#68 – What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” was originally said in the 1967 movie “Cool-Hand Luke” (starring Robert Redford) by the prison Captain (played by Strother Martin). A person who is contained in and mesmerized by a narrative that resembles a nightmare more than reality will experience a world of woe. Virtually all of humanity today is dealing with the dystopia that Luke had to deal with. Unconscious people deploying unrealistic solutions to allay their fear and suffering will end up being sorely disappointed. But what we have here in the Global Village today is not a failure to communicate but rather a failure to wake up. If we continue to believe that the nightmare we are experiencing is reality, we cannot expect anything to change.

China is emerging as the chief rival to the U. S. for world domination in both the economic and military spheres. Neither nation will experience anything like success if their leaders cannot communicate with the people they profess to lead. Let’s take a closer look at both China and the process of communication itself.

Chinese leaders are trying to find the right balance between the Communist Party’s exercise of power and the “socialist market economy” giving entrepreneurs more freedom. “Reform has swung in one direction or the other, but it has long fit into the model of what one of the architects of modern China, Cen Yun, called a ‘bird-cage economy.’ Entrepreneurs were free to spread their wings, as long as they stayed within the cage of government control.” (1) 

All nations, however they label their particular brand of politics or their economic philosophy, are continually trying to find a balance between freedom and control. None will succeed as long as the “caged bird” cannot distinguish reality from illusion. “If China does not practice socialism, does not carry on with reform and opening and economic development, does not improve the people’s standard of living, then no matter what direction we go,’ he [Deng Xiaoping] said ‘it will be a dead end.’” (1)

Deng Xiaoping senses correctly that his species is strongly identified with the accumulation of material wealth. As long as we derive our identity from the pursuit of plenty, pleasure and power there will be no way to achieve a balance between our ego-driven false self and the healthy identity of our True self.

Insight # 68:  We are all mad here!  –  The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland



  1. Bradsher, Keith and Li Yuan. “An Economy That Became No. 2 by Defying No. 1.” The New York Times. November 25, 2018, page 16. 

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