Principle 9 Liberty 2

Principle 9, second week
This week’s principle is  #9, The Principle of Liberty” it says: “When You Harm Others You Remain Enchained, But If You Do Not Harm Anyone You May Freely Do Whatever You Want”.
I find this principle an easy one to relate to since looking back at my life so far almost the only things I feel bad about, or would change, are situations where (intentionally or not) I hurt others. Even when these events took place so long ago that I almost feel they happened to someone else, after all this time, I feel enchained to those situations.

Why the picture of this monkey? Read on…

First time here? Then you should know:
Every month we focus one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action. These acan be found in Chapter 13 of the book, The Inner Look. Each week we look at a different aspect of that principle. 

We take the time to think and talk about each principle, not just in order 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.

Coming up:
Last week we reflected on some general ideas about this principle. This week we’ll focus on how we applied it or could have applied it in the past, and what the consequences where or might have been. In the following weeks we’ll look at how we are applying, (or could apply) this principle in the present moment, and how we have might apply it in the future. 

Some Personal Reflections:
Following up on last week’s comments. The principles aren’t a moral, a set of laws, commandments. While all those things and the principles may give guidance, they are in a sense the opposite. I say that for a reason that seems important to me.  Morals and ethics are about outside criteria. That is usually proposed as their virtue. That’s how they derive their power and authority, from the deity, society or code that supports them. The principles orient but not by way of an external authority, and there is nothing special about  their form — the words merely point to what’s important. And what’s important is the register. 

So it seems then its some kind of anarchic hedonism. Do what makes you feel good. Is that all this comes down to? That sounds like a recipe for disaster? Perhaps if that one notion was your only principle. Here it is not. Furthermore, in the measure that we go on clarifying our own internal registers we realize our well being is intimately tied to that of everyone else. That’s pretty in-grained, rooted as it is in our pre-human inheritance. What I call “monkey business” (more about that here ).  Consider the experiments that show most social animals (at least) have a rudimentary (at least) sense of justice — an instinctive sense of equity and fair play (look here).

In any case, in the end aren’t our registers of what is right the only criterion we have? If I do something because “God told me to”, aren’t I trusting my own registers (of God and his/her communication with me). In the end, I can’t blame, or credit an external something. What I can do is, learn to clarify and attend to my own internal registers of unity and contradiction.

Summing up, here is a quote from chapter X of the Inner Landscape by Silo.
9. Here is the point: Will those principles of valid action that allow all human beings to live in internal unity be static images that must be obeyed, or will they correspond instead to what one experiences when one rejects or follows those principles? 

And in Conclusion:
These notes have been sent to the email list of The Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex, and posted on Facebook, as well as on my blog at

We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts about, considerations of, or artwork inspired by, any of this.