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4D Star

This special tool helps us navigate our life together.

When sailors are at sea, they use instruments to figure out where the ship is and where it’s going.  This makes it easier to arrive at the right place.

4D★ is what adults call a “macro-level paradigm.” Those big fancy words just mean it’s a navigational tool like what sailors use.  Except 4D★ helps guide us in pretty much everything — not just sailing. 

You know how a ship’s captain uses a nautical chart to get a complete view of the ocean?  4D★ is a little bit like that.

Except this is an “idea” kind of instrument. It helps us remember what’s important so we can set our course.

Like a sailor who wants to keep his ship in good condition, we take a responsible attitude.

☆ You see that star with five points?  Those points keep five major things within sight, guiding our course — like how the North Star shows direction to sailors.

The first point, and the most important, stands for “Human.”  

Why first?

Maybe your parents ask you to do your homework, or your chores, as soon as you get home from school.

If you don’t do it first — and you put something else first — what happens?  You might forget, right?

Well, the same is true for adults.  If they don’t put “Human” first, a lot of times they forget.  In history, some people were very cruel when they forgot.

Humans need a lot of things, but they also do a lot of things.

People work hard all day to help other people.  Maybe they’re paving a road or planting a garden, and one day someone else will drive on that road or eat those vegetables.

Other people see their customers right away — like a nurse or a teacher.

Sometimes people also spend quiet time alone, reading a book, praying, or enjoying the creek water as it flows by.

Once in a while, we think about the brave people in the military and police who go into danger to keep us safe and free.

Most important, we like to spend time with our family or the people who are like family.

☆ Another point on the star stands for a special thing called Freedom.

Freedom means your parents and you get to make choices, instead of waiting for decisions from a big building far away.

Maybe today you want to jump rope, but yesterday you preferred to read a book.  If you decide for yourself, that’s “freedom.”

When you grow up, you could be a carpenter, a dentist, or an engineer.  Any job that helps other people is a good job, if you enjoy it and it fits you.

You are special and you know yourself better than anyone else. You can decide for yourself.

Guess what? Freedom also means you can suggest ways to improve things, to help people even more.

Loyalty with élan helps us in many ways.

When we are loyal, we remember that people have dignity that we should honor. “Dignity” means other people laugh and cry just like you do, so they are valuable.

Élan is a French word. It means to do things eagerly and with energy, taking pride in your own style.

Because you are so important, you should love yourself first of all.  That means eating good food, learning about this mysterious Universe, and trying every day to be a helpful person.

One day you will grow up and maybe have your own children. They in turn could have their own children.  That means your neighbor and you could both be grandfathers or grandmothers to the same person, in 50 years.

Thinking about that, it’s easy to see how people are not really so separate.  So try to help the people in your town, because one day they could be your family.

Loyalty also means we remember the brave people who defend our freedom. There may come another time when we need to courageously take a stand, because tyrants don’t care about liberty, but we treasure it dearly. 

When free people like us are ready and united, aggressive dictators are too afraid to start trouble.  But when we’re not prepared, and if we fight each other instead, that’s when they think they can take our freedom away.

It’s very sad, but in those countries where the dictators are in charge, they do anything they want. People don’t have rights like we have; they are more like slaves.  We never want to live like that, even if it means we have to fight hard to keep our life the way it is. 

Can you name any ties between Loyalty, Human dignity, and Freedom?

Innovation means we always look for ways to improve what we do. We use our creativity, we do experiments, and we remember our experiences. 

We think things through again and again; we don’t do things only because it was done that way before.

Because we are loyal, we use our freedom to look for innovative ways to help humans.  

Are you starting to see how the points of the star connect to each other? These are things that will always be linked together.

Since we live in a free country, if we find the answer to a problem, we can let everyone know about it.  We can also study what other people want and need.

Organization means we work together in a smart way. With teamwork, we use those innovative solutions.

Moved by loyalty and élan, everyone enthusiastically cooperates. We eagerly learn about the interesting choices that people make using their freedom, so we can help humans get what they want.

Notice that again?  You can’t separate these five elements and still get the job done.  That’s why 4D★ is so special.

As we organize, we have to make sure that we don’t forget about the other points of the star. We need to be smart so we don’t waste any thing or any skills — or miss opportunities.

We organize free elections to make sure that voting citizens are in charge — not one strong personality. Separate parts of the government split duties so none have too much power. We call our system democracy.

Rather than a disorganized “list of five things,” the points of the star tell us something deep and unchanging about our existence together. These five parts, which we call the “Five Foundations,” together compose one harmonious whole.

See the Ring around the star in that drawing?  
We call that the Ring of Harmony — it stands for the emotions and communication between us.

