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The best and the brightest



 

One can get some perspective on the dominance of extraverted thinking and the problems this leads to from the phrase `the best and the brightest' used to describe the leaders that determined policy during the Vietnam war. They may have been the brightest but they were hardly the best! They had too narrow an understanding of the issues. They were brilliant at intellectual problems but the most formidable issues they faced were far beyond any intellectual solution. Millions of Americans had an intuitively deeper understanding of that conflict than the brilliant leaders who were responsible for so much tragedy.

Robert McNamara  , a major architect of our Vietnam policy, has recently acknowledgment the mistakes, but still speaks of it in terms of the threat that was felt from communism[27]. He explains the history of Germany before the Second World War 

and the costs that were involved in appeasement  . He still does not get it. The lesson of Hitler  is the lesson from the First World War  and the punitive treaty that followed. The more insightful at the time understood that this was not a peace treaty but a twenty year truce. In treating a defeated Germany as a nation that deserved no consideration the allies created the fertile ground for a Hitler to thrive. It is a moral failure to see your enemy is evil incarnate. If you cannot come to terms with the shadow side of your own personality or nation then you project that shadow onto others amplifying their faults and blinding you to your own. It is especially difficult for the intellect to deal with the shadow. Intellect wants clear cut distinctions and those are not possible. The failure of the treaty of Versailles  and of Vietnam 

are the same moral failure of projecting one's shadow  rather than dealing with it. One sided dominance of intellect is a major contributing factor.

Before we can go forward we must go backwards. We must look to the methods and disciplines from a time when development of human potential was not so badly skewed. We must pick up the threads that were abandoned and relegated to an underground status in our headlong rush to pursue the fruits of intellect.

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