Individual / Collective

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Individual                            -                            Collective
Libertarian                          -                            Authoritarian
Part                                      -                            Whole
Member                               -                            Category
Concrete                              -                            Abstract
Process                                 -                            State
Becoming                            -                            Being
Chaos                                   -                            Order


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In Balinese society, on the other hand, we find an entirely different state of affairs. Neither the individual nor the village is concerned to maximize any simple variable. Rather, they would seem to be concerned to maximize something which we may call stability [...]

When they speak as members of the village council, the players by hypothesis are interested in maintaining the steady state of the system - that is, in preventing the maximization of any simple variable the excessive increase of which would produce irreversible change. In their daily life, however, they are still engaged in simple competitive strategies.

[Gregory Bateson]
Steps to an Ecology of Mind ('Bali: The Value System of a Steady State'), p.124-5


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We are villagers.

As members of a village we always have the balance of the village in mind, even if only unconsciously. The steady state of the village - the system of which we are a part - is our ultimate concern, running beneath all individual concerns. We know it must be this way because the village is our ecosystem, and we understand that our continued well-being goes hand in hand with that of our environment. The individual good is always, in the last, housed within the greater good.

Our village is a balanced system, acting as an effective container for all of the various needs of each of its individual members. In a steady system, the maximization of any single variable will lead to an imbalance in the system. In terms of our village, this means that if the needs of a single villager were to be prioritized over the rest, then the harmony of our village would be upset. Thus, the maximization of any single variable (any individual interest) is prevented. Individual concerns are always secondary to communal concerns. The individual is always checked in favour of the village.

So whilst we remain an individual, we must also be a villager; these two roles work to balance each other. Individual concerns must always be balanced by communal concerns.

In our society, which primarily takes its direction from the imperatives of commerce, we have lost our villages, in every sense. With no village to contain us, we have been freed from the shackles of our role as villager. The individual need no longer be restricted, and his concerns and desires can run rampant, unchecked. Viewed from the perspective of village life, our current state of affairs is imbalanced. Yet, if the village is now redundant, then presumably so are the values of the village.

However, we must question how sustainable rampant individualism is. It may be that the role of villager provided us with an important balance, something that all of us who have evolved beyond village life now miss. The communal aspect points us towards something larger than ourselves; invests us in something beyond our own constricting borders. If we decide that this is important, then perhaps it is time to think about how we can rebuild our villages, and regain our balance.


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If the social [...] is considered more comprehensive and important than the individual [...], one can justify sacrificing the well-being of the individual for the sake of the well-being of the whole.

In modern political terms, this approach is known as fascism (though state socialism has often behaved in the same way).

Because some radical ecologists suggest that ecosystem are more important than individuals (human or otherwise), modernist critics often label radical environmentalists and spiritually-oriented deep ecologists as ecofascists.

[Michael E. Zimmerman]
'Ken Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality'


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Innovations become irreversibly adopted into the on-going system without being tested for long-time viability; and necessary changes are resisted by the core of conservative individuals without any assurance that these particular changes are the ones to resist.

Individual comfort and discomfort become the only criteria for choice of social change and the basic contrast of logical typing between member and the category is forgotten until new discomforts are (inevitably) created by the new state of affairs.

Fear of individual death and grief propose that it would be 'good' to eliminate epidemic disease and only after 100 years of preventive medicine do we discover that the population is overgrown. And so on.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 238


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[for] a lot of clinical psychologists [of a pronounced Western orientation] one of the fundamental presuppositions is that part of the hallmark of positive psychological development is the creation of an individual that’s capable of acting independently.

I would say that’s an implicit ideal that lurks at the bottom of the clinical presuppositions of […] classic psychologists […]

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'2017 Personality Lecture 01: Introduction to the Course' (30:55)


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The “kinship of the creative hero with deity” constitutes a phenomenon of tremendous import, as of yet radically uncomprehended: consciousness plays a world-constructing role, in a manner that is neither epiphenomenal nor trivial.

It is for this fundamentally non-metaphysical reason that the individual cannot be sacrificed to the exigencies of social and political convenience, as those who live in western democracies have painfully come to realize:

the “world-constructing capacity” of the individual must be respected and honored as something sovereign, lest the forces of chaos or complexity re-attain the upper hand, or the state rigidify and doom itself.

Religious stories, occupying the necessarily metaphorical space at the base of our cultures of belief, provide the foundation for the dogmatic concepts and action patterns that structure our social interactions, and stabilize the territories that we all share.

More importantly, however, functional religious systems ensure that our shared beliefs are predicated on a concept of the individual that makes respect for the capacity of courageous, creative individual action in the face of complexity the most fundamental and ineradicable of values.

