gets out of control, creating tremendous problems later on.

One of the Laws is that you can make things better in the short run in a way that will cause them to be worse in the long run.



4. The easy way out usually leads back in.

The easy solution to a problem usually does not actually solve the underlying problem.



5. The cure can be worse than the disease.

There are many symptoms you may have in an organization. You might do something to cure them that may seem to help the symptom, but in the long run the organization is hurt by the action. The organization then ends up suffering.

Addictive drugs tend to be like this. You may take a drug because it temporarily makes you feel better, but then as you continue to do so all of a sudden you are addicted and begin to experience side effects. Most likely you have to take increasingly larger amounts of the drug to get the same effect from it.

I got caught in that myself back in the late 60s and early 70s with alcohol. I started out drinking socially and then I began using alcohol as a tranquilizer. Two things happened. One, I had to use more and more of it to achieve the same tranquilizing effect. Two, I became essentially addicted to it. If I didnt take it, then I became even more nervous.

When I finally realized that I was into this spiral and that I was having to drink more and more of the alcohol and it was less and less effective besides having negative side effects I finally had to quit. To quit was difficult, but it was necessary to save myself.

If you have ongoing bad habits, sometimes you simply have to pay the price to change them. It has been my experience that you can not change habits gradually, but usually you must change them dramatically and suddenly. And, it is not painless.



6. Faster is slower.

This Law tells us that very often when you are working harder and harder and doing things faster and faster you are actually slowing down the entire organization. Again it comes back to not taking a systemic approach.

Senge does a Case Study on Peoples Express. It is an example in which an organization started growing too fast and because of that it suffered in other areas. Ultimately the entire organization failed.

It is almost like wanting to win a mile race, then not wanting to sprint the first 100 yards. You may get a temporary lead and you may feel good during that first 100 yards, but then you will run out of gas and all of a sudden your system reacts negatively. Everyone else that was pacing themselves suddenly goes blowing by you. You end up finishing last or you may not even finish at all.

Pacing and understanding natural speed is important. Organizations that artificially set growth targets for themselves based on financial considerations are a good example of companies that grow too rapidly and fail.

One of the reasons that Hane Training has grown at the rate it has grown is because it takes a certain length of time to develop new classes, train new instructors, and to allow financial prudence in all of this. That is an internal limiting of growth.

Processes and systems are meant to grow at certain natural rates depending on what they are. Even Walmart, one of the most famous growth situations of all time, only increased the growth rate of their stores at 5% per year.

You wouldnt think that 5% per year growth rate in the number of stores would have created a Walmart chain that is as dominant as it is today, but 5% is a substantial growth rate. Managing growth at a much higher rate than that is very difficult once a system reaches a certain size.

What Walmart did is very, very clever. By improving the quality of the organization they also grew their sales per square foot at the rate of 5% per year. Once again that was almost a maximum rate. When you combine those two growth rates, the number of stores and the sales per square foot, there was a synergistic effect and the total growth rate was not 5% plus 5%, but it was actually 56 1/% total.

That has been the actual growth rate of Walmart over the years. It may that may not sound so significant, but if you consider that a $00 investment compounded for about 0 years at 56% would be over two million dollars, then it is pretty effective and impressive. The main thing is that an organization needs to grow at the right rate.



7. Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space.

This is directly Principle Three. Things are interconnected in known and unknown ways.

The facts are that the interconnections are not always obvious and they are not always known. They may not be close in either time or in space. The delays and separations in time and space are what cause tremendous problems in analyzing systems.

If you do something today and the effect is not known for twelve months then chances are when the effect is finally realized you will not even realize what caused it. In fact you will probably blame some external cause rather than look back and ask, What did we do that caused this?

Once you adopt the systemic approach to looking at things then you begin seeing these connections. It is amazing to realize how you can you can see that things you are doing now are going to have major impacts later on.

Of course it is positive and negative. Some things you do today are going to have a positive impact later on and some will have a negative impact. Tampering is an example of something that will probably have a very negative impact in the long run. Something that has a positive impact is good quality training. If you engage in good quality training for your people and grow your people, it will pay off abundantly in time.

That is one of the characteristics that comes out of Principle Seven. If you improve peoples skills and abilities to perform along with their motivation, it will improve the processes they are engaged in, but there can be substantial time delays.



8. Small changes can produce big results.

This law is really a statement of QPI Principle Two. The areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious. In other words little things you do today, like little decisions that you may make, will have a long-term effect.

