Principle 4 Proportion 4

This week I’m repeating an email I sent a year ago. If you didn’t have a chance to try out the exercise explained here you may find it interesting. If you’ve done it already you may find it even more interesting on repeating it so many months later. It’s a different, and perhaps more involved, approach to the weekly principle than what I usually post. If you try it out I’d be interested in comparing results. Let me know.

Continuing our “tradition” of considering one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action each month we are considering principle #4 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look) one more time (for this cycle). This principle is also referred to as, “The Principle of Proportion” it states: “Things are well when they move together not in isolation.”

This week we focus on how I can apply this principle in the future. What follows are some personal reflections around that question. I offer them in the spirit of dialogue and exchange, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about, and experiences with, this principle.



principle-4-illustration

Read More...
Comments

Big Questions Part 4: Shit for Brains

Shit for Brains or,
Big Questions part 4 Who Am I? Who Is What?

Who gives a shit? You might, and if you don’t… well perhaps that calls for a faecal transplant. That’s right a shit transplant. It sounded pretty far out when the subject first came up, but before getting into that let me recap:


who-am-i



Read More...
Comments

Big Questions Part 1

Big Questions Part 1: Who am I?

Do not let your life pass by without asking yourself, “Who am I?”
Do not let your life pass by without asking yourself, “Where am I going?”
Do not let a day pass by without giving an answer to yourself about who you are.
Do not let a day pass by without giving an answer to yourself about where you are going.
Silo. The Path

This note was letter was written in 2013 to my friend Puchi as part of our correspondence about these questions. I am posting it as the first of a number of entries around the questions, i.e. “who am I?” and “where am I going?”. I am not sure I ever sent it or even finished this note of which I have a couple of minor variants. Here’s one of them:

who am I
Illustration by Rafael Edwards

Read More...
Comments

Principle 7 Immediate Action

Principle 7, first week (Immediate Action)
 
Each month we focus one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action. These can be found in Chapter 13 of the book, The Inner Look. Each week we look at a different aspect of that principle. The
Principle we chose to consider this week is #7 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called  “The Principle of Immediate Action” it says: “If You Pursue An End You Enchain Yourself. If Everything You Do Is Realized As An End In Itself You Liberate Yourself.”

unknown

illustration by Rafael Edwards

Read More...
Comments

Principle 6 Pleasure 4th Week

Principle 6, fourth week

Each month we focus one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action. These can be found in Chapter 13 of the book, The Inner Look. Each week we look at a different aspect of that principle. This week we are considering how we can apply Principle #6, also called the principle of pleasure in the present moment. This principle says: “If you pursue pleasure, you enchain yourself to suffering. But as long as you do not harm your health, enjoy without inhibition when the opportunity presents itself.”

You can find more about this principle in particular and the principles of valid action
here.

Rafa dancing on the edge

Rafael Edwards

Read More...
Comments

Principle 6 Pleasure 3rd Week

Principle 6, third week
 
Each month we focus one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action. These can be found in Chapter 13 of the book, The Inner Look. Each week we look at a different aspect of that principle. This week we are considering how we can apply Principle #6, also called the
principle of pleasure in the present moment. This principle says: “If you pursue pleasure, you enchain yourself to suffering. But as long as you do not harm your health, enjoy without inhibition when the opportunity presents itself.” 

You can find more about this principle in particular and the principles of valid action in general
here

principle 6 illustration

Read More...
Comments

Principle 6 Pleasure

Principle 6, first week

We’ve been considering one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action each month. In the same way we’ll spend the next four weeks considering various aspects of principle #6 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called the principle of pleasure, it says: “If you pursue pleasure, you enchain yourself to suffering. But as long as you do not harm your health, enjoy without inhibition when the opportunity presents itself.”

principle 6 illustration

illustration by Rafael Edwards

We spend all this time thinking and talking about each principle not just to understand it in itself but also to begin to reflect more rigorously about our behaviour. These principles, or guidelines, or however you think of them are elements that we can form into a discipline which can be practiced at every moment and in every circumstance. They are a kind of dynamic meditation. With time and application these efforts will give all my activities a particular tone, mood, and mental direction. Our goal is to weave these general ideas that you can weave together into a coherent style of life.

In the next weeks we’ll look at how we applied, or could have applied, this principle in the past, how we apply this principle in the present moment, and how we have might apply it in the future. Here are some general considerations about this principle. In order to illustrate various aspects of the principles I’ve drawn ideas from conversations with various people, as well as from materials we created over the years. If I can know who to credit for these contributions I will.

Here’s some thoughts about the
principle of pleasure:

Read More...
Comments

Principle 5 Acceptance


A short note this week for a change!