Creative exploratory action in the face of anomaly and chaos generates, sustains and renews the world.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
‘Complexity Management Theory: Motivation for Ideological Rigidity and Social Conflict’, in Cortex, December 2002, p. 453


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Who's steering the ship?

Beggars and Choosers

In a climate of mass unemployment, the "job" takes on inflated proportions. Its scarcity turns it into a precious metal, its possession promising salvation from the miseries of being out of work. Those in employment may feel lucky to have a job, and those who don't have one want one (or are at least told that they should want one). But is to have a job always a "good" thing?

If we are unemployed - and particularly if we are receiving state sponsored benefits - then it can seem as if we have no discretion when it comes to the type of job we do. We must take anything that comes our way, provided we are "capable" of doing it (presumably meaning that we are physically and mentally up to the task, not whether we are morally/ethically capable, or capable in any other sense).

If we follow this line of logic further then we arrive at the conclusion that every job is a worthy job; that every job deserves to exist if for no other reason than that it provides employment for the individual, and means that they no longer have to rely on state benefits. The job allows the individual to become an "functioning" member of the community - to contribute, in a way in which, presumably, the individual on benefits does not contribute.

If we adhere to this view then we must accept its implications. When every job is a worthy one, we accept the incursions that certain roles make into our lives. We are no longer, for example, allowed to become angry when we are bothered by telesales operatives ringing our house. We see that they are only doing their job, and that their job allows them to become an honorable and functioning member of the community. In a sense, we have demanded that they ring our house; just as we have demanded all other possibilities for employment, regardless of how they may impact on our quality of life.

In accepting this viewpoint we have thrown discretion out of the window, both for those who seek employment and for those who may be affected by it. In an environment in which "a job's a job" there is no room for discretion; it becomes a luxury that we cannot afford. Yet, to lose sight of discretion is to lose sight of the larger picture. If we care about our community, our society, and the direction in which it is headed, then discretion must always have a place, and not simply as a luxury of those who can "afford" it. It is illogical to, on the one hand complain about the dysfunction that is caused by certain roles within a society, whilst on the other insisting that "a job's a job" and "beggar's can't be choosers". Perhaps a mark of the responsible society is that everyone can - and should - be a chooser.

If we consider a role to be contributing towards a dysfunction that we see within our local or wider community, then we must not feel compelled to assume this role in order to regain our footing within the community. Whilst, on the surface, our employment may appear to be doing the community a service, it may actually, in the long run, be doing it damage. If it is our duty to the collectivity to keep its interests, as well as our own, in mind, then perhaps we should bear in mind that beggars - as with all others - must always be choosers.

Originally published 25/3/10

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A moment’s silence, if you please, to mark the passing of the Big Society.

It had been in poor health for some time, but has finally been put out of its misery by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, during a TV interview on Sunday

A graduate was better employed stacking shelves, unpaid, in a supermarket, Duncan Smith argued, than doing voluntary work for a local museum. 

Duncan Smith was infuriated that an Appeal Court had upheld the case of Cait Reilly, a geology graduate who, in order to get her back-to-work payments, was forced to give up her voluntary work at a museum and stack shelves instead.

The truth is, Reilly had been behaving in precisely the way which Cameron used to recommend. The idea behind the Big Society was that it would wean people off dependency on the State, encourage neighbourliness and bring communities together. Volunteering for things – running a local museum, for example – would show that, beyond the nanny state and the harsh jobs market, there was another world of work where satisfaction mattered more than pay.

For many conservatives, these must have been dangerously liberal thoughts. If people like Cait Reilly began to discover that there was more to life than being an economic unit, then the whole market-based system of values would start to crumble.

Conservatives do love a shelf-stacker. It is a job which represents enterprise in a strangely pure and beautiful way. Successful industrialists like to recall that they started their brilliant careers stacking shelves; perhaps, during his gap year, Duncan Smith did some stacking himself.

“Smart people”, he said this weekend, should ask themselves when they were next unable to find something in a supermarket, whose job is more important – a geologist or a shelf-stacker.

An out-of-work person is better employed doing unpaid grunt-work so that a multinational business makes bigger profits, the thinking goes, than working in her community.

If the Big Society had meant anything, then the back-to-work scheme would have put real emphasis on the voluntary sector. It is there that job-seekers are most likely to learn useful values – a sense of engagement and responsibility.

As “smart people”, they might also conclude that being told to stack shelves for the benefit of Poundland in return for a government benefit is little more than an exercise in cynicism and exploitation.