If you give a secretary a fifty cent raise, it will have a long-term effect on your company. Keep in mind that it is not just fifty cents, but it is fifty cents an hour for every hour worked from now on.

If you are in a balance mode, that means you are going to have to give all other secretaries are fifty cent raise. A fifty cent raise to a category of employees can literally mean hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year over the life of a large organization.

Senge points out the principle of leverage using a rudder. The direction of a very large ship may be controlled by a rudder. But, the rudder on a large ship is a large thing and there is a trim tab which is just a rudder on the rudder. By adjusting the small trim tab you can influence the direction of the rudder which in turn influences the direction of the ship. There are two substantial applications occurring.

The other consideration is that there are time lags. When you change the rudder the direction doesnt just suddenly change.

One of the most dangerous things about driving a turbo charged machine is the delay from the time it is given power until the power actually kicks in. If you press on the accelerator suddenly in a turbo charged machine, there will be a second to a three second delay before the power actually kicks in. If you hit the accelerator and start around a car and then it kicks in, it can very likely cause you to lose control of the car if you are not prepared for it.

In the case of a turbine charged such as on a jet airplane there may a 15 to 0 second delay. That means that if you get into trouble and suddenly need power, it will be too late when you hit the throttle. The plane will crash before the power kicks in.

That is why when commercial jets put the power up when they are landing and then use the air breaks to slow the plane down. It is actually like driving with your foot on the accelerator and the break at the same time. If they suddenly need power they just let up on the break, the power is already there, and they immediately go. That is why it is so awkward to land a turbine airplane.

Finding these high leverage opportunities within your organization is not a trivial thing, but it is something that enlightened managers should do. You are dealing with exponential growth and positive feedback mechanisms which is a form of exponential growth.



. You can have your cake and eat it too, but not at once.

The idea is that you can enjoy the fruit of your labors today, but you must also be planting seeds for the next harvest which may be way off into the future.

Covey talks about balancing production with productivity capacity, PC Balance. The organization can always bolster its quarterly earning statement or balance sheet by simply cutting back on certain expenditures today that are not going to have an immediate affect. This is done very often in MBO organizations.

When you set objectives in an artificial manner and expect your managers to meet those objectives, sometimes the only way they can do that is by doing things that give a short term gain at a long-term expense. In fact if you have a situation in which managers are only going to be there temporarily anyway, it is to their advantage to squeeze as much out of the can in the short term and forget about the long term.

Enlightened organizations do not manage that way. You simply do not reward your managers strictly on short term activities.

What you should reward them on is the total processes of the organization and how the organization is doing globally in a time sense. In other words, is the organization stronger today, taking into account your projections, than it was a year ago?

You can have an organization that is actually worse today than it was a year ago on a short term basis. But, in terms of the whole evaluation it is off.

An example of this is how QPI learning organizations try to structure their finances so that when they have a natural slow-down due to external factors like a recession or a shift in the marketplace, they reassign their internal resources and develop internal capability. This is done by the increased R & D effort not only in terms of products but in terms of services and internal structures. They can then be healthy and able to take advantage of it later on.

This is a case of taking a long systemic view of things and it is quite important. We have begun to do this in our QPI organizations. But, you certainly do not want to tear your organization down if you can avoid it just to get a short term advantage.

If your market has changed dramatically and permanently, or something external in the environment such as a government regulation or a political situation has changed, then you may have no choice than to radically transform the QPI organization. In extreme cases you may have to pare it down dramatically or you may even have to dissolve it. Even then you try to do that in a way that takes into account all of the stakeholders interests and sees to it that everyone to at least some extent shares the pain.



10. Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants.

You can not break a total system into local units, expect to manage them independently, and still have a good global result.

This happens all the time in large organizations and political organizations. They tend to try to partition them into local segments and to work on each of the locally and you end up with a terrible global problem.

For example, on the health scene you can not work on just making your heart healthy and ignore your kidneys, brain, or other vital organs. All vital organs are necessary to life. You can not treat one of them and then hurt the other.

One may say they can cure the liver, but the cure will destroy the kidneys. Well, that is not a solution at all. You may be able to make the liver healthy but if you destroy the kidneys, the global organization ie. the body is going to die.

You have to find solutions to problems that are able to leave the organization in tact and functioning.



