Last time: A New Cycle Begins
This time: More Stories, Jokes and Parables
Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. Second Week.
“To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”
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 situations where I applied, or violated this principle? What were the consequences? How would I characterize these results?
All of this work is not just in order to deepen our understanding of this particular principle, but also to cultivate reflection about our daily behaviour. That is something very different from self-recrimination, or the assigning of blame.
At our next meeting we can discuss our discoveries, and our difficulties with this week’s reflections.
Here’s some raw material that I hope you will find useful in your own reflections.
Speaking of the Principle of Adaptation Silo suggested that we understand it as referring to how we can adjust ourselves (our thinking, our expectations, etc) in the face off external events which are developing in a way that may not be totally to our liking.
Last week we touched on the fact that the Principles of Valid Action are anything but straightforward. They require a lot of thought, meditation and even experiment. But thanks to that sustained effort I’m able to transform them into guidelines toward greater internal unity (and away from contradiction). Without that kind of work they remain as platitudes, and dubious ones at that.
How do I know when a tendency really represents “the evolution of things,” and when its just a possibility, an accident, a fashion? How can I tell when my acceptance of this tendency is just weakness, laziness, or simply a mistake on my part, and when it is really the appropriate course of action?
Birds hatching out their egg; The course of a raging river; A child growing, and becoming increasingly independent’ Aging and death; The great cycles, like the inevitably of day following night, and being followed again by day; The moon waxing and waning; The tides rising and falling. These are all examples that come to my mind when I think about the “evolution of things however, if I believe every momentary trend or little breeze is a hurricane or the inevitable “evolution of things” I will be passive in many situations in which I should take action. It’s like Rafael Edwards’ “silly” illustration of a chick hatching from an egg and then trying to go back into it.
It seems there are these two serious potential errors here, believing something is “the evolution of things” when it isn’t, and not believing it is inevitable when it is. How can I know if something arises from a greater situation and it makes sense to just get out of the way — or, using a marine metaphor, learn to surf those waves? On the other hand, perhaps it is just a passing situation which I can and should confront, or work to change.
This principle also led me to rethink the meaning of the famous story of King Canute which is usually told as an illustration of his piety and humility. There are other lessons that one might draw from this familiar tale.
The great king Cnute (or Canute), irritated by the incessant flattery, and ass-kissing of his courtiers, had his throne brought to the seaside. Surrounded by the members of his court and other hangers-on, he commanded the waves not to touch his shores. Ignored by the water he (apparently) pointed to this as proof that Earthly power was nothing and that “God in his heaven was the only king worthy of the title.” There are many other interpretations of this tale. But, as you might guess from my watery metaphors earlier, reflecting on this principle gave this old story new meaning for me.
A little research will lead to some other interpretations of what this story is about.
Just a reminder we are always on the lookout for stories, jokes, and so on that illustrate some aspect of the principles.
Traditional folklore from all over the world presents a rich source for such material. But there are also contemporary and very untraditional sayings, stories, urban legends, etc that can provide raw material for our consideration.
Here’s an example from Mark F in NYC
Frank may not thoroughly understand the principle.
Don’t be like Frank.
Mani in Berlin has also been involved in the endless task of putting together these kinds of resources. This is very much a work in progress but she has posted other stories, sayings, proverbs, and other material related to the principles. You can find it, in Spanish at
In the next few emails I’ll share somethings from, or inspired by, the material on Mani’s website that seem to resonate with the Principle of Adaptation: “To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”
In the coming weeks we’ll look at how this principle might apply in my current situation, and how I imagine it might impact my future.
The sustained attempt to understand the principles and apply them in daily life can opens the way to a discipline that can be practiced in every moment of life.
Can you sit with eyes closed and go deep inside to discover the source of inner peace, vital force and and real joy?
Can you open your eyes and discover how to transform your daily life into your spiritual path?
Join us at our weekly meeting. Every Wednesday at 6:30 PM ET.
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These notes have been posted on Facebook (Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex) and sent to our email list. You will also find them along with other comments, and reflections on my website: dzuckerbrot.com