[Terence Blacker]
From Independent 'i' newspaper, see here


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Rules of Engagement

[...] In order to convince another of a truth that conflicts with an error he holds firmly, the first rule to be observed is an easy and natural one, namely:

Let the premisses come first, and the conclusion follow.

This rule, however, is seldom observed, and people go to work the reverse way, since zeal, hastiness, and dogmatic positiveness urge us to shout out the conclusion loudly and noisily at the person who adheres to the opposite error.

This easily makes him shy and reserved, and he then sets his will against all arguments and premisses, knowing already to what conclusion they lead.

Therefore we should rather keep the conclusion wholly concealed and give only the premisses distinctly, completely, and from every point of view.

If possible, we should not even express the conclusion at all. It will appear of its own accord necessarily and legitimately in the reason of the hearers, and the conviction thus born within them will be all the more sincere; in addition, it will be accompanied by self-esteem instead of by a feeling of shame.

[...] In defending a thing, many people make the mistake of confidently advancing everything imaginable that can be said in its favour, and of mixing up what is true, half true, and merely plausible.

But the false is soon recognized, or at any rate felt, and then casts suspicion even on the cogent and true that is advanced along with it.

Therefore let us give the cogent and true pure and alone, and guard against defending a truth with grounds and arguments that are inadequate, and are thus sophistical, in so far as they are set up as adequate.

For the opponent upsets these, and thus gains the appearance of having upset also the truth itself that is supported by them; in other words he brings forward argumenta ad hominem as argumenta ad rem.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, Volume II, p.119

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The Eternal Ideas


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For Jung, all behaviour is patterned by archetypal images and energies which human beings used to call gods. We can learn something of the nature of these patterns in the “old stories” or myths of ancient cultures.

[Bernie Neville]
'Out of Our Depth and Treading Water: Reflections on Consciousness, Culture and New Learning Technologies'


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Now Plato says: "The things of this world, perceived by our senses, have no true being at all;

they are always becoming, but they never are.

They have only a relative being; they are together only in and through their relation to one another; hence their whole existence can just as well be called a non-being.

Consequently, they are likewise not objects of a real knowledge, for there can be such a knowledge only of what exists in and for itself, and always in the same way. On the contrary, they are only the object of an opinion or way of thinking, brought about by sensation.

As long as we are confined to their perception, we are like persons sitting in a dark cave, and bound so fast that they cannot even turn their heads. They see nothing but the shadowy outlines of actual things that are led between them and a fire which burns behind them; and by the light of this fire these shadows appear on the wall in front of them. Even of themselves and of one another they see only the shadows on this wall. Their wisdom would consist in predicting the sequence of those shadows learned from experience.

On the other hand, only the real archetype of those shadowy outlines, the eternal Ideas, the original forms of all things, can be described as truly existing, since they always are but never become and never pass away

No plurality belongs to them; for each by its nature is only one, since it is the archetype itself, of which all the particular, transitory things of the same kind and name are copies and shadows.

Also no coming into existence and no passing away belong to them, for they are truly being or existing, but are never becoming or vanishing like their fleeting copies.

Thus only of them can there be a knowledge in the proper sense, for the object of such a knowledge can be only that which always and in every respect (and hence in-itself) is, not that which is and then again is not, according as we look at it." This is Plato's teaching.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.171


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When clouds move, the figures they form are not essential, but indifferent to them.

But that as elastic vapour they are pressed together, driven off, spread out, and torn apart by the force of the wind, this is their nature, this is the essence of the forces that are objectified in them, this is the Idea.

The figures in each case are only for the individual observer.

To the brook which rolls downwards over the stones, the eddies, waves, and foam-forms exhibited by it are indifferent and inessential; but that it follows gravity, and behaves as an inelastic, perfectly mobile, formless, and transparent fluid, this is its essential nature, this, if known through perception, is the Idea. Those foam-forms exist only for us so long as we know as individuals.

[...] only the essential in all these grades of the will's objectification constitutes the Idea; on the other hand, its unfolding or development, because drawn apart in the forms of the principle of sufficient reason into a multiplicity of many-sided phenomena, is inessential to the Idea; it lies merely in the individual's mode of cognition, and has reality only for that individual.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.182


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Whilst science, following the restless and unstable stream of the fourfold forms of reason or grounds and consequences, is with every end it attains again and again directed farther, and can never find an ultimate goal or complete satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the point where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the contrary, is everywhere at its goal.

For it plucks the object of its contemplation from the stream of the world's course, and holds it isolated before it. This particular thing, which in that stream was an infinitesimal part, becomes for art a representative of the whole, an equivalent of the infinitely many in space and time.