11. There is no blame.

This law is very important both at the personal level as well as the organizational level.

We tend to blame outside circumstances for our problems. We blame the competitors, the government, the marketplace, etc. Systems thinking shows that this is not appropriate. The cure lies in your relationship within your own organization and that will determine your relationship with your environment.

In order to achieve this systemic approach and to satisfy these laws you have to shift the way you think about your organization. The bottom line is that you have to start analyzing as a total system and you have to start seeing feedback loops.

Positive feedback loops occur when things are feeding on themselves and growing rapidly. Negative feedback loops occur when you have something that is balancing and controlling. Senge calls them reinforcing and balancing feedback loops. You also have to be aware of the delays.

What Senge has done is that he has put together a system of archetypes that represent different organizational structures he has ran into. He goes through several of these in the book.

In Chapter Six Senge details two archetypes in particular. Throughout the rest of the book he describes more and gives references on others that might be seen.

He discusses the principle of leverage which has to do with reinforcing feedback and about limiting growth. He also talks about the art of seeing the forest and the trees. In other words, you have to see the global structures and at the same time be aware of what is going on at the local level.

In their famous Bottoms Up Marketing Book Ries and Trout say that you can not have marketing strategy without consideration of the available tactics. The greatest strategists are the ones who are also the greatest statisticians. In other words, it does not do any good to plan a strategy if you can not implement it with appropriate tactics.

You have to understand the total system. You also have to know what its components are or you will not be able to understand the total system.

I have believed in these concepts for a long time and have practiced them to some degree based upon my abilities and limitations. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for future growth within our QPI organizations.

We already look at exponential growth which is a form of leverage and we try to look for bottlenecks within the flow of our system. We try to see feedback loops that will catch us and we also try to anticipate the delays in the things we are doing. Senges book is an excellent aid in that thought process.

In Section Four, Senge talks describes various things involved in implementing team learning, openness, and localness. He also talks about a managers time which of course needs to be spent on important things, not necessarily the urgent things.

Senge is emphatic about a balance existing between your work and private life or as he calls it, between work and family. That is consistent with what we have discussed with Coveys book and also in the QPI System. MicroWorlds is an interesting concept whereby simulators are created usually with computers that simulate certain archetypes one would find within companies. You can then play what if games by playing with the simulator. I think this is a great opportunity for learning about how our organizations work.

One of the things I will be doing in the future is playing with the creation of simulators, whether I create them or others do, in an effort to better learn about different organizations. I think it is important issue in creativity.

Senge discusses the leaders new role which will be in the future basically studying the system and helping others to understand it. The leaders new role will also consist of doing systemic and strategic planning and leading by example. The great leaders of the future will be the ones who can see the total system, understand it, and help others to understand it. They will help to build the power within the organization to accomplish all of these things.

The leader will not be the great problem solver or the great salesman that he has been in the past. I still think that it is important for a leader to be involved with customers and selling because that helps in the strategic planning. But, the bottom line is the real leadership skills of the future are going to be system thinking, building shared vision, instituting team learning, helping people to achieve personal mastery, planning the system, understanding the dynamics, and being a steward that will be shepherding the various components of the system and integrating them.

Leadership qualities will be to have a clarity and persuasiveness of ideas, a depth of commitment, and an openness to continually learning more. The ability of people to be natural leaders will be a by-product of a lifetime of effort. That effort will be to develop conceptual and communication skills, to reflect on personal values, and to line personal behavior with values. Also, to learn how to listen and to appreciate others ideas. Other leadership qualities will be to master the Five Disciplines, to master the QPI Principles, and to master the PAEI Principles.



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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

¡§Guanyin¡¨

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The Sung Dynasty has been referred to the ¡§golden age¡¨ of Chinese culture. It immediately precedes the Yuan or Mongol Dynasty, which the West associates with time of Marco Polo¡¦s expeditions. Sung Dynasty rulers were content to be masters of China itself, unlike the preceding Tang Dynasty, whose rulers had great expansionist tendencies and brought Central Asia into their political and cultural orbit. China, during the Sung Dynasty, looked inward to herself. Traditional ideas in art forms and religious thought were now modified and made more truly Chinese. Buddhist philosophy was fused with the meditative mysticism of native Chinese Taoism.

