Principle 12 Accumulating action 1 – 2020

Principle 12. The Principle of Accumulating Action. First Week:
“Contradictory and unifying acts accumulate within you. If you repeat your acts of internal unity then nothing can detain you.”
Last Time: Principles and Platitudes 
This time: From Small Seeds.
Illustration by Rafael Edwards
Important Note
It is here amid all the little joys, and daily crap that we can actually create a discipline that can be practiced at every moment and in every circumstance. This is a dynamic meditation, requiring neither particular postures, nor special conditions. With time and application these efforts give all my activities a particular tone, mood, and mental direction.
This Week:
Since this is our first week devoted to considering this principle we will try to get an overview of its basic structure and implications. Our weekly meetings give us an opportunity to compare notes, discoveries, questions, etc. about the principles, and related subjects. Just email for a link if you want to participate  online. If you are unable to join us you might find it worthwhile to find, or create, situations where you can engage others in conversation about these themes.
Keeping  Your Focus Simple:
Everyone has their own way of approaching these principles. Keeping in mind what I’ve said previously about keeping these works very brief I for one will in this first week spend some trying to focus on at least one situation where I allowed small failures to accumulate and demoralize me. Then I will, just as briefly, consider at least one situation where I can see that my small efforts added up, or could add up, resulting in my being able to do something larger.
Personal Reflections:
Here’s some thoughts related to this subject. I hope you find them of some use in your own reflections.  Please consider sharing your ideas with us at the meeting this Wednesday, on our Facebook page or by email.
Repeating your actions forms habits of behaviour that in turn reinforce your future actions. This is true whether these are acts that produce internal unity (i.e. agreement with yourself) or contradiction (internal conflict). In either case repetition produces a mental direction, and forms habitual ways of facing life.
This principle reminds us that it is not a matter of acting according to one principle, or even a few principles in isolation. Making the effort to incorporate the principles as a whole into our daily lives helps us shape a coherent way of approaching life. It’s about giving our actions a direction toward the well being of others and to our own internal unity.
The sustained attempt to apply the principles in this way turns them from catch phrases, or platitudes, into an integral discipline capable of transforming our life into one of growing internal unity, and therefore of growing happiness and liberty.
Sometimes an individual or group builds their entire life out of contradictory acts. This can apparently result in ‘success’ at least in the short term. A more careful observer will note that sooner or later the results will be catastrophic because the foundations of that life (individual or collective) lacks integrity. Many people, seeing only a moment in that whole process think that it is “successful”. Seeing it in process, observing how it evolves (or decays) over time, reveals a very different situation.
A Story:
The following story, translated from Spanish is a variant of a well-known biblical tale. It illustrates the results of accumulating unifying or contradictory actions.
In his vanity a prideful prince decided to build a tower whose heights would reach into the heavens. So he gathered fully one third of the able-bodied men, women, and even children of his kingdom and set them to work. 
The people of the kingdom, with the exception of a few who could be called the wise or the compassionate, were corrupted in the same way as their ruler. In their greed they preyed upon neighbouring kingdoms and were vain about their wealth. 
Over the years the immense undertaking grew. The building of the tower required more and more workers, and resources of all kinds. From the remaining population, that were not labouring day and night on this extraordinary construction, the prince raised a mighty army and sent it out to conquer more lands so that those people might be enslaved to work on the tower and so that their riches should refill his coffers.
And so it went; stone was piled on stone, and effort was accumulated on effort. The tower rose to astounding heights; taking with it all the wealth, effort and suffering. It was like those times that the waters rise to heavens but do not return as rain. Those times when only drought descends on to the sad earth.
So the wise people gathered and they asked their spirits: “What unites these people?” And their spirits answered: “Their pride unites them.” Then they asked their spirits: “What divides these people?” And their spirits answered: “Their pride divides them.”
Then the wise ones, carefully calculating the consequences of their actions went among the builders labouring on the tower. And they said to them: “This tower which will be gazed on in awe and submission by all the nations requires its builders be seen in the same way. It is only fitting that the leaders be raised to the heights so all may see the merit they have earned and the lesser ones should struggle below so that they may earn merit and so ascend.
Immediately the people started to push and shove and fight for prominence. With the architects, engineers and other leaders far above the others could not hear their instructions. Soon they were all shouting and since no one could hear above the din all guidance was lost and chaos ensued. Contradictory and misunderstood orders brought rope to where mortar was needed and mortar to where scaffold was required. Ropes frayed against projecting walls that were meant to be smooth. Baskets, tipped over. Ladders slipped, bricks and mortar were misplaced and soon the tower itself, no longer rising straight as a pillar, began to teeter. The building however continued without rest, until finally with a foundation that no longer anchored it the swaying tower crashed to the ground dragging with it all who had guided the work from the heights.
Then the wise gathered once more. They said: “Let us find some way to make use of all this so at least some benefit should return to our people.” And so the bricks and tools that now lay scattered were gathered and the people worked on new projects: homes were built, aqueducts were extended, and granaries repaired. The people laboured at peace with themselves and in friendship with their neighbours.
The Principles  of Valid Action can be useful in developing a coherent life built on two basic internal registers: unity and contradiction.
Worth Repeating:
Our goal is to weave these general ideas  into a permanent way of facing life. With time and application, the effort to understand and apply the principles will give all my activities a particular tone, mood, and mental direction. 
Coming up:
Over the coming weeks we’ll consider how we’ve seen this in action in our past. How it can be applied to our present circumstance, and what it might mean for us in future situations.  

These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list, and thanks to Fernando Aranguiz on my website 

A slightly different version will be available on instagram. Look for silo_toronto
We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts, considerations, artwork, etc about any of this.

Want More:
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at or
There are currently 2 Parks of Study and Reflection in North America. These are Red Bluff ( in California and Hudson Valley ( 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.