It therefore pauses at this particular thing; it stops the wheel of time; for it the relations vanish; its object is only the essential, the Idea.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.185


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"Love and Hate" are generally regarded as being things diametrically opposed to each other; entirely different; unreconcilable.

But we apply the Principle of Polarity; we find that there is no such thing as Absolute Love or Absolute hate, as distinguished from each other.

The two are merely terms applied to the two poles of the same thing.

Beginning at any point of the scale we find "more love," or "less hate," as we ascend the scale; and "more hate" or "less love" as we descend — this being true no matter from what point, high or low, we may start.

There are degrees of Love and hate, and there is a middle point where "Like and Dislike" become so faint that it is difficult to distinguish between them. Courage and Fear come under the same rule.

The Kybalion, Chapter X: "Polarity"


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A symbol remains a perpetual challenge to our thoughts and feelings. That probably explains why a symbolic work is so stimulating, why it grips us so intensely, but also why it seldom affords us a purely aesthetic enjoyment.

A work that is manifestly not symbolic appeals much more to our aesthetic sensibility because it is complete in itself and fulfils its purpose.

[C.G. Jung]
On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry
found in The Norton Anthology: Theory and Criticism
, p.998


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Vision researchers have suggested [...] that the pleasing visual motifs used in art and decoration exaggerate these patterns, which tell the brain that the visual system is functioning properly and analyzing the world accurately.

Some of the motifs may belong to a search image for the optimal human habitat, a savanna: open grassland dotted with trees and bodies of water and inhabited by animals and flowering fruiting plants.

By the same logic, tonal and rhythmic patterns in music may tap into mechanisms used by the auditory system to organize the world of sound.

[Steven Pinker]
The Blank Slate ('The Arts'), p.405


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A wry demonstration of the universality of basic visual tastes came from a 1993 stunt by two artists, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, who used marketing research polls to assess American's taste in art.

They asked respondents about their preferences in colour, subject matter, composition, and style, and found considerable uniformity. People said they liked realistic, smoothly painted landscapes in green and blue containing animals, women, children, and heroic figures.

When the painters replicated the polling in nine other countries [...] they found pretty much the same preferences: an idealized landscape, like the ones on calendars, and only minor substitutions from the American standard.

What is even more interesting is that these McPaintings exemplify the kind of landscape that had been characterized as optimal for our species by researchers in evolutionary aesthetics.

[Steven Pinker]
The Blank Slate ('The Arts'), p.408-9

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What makes the struggle for adaptation so laborious is the fact that we have constantly to be dealing with individual and atypical situations.

So it is not surprising that when an archetypal situation occurs we suddenly feel an extraordinary sense of release, as though transported, or caught up by an overwhelming power.

At such moments we are no longer individuals, but the race; the voice of all mankind resounds in us.

The ideal of the "mother country," for instance, is an obvious allegory of the mother, as is the "fatherland" of the father. Its power to stir us does not derive from the allegory, but from the symbolical value of our native land. The archetype here is the participation mystique of primitive man with the soil on which he dwells, and which contains the spirits of his ancestors.

The impact of an archetype, whether it takes the form of immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word, stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own.

Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthrals and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring.

[C.G. Jung]
'On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry'
Found in The Norton Anthology: Theory and Criticism, p. 1001


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In Amish life, silence is an active force, not a sign of introspection [...]  

The person who is possessed of silence lives above verbal contradictions.

The Amish are spared many of the arguments about words of Scripture or theology over which others haggle. For them absolutes do not exist in words, whether in creeds or in position papers, for all such arguments are silenced by the character and example of Christ himself.

[John A. Hostetler]
Amish Society, p. 389


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We like it when a thing is only one thing. But society is always two things; it’s the thing that alienates you, and its the benevolent father; always.

It tilts sometimes; it tilts harder towards the tyrant, and that’s not so good, but that’s an archetypical reality.

What do you have to contend with in life? You have to contend with yourself, and the adversary that’s inside you, that seems to oppose your every movement; [with] the fact that you just can’t move forward smoothly through life without being in conflict with yourself. So there’s the hero and the adversary on the individual level, and then on the social level there’s the wise king and the tyrant.

Those things are always there, that’s our true environment: it’s not these things we see around us; they’re lasting no time. These other things last forever. And that’s what we’re adapted to: we’re adapted to the things that last forever.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'Joe Rogan Experience #958 - Jordan Peterson'


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That’s a hallmark of truth - it snaps things together.

People write to me all the time and say that, “It’s as if things were coming together in my mind.” Well, that’s what archetypes do, [they] glue things together. The proper expression of unconscious being teaches people what they already know. It’s like the Platonic idea that all learning is remembering.

