Principle 4 Proportion 1

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.”

Illustration by Rafael Edwards

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.

The attached document has some background about the Principles of Valid Action as well as a few ideas, stories, etc to aid in your reflections. 

Here’s some of my personal thoughts about the principle. I hope, whether you agree with them or not, they will be of some use in your own reflections .

Personal Reflections
Silo explained that idea of “moving together” did not imply that all my activities should get the same time, or energy. Rather that it was a matter of my giving myself clear priorities. Things are moving together only when each activity, each ambit  (family, friends, work, etc), and each project got the attention it needed according to how I prioritized them.  

That means I need to get my priorities right. 

In later reflection it struck me that things move well within a larger purpose. The valves, pistons, electronics, etc of a car’s engine can only be said to move well (i.e. not in isolation, but together) when they work toward the purpose of moving the vehicle’s wheels.
I imagine that a dance troupe, the cast of a play, the members of a sports team, a military or a political campaign, all have a certain place and priority within the whole and the strategy for the whole. Their roles are of course very different from each others, the amount of time, they perform for, the tasks they do etc. But in all cases their moving well means they move with in the needs, and strategy of the whole. That is when they move not in isolation but together.

That means I need to make my aims, goals and purpose clearer.

Remember this document has more examples of, and information about, the Principles of Valid Action in general, and this one in particular.

If you have any personal reflections on the principles it would be great if you sent them along. I hope you find these comments of interest, they’ve also been posted to the Facebook page and the mailing list for the Community of Silo’s Message, Toronto Annex.