Principle 4 Proportion

We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts and reflections on this and the other principles (and related matters) please post your comments here, to our Facebook page or write to me and I’ll include your point of view in the upcoming mailings, etc.

Principle 4, first week

In keeping with our practice of considering one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action each month, we will spend the next four weeks considering various aspects of principle #4 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called “The Principle of Proportion” it says: “Things are well when they move together not in isolation.”

Over the next weeks we’ll consider this principle and its implications, whether it’s useful, and in what ways. We will look at how I applied it or could have applied it in the past, how it might apply in my current situation, how I imagine it might in the future. All of this is not just to understand this principle of valid action more deeply but also to begin to reflect more rigorously about our behaviour. Can I see how the Principles might be woven into a discipline that I can practice at every moment of my life, a kind of dynamic meditation, almost like learning a mental martial art – where the ability to get out of your opponents way (rather than how to punch them in the nose) is highly valued. As always we should remember the Principles are not meant as isolated bits of wisdom, any more than they’re meant as morals. They are part of a dynamic meditation, a discipline that you can practice in every moment of your life. They are principles, general ideas that you can weave together into a coherent style of life.

Here’s some background about the Principles of Valid Action as well as a few ideas, stories, etc to aid in your reflections.

Below you’ll find some of my personal thoughts about this principle I hope, whether you agree with them or not, they will be of some use in your own reflections.

If you don’t get around to opening the linked document so here’s one of Rafael Edward’s illustrations of this principle.

principle 4 illustration

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Principle 3 Well Timed Action 4th week

Principle of Well Timed Action Week 4
The Principle of Well-Timed Action” says: “Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens then advance with resolution.” Over the last weeks we have considered how we understand this principle in particular and the principles in general, how this one applies in retrospect (or could have been applied to past events) and how it could be applied in my present circumstances. We’ve also discussed how one might go about a daily meditation on the theme, even to some details of what has proven best (for some of us) in terms of when and for how long such considerations should be carried out (see the notes for Principle 2 week 2). In the weekly meeting people have shared very interesting and insightful examples about situations as diverse as those at work, in relationships and in terms of personal “evolutionary work”. Hopefully, we’ll see those extended to our Facebook page and our mail list. Read More...
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Update

update
I don’t know when you last looked but even if it was pretty recently I bet there’s a lot of new stuff up here. Besides the weekly blog entries on the principles there’s other stuff, including a rather too long entry under the menu heading stories and the sub-heading plot summaries you’ll find a rather too long summary of a story with the redundant title Virtually: A Story.

I’m not really satisfied by the story structure. I think it deserves a much shorter, more concise presentation. I say deserves because my feeling, so many years after writing my notes for this tale, is that the essential ideas are interesting and even important but I’ve sort of “buried the lead” as the journalists say. There’s so much going on that its essence might have gotten lost. Read More...
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Principle 3 Well Timed Action 3rd week


Principle of Well Timed Action Week 3
This week we continue our meditation on “The Principle of Well-Timed Action” it says: “Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens then advance with resolution.” We are focusing on the present, and on the possibilites and implications of trying to apply this principle in my present circumstances.

Like last week I start by asking myself some simple questions… Read More...
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Principle 3 Well Timed Action 2nd week


Principle of Well Timed Action Week 2
This week we have as a subject of meditation “The Principle of Well-Timed Action” it says: “Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens then advance with resolution.” We are focusing on the past, on how I applied or could have applied this principle.

So in trying to deepen my understanding of this principle and its applications, I started to ask myself some questions. Simple things like, how did I know when a force was great? Did I sometimes misjudge and retreat in front of, what were really, minor inconveniences? How did that work out?

After a moment I found I had lots of questions. Read More...
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Principle 3 Well Timed Action

This month we will take as a subject of meditation “The Principle of Well-Timed Action” it says: “Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens then advance with resolution.”

We will spend the next weeks considering, and discussing this principle and its implications, whether, and in what ways, it can be useful. We will look at how I applied it or could have applied it in the past, how it might apply in my current situation, how I imagine it might in the future.

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Illustration Rafael Edwards


The Principle’s in General
All of this is not just to understand this principle of valid action more deeply but also to begin to reflect more rigorously about our behaviour. Can I see how the Principles might be woven into a discipline that I can practice at every moment of my life, a kind of dynamic meditation.
At next week’s meeting we can compare and discuss our experiences of, and considerations about, this Principle and it’s applications. Perhaps that will lead to an interchange of points of view, or an enriching of our own perspectives. Either way, remember, the Principles are not “morals” or “laws”. They are not meant as external guidelines but as aids to configuring a way of approaching life based on registers of unity (agreement with myself) and contradiction. Internal unity is registered when my thinking, feeling and actions go in the same direction and aren’t warring with each other. That’s why the Principles are sometimes called Principles of Valid Action. A valid action, is unitive, ends in others, and is something we want to repeat.

Personal Reflections
Here’s some personal musings, whether you agree with them or not they are offered in the hope that they will trigger your own reflections. I hope you won’t be turned off by my “violent” examples but, perhaps because of the word “retreat” when I think of this principle I immediately think of military tactics in general and a couple of famous battles in particular. The martial arts are full of examples where this basic idea is applied. Here are a few. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable could supply many more examples. You don’t have to turn to the Eastern arts of Ju Jitsu or Aikido, both of which are famous for turning the attackers energy against them. Western boxing for example has its famous “rope a dope” where a fighter takes on a protected stance like lying against the ropes, which can then absorb some of the the punch's energy while the opponent slugs away tiring themselves out.
Military historians still argue about what mix of events beyond the military (the weather, disease, etc) tipped the scales. But in both cases the apparently stronger invaders pushed ahead while the Russian armies retreated, stretching the enemies supply lines, providing the opportunity for some combination of weather, disease, fatigue, and hunger to decimate the troops demoralize the troops. When the enemy weakened the retreat transformed into attack (with the help of General Winter and his colleagues General Snow, General Ice, General Cold combined with a willingness of the Russians to sacrifice themselves on a terrifying scale.

Here’s more examples of, and information about, the Principles of Valid Action in general, and this one in particular




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