Emotions and Communication help bind the Five Foundations together.  

We share worries, hopes, and solutions with each other.

We also care enough to listen.  

That way, all these elements add up in a special way we call Synergy.

Synergy means when all the parts are present together, the bigger whole functions.  But take one part out, and what happens? 

You guessed it.  The whole thing falls apart.

A representation of the author’s grandfather, William “Bud” Luedke, selling  newspapers in downtown Chicago, circa 1929.  Despite severe disability caused by Osteogenesis imperfecta, Bud eventually became Vice President of the advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son.

Sustainability Through Time

“Sustainability” means keeping the future in mind. In 10 years, or even in 100 years, we want our families and our country to still have a good life — better, actually.

Even though the five points of the star are finished, now we have a new “dimension” to think about.  Sometimes in a paradigm, a new topic is called a “dimension.”

If the five foundations define a two-dimensional surface, then Sustainability is a 3rd Dimension. Those five 2D elements, all together, make us ready for Time and its challenges.

To prepare for the future, we have many things to do.

For example, we need to be responsible and smart when we do business and spend money.

We must protect the animals and plants so we can enjoy nature and live on a healthy planet.

When a tyrant invades our friends, we say, “No!,” and we don’t let that succeed, because otherwise the free countries disappear one by one, and we get weaker and weaker.

We need our citizens here to stay healthy and strong, with good education and great teamwork.

4th Dimension – Enduring Realities

Our paradigm is still not complete until we add one more dimension, otherwise we can’t make good decisions.

An enduring reality is something that stays true for a long time.  It probably won’t change much within a few years.  This can deal with the people, the land, or really anything in the Universe.

For example, if your town is in the jungle 1,000 miles from an ocean, you will have many differences from a city in a desert with a seaport.

If most of the people in your region are elderly, have a lot of money, and know how to read, that is different from a city with younger people who don’t have much money and mostly don’t know how to read.

As we use 4D★ to try to make our country a happier and stronger place, innovative scientists and researchers help us learn things about our environment, so we can make smart decisions. 

If you were a scientist, what would you like to study?

Appendix

Malevolent Star

Sometimes selfish men — dictators — use guns to take over their countries.  They love the power of their regime too much and forget that “Human” is the most important thing.  

No one would normally be loyal to them, so they have to use terror to enforce obedience instead.  They impose oppression and fear in place of freedom.

Because people aren’t free to suggest new ideas and improvements, those countries have stagnation.  That means not much innovation — there’s only change if the dictator wants it.

Rather than organization, there is segmentation.  Groups are turned against each other, so that people won’t pay attention as the tyrant takes every last crumb of power — and sometimes every literal crumb too, because hunger helps keep people weak and in chains.

Rival factions that work for the dictator spy on everyone — including each other.  Can you believe that?

One set of rules applies for top officials — who take whatever they want — while another set goes for ordinary people.

Even within thoughts, there’s a division. One side holds on to “old-fashioned goodness,” while the other side deals with obeying and enforcing.

So the segmentation goes from top lieutenants down to the mind itself.  

If it’s everywhere like that, it can’t be random coincidence.  It means deep down, the system does not agree with nature.

It’s not like the harmony we saw before with the five foundations of 4D★.

Did you notice something else?  By replacing “Human” with “Regime,” the whole thing becomes a sinister counterpart of 4D★.

Instead of lifting humans up in freedom and solidarity, it crushes people down in fearful segments.

Have you heard of Bizarro, the evil version of Superman?

We call this dystopian mirror-image Malevolent Star. Dystopia means “opposite of paradise,” where things are sad, unfair, and brutal.

Malevolent signifies “vicious or evil,” and it certainly fits in this case. 

The next time you see your flag proudly flapping in the wind, you might think about how fortunate you are not to live under the boot of a brutal tyrant.

Fortunate, not “lucky,” because the heroes who have defended us have paid dearly, and we always remember that.  

That’s why, when we meet a veteran, we say, “Thank you for your service.”

2D Level – Ultra-Brief Summary

Human-centric principles representing Five Foundations for analysis and decision-making

HUMAN — Creative, social, needy, active mammal.

FREEDOM — Unhindered creative and expressive flowering of human(s).

LOYALTY with élan — Self-recognition of individual and collective dignity, with enthusiasm to elevate and protect human(s); in a context of trust, freedom, and a sense of shared destiny.

INNOVATION — Inherent creativity of human(s) applied to problem-solving and discovery.

ORGANIZATION — Effective human collective that dovetails with the other foundations. Innovative structures, processes, rules, mentalities, and deployment of resources.

Reaction from Dr. Steven Pinker of Harvard University

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