Principle 5, 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  #5 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called  “The Principle of Acceptance ” it says: “If day and night summer and winter are well with you, you have surpassed the contradiction”

principle 5 illustration Read More...
Comments

Update

Update
Besides the latest blog addition you can now find on this website under stories/anecdotes those anecdotes that previously appeared on my blog in instalments. They include the illustrations by Rafael Edwards.
All except Deliverance: a meandering tale also have a Spanish translation. If I can interest someone in doing the translation of the afterward it will be posted as well.
Thanks for tuning in.


cup of coffee anecdote Rafa

Comments

Ed and Me Part 1


This next anecdote deals with a moment in a series of medical events. The decision to proceed with heart surgery had actually been made a few years earlier but before they could get down to it I was diagnosed with cancer. On that hangs another tale but this one is pretty good on its own.

I thought I posted this last year but I see that only the second part of it is up. So here’s Part 1.
Read More...
Comments

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

Read More...
Comments

Principle 2 Action and Reaction

Principle 2, First week
This month we will take as a subject of reflection principle #2 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called “The Principle of Action and Reaction” it says: When you force something towards an end you produce the contrary.”
We will spend the next weeks considering, and discussing 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.

More information, stories and thoughts about the principles in general and this principle in particular can be found here.

Personal Reflections

Once again I must begin by recognizing that the principles are not commandments or simple rules. They require thought. But really thinking about them helps develop a new perspective and new behaviours. For example, in this case how do I know when I’m forcing things. If I use a hammer to brush my teeth it’s obviously disproportionate force. But also if I try to use a toothbrush to knock down a brick wall. I’m going to have to find a way of measuring the appropriate degree of force. How will I do that? One way to begin is to consider past errors and successes with judging these kinds of things. For example, situations where I tried way too hard, or not nearly hard enough.
Take a look at the principle and try to remember at least one situation where it was or could have been applicable. How did it change (or would it have changed) things.
The principles are guidelines, the indicator one is looking for is not agreement with some code or set of rules, it is in the register produced in me: does it move me towards greater unity or contradiction? Do I feel more in agreement with myself, or am I more at war with myself.

Below you will find more examples of, and information about, the Principles of Valid Action in general, and this one in particular. I hope you will find these considerations interesting and useful whether you agree with them or not.

principle 2 illustration
Image0.jpeg
Illustration by Rafael Edwards

Read More...
Comments

Principle 1 Adaptation

The Principle we will consider this month is principle #1 from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look). It is also called “The Principle of Adaptation” it says: “To go against the evolution of things is to go against yourself.”

Here are some of the considerations about this principle. I’m drawing them largely from conversations with many people. Also from materials we created over the years to illustrate various aspects of the principles. I’m sorry that in most cases I can’t credit specific individuals for their contributions but if I can I will.

principle 1 illustration
illustration by Rafael Edwards


This principle, which is the first in the twelve presented in The Inner Look, makes evident something that we will find to be true of all the rest as well; they can’t simply be applied mechanically. Wisdom is required to put them into practice – wisdom and the effort to see each principle in light of the other ones.

Read More...
Comments

A Belated Birthday Dream Part 1

Yesterday after posting Mark’s anecdote entitled, The Persistence Of The i, I noticed an anomaly. I was going to make sure that all the anecdotes I’d posted episodically were also available under the “Stories” drop down menu on my home page. But the first part of A Birthday Dream wasn’t listed in English, though the Spanish version was there.

So here it is, a belated part one. Complete with a doodle courtesy of R. Edward’s. I’ll also be listing it under the Stories/anecdote heading.

See you soon.
Read More...
Comments

The Persistence Of The i

It’s been a while since I’ve written. And I still haven’t; not much any way. Today’s literary contribution is by my friend, and perhaps yours, Mark Lesseraux. Mark is widely known as a musician, composer. Now he is revealed as a writer.

Here’s a bit of the correspondence that passed between Mark, Rafael Edwards and me regarding this short tale, and the anecdotes that can be found in this blog or under the menu heading “Stories”/ “anecdotes”

Our discussion went like this:

Rafa:
Man! Kafka was a teddy bear compared to you.
What a night! I think Danny should put you up as a guest writer in his blog.

Mark:
Wish i could say i created it ... all i did was record what happened ... can't beat ready-made metaphors! 

Danny:
This kind of realism that catches a moment as it was lived (i.e. not as fiction) but stripped of normal contextualizing deserves its own designation. That's why on (dzuckerbrot.com "anecdotes" under the "stories" menu) I wrote: "This collection of writings bears the title Anecdotes, not very inspired perhaps but I wanted, as described below, make it as clear as possible that these weren’t stories in the sense of fiction." The explanation continues...

