Principle 10 Solidarity 4 – 2021

 “When You Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You, You Liberate Yourself.”.

The principles are simply platitudes if you don’t make the effort to transform them into something more. They are not important because they are commanded by some deity, or sanctioned by other people, or enforced by powerful institutions. They are important if they can help you build a more coherent life filled with the experience of growing Peace, Force and Joy:  Peace in yourself and around you, the internal Force to face life’s difficulties, and the Joy of an open future.
Principle of Valid Action 10. The Principle of Solidarity. Week 4
Last time: The Other.
This time: Even Other Critters (and not just mammals).
This Week:
In the last three weeks we focused on the general structure of the principle, and what the application of this principle meant or, could have meant in our past, and our present. This week we turn to the future.
Recognize these folks?
Personal Reflections:
What follows are my reflections. I make no greater claim for them but offer them in the spirit of exchange and dialogue.  
I hope you find these of some use in your own meditations. I find sharing my thoughts on these themes useful because it forces me to give them some order, but of course I’m also very happy to think this sharing might help to clarify, inspire — or infuriate others — even that last can be useful. I look forward to seeing you at our meeting on Wednesday, or consider sharing your ideas with us on our Facebook page, or by email.
We can spend a lot of time thinking about the other: how they see us, and  how they treat us, even how we should treat them. We can even think about how we want to be treated. 
However, all that assumes we know where the dividing line between me and you is drawn. We rarely consider that we may be mistaken about the, seemingly obvious, division between oneself and others. Even more rarely we have experiences that change that topography.
I have written previously a few times about the biological roots of our behaviour, ethics. I think it’s an interesting and important topic that certainly has given me important insights into myself and others. Those old biological roots are complex and have shaped us in ways that are far from universal negative. All this is what I have at other times referred to as “monkey business”
It seems that other animals have their own versions  of these “ethical” behavioural and “moral” values. That is not to say these are as elaborate or complex as those of humans. No one should be surprised to find similarities —  or differences — between species. Just as there are important differences between monkeys and chimps (as we will see), there are important differences between chimps and human beings. However, the similarities should not be ignored.
Here’s a couple of minutes of  video of a presentation by Dr. Frans de Waal of Emory University. It shows an interesting experiment about fairness they did with monkeys. I have presented this video clip before. If you have seen it you know how cool it is, if not, it’s well worth checking out:
And here you’ll find a longer version of de Waal’s TED Talk from 2011. I’m not a huge fan of the TED Talks but I find his work intriguing and thought provoking. Let us know what you think. 
In any case, as the short video makes clear, the monkey’s seem to have something like a sense of fairness. Dr. Waal says the same thing has been found with many (social) animals from certain birds, and other creatures, not surprisingly dogs. He also told me when I interviewed him a few years ago that while the “underpaid” monkey will protest its own treatment, something different happens with Chimpanzees. Along with Bonobo apes, chimps are our closest non-human relatives. If you do the same experiment but replace the monkeys with chimps who know each other, the “higher paid” one will not only  protest any unfairness to itself, but also to its companion. That seems to me to be a step beyond the monkey’s awareness of unfairness to itself. This is a situation where the chimp not only recognizes what is fair, it wants the other treated fairly as well. That certainly feels like it’s a step closer to the Golden Rule!
And so as not to be too primate-centric check out this article about compassion among birds.
Meditation isn’t Only for When You Close Your Eyes.
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.  
Worth Mentioning:
A few minutes of reflection everyday is about as simple a procedure as there could be, but it can produce wonderful and unexpected results.
Coming up:
Next month we will turn to the Principle 11, Negation of Opposites. 
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list, and thanks to Fernando Aranguiz on my website 


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There are currently two 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.
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at or