Principle 11 Negation of Opposites – Week 2 – 2022

Principle 11. Negation of Opposites. Week 2. The past. This time: A worthy Cause and the Simplest Meditation
“It does not matter in what faction events have placed you what matters is for you to understand that you have not chosen any faction.” 
Last time: My beliefs, your beliefs. 
This time: Various Ducks or Various Rabbits
 
Next Wednesday (November 9th) falls in the 2nd week of the 11th month. We will use that occasion to discuss this 2nd week of our meditations on this principle of valid action.
 
Principle 11. The Principle of Negation of Opposites. Second Week:
“It does not matter in what faction events have placed you what matters is for you to understand that you have not chosen any faction.” 

 

This Week:
Last week we considered the overall structure and general implications of the principle of the negation of opposities. This week we will consider it in the context of the past. How did I apply, or not apply this principle? What were the consequences? How might things have played out differently?  At our next meeting we can discuss our reflections.
 
It’s a duck. It’s a rabbit:
This is the original version Jastrow’s “rabbit-duck” it’s an ambiguous image. More versions follow. It became widely known through the philosopher Wittgenstein’s use of it in his book “Philosophical Investigations”. He used it as an illustration in a discussion about seeing. The question of points of view is obviously related to this month’s meditations. Are you in the faction of those who first see a duck or a rabbit or…?
 
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. 
As I have mentioned previously I find the best way to approach these kind of considerations is concretely —  that means that this week I’ll take a look at the principle and try to discover at least one situation where applying the principle made or could have made a difference in the outcome of events, or at least how I felt about that outcome. 
 
What a timely principle! Perhaps it’s always timely. Maybe it’s just because all the principles are always timely.  But whatever the case this sure seems worth considering in a word with increasingly virulent, violent, and self-righteous factions.
 
Here’s chapter 4 from Silo’s “The Internal Landscape”. 
If even the most distant star is connected to you, what should I think of the living landscape, where deer slip between ancient trees and even the most savage animals gently lick their offspring? What should I think of the human landscape, where opulence and misery are found side by side, where some children laugh while others cannot even find the strength to cry?
1. For if you say, “We have reached other planets,” you must also declare, “We have massacred and enslaved entire peoples. We have filled our jails with those who cried out for liberty. We have lied from morning until night. We have falsified our thoughts, our affections, and our actions. We have assaulted life at every turn, for we have created suffering.”
 
2. I know my way in this human landscape, but what will happen if we pass each other going in opposite directions? I renounce every faction that proclaims an ideal higher than life and every cause that, to impose itself, generates suffering. So before you accuse me of not being part of any faction, examine your own hands—you may find on them the blood of complicity. If you believe it valiant to commit yourself to those factions, what will you say of one whom all the murderous bands accuse of being uncommitted? I want a cause worthy of the human landscape: a cause committed to surpassing pain and suffering. 
 
3. I deny the right to make accusations to any faction that, whether recently or long ago, has figured in the suppression of life.
 
4. I deny the right to cast suspicion on others to any who conceal their own suspicious faces.
 
5. I deny that anyone, even someone arguing the extreme urgency of present circumstance, has the right to block the new roads that the human being must travel.
 
6. Not even the worst of what is criminal is foreign to me, and if I recognize it in the landscape, I recognize it also in myself. So it is that I want to surpass what in me as in everyone fights to suppress life: I want to surpass the abyss!
 
Remember:
The principles are simply platitudes if you don’t make the effort to transform them into something more. They are only important if they can help you build a more coherent life filled with growing Peace in yourself and around you, internal Force to face life’s difficulties and the Joy of an open future.
duck? well bird rabbit anyway
At No Additional Charge This Weeks Extra Goodie:
Simplest Meditation
 
I know this will sound ridiculously simple, but one way I’ve found to weld together those two seemingly different paths, is with what we might call the “simplest meditation”. It’s so easy, and easy that most people will not even try it. That’s too bad.
 
A while back I mentioned a brief morning meditation reflecting on the principle, as well as setting priorities and a tone for the day. Despite its brevity and simplicity, or perhaps because of that, many of us have found it of extraordinary benefit. Here’s the other half of that story; an evening meditation of course. Every night before falling asleep I review my day looking for the moments where I felt internal unity or contradiction. I try to see where I applied, or could have applied, the week’s principle. I try to do that without blame or criticism – simply observing. As if I was reading a story or watching a film or play. That attitude is very important; just trying to see. 
 
All that is done very quickly. It’s not a 20 minute practice or even a 5 minute one. That’s important. Just a couple of focused, moments. Of course these two phases should compliment each other. One way to help that happen is that in the morning before getting up, or even opening my eyes, I recall my observations of the night before and make a little plan about how to apply what I learned to the day that’s about to start. That takes a minute or less. 
 
No big investment of time. No cost. No guru, life-coach or master. No fireworks, as Silo used to say. Nonetheless, I suspect I’m not alone in finding that those few (very few) minutes can be life changing. Try it! Talk about big pay offs, and nothing to lose. 
duck rabbit in the grass
Worth Repeating:
Guiding our actions by the internal registers of unity and contradiction we can develop a coherent life increasingly filled with peace, force and joy.
 
Coming up:
This week we looked at how principle 11 “the negation of opposites” applied in past situations. Next week we shift from the past to the present. 
 
Note:
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
 
See you next time …