[...] I came to live here where I am now between Wounded Knee Creek and Grass Creek. Others came too, and we made these little gray houses of logs that you see, and they are square. It is a bad way to live, for there can be no power in a square.

You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that this is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.

[...] The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.

[Black Elk]
Black Elk Speaks, p.194-6

The right match

Carbon symbolizes the marriage-idea in Nature. Its one equator is the bond of its unity. It is no longer a pair - and that is what marriage in Nature means, and what it should mean in man's mating practices. Divided pairs have opposed attributes. The negatives of pairs are metallic acids - the positives are metallic alkalis. All are conductive, for conductivity is a search for balance.

[...] An example of unbalanced mating in Nature is that of the marriage of sodium and iodine or sodium and bromine. Each of these marriages has stability but there is a residue of unbalance in each of them which is evidenced in distorted cube crystals.

Each of them would likewise continue as harmonious marriages unless chlorine appeared, in which case Nature would immediately annul the marriage in favor of chlorine.

[Walter Russell]
A New Concept of the Universe, p113-14
"Mr Plichta, I have been in touch with Mr Mössbauer and told him that the two of us wanted to introduce him to something new, and that there was some need for caution in this regard. He wanted to know whether your discovery would raise doubts about quantum mechanics. I told him that quantum mechanics would not even exist if what you discovered turned out to be true. Quantum mechanics would then simply turn out to be a figment of the imagination.

My colleague Mössbauer then got very angry and accused me of putting everything we have accomplished at risk. Our great achievement, modern physics, was the result of tremendous efforts, and now everything would collapse should any doubts arise. Such people as yourself should not be given support under any circumstances. He refuses to meet you. He does not even want to hear of any of the new ideas. He gave me a very serious warning indeed"

--

I don't care if my house is built on shaky foundations. I have invested a lot in building it, and I am very comfortable living within it. I do not even want to hear your thoughts about its foundations.

--

How many of us are willing to tear up everything we have done - everything we hold dear - so that the truth may prevail? For how many of us is life about service to truth, as opposed to service to self?

"Alcoholism is in my DNA"

Describing something as being in your DNA is another way of saying that it is in your nature. You are describing your shape, as a square might say that it is in its DNA to have four corners. It is the fashionable way to say this, so that people understand you and take you seriously.

We all have a certain shape, or pattern, which leads to certain tendencies. When some people's shape is put into certain environments it will lead to certain outcomes. Put, for example, an extreme idealist into an extremely pragmatic environment - Martin Luther King into 1950s America - and he will 'cause trouble.'

Alcoholism - and indeed, all addictions - stem from certain types of people being put into environments that do not suit their shape. Within these dysfunctional environments they are unable to manifest their shape properly, much like a bird in a cage. This restriction comes to light in the form of dysfunctional - yet adaptive - behaviour: an addiction.

It is true then - in a roundabout way - to say that 'alcoholism is in my DNA' (or that you have a 'genetic pre-disposition toward addiction'). But such fashionable concepts only serve to fog the picture.

What you are really saying is that you are born to manifest a certain pattern -  a perfectly functional and vital one - and that in your current environment you are unable to manifest that pattern properly: you are unable to flourish. The addiction is a coping mechanism, to allow you to survive in your current surroundings.

To go back to the example of our square. Let's put him in a world of circles: everything is rounded, flowing and smooth. Being used to straight lines and severe angles it is a strange environment to him, but he does his best to fit in. Soon enough, however, his corners cause problems: he catches on things, prods, punctures and tears. He attempts to smoothe off his corners and to become more circular, but he knows in his heart that he is fighting a losing battle. In the end he hits the bottle as a way to make it through the day. He tells himself: alcoholism is in my DNA. What he really means is: corners are in my DNA (and corners do not fit here).

The problem could be with your immediate environment - your job, your relationship, your social scene and so on; or with the general environment - you may feel at odds with the ideas and values that your society places importance upon.

In this sense, there are no 'addictive' things: there are merely things that are very effective in distracting us or comforting us; in altering things substantially enough so that we do not feel the rub. They take us out of it, make us forget it; balance it out for a while.

Addictions always point towards a friction between the individual and their environment
. For things to flow smoothly, either the individual adapts to the environment or the environment adapts to the individual. Something must give.

The current fashion is to make the change in ourselves - to square the circle. Yet in doing so we sacrifice our shape. We hold a part of ourselves underwater in an attempt to drown it, to stop it from surfacing and causing trouble. Yet at the same time we are stemming a vital energy. If you are meant to be a square then you ought to be a square. You just need an environment in which being a square is okay.

It is down to us to decide whether we look to make the change in ourselves - with whatever sacrifices this entails - or whether we look to make it in our environment. Perhaps being a square isn't okay. In which case, too bad for squares.

In truth, there are no universal right or wrong solutions. There are merely a choice of outcomes. We must decide which solution best answers the problems we currently face, as individuals and as a collective.

Which leads us to ask: when addiction is such a widespread phenomenon, does it serve us to continue to look for individual solutions? Or are we, in taking such a close view, missing the bigger picture?

Related posts:-
Flip-side
Digging Deeper: Addictions