Over 00 years of Sung history is divided into the two periods of Northern and Southern Sung. Because of the barbarian occupation of northern China the second half of the Sung rule was confined to the area south of the Huai River. Artistic and intellectual output increased enormously. Sung thinkers turned back to the Confucian classics, attempting to purge them of Han and Tang accretions. The resulting Neo-Confucianism was most concerned with good government, and the hierarchical but compassionate ordering of society. Yet, this era was also heavily influenced by Buddhist ideals of compassion and kinship with all sentient beings and by the Buddhist/Taoist concept that the two are mutually interactive, making Sung the most egalitarian of all periods in China¡¦s dynastic history.

Icons created for new Buddhist establishment give sufficient evidence of sculptural creativity during Sung. Guanyin was the most popular deities at that time, particularly in the newer embodiments based on the Lotus and Flower Garland sutras. Over time, Guanyin combined major elements from Chinese folk culture, including a growing feminization of the image type and its increasing association with aid in conception and childbirth.

Guanyin (Kuan Shih Yin) was first known as a male figure; it was not until later that it was perceived as a female. The reason for this change was the ultimate nature of the Guanyin. It is a kind soul that never turns a person in need away. There were stories of miraculous things happening when the common people called on Guanyin. People usually see women as kindly and merciful. So it would only make sense to people to have a feminine form to look up to. It gave the people a sense of calmness. Another reason for this change is that many women believed in Guanyin and look to her for strength in times of injustice. It would only be logical for Guanyin to be a woman.

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Guanyin (or Avalokiteshvara) is a saintly Buddhist figure of Indian origin. Known in the West as the Goddess of Mercy (circa 706 A.D.). Guanyin, an all-powerful enlightened being. Bodhisattvas are those beings who have progressed spiritually to the point of enlightenment, yet choose to remain on earth to help others reach similar spiritual heights (he who hears the cries of the world or kuan looks on, Shih the region of sufferers Yin whose voices ask salvation from misery). Chinese people were not able to fully understand and welcome the concept of enlightenment, which was established originally from India, because it did not have much appeal to them. Enlightenment required an individual to detach himself from family relations and all material things. This seemed a little far-fetched for the Chinese because family has always been an important part of a person¡¦s life. Therefore, Guanyin was perceived as a gracious bodhisattva who they could look up and relate to. To pay reverence to Guanyin there need not be a detachment to family. The Chinese people has selectively admired a deity that best suites them. Unlike the Buddha, the bodhisattvas are decorated with jewelry to indicate their ties to this world. Buddha, a creature that has reached ultimate enlightenment, meaning that it has moved from the living world to a world of utopia without the need of personal possessions. That is why bodhisattvas have an elaborate dress and possess to show their connections to the world. People were able to easily connect and relate themselves to such image of Guanyin. At the time of the Sung, people dressed elaborately, with lots of color and jewelry. This is then reflected on the dress of the ¡§Guanyin¡¨ in the Museum.

Here, we see that culture strongly affected the artistic form of a religious deity.

¡§Guanyin¡¨ consists of all the elements and concepts I have mentioned above. During the Sung Dynasty, the Guanyin became a special patron of women and object of a separate cult. These sculptures were beautifully polychromed and well-preserved seated figures, enhanced by their sharply undercut and swirling draperies. Also, the traditional masculinity was softened by soft skin and contours, charm of bearing, and beguiling smile, which create a sensation of femininity.

¡§Guanyin¡¨ was carved of soft wood, which has been covered with a gesso-like composition, and in parts, layers of paper, then painted and gilded. The figures calm, sensitive face and informal posture of royal ease express both compassion and strength. She was sitting down with her right arm resting on her right knee showed that she was relaxed and welcoming. Her arm seemed to be reaching out to her followers and believers. It showed that she was kind and compassionate without a sense of solemnity. Her ornate, princely attire is sculpted from interlocking blocks of wood, carved, painted, and gilded to convey the movement of gently flowing silk. Her royal costume betrays the Indian origin of Buddhist iconography; for she wears an elaborate necklace, head piece and scarves over the shoulders, the garb of an Indian Bodhisattva. However, the sculptural form itself, a symphony of elegant curves, is the very essence of the Sung art of China.