You have a nature. And when you feel that nature articulated […] it’s like bringing the levels of being into synchrony, that’s what you feel. What [you] think, and what [you] feel have come together. And you feel that ‘snap’ [into] a simpler state, [and you’re] not rife with contradictions any more.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'Jordan B Peterson | *NEW 2017* | full-length interview'


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For many physicists the underlying laws of symmetry and transformation are more fundamental than the particles themselves.

The quantum world is in a constant process of change and transformation. On the face of it, all possible processes and transformations could take place, but nature's symmetry principles place limits on arbitrary transformation. Only those processes that do not violate certain very fundamental symmetry principles are allowed in the natural world.

Just as the ancient Greeks believed that fundamental forms and archetypes lay deeper than supposed atoms, so too contemporary physicists contrast elementary particles with more basic symmetry principles.

[F. David Peat]
From Certainty to Uncertainty, p. 59


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All is Change

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Life                           -                      Death
Solid                         -                      Liquid
Certain                      -                      Uncertain
Stasis                         -                      Motion
Abstract                     -                      Concrete
Order                         -                      Chaos
Coherent                   -                       Random
Explicate                   -                       Implicate


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No matter where I went, or what I did: there it was, always, beneath everything: that constant 'drip, drip, drip' ...


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No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds:
Through day or night, cathedral or the cave
We pass forever, craving form that binds

Mold after mold we fill and never rest,
We find no home where joy or grief runs deep.
We move, we are the everlasting guest.
No field nor plow is ours; we do not reap.

What God would make of us remains unknown:
He plays; we are the clay to his desire.
Plastic and mute, we neither laugh nor groan;
He kneads, but never gives us to the fire.

To stiffen into stone, to persevere!
We long forever for the right to stay.
But all that ever stays with us is fear,
And we shall never rest upon our way.

[Hermann Hesse]
'Lament', The Glass Bead Game, p. 429


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In the process of constructing this blog, I’ve often found it difficult to work out where one post ends and another begins. 

Whilst they may appear to be separate islands, it is often the case that they merge into one another. I imagine, although I’ve yet to test it, that you could hop from one to another using the ‘Related posts” feature, and touch upon every post on the site.

Sometimes creating individual posts - about this thing or that thing - is like sitting on a beach and making sandcastles. One here, and one there. From the unity of ‘sand’, to the multiplicity of 'sandcastles'.

But once the tide comes in my creations will soon return to their original unity, reminding me that their separateness was only a momentary daydream.

(Hopefully this site has a while before the tide comes in). 


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Man considering the Universe, of which he is a unit, sees nothing but change in matter, forces, and mental states. He sees that nothing really is, but that everything is becoming and changing.

Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operation - there is no reality, enduring quality, fixity, or substantiality in anything - nothing is permanent but Change.

He sees all things evolving from other things, and resolving into other things - a constant action and reaction; inflow and outflow; building up and tearing down; creation and destruction; birth, growth and death.

Nothing endures but Change.

The Kybalion, Chapter IV: "The All"

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Under any hypothesis the Universe in its outer aspect is changing, ever-flowing, and transitory — and therefore devoid of substantiality and reality.

But (note the other pole of the truth) under any of the same hypotheses, we are compelled to act and live as if the fleeting things were real and substantial.

The Kybalion, Chapter VI: "The Divine Paradox"


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Eternal becoming, endless flux, belong to the revelation of the essential nature of the will.

Finally the same thing is also seen in human endeavors and desires that buoy us up with the vain hope that their fulfilment is always the final goal of willing. But as soon as they are attained, they no longer look the same, and so are soon forgotten, become antiquated, and are really, although not admittedly, always laid aside as vanished illusions.

It is fortunate enough when something to desire and to strive for still remains, so that the game may be kept up of the constant transition from desire to satisfaction, and from that to a fresh desire, the rapid course of which is called happiness, the slow course sorrow, and so that this game may not come to a standstill, showing itself as a fearful, life-destroying boredom, a lifeless longing without a definite object, a deadening languor.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.164


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[...] the steady state and continued existence of complex interactive systems depend upon preventing the maximization of any variable, and [...] any continued increase in any variable will inevitably result in, and be limited by, irreversible changes in the system.

[...] in such systems it is very important to permit certain variables to alter. The steady state of an engine with a governor is unlikely to be maintained if the position of the balls of the governor is clamped. Similarly a tightrope walker with a balancing pole will not be able to maintain his balance except by varying the forces which he exerts upon the pole.

[...] In sum it seems that the Balinese extend to human relationships attitudes based upon bodily balance, and that they generalize the idea that motion is essential to balance.

This last point gives us, I believe, a partial answer to the question of why the society not only continues to function but functions rapidly and busily, continually undertaking ceremonial and artistic tasks which are not economically or competitively determined.

