Notes on Michal Stawicki’s ‘Trickle down mindset’

Title: Trickle down mindset: The missing element in your personal success
Author: Michal Stawicki
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stawicki - trickle down

This is the most ‘indie’ of books I’ve reviewed so far. Its message is important enough for me to suggest you read it yourself. What he says is something I’d want to better inculcate in my life. Basically, ‘Trickle down mindset’ is a matter of being consistent in your character and beliefs, so that all your actions are a reflection of such a mindset. This isn’t so much a ‘how to’ detailing specific actions — although Stawicki gives ideas, a lot, based on his experience — but rather a guide to thinking that in turn determines your behavior.

Whatever one reads or hears from other people has an effect, depending on nobody but the self:
The difference between the information that changed my life and the information that didn’t was simple: I either rejected or accepted and took ownership of the ideas presented in the books I had read.
– Location 332-333 (Amazon Kindle edition)

Even if we don’t always realize it, we already have the key to improving problematic aspects of our lives. You probably have something you’re good at, or at least, better at than most people you know.
Choose at least one area you are not satisfied with in your life and one in which you feel confident and successful. Ask yourself, ‘What am I doing on daily basis to deserve such output? What do I do every day that determines this effect?’
– Location 721-722

Stawicki repeats the importance of consistency, in that everything about our organism is connected:
There is no area in your life that can be neglected without damaging your whole person. There is no improvement you can make in your life that won’t improve you as a whole.
– Location 766-767

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
– Location 1500-1501

There is a lot more Stawicki has given me to think about. Ultimately, clichéd as it may sound, wherever I am in life is my responsibility.

For more notes on books I’ve read, visit
Buy ‘Trickle down mindset’ on Amazon, here.
This document is guided by the fair-use doctrine, and is for the purpose of critiquing and educating.

Notes on Gene Sharp’s ‘From dictatorship to democracy’

Title: From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation
Author: Gene Sharp

gene sharp democracy

Gene Sharp doesn’t pretend that overthrowing dictatorships is easy. To forgo violence against violent oppressors doesn’t seem possible. But ‘From dictatorship to democracy’ is based on, and has provided a basis for, nonviolent revolution, rooted in the idea that even the most ruthless of tyrants requires loyal subjects.

Violent strategy has its pitfalls:
Even when successful, guerrilla struggles often have significant long-term negative structural consequences. Immediately, the attacked regime becomes more dictatorial as a result of its countermeasures. If the guerrillas should finally succeed, the resulting new regime is often more dictatorial than its predecessor due to the centralizing impact of the expanded military forces and the weakening or destruction of the society’s independent groups and institutions during the struggle — bodies that are vital in establishing and maintaining a democratic society.
– Location 172-176, Amazon Kindle edition

It is public support for their dictatorship, that a revolution erodes:
[W]ithdrawal of popular and institutional cooperation with aggressors and dictators diminishes, and may sever, the availability of the sources of power on which all rulers depend.
– Location 378-379

Sharp emphasizes the role of clubs and organizations that are not within the immediate or official reach of the dictatorship, for changing people’s perceptions.
If the dictatorship has been largely successful in destroying or controlling the society’s independent bodies, it will be important for the resisters to create new independent social groups and institutions, or to reassert democratic control over surviving or partially controlled bodies.
– Location 424-426

A dictator’s military, through which his whims are enforced, can be divided by those who recognize the long-term uncertainty of a regime, or who simply lose the stomach for violence.
[T]he stark brutality of the regime against the clearly nonviolent actionists politically rebounds against the dictators’ position, causing dissention in their own ranks as well as fomenting support for the resisters among the general population, the regime’s usual supporters, and third parties.
– Location 559-561

Eventually, a dictator catches wind of a growing opposition, which he could do little about.
The general outlines of the grand strategy would become known to the dictators in any case and knowledge of its features potentially could lead them to be less brutal in their repression, knowing that it could rebound politically against themselves. Awareness of the special characteristics of the grand strategy could potentially also contribute to dissension and defections from the dictators’ own camp.
– Location 877-880

At a time when authoritarianism rears its head all around the world, Sharp’s thesis, of great power ultimately residing in the people, is of practical importance.

For more notes on books I’ve read, visit
Buy ‘From dictatorship to democracy’ on Amazon, here.
This document is guided by the fair-use doctrine, and is for the purpose of critiquing and educating.