Sources

1. Far Eastern Art, Sherman E. Lee, Chap. 14, pg. 58-8

. Website http//www.artfaces.com/artkids/oriental.htm

. Website http//www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/ChinaHistory/SUNG.HTM

4. Website http//www-chaos.umd.edu/history/imperial.html#song



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Monday, August 20, 2012

business

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The Haas Business School regarded as one of the top 10 business schools in the nation ran into some trouble regarding amount of money paid to faculty members. The Wall Street Journal shocked the nation by publishing their article titled “Audit Finds Financial Irregularities at UC Berkeley Business School” on December 11, 16. Many people had questions about what was going on and how it got this way. The review that was done by auditors came to reveal $650,000 of unauthorized payments made to faculty through various programs and one particular in question was the executive training program. Dean Hasler the man in charge at Hass Business School was put on the hot seat and questioned about these allegations. A problem of this degree has to start somewhere and the first person in charge was Dean Hasler, many question if his acts were done alone or accompanied by others in the university. While digging into the financial statements it was discovered that this fraud had taken about years to perform and it seemed as if it was to cover the pay for 17 professors who didn’t do any other extra work to acknowledge their pay increase. Dean Hasler’s view for making such payments to professors was to keep up with a tough market; he didn’t want to loose his top professors to other universities that might pay more. Dean Hasler says that he did not do anything wrong and that all payments made to professors are documented and approved by his superiors. Dean Halser did provide proof of his approval to use funds to cover sufficient increases in salaries for his professors. This letter was very suspicious though it came from representatives of the business school who are elected into position. Many might say that it was a conflict of interest.



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analyzing a quote

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The quote, “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness” by Joseph Conrad, means that people don’t have to believe in evil things because men can do just as much evil. Ghosts, spirits and things like that can’t do as bad of things as men can. Men are capable of creating just as much evil as those things.

I agree with the author of this quote. I think that he is trying to get across a point to people that think men do nothing wrong. This is not true. There are people in this world that force other people to do things they do not want to do. There are people that hurt other people, and even kill others.

General Zaroff in “The Most Dangerous Game” is a good person to use as an example. Seeing as if the story takes place mainly on an island you can see how him being bad comes into play. When you first meet him in the story he seems like a fairly nice man, just a normal hunter that likes to get a good kill. Once the plot begins to go on you see what he hunts and that he tortures people by sending them running from him. You begin to see how bad of a person he really is. He was taking other people’s lives for his thrill and fun.

Another person to talk about is Mostressor from “The Cask of Amontillado.” Throughout the whole beginning of the plot you start thinking what a nice man he is to be helping Fortunado. Then without notice he turns around and kills him. That’s not a very nice thing to do. After acting really nice he turned around and killed him.

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So when the author wrote the quote, he was probably trying to say to people to think about it a lot before saying ghosts, spirits, etc. are the worst things to encounter. They’re not; there are a lot of people that are really bad. They do things that normal people wouldn’t do. As you can see from the examples I showed people that were bad.



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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Character AnalysisAunt Alexandra

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The Maycomb ladies provide an excellent example of racial prejudice, and a failure to see what it is like in someone else’s skin. They believe they are doing well by making money for missions, failing to see the hardship on their own doorsteps. Aunt Alexandra is very important to the novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ as she is a representative of these viewpoints, disapproving of Calpurnia and disassociating herself from the black community entirely. Miss Maudie however is the counterpoint to Aunt Alexandra. Maudie offers Scout a female role model, whereas Aunt Alexandra tries to make Scout more ladylike, to fit in with her position in life. Aunt Alexandra plays the greatest role in reinforcing class distinctions within the Finch family. As she believes that because the Finch family comes from a long line of landowners, who have been in the county for generations, they deserve greater respect than other people do and therefore must behave according to their status. However her prejudice alienates her from the tolerant Finches, but she fits in well with the rest of Maycomb.

Aunt Alexandra has strict and traditional ideas of how society works and the role for a Southern woman within it, which she tries to enforce upon Scout at the beginning to this novel. ‘When I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants.’ Scout immediately takes a dislike to Aunt Alexandra when she criticises her about her overalls. Aunt Alexandra fits in well with the neighbours in Maycomb, but not with the children, as she demands different standards of behaviour from what they are used to. Aunt Alexandra does create an impact during her stay when trying to influence the children during their crucial years of growing up. Atticus is worried that he is not doing his best for his children and is torn between being courteous to his sister and raising Jem and Scout as he sees fit. ‘Your aunt has asked me to try and impress upon you and Jean Louise that you are not from run-of-the-mill people,’ ‘She asked me to tell you….’ Atticus doesn’t really want to do this but realises it’s important to his sister, Jem and Scout can sense this as he keeps saying ‘She asked me to tell you…’ Aunt Alexandra plays a major role in Jem and Scout’s understanding of Atticus’s teachings on racial discrimination and prejudice. She provides an excellent example to the children of the type of discrimination, which goes on in Maycomb County when she expresses her views. However, she takes some of Atticus’s teaching into account during her stay and provides the children with one of the greatest lessons she could give them, when throughout the novel she learns to be less prejudiced herself, helping the children to learn to be less prejudiced towards her.