This steady state is maintained by continual nonprogressive change.

[Gregory Bateson]
Steps to an Ecology of Mind ('Bali: The Value System of a Steady State'), p.124-5


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The universe is like a swimming pool full of lego bricks.

When an idea is thought of, it is created: built from bricks. In time it is demolished and become bricks again.

But the bricks always remain.

If you had the right view, then you would see that the bricks themselves are also breaking down into smaller bricks. Breaking down and reforming.

The bricks are like a soil, from which everything grows.

The pool is infinite.


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 Alas - but also be glad of it - pattern and/or information is all too easily eaten up by the random. The messages and guidelines for order exist, as it were, in sand or are written on the surface of waters.

Almost any disturbance, even mere Brownian movement, will destroy them. Information can be forgotten or blurred. The code books can be lost.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 56



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Every condition [...] is only a particular step in the attainment of inward and outward perfection, and therefore has no significance of itself.

Blessedness consists in progress towards perfection; to stand still in any condition whatever mean the cessation of this blessedness.

[Leo Tolstoy]
The Kingdom of God is Within You, p. 46

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Nothing in the visible universe of motion can ever become still. The very fact that you can see it means that it is in motion. Otherwise you could not see it.

[Walter Russell]
The Message of the Divine Iliad, vol. II, p. 79


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The Taoists believe that the world is always an interplay between chaos and order and that if you live your life properly you stand with one foot in order and one foot in chaos. 

Because if you’re only in order, nothing that’s interesting ever happens to you. Nothing is anything but a repeat of all the things that you already know. That’s the state that Fascists desire because Fascists desire things to be exactly the way they are forever.

And if you’re in a state that’s only characterized by chaos you’re at sea or overwhelmed or things have fallen apart on you and there’s too much of everything for you to deal with.

[Jordan Peterson]
'Reality and the Sacred'


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The idea wants changelessness and eternity.

Whoever lives under the supremacy of the idea strives for permanence; hence everything that pushes toward change must be opposed to the idea.

"[Sensation] can only say: this is true for this subject and at this moment; another moment another subject may come and revoke the statement of the present sensation."

[C. J. Jung, and Friedrich Schiller (in quotes)]
Psychological Types, p.97


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Piaget noted that reality is a dynamic system of continuous change and, as such, is defined in reference to the two conditions that define dynamic systems. Specifically, he argued that reality involves transformations and states.

Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can undergo. States refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations.

Thus, Piaget argued, if human intelligence is to be adaptive, it must have functions to represent both the transformational and the static aspects of reality. He proposed that operative intelligence is responsible for the representation and manipulation of the dynamic or transformational aspects of reality, and that figurative intelligence is responsible for the representation of the static aspects of reality.

Operative intelligence is the active aspect of intelligence. It involves all actions, overt or covert, undertaken in order to follow, recover, or anticipate the transformations of the objects or persons of interest.  

Figurative intelligence is the more or less static aspect of intelligence, involving all means of representation used to retain in mind the states (i.e., successive forms, shapes, or locations) that intervene between transformations. That is, it involves perception, imitation, mental imagery, drawing, and language.

Therefore, the figurative aspects of intelligence derive their meaning from the operative aspects of intelligence, because states cannot exist independently of the transformations that interconnect them.

Piaget stated that the figurative or the representational aspects of intelligence are subservient to its operative and dynamic aspects, and therefore, that understanding essentially derives from the operative aspect of intelligence.

'Piaget's theory of cognitive development'


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Hypokeimenon, later often material substratum, is a term in metaphysics which literally means the "underlying thing".

To search for the hypokeimenon is to search for that substance which persists in a thing going through change—its basic essence.

Locke theorised that when all sensible properties were abstracted away from an object, such as its colour, weight, density or taste, there would still be something left to which the properties had adhered—something which allowed the object to exist independently of the sensible properties that it manifested in the beholder.

'Hypokeimenon'


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In order to convey some of the flavor of Bohm's ideas I have called upon images and metaphors that are somewhat static. But Bohm's notions are all about process, or the holomovement; that is, the movement of the whole.

For Bohm, the ground (if we wish to call it that) or "all that is" takes the form of ceaseless movement. Within this movement can be discovered an endless process of unfolding and enfolding as the implicate order temporarily exposes aspects of itself to the explicate.

The fact that our world appears stable is not so much that objects remain static in our world, but that the same patterns are constantly being born again only to die away as fast as thought. Our minds and bodies encounter the surface of things, and of the apparent stability of the explicate, without being truly aware of the constant movement below.

