Principle 1. Third Week
This week we will continue with the first of the principles of valid action, also called “The Principle of Adaptation”. It is drawn from chapter 13 of the book (The Inner Look), and tells us that: “To go against the evolution of things is to go against yourself.”
In the previous two weeks we focused on the general structure and implications of the principle and investigated how this principle played out (or didn’t) in our past. This week we turn to considering how I might apply this principle in my current situations. What are the pressures, challenges, or difficulties that I face? How might this principle apply? What light does it shed on these circumstances? How might it change things and so on? Equally I might consider what the consequences might be of misapplying or ignoring it?
Some Personal Reflections (that might be useful raw material for your own meditations)
Last week, examining past situations where I applied, or might have applied, the principle I reflected on the consequence of mistaking a fad for a real evolutionary tendency or vice versa. Imagine the result if I believe every momentary trend or little breeze is a hurricane or the inevitable “evolution of things”. A misjudgment like that would leave me totally passive in front of every situation. If I’m wrong, and I confuse something positive and inevitable for something negative or something that’s only a momentary trend than I really will be like the bird trying to crawl back into its shattered egg. And if I do the reverse, and take some minor fashion for the direction of history itself, who knows what disproportionate actions I might take?
In the past situations I was reviewing last week I at least had the advantage of hindsight. That is, looking back in the past I can discern, to some extent, the path that events followed. That allows me to say that what I thought of as inevitable direction was just a hiccup, or what I thought was just a fad was the first stirrings of a historical trend. Looking at my present situation it is much more difficult to make those judgments. How can I know when a tendency is “the evolution of things” and when it’s just a possibility, an accident, a passing fashion?
For example, given the ecological, political and social chaos of our times it’s easy enough to believe that the world is inevitably heading toward destruction. Regardless of what the statistics might say it’s hard to believe there is less war, less violent crime and a higher global standard of living than ever. Hard to believe, but what does it mean, if it is indeed true?
What looks like we are falling head over heels into the apocalypse can just as easily be understood, not as the fall of humankind but, as the much overdue fall of outgrown institutions and ideas making room for something new. Certainly civilizations run their course and people outgrow their ideologies but that’s not the end of the world… perhaps as some of us believe it signals, on the contrary, the real birth of the human being.
The consequence of mistaking the end of certain institutions for the end of history could prove ridiculous, or even tragic.
Evolution or Apocalypse?
Is it the end or a new beginning? Is it dusk or dawn? Is the cat going up or down the stairs? What about the people In M.C. Escher’s drawing?
This week we’ll consider this principle and how it applies to our present situation. All of this is not just in order to deepen our understanding this particular principle, but also to begin to reflect more rigorously about our daily behaviour. Over the next weeks we’ll look at how it might apply in my current situation, and how I imagine it might in the future.
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 this website.
We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts about, considerations of, or artwork inspired by, any of this.
PS. Since they made these notes twice as long and always contained the same information I’m no longer including the general information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc that were included each week. You can find more info at the Silo Net website and here at The Silo’s Message website.