Principle 1 Adaptation – Week 3 – 2023

Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. Third Week.

“To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”

Last time: Folk tales, stories and sayings

This time: Is it dusk or dawn? cartoons, and reformulations

This Week:

Over the previous two weeks we focused on the  general structure, and implications of the principle, and we also investigated how this principle played out (or didn’t) in our past.

This week we turn to considering how I might apply this principle in my current situations. What are the pressures, challenges, or difficulties that I face? How might this principle apply? What light does it shed on these circumstances? How might it change things and so on? Equally I might consider what the consequences might be of misapplying or ignoring it? What suggestions would I give to someone interested in applying this principle to their present situation.

At our next meeting we can discuss our discoveries about, and our difficulties with this weeks reflections.

At Our Last Meeting:

Peter J reminded us of the utility of trying to rephrase the principle into other words. This kind of reformulating, or reframing, can have interesting results. Peter was still exploring exactly how to word his insight but it was something like:

To Go With the Evolution things is to Go with Yourself.

The phrase, “go with yourself” might sound a bit awkward,  but certainly the idea that this action is in your favour is interesting. And that formulation “go with yourself” put me in mind of Kate R’s comments about how going against the evolution of things (since it is against yourself) involved an act of contradiction.

Those comments made me think about the principles from new perspectives. Certainly that is one of the benefits of group interchange as well as in synthesizing things in our own words, or images.

This exercise is helpful in getting us to articulate something of our understanding of the principle at this moment. Even if our formulation only addresses a particular aspect of the principle it can be interesting, satisfying, and sometimes amusing.

So he’s an exercise for today – though its always well worth trying. Come up with an alternative name and wording for the principle. It should synthesize your understanding of a central aspect of what it means for you. 

I’ve already mentioned visual images, and they  can also be illuminating, as can stories, jokes, games, etc.  A few weeks ago Mark F gave us a single frame cartoon that some of us found relevant to the principle. This week he offers another: 

Personal Reflections:

Here’s some more raw material that I hope you will find useful in your own reflections.

Last week in our discussion there we touched on Silo’s comment that we consider this principle in terms of 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. Considering that when events are on a scale that we can’t change them (immediately at least) then we need to think how to change ourselves (our plans, our perspective, etc). Not that this implies accepting the direction events have taken but how do we re-position ourselves.

All this may put us in mind of principle three, “Timely Action” with its advice about how to deal with great forces. Not surprising I suppose since the evolution of things is, no doubt, a very great force.

In any case, the first three principles seem closely related. For example, all three require measuring the forces at play. Am I, for example, applying the right amount of effort or am using too much and forcing things? Is this force I’m confronting really a great force or can I manage it? Or in the case of this principle: Is this the evolution of things, or simply a passing tendency? Imagine the result if I believe every momentary trend or little breeze is a hurricane or the inevitable “evolution of things”.  A misjudgment like that would leave me totally passive in front of every situation. If I’m wrong, and I confuse something positive and inevitable for something negative, or something that’s only a momentary blip than I really will be like the bird trying to crawl back into its shattered egg. And if I do the reverse, and take some minor fashion for the direction of history itself, who knows what disproportionate actions I might take?

In past situations, like those that were the subject of my daily meditations last week, I at least had the advantage of hindsight. That is, looking back in the past I can discern, to some extent, the path that events followed. That allows me to say that what I thought of as inevitable direction was just a hiccup, or what I thought was just a fad was the first stirrings of a historical trend. Looking at my present situation it is much more difficult to make those judgments. How can I know when a tendency is “the evolution of things” and when it’s just a possibility, an accident, a passing fashion?

For example, given the ecological, economic, political and social chaos of our times it’s easy enough to believe that the world is inevitably heading toward destruction. Is that what is happening?

What looks like we are falling head over heels into the apocalypse can just as easily be understood, not as the fall of humankind but, as the much overdue collapse of outgrown institutions and ideas making room for something new. Certainly civilizations run their course, and people outgrow their ideologies but that’s not the end of the world… perhaps as some of us believe it signals, on the contrary, the real birth of the human being.

The consequence of mistaking the end of certain institutions for the end of history could prove ridiculous, or even tragic.

Evolution or Apocalypse?

Is it the end or a new beginning? Is it dusk or dawn? Is the cat going up or down the stairs? Look again you might be wrong.

Is the cat walking down or up the stairs?
What about the people in this M.C. Escher’s drawing?

Coming Up:

Next week we will look at what it might mean to apply this principle in relation to our future. 


Close your eyes 

Dive deep inside and discover the source of inner peace, vital force and real joy. 

Open your eyes 

Live intensely and discover how to transform the ordinary circumstance of your daily life into your spiritual path.

Worth Repeating:

…Though you may be wise and powerful, if happiness and liberty do not grow in you and in those around you, I will reject your example… …Follow the model of that which is being born, not that which takes the path toward death…

Internal Landscape Chapter I The Question

Want More:

Join us at our weekly meeting. Every Wednesday at 6:30 PM ET. 

Ask me for a Zoom link, or find it on our Facebook Page 


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:

Coming up…