[...] An elementary particle is not so much an object but a process. It is a constant process of becoming and dying away, a process in which the "particle" unfolds from the whole of space into a tiny region and then enfolds back again over all space.

[F. David Peat]
From Certainty to Uncertainty, p. 64-5


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The Principle of Polarity

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There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites [...] Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.

[C. G. Jung]
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (CW 9), par. 178


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"Everything is Dual, everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled."

This Principle embodies the truth that "everything is dual"; "everything has two poles"; "everything has its pair of opposites," all of which were old Hermetic axioms.

It explains the old paradoxes, that have perplexed so many, which have been stated as follows: "Thesis and anti-thesis are identical in nature, but different in degree"; "opposites are the same, differing only in degree"; "the pairs of opposites may be reconciled"; "extremes meet"; "everything is and isn't, at the same time"; "all truths are but half-truths"; "every truth is half-false"; "there are two sides to everything," etc., etc., etc.

It explains that in everything there are two poles, or opposite aspects, and that "opposites" are really only the two extremes of the same thing, with many varying degrees between them.

To illustrate: Heat and Cold, although "opposites," are really the same thing, the differences consisting merely of degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where "heat" terminates and "cold" begins! There is no such thing as "absolute heat" or "absolute cold" — the two terms "heat" and "cold" simply indicate varying degrees of the same thing, and that "same thing" which manifests as "heat" and "cold" is merely a form, variety, and rate of Vibration.

The Kybalion, Chapter 2: "The Seven Hermetic Principles"

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They drew special attention to the fact that polarity, that is to say, the sundering of a force into two qualitatively different and opposite activities striving for reunion, a sundering which also frequently reveals itself spatially by a dispersion in opposite directions, is a fundamental type of almost all the phenomena of nature, from the magnet and the crystal up to man.

Yet in China this knowledge has been current since the earliest times in the doctrine of Yin and Yang.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.143-4


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All movement is defined in terms of an oscillation between two opposite polarities.

Implicit in the idea of oscillation, however, is the related concept of differences.

Differences convey information to an observer and therefore provide the basis for a response.

Without differences between structures, and between states of being, there would be nothing to perceive, nothing to respond to, and therefore no movement or evolution.

[Tony Plummer]
The Law of Vibration, p. 17

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A signal is digital if there is discontinuity between it and alternative signals from which it must be distinguished. Yes and no are examples of digital signals.

In contrast, when a magnitude or quantity in the signal is used to represent a continuously variable quantity in the referrent, the signal is said to be analogic.

Numbers are the product of counting. Quantities are the product of measurement.

This means that numbers can conceivably be accurate because there is a discontinuity between each integer and the next. Between two and three, there is a jump.

In the case of quantity, there is no such jump; and because jump is missing in the world of quantity, it is impossible for any quantity to be exact. You can have exactly three tomatoes. You can never have exactly three gallons of water. Always quantity is approximate.

In other words, number is of the world of pattern, gestalt, and digital computation; quantity is of the world of analogic and probabalistic computation.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 59, 241

Number = can be exact = separate = heaven
Quantity = can't be exact = connected = earth


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[...] Gestalt theory recognizes that all choices exist on a continuum between one extreme and another (authoritarian or collegial, open-minded or closed-minded) and represent a decision, however unconscious, to position oneself nearer to one pole than to the other. This is what is meant by polar differentiation: seeing options on the continuum between poles.

[...] all meaning manifests through the creation and dissolution of polarities.

"In order for a phenomenon to be perceptible and appreciable, it must stand for the opposite of something else; it must be different from some other thing. This distinction constitutes, in the most elementary way, the figures of the world, the forms of phenomena. The elementary principle of creation that structures this distinction of phenomena is that of polarities, the original opposite."

The individual is himself or herself "a never-ending sequence of polarities. Whenever an individual recognises one aspect of him [or her] self, the presence of the antithesis, or polar quality, is implicit."

Because the pairs of opposites (polarities) are actually extremes on the same continuum of possibilities, the nearer one gets to the mid-point of the continuum, the more difficult it is to differentiate one pole from another.

Friedlaender calls this midpoint the point of "indifference." It is at this point – the point at which the full continuum of possibilities is fully known -- that creativity becomes possible and where the polarity dissolves or, if you prefer, transforms into a higher order of understanding.

[Herb Stevenson]
'Paradox: A Gestalt Theory of Change'


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Polarity creates moving body forms in pairs of opposites, and places the opposite of each pair on opposite sides of a mutual equator. It likewise makes each mate so dependent on the other that neither could survive without constant interchange.

No living body could survive without receiving its inward breath from its spatial counterpart, nor could the spatial mate survive without the outbreathing of its opposite body to recharge it.