"I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”
...So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.”

and with all that back and forth I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this "story".
Thanks Mark

Rafa:
Very enlightening Danny. A good theme this one. When I read Mark's story, as it happens to me with your anecdotes, and more recently with Tony Robinson's coffee, is that the first thing that strikes me is that I'm reading a honest account of something peculiar, and the writer makes it wonderful and superb, not by exaggerating or adding things to the soup, but simply because they themselves are capable of being in awe in front of these unfolding events. Then I'm not following a story, but a story-being-told, where my interest is more and more on the writer than in the writing. I don't know, does this make sense?
PS: it's the same that got me hooked on Vonnegut in the 1st place.

Danny:
I agree. It's not a specific style, more a sensiblity - whether more or less articulated. Not magical-realism, maybe realistic-magicalism.

Rafa:
Yes it does make sense, what you say Danny - Realistic-magicalism - nice

Danny:
Mark do you mind if I repost your story and some of this conversation to my blog?

Mark:
No, that'd be great. Thanks! did i include the title?  "Persistence Of The i"
ps:  Do you think "Christ Roach" is a better title? ... it did walk across toilet water... or is that too much of a give away?

And that’s way longer than Mark’s anecdote (by whichever name) that you can read here. Read More...
Comments

Deliverance - a meandering tale Post Script

This is a postscript written more than 40 years after my murderous adventure hitchhiking across Canada.
It describes an interesting and troubling encounter I had with my erstwhile shoeless girlfriend so many years later. Sadly after all that time I managed to make her uncomfortable and make myself look foolish. Well perhaps that’s a role I should be used to by now. And after all what’s wrong with a little foolishness. Read More...
Comments

Deliverance - a meandering tale part 4

Well here’s the denouement, the big finale... drum roll please Read More...
Comments

Deliverance - a meandering tale part 3

Deliverance - a meandering tale part 3

Here’s part 3, it’s where we start to get to the heart of the story. It’s weird how much shoes (of all sorts) and the absence of foot wear figures into this tale. Read More...
Comments

Deliverance - a meandering tale part 2

By popular demand... part 2 of Deliverance. More later!

click below to read the story Read More...
Comments

Deliverance - a meandering tale

So here’s another anecdote with pictures courtesy of Rafael Edwards. As I explain in the beginning of that tale it was chronologically the first of the events recorded in these anecdotes. Well, in a sense it was. The earliest events described here date to my early childhood, the key event took place when I was 16. I wrote up the initial version when I was in my mid-30s, and revised it 10 years later. Another 15 years would pass and chance or luck, or destiny would lead to an unexpected reunion and an epilogue which I believe casts an interesting light on those decades of writing. Guess why I titled it.
“Deliverance
— a meandering tale”

Sadly I have no updated Spanish version to post. Maybe later.
Read More...
Comments

Ed y Yo Part 2 (conclusión)

Here’s the second and final part of Ed and Me -- In Spanish. Illustrations courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Edwards. I think his doodles are great even though I don’t quite approve of his renderings of the author.

More soon.
Read More...
Comments

Ed and Me Part 2 (conclusion)

Here’s the second and final part of Ed and Me. Illustrations courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Edwards. I think his doodles are great even though I don’t quite approve of his renderings of the author.

More soon.


Read More...
Comments

Ed y Yo Part 1 Spanish

Esta anécdota enfoca un momento en una serie de situaciones médicas. La decisión de proceder con una cirugía al corazón de hecho había sido tomada hace algunos años, pero antes de concretarla, se me diagnosticó un cáncer. En torno a eso cuelga otra historia, pero esta como tal es en si bastante buena. Read More...
Comments

Social Science, Medical Adventures, Ed and Me Part 1

I’ve been writing about science and especially medicine of late. As you know I think we have to always keep in mind that science is a deeply empirical, experimental task, and that means results are more or less tentative. For the sciences that claim to understand human beings, their motivations and actions, they tend to be very tentative. No problem, if you take the results as suggestive but a real disaster if you believe they are “capital T”, True.

Consider:
Read More...
Comments

Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 4

And here’s the th and final instalment of Un Sueño de Cumpleaños
with Rafa’s doodles of course.

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

More soon... I hope Read More...
Comments

A Birthday Dream Part 4

Hopefully the technical problems that caused the loss of the last few postings are resolved. The highly technological fix I came up with is to save and backup more frequently. In any case I reposted the deleted postings as best I can. So if you read further you’ll find the 4th and final instalment of A Birthday Gift.

With Rafa’s doodles of course

More soon... I hope Read More...
Comments

Un Sueño de Cumpleaños Part 3

Same as the previous but the Spanish version. Read More...
Comments

A Birthday Dream Part 3

A number of updates to the website that include: new links, additions in the glossary, a new (old video), the next instalment of Birthday Dream complete with Rafael Edwards illustrations and more.

The video is Called
Blink of an Eye it was made around 20 years ago but I think you’ll find it timely. It was based on an idea Silo explored in Letters to my Friends. It was designed to use the ideas around the acceleration of time in order to open discussion about what would it take to change the world (nothing less!).