Miss Maudie however is a sympathetic presence in the children’s lives, and is a positive influence on their development. She is liked and respected by Jem and Scout probably due to her understanding of them. Unlike Aunt Alexandra she treats them with kindness and respect, she genuinely enjoys their company, bakes them cakes and most importantly does not talk down to them, showing clearly how Aunt Alexandra and her differ, although they both have the children’s best interests at heart. Miss Maudie can see that Aunt Alexandra is trying to convert Scout from a tomboy to a respectable young lady, however she understands Scout better than Aunt Alexandra does and realises that Scout won’t convert to the ideal niece Aunt Alexandra wants her to be just because she’s made to wear a dress occasionally. Miss Maudie shows the reader why Jem and Scout respect her so much at the missionary tea party, You’re mighty dressed up, Miss Jean Louise,’ she said. ‘Where are your britches today?’ ‘Under my dress.’ showing Scout that she is not like all the other Maycomb ladies that her aunt wants her to be like and she does have a full understanding of her. Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra differ greatly in some aspects, as Miss Maudie has not time for hypocrisy and is always straightforward and honest with the children. The children can see that Miss Maudie is very like Atticus in many ways. She shares similar beliefs to Atticus especially about prejudice and lack of humanity. When Miss Maudie describes the trial as a ‘Roman carnival,’ this image sticks in Scout’s head and helps her to understand that Miss Maudie is a very individual character, who shows courage by holding views different from those of other people in Maycomb.

Miss Crawford disapproves of the children being in court, especially on the Coloured balcony. Miss Maudie however treats the children no differently and even bakes them cakes as a treat. When Jem arrives home heartbroken from the verdict, Aunt Alexandra says to Atticus ‘I didn’t think it wise in the first place to let them-’ showing that she disapproved strongly of the children going to the court room and if he had listened to her then Jem wouldn’t have been affected like he is now. However, she doesn’t realise that it helped the children in their understanding of Atticus’s teachings to go to the court and witness Maycomb’s ways. Miss Maudie and Atticus, however both realise this but Aunt Alexandra doesn’t realise that Jem has to learn the harsh realities of life.

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Miss Maudie sees the great effect that this case has had on Jem so while trying to explain the situation to him, she treats him as an adult ‘Jem Finch, I called to find out if you and your colleagues can eat some cake.’ She’s blunt but shows kindness and understanding by addressing Jem as an adult, showing that she fully understands the children’s emotional situation and how to help them get through this difficult stage of development by learning the harsh realities of life. Miss Maudie’s religious believes also influence the children’s development especially Jem’s, as to Miss Maudie Christianity is about loving one’s neighbour and treating people equally. She understands that in certain times in life a Christian is called upon to live up to these beliefs. ‘We’re the safest folk in the world,’ said Miss Maudie. ‘We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us.’ Miss Maudie comforts Jem by giving him hope for the future, she makes him realise that Atticus made the jury think and consider another verdict, signifying hope. ‘We’re making a step - it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step.’

Miss Maudie is kind and sensitive and has a good way of explaining the situation, which also helps the reader respect Atticus for what he did, as the reader now realises that his job is an extremely unpleasant one. Aunt Alexandra shows a side more a like to Atticus and Miss Maudie when she surprises the reader and shows genuine concern about Tom’s death. ‘Tom’s dead.’ Aunt Alexandra put her hands to her mouth.’ The reader sees her concern for Atticus, which has brought her to see the situation from his point of view and not the point of view that the other Maycomb ladies would share. Scout learns to admire the dignity and self-control. Maybe she realises that background is not merely a matter of coming from a ‘good’ family, but is more a matter of having the courage to try to do what is right, even if it is against social custom. However we can still see the definite difference between Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra as Miss Maudie’s definition does of course mean that it is possible for a Negro family to have a ‘background’, whereas Aunt Alexandra’s definition wouldn’t allow such a possibility. It is interesting to note the change in Aunt Alexandra. Her love for her brother and the knowledge of what this case has cost him emotionally has separated her from the views of the other Maycomb ladies. She is very grateful to Miss Maudie when she sticks up for Atticus when Mrs Merriweather insulted him, ‘His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?’ This shows that Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra both share concern for Atticus and are willing to oppose Maycomb’s views and stick up for him.

