Here’s somethings to consider this week. Besides the opportunity to participate in the weekly experiences, our next meeting will be a chance for an interchange about your thoughts, insights, examples and questions.
You’ll receive a reminder the day before the meeting. We hope you can join us.
“When You Harm Others You Remain Enchained, But If You Do Not Harm Anyone You May Freely Do Whatever You Want”.
Principle of Valid Action 9. The Principle of Liberty. Week 3
Last time: Do No Harm!
This time: Free and Fearless Action.
This week we’ll be continuing with our investigations of principle 9. Over the last two weeks we tried to understand its general structure, and scope of the principle, as well as how it might have applied in the past. This week we’ll look at how we might apply the same principle in the present moment.
What follows are my reflections. I make no greater claim for them but offer them in the spirit of exchange and dialogue.
In the past I’ve shared my reflections on this principle from a number of perspectives: enchainment and internal noise. As an example of how the principles aren’t there as regulations but as invitations to explore them in action, to reflect on them, even to wrestle with them. This process is one of the ways we seek to form a new way of facing life, a spiritual disciple we can apply at every moment.
I once had these dogs that by their nature or predisposition were very obedient. They were unusually quick to learn. You rarely had to raise your voice to them, and if you did they would mope for hours. Once told to stay off the human’s beds they did not have to be reminded. But more than this they seemed to make rules for themselves. They, without prompting decided this restriction applied to all furniture. They even decided that they were only allowed on the main floor of the house and unless accompanied would neither go upstairs or down.
It sometimes seems to me that they were not alone in inventing rules for themselves. Sometimes it seems to me that we fear the freedom implied by this principle of freedom and quickly move to add restrictions that aren’t there.
As I mentioned previously, many of us seem to want to qualify the second part of this principle, perhaps changing it or adding conditions for example: “As long as you do not harm anyone and work for the betterment of everyone you may freely do whatever you want”. Or “As long as you do not harm anyone and help others, you may freely do whatever you want”. Or perhaps, “As as long as you do not upset anyone you may freely do whatever you want”.
My objection to such additions or modifications is not that they are wrong. After all unitive actions that meld thinking, feeling and doing, and are meant to help others are the basis of valid action. And often upsetting people, especially those close to me entangles me in conflicts I’d rather avoid. Rather, the issue is that they often bind us to very different criteria than that proposed by the principles themselves.
At such moments I don’t think it is our own (usually confused) registers of unity and contradiction we are listening but another voice that we could call “my inner judge”.
All too often, in my experience at least, the impetus for expanding the criteria beyond not harming has to do with that internal judge. This is a kind of voice of pseudo-conscience. It perhaps has more to do with threats from the beyond then it does with my intimate registers of unity or contradiction. This voice which could be understood as the internalization, and incorporation, of external morality, and the hollow rules of whatever faction, society, culture, or religion events have placed me. Not that one has to rebel against those values, perhaps they are very agreeable, perhaps my acquiescence to them is useful for me – or at least keeps me out of conflicts with which I don’t feel it worthwhile to become involved.
Following the admonishments of that internal judge is very different from my choosing to help others, or to work for the betterment of everyone, or as we will discuss next month, treat others as I wish to be treated. These would be then, expressions of what Silo called in the public gatherings of 1981, “…our freely chosen moral act”. It seems to me that our actions only can deserve to be described that way if they are free of fear, coercion, and necessity.
The basis of valid action is not given by ideologies, or by religious mandates or beliefs, or by laws or social regulations. Even though all of these things have great importance, none of them provides a basis for valid action. Instead, the basis of valid action is given by the inner register that an individual has of that action.
Valid Action: talk with a study group in Las Palmas, Grand Canary Island 1978.
Silo, Collected Works Vol.1 http://silo.net/en/collected_
Here is the point: Will those principles of valid action that allow all human beings to live in internal unity be static images that must be obeyed, or will they correspond instead to what one experiences when one rejects or follows those principles?
Internal Landscape, Chapter X. Valid Action
Silo, Collected Works Vol.1 http://silo.net/en/collected_
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 how we imagine the future.
These notes have been posted on our Facebook page (Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex), sent to our email list, and are also on my webpage at www.dzuckerbrot.com
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list, and, on my website www.dzuckerbrot.com