Read More...
Comments

A Birthday Dream Part 2


Lots of new stuff and links to lots more. 2nd part of A Birthday Dream. And more.

Unfortunately Isa you’ll have to wait a little longer for the promised continuation.

I apologize for the delay in updating but I’ve been on the road quite a bit working on our latest CBC production (
A Dog’s Life for The Nature of Things). Roberto Verdecchia’s film on Alzheimer’s which we have had the pleasure of producing. We have some other films in development but more about them in some future update.

and another instalment in Spanish of
Un sueño de cumpleaños .

Thanks again to Rafa for pix and comments and to H. and other anonymous and semi-anonymous friends who have contributed to this site in so many ways.

more stuff coming soon including material on synchronicity and other weird shit…..

Meanwhile...

Read More...
Comments

Patanjali Part 3

Patanjali Part 3 along with more art work from Rafael Edwards
Read More...
Comments

El Circo de Patanjali 3

Here’s Patanjali part 3 in Spanish with illustrations by Rafael Edwards Read More...
Comments

teenage memories, notes from Rafa


Among the other things uploaded in the last few days is my first entry about life before Silo. This one is a few pages about an interesting character (and related issues, like drugs and other things appropriate to that era of the late 60s). Pure Sound Jack was the nom de guerre of one of the people who frequented a house I lived in with some friends when I was 16.

On a very different note you’ll find in the body of this post (click where it says “read more”) some comments from Rafa along with some notes about how he remembers the making of Sage of the Andes...

In the near future, more tales of my mis/well spent youth, anecdotes about Silo, another instalment of Patanjali’s Circus, more video, and more on attention, the Pure Form, and…

In an upcoming blog I’ll put forward a very simple hypothesis about prayer. Though simple it may, at first, sound like a very odd notion. It can be expressed like this: atheists, and theists, believers, semi-believers and non-believers all pray. And what’s more everyone’s prayers are heard, and answered, even if there is no transcendental entity that hears them.

As an important British biologist said (back when the word queer only meant strange or odd), “Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose”.
J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964)


Read More...
Comments

news and El Circo de Patanjali 1 y 2

Thanks to all of you who have checked in so far and your comments and advice. I’m hoping that we can turn all this into a bit more of a conversation with your comments and observations. In fact, to all of you who shared these experiences and adventures, please feel free to contribute your anecdotes, stories, observations or corrections of my observations. I’ll post them here or link to another site.

Meanwhile especially for my Spanish speaking friends is
Patanjali’s Circus parts 1 & 2 with Rafa’s artwork but this time it’s El Circo de Patanjali and the text is in Spanish - including the short intro to my friend Patrick Watson! This translation is courtesy of a number of friends, who I’ll credit as soon as my memory kicks in… Read More...
Comments

Patanjali part 2

This is the second instalment of Patanjali’s Circus, along with another doodle courtesy of R. Edwards. If you can’t find it by just scrolling down the page. You can find it as a blog entry for 13-04-19 or just search for it by name (it’s tagged as Patanali). After all the instalments are posted here you’ll be able to find a full copy on the website under “stories”. Read More...
Comments

Patanjali's Circus

Below you will find the first part of an anecdote that was written in the fall of 1988. It describes events that occurred around the occasion of The Russian Academy of Science presenting Silo with an honorary degree. You can read the talk he gave on that occasion here. Along with the various instalments of this story you’ll find illustrations by my friend and co-conspirator, Rafael Edwards.

After Silo read these anecdotes I received a number of requests for copies from friends to whom he had mentioned them. Hence, the Spanish translation which was a deeply flattering gift from some of my friends who thought it worth their trouble to render into another language, something I know from much experience is never an easy task.

Through the usual mechanism, of friends forwarding things to friends, a short manuscript with four of these anecdotes reached Karen Mulhallen a scholar, and writer as well as publisher of Descant , a Canadian journal of the arts. Karen suggested I submit it for consideration and the editors were kind enough to ask if they might publish a representative sample. They chose A Birthday Dream, which I’ll republish here eventually.


When A Birthday Dream was published in Descant a , the same prologue was included. And so to continue that tradition I include it here:

Hello Patrick:

Here’s a couple of things that I hope you will find interesting, at least in respect to their content—if not their form. I haven’t circulated these writings very much and you will see why if you look through them. It’s not just that I don’t think the writing will pass muster—they are both goofy and klutzy. It’s also that I don’t need a bunch of people wondering about my sanity. I guess for both those reasons no one but Donna and the kids have read all of these tales, until now.

I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian
says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”

So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.

These anecdotes are in chronological order (with one exception that I’ll explain when we get there). They all involve some distortion of perception, or drastic change in perspective. In the first example the change is evidently spatial.

If these were literary works I’d edit them to make them more straightforward and less pretentious. But it is not a work of fiction and so…



Patanjali’s Circus Part I

Read More...
Comments