Principle 2. The Principle of Action and Reaction. Second Week.
When you force something towards an end you produce the contrary.
Last time: Ripening.
This time: Unintended Consequences
Last week we focused on the general structure and implications of the principle. This week we’ll investigate how this principle played out (or didn’t) in our past. Can I discover situation where I applied or violated this principle? Did this have particular consequences? How would I characterize these results?
Here’s some raw material that I hope you will find useful in your own reflections.
Another Restating of Principle 2
Principle of Unintended Consequences
“You can get what you wanted but end up not wanting what you got”
Here’s a story from a traditional collection of that great sage Aesop. In it the North Wind seems to have forgotten this principle.
The Sun and the Wind were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”
So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.
Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
…Kindness has more impact than severity.
Remember this principle doesn’t say that forcing produces the opposite! If I pressure someone to do what I want it doesn’t mean that they won’t do it, or that they’ll pressure me in return, it’s not quite that simple.
Consider these examples that Laozi gives in the Tao Te Ching
Fill a cup to the brim and it’s likely to spill.
Over sharpen a blade and it only loses its edge more quickly.
The more you accumulate the more you have to lose.
Celebrity and fame bring scandal and disgrace.
Do your work and let it go. This is the way of heaven.
Standing on tiptoe you lose your balance.
Running full out you are quickly exhausted.
People see through boastfulness.
The braggart appears weak.
Like crumbs from a meal, or empty promises.
They bring no satisfaction.
Those who follow the way leave all that aside.
This week we are considering this principle and how it applies to past situations. Next week we’ll look at how the principle of action and reaction might apply to our present situations. 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.
Every morning (perhaps even before getting out of bed or opening your eyes) consider for a brief moment how applying this principle could change your day. Imagine the specific events and encounters you think will arise and how you want to face them. Before going to sleep briefly review the day. Try to remember (without self-praise or criticism) when you felt “in agreement with yourself” (i.e. your feelings, thoughts, and actions were all aligned in the same direction). Notice when you felt angry, violent or in disagreement with yourself. Consider the principle briefly. In a surprisingly short time you will notice positive and important results. Guaranteed!
“Only rarely do I perceive reality in a new way, and it is then that I realize that what I normally see resembles sleep or semi-sleep.”
Silo, Inner Look 6:2
The Principles are Principles of Valid Action. It is an action meant to enhance the well being of others, it produces a feeling of internal unity.
It and when looking back it seems like something I’d want to repeat.
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at www.silo.net or www.silosmessage.net
There are currently two 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.
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list. You will also find them along with other comments, and reflections on my website: dzuckerbrot.com