Principle 11 Opposites 2

Principle 11, second week
This month we are focusing on principle #11 It is also called “The Principle of the Negation of Opposites” it says: “It does not matter in what faction events have placed you what matters is for you to understand that you have not chosen any faction.”

Last week we looked at some general impressions about this principle. This week we’ll focus on how we could have applied it in the past. In following weeks we’ll turn to how we might apply it in the present and future.

I find the best way to approach these kind of considerations is concretely — that means that this week I’ll take a look at the principle and try to discover at least one situation where applying the principle made or could have made a difference in the outcome of events, or at least how I felt about that outcome.

This is the “rabbit-duck” it’s an ambiguous image that became widely known through the philosopher Wittgenstein’s use of it in his book Philosophical Investigations. He used it as an illustration in a discussion about seeing.

Thoughts about this months Principle:
What a timely principle. Perhaps it’s always timely. Maybe it’s just because all the principles are always timely. But whatever the case this sure seems worth considering in a word with increasingly virulent factions.

Here’s chapter 4 from The Internal Landscape. Along with the Human Landscape and The Inner Look it forms the book titled Humanize The Earth

“If even the most distant star is connected to you, what should I think of the living landscape, where deer slip between ancient trees and even the most savage animals gently lick their offspring? What should I think of the human landscape, where opulence and misery are found side by side, where some children laugh while others cannot even find the strength to cry?”

1. For if you say, “We have reached other planets,” you must also declare, “We have massacred and enslaved entire peoples. We have filled our jails with those who cried out for liberty. We have lied from morning until night. We have falsified our thoughts, our affections, and our actions. We have assaulted life at every turn, for we have created suffering.”
2. I know my way in this human landscape, but what will happen if we pass each other going in opposite directions? I renounce every faction that proclaims an ideal higher than life and every cause that, to impose itself, generates suffering. So before you accuse me of not being part of any faction, examine your own hands—you may find on them the blood of complicity. If you believe it valiant to commit yourself to those factions, what will you say of one whom all the murderous bands accuse of being uncommitted? I want a cause worthy of the human landscape: a cause committed to surpassing pain and suffering.
3. I deny the right to make accusations to any faction that, whether recently or long ago, has figured in the suppression of life.
4. I deny the right to cast suspicion on others to any who conceal their own suspicious faces.
5. I deny that anyone, even someone arguing the extreme urgency of present circumstance, has the right to block the new roads that the human being must travel.
6. Not even the worst of what is criminal is foreign to me, and if I recognize it in the landscape, I recognize it also in myself. So it is that I want to surpass what in me as in everyone fights to suppress life: I want to surpass the abyss!

Here’s a cartoon I posted last year to illustrate one aspect of this principle.

And this is an illustration by Rafael Edwards illustrating his take on another aspect of this subject.

By Rafael Edwards

And in Conclusion:
Whatever your opinion, your position, your faction, complete truth and liberty are not there. Complete truth and liberty arise when you realize that you have not chosen any faction.

Coming up:
More thoughts on this principle and liberty/enchainment

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.

Remember you can find The Inner Look and Silo’s Commentaries on the Message, along with the rest of Silo’s writings (in many languages) on You can also find information and materials about Silo’s Message and its activities around the world at

First time here? Then you should know:
Every 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 month’s principle. 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.

Since this is our first go at the principle this month I’m sending around a kind of overview on the principle. We can discuss it at this week’s meeting. In the next weeks we’ll consider how we’ve seen this in action in our pasts. We’ll look at how the principle could be applied to our present circumstance and what it might mean for us in future situations..

These considerations about this principle have been drawn from conversations with many people and from materials we created over the years to help illustrate various subjects related to “valid action”. I’m sorry that in most cases I can’t credit specific individuals for their contributions but I will when I can.