“When You Harm Others You Remain Enchained, But If You Do Not Harm Anyone You May Freely Do Whatever You Want.”
Principle 9. Principle of Liberty – Week 2.
Last time: A Radical Proposal
This time: Unchain Yourself
This week we’ll be continuing with our investigations of principle 9. Last week we tried to understand its general structure and scope. This week we’ll look at how we applied, or could have applied, this principle in the past.
What follows are my reflections. I make no greater claim for them but offer them in the spirit of exchange and dialogue.
Personally I find this principle pretty easy to relate to, since looking back at my life so far, most of the things I feel really badly about, or would change if I could, 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 still feel enchained to those situations.
We are considering precisely the principles of valid action and on many occasions Silo explained the essence of valid action as unitive actions aimed at the well being of others — at helping them. As he put it in a talk about his philosophical and literary writings:
“Finally, as to the meaning of human actions, we do not believe that human actions are a meaningless convulsion, a “useless passion,” an endeavor that will end in the dissolution of the absurd. We think that valid actions are those that end in others, going in the direction of their freedom.”
From a talk given at The Grand Palace, Santiago, Chile on May 23, 1991 (Silo Speaks Vol 1 Collected Works http://silo.net/en/collected_
Years earlier (1978) he had spoken about valid action with a study group meeting in Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island. After a long and complex analysis of the structure, registersm and meaning of valid actions he concluded that:
“Even if we have only a minimal knowledge of these things, we register it as unifying and worthwhile when, through simple words and deeds, we offer what we know to that disoriented person, who is without references in his or her life. Even if no one else offers help to this person, we make what we have available—as we offer so many other things that allow people to overcome pain and suffering. And in doing so, we will also be working for ourselves.”
Silo Speaks Vol 1 Collected Works http://silo.net/en/collected_
If the very idea of valid action is tied to how we treat others then it seems to follow that we cannot harm others and at the same time free ourselves. Perhaps then I shouldn’t be surprised to discover that my regrets about the past are centered, less on situations that, for example, didn’t work out as I’d hoped, and more on just these situations where I’d harm others. Do you find the same thing?
Every phenomenon that makes suffering recede in others is registered as a valid action, as an act of unity, in the one who carries it out.
Internal Landscape X:5
A valid action is experienced as growing internal unity. At the same time, it gives one a feeling of inner growth; it is something one desires to repeat.
Next week we will continue with principle 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”. We will focus on understanding this principle in terms of our present situations.
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We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts, considerations, artwork, etc about any of this.
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at www.silo.net or www.silosmessage.net
There are currently 2 Parks of Study and Reflection in North America. These are Red Bluff (www.redbluffpark.org) in California and Hudson Valley (www.hudsonvalleypark.org) in New York. The Parks of Study and Reflection are projects built and paid for by individuals inspired by Silo’s teachings. More information is available on their respective websites.