Notes on Teresa of Avila’s ‘The interior castle’

Title: The interior castle
Author: Teresa of Avila
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teresa avila - interior castle

Mysticism is a big interest of mine, and I admire mystics who have attempted to write about their experiences, particularly Teresa of Avila. I regret that I don’t know who translated this edition of Teresa’s most mystical work. It wasn’t mentioned in this ‘Christian Classics Treasury’ e-book, from which I also read ‘The cloud of unknowing’ and John of the Cross’ ‘Dark night of the soul.’ If you know, please write me.

The aforementioned castle is a metaphor of sorts for whatever it is in our mind that is perceived in certain precious moments. Maybe Teresa considered it a literal place, but she also concedes that the mansions which encompass the castle are more than the seven that she describes, indicating their existence to be akin to dreams, the quantities of which are not definite.

Teresa distinguishes between each mansion in terms of the quality of pleasure and pain involved, as well as the implicit knowledge she derives from each. As a non-mystic, at least not on the same neurotic level as this saint, I am easily confused by the distinctions. This should not matter; what is important is the states of mind that could be gleaned from Teresa’s experiences. It is clear that her upbringing played a large part in the particular manifestations she hallucinated, but her absolute certainty of the truth of such beings also renders her accounts more vivid and powerful.

Where there is true humility, even if God never grants the soul favours, He will give it peace and resignation to His will, with which it may be more content than others are with favours.
– Location 3200-3202, Amazon Kindle edition

Whatever it was that Teresa experienced, her descriptions, she clarified, were meant figuratively:
[A]s this heavenly water begins to flow from this source of which I am speaking — that is, from our very depths — it proceeds to spread within us and cause an interior dilation and produce ineffable blessings, so that the soul itself cannot understand all that it receives there. The fragrance it experiences, we might say, is as if in those interior depths there were a brazier on which were cast sweet perfumes; the light cannot be seen, nor the place where it dwells, but the fragrant smoke and the heat penetrate the entire soul, and very often, as I have said, the effects extend even to the body. Observe — and understand me here — that no heat is felt, nor is any fragrance perceived: it is a more delicate thing than that; I only put it in that way so that you may understand it. People who have not experienced it must realize that it does in very truth happen; its occurrence is capable of being perceived, and the soul becomes aware of it more clearly than these words of mine can express it. For it is not a thing that we can fancy, nor, however hard we strive, can we acquire it, and from that very fact it is clear that it is a thing made, not of human metal, but of the purest gold of Divine wisdom. In this state the faculties are not, I think, in union, but they become absorbed and are amazed as they consider what is happening to them.
– Location 3451-3460

Her explanations serve to help us understand that ascetics are actually quite filled with joy, however subtle, that makes the foregoing of ‘worldly’ pleasures not just easy, but a relief. Everyone has experienced the tirelessness and lack of hunger while in a state of excitement and anticipation over some novel thing. Spiritual experiences such as Teresa’s are even more sustainable, though they may be borne of, or lead to, illness.
The better he gets to know the greatness of God, the better he comes to realize the misery of his own condition; having now tasted the consolations of God, he sees that earthly things are mere refuse; so, little by little, he withdraws from them and in this way becomes more and more his own master.
– Location 3573-3575

… see God and shall ourselves be as completely hidden in His greatness as is this little worm in its cocoon.
– Location 3750
Her ‘cocoon’ metaphor really resonates with me, even as the ecstasies she experienced are clearly of an extreme kind my constitution is not sensitive enough for. The ‘cocoon’ is what I call that occasional experience while meditating, where awareness is no less, but I nonetheless feel apart from, or at peace with, my thoughts and desires. Its arrival is not summoned, but the mind suddenly ‘clicks’ and I know I’m there. The sensual enjoyment of the cocoon is only a secondary motivation to attain it.

Let the tears come when God is pleased to send them: we ourselves should make no efforts to induce them. They will leave this dry ground of ours well watered and will be of great help in producing fruit; but the less notice we take of them, the more they will do, because they are the water which comes from Heaven. When we ourselves draw water, we tire ourselves by digging for it, and the water we get is not the same; often we dig till we wear ourselves out without having discovered so much as a pool of water, still less a wellspring.
– Location 4569-4572

Teresa’s insights were not merely aesthetic but also moral:
[T]here are always a few little worms which do not reveal themselves until, like the worm which gnawed through Jonas’s ivy, they have gnawed through our virtues. Such are self-love, self-esteem, censoriousness (even if only in small things) concerning our neighbours, lack of charity towards them, and failure to love them as we love ourselves.
– Location 3858-3860

For more notes on books I’ve read, visit
Buy ‘Top 7 Catholic classics,’ which contains this edition of ‘The interior castle,’ on Amazon, here.
This article is guided by the fair-use doctrine, and is for the purpose of critiquing and educating.