The reader can sense I change to Aunt Alexandra during the course of the novel, especially in the last few chapters when Jem and Scout are attacked. Aunt Alexandra redeems herself and realises the importance of the children’s well being and not their status, she becomes a changed women in both the reader’s and Scout’s eyes. ‘Are you all right, darling?’ she asked over and over as she worked me free. The reader also sees a definite change to Auntie when she hands Scout her overalls, ‘the garments she most despised.’ She blames herself for the attack and shows care and tenderness in the final crisis.

Both Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra are important role models to Scout and Jem at the end of this novel. Especially Aunt Alexandra as she shows the children that there is hope in Maycomb for people to alter their ways and views like she’s started to achieve in the last few chapters to this book. Jem and Scout don’t have a mother figure in their lives but Miss Maudie acts as a feminine role model, helping Atticus to guide them towards the right understanding of life. From this analysis of the two characters Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra, it is very clear that they both care very much for the welfare of the children although they go about showing it in very different ways.



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Monday, August 13, 2012

Accounting

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The possible revenue recognition points are the signing of the contract, the beginning of construction, the progress stages of the construction (gradually over the life of the contract), the completion of the project to the satisfaction of the customer, and collection of the cash. To postpone taxes, you would want to delay recognition of revenue until the next year, even though you have completed more than half of the project. Of the four criteria, the strongest argument might be that the costs will not be fully known until the customer has indicated that the work is satisfactory. Collectibility of the payment may also be somewhat uncertain. The Income Tax Act allows completed contract accounting on contracts of less than 4 months so at a minimum, this revenue could be recognized when the contract is complete.

b. The gain on the portfolio could be recognized in the year in which it occurs or when the shares are sold. To postpone taxes, revenue should be recognized when the shares are sold. That can be supported based on the fact that the selling prices of the shares are quite volatile and may very well fall back to, or even below, the original cost. In other words, the amount earned is not known until the sale actually takes place. This treatment is consistent with the requirements of the Income Tax Act which only requires that income from investments be recognized on disposition.

c. Revenue could be recognized when the passes are sold, over the 60 days from the initial usage, when the travelers actually use the passes to ride on the bus, or when they expire. To postpone taxes, revenue would be recognized as late as possible. The preferred time would be when the pass expires because this is the latest possible point. While preferable, recognition on expiry is probably not acceptable since it is very conservative. In addition, since most of the costs associated with the pass will be expensed as they incur (it will be difficult to match fuel and the cost of the driver, for example, to the specific pass), deferring recognition until expiry would result in mismatching of expenses and revenue (which would be good for tax purposes). Probably, the most realistic time would be evenly over the life of the pass. On the other hand, expiry of the pass can be viewed as equivalent to when the contract is completed, which would be allowable for tax purposes.

d. Revenue could be recognized at the original sale, could be allocated partially to the technical support and to the three versions of the product, and conceivably could be recognized when the support period expires. To postpone taxes, the company would want to recognize revenue as late as possible. Waiting until the end of the support period would be unduly conservative, especially given that the initial product is delivered and paid for by the customer long before the 18 month service period has expired. It could be argued that instead of one bundle of goods being sold (which would argue for recognition on delivery), four products are being sold�the initial software plus the technical support plus the two upgrades. In this case revenue would be recognized separately for each component (upgrades when delivered to the customer, technical support over the life of the service contract).

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e. Revenue could be recognized when the fee is paid, which presumably is in advance, it could be recognized over time, on the basis that the fee is compensation for being available, not for actually providing any services, or at the completion of the period of coverage. If the firm was not going to be compensated additionally for any work that was provided, an argument could be made that the costs of providing the services are not known until the time expires. Given the facts of the situation, the latest alternative that could be defended for tax postponement purposes is a monthly recognition of the revenue as it is earned. At this point the revenue is earned since the client has had access to a lawyer if and when required, the amount of revenue is known and costs (which would be mainly period costs) would have been incurred and expensed in the period.



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