[Walter Russell]
A New Concept of the Universe, p. 80


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[...] each value complex's need for both 'challenge and support,' as illuminated by the insights of polarity theory, is best fulfilled by a form of opposition that recognizes its own inherent interdependency with the political counterpart it seeks to moderate.

In other words, the ability to influence and potentially persuade a given political constituency is almost always tied to an acknowledged degree of sympathy for that constituency's positions.

Stated yet another way, the partisans of any given position are far more likely to listen to and respect the opinion of opponents who are willing to affirm at least some of the strengths of their position.

[Steve McIntosh]
'Overcoming Polarization by Evolving Both Right and Left'


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You or The Work

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Individual                       -                      Collective
Part                                 -                       Whole

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The cells work together to form a tissue.
The tissues work together to form an organ.
The organs work together to form an organ system.

Each individual works in service to a higher truth, and contributes towards the ongoing existence of the plant (the whole).

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I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967. Found in The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.344

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When I first took my position against the war in Vietnam, almost every newspaper in the country criticized me. It was a low period in my life. I could hardly open a newspaper.

[...] But then I remember a newsman coming to me one day and saying, "Dr. King, don't you think you're going to have to change your position now because so many people are criticizing you? And people who once had respect for you are going to lose respect for you. And you're going to hurt the budget, I understand, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; people have cut off support. And don't you think that you have to move now more in line with the administration's policy?"

That was a good question, because he was asking me the question of whether I was going to think about what happens to me or what happens to truth and justice in this situation.

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question, "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.342

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[...] when I took up the cross I recognized its meaning. It is not something that you merely put your hands on. It is not something that you wear. The cross is something that you bear and ultimately that you die on.

The cross may mean the death of your popularity [...] It may mean the death of a foundation grant. It may cut your budget down a little, but take up your cross and just bear it.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.343

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DANIELS: Anything you want to tell me? Been weeks, now. The deputy ops knows what's going on in this unit almost before I do. Except last week, we run the bug up into Barksdale's club office and Burrell... For once, he's a step behind. You see it?

CARVER: Maybe, he...

DANIELS: I see it. I look around the office and I see that one of my people is at the academy for in-service.

CARVER: Lieutenant, I swear, it wasn't my idea. I mean, I'm minding my business, doin' my fuckin' job, when the man calls me upstairs for coffee and a danish, right? I mean, I never even been on the eighth floor of that fucking building. And there's the deputy fucking ops telling me how concerned he is about the case, how he needs to be informed. I mean, he's the deputy fucking ops, man.

DANIELS: Couple weeks from now, you're gonna be in some district somewhere with 11 or 12 uniforms looking to you for everything. And some of them are gonna be good police. Some of them are gonna be young and stupid. A few are gonna be pieces of shit. But all of them will take their cue from you. You show loyalty, they learn loyalty. You show them it's about the work, it'll be about the work. You show them some other kinda game, then that's the game they'll play. I came on in the Eastern, and there was a piece-of-shit lieutenant hoping to be a captain, piece-of-shit sergeants hoping to be lieutenants. Pretty soon we had piece-of-shit patrolmen trying to figure the job for themselves. And some of what happens then is hard as hell to live down.

Comes a day you're gonna have to decide whether it's about you or about the work.

Dialogue from The Wire, Episode 13, Season 1

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Pearlman: The point is that Maury Levy is a past officer of the Monumental Bar Association, and unless I want to spend my whole life as a fucking A.S.A. I can't spend my afternoons pissing on people who matter.

McNulty: Another career in the balance.

Pearlman: Fuck You

McNulty: No, fuck you. If only half you motherfuckers in the State's Attorneys Office didn't want to be Judges, didn't want to be partners in some down-town law firm; if half of you had the fucking balls to follow through - you know what would happen? A guy like that would be indicted, tried, and convicted. And the rest of them would back up enough so that we could push a clean case or two through your courthouse. But no - everybody stays friends, everybody gets paid, and everybody's got a fucking future.

Dialogue from The Wire, Episode 11, Season 1

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And, inside the organisation, you challenge that collective view at your peril. In today’s BBC only those whose antennae are fully attuned to the corporation’s cultural mindset — or keep quiet about their true feelings — are going to make progress.

Moreover, making progress these days doesn’t mean just achieving the influence and prestige of a senior job with the world’s greatest broadcaster, once considered reward enough. For those breaking through into the senior ranks, there’s now big, big money and a gold-plated pension to be had.

Which is why, although there has been plenty of grumbling on the shop floor about the escalation of pay for top BBC managers in recent years, it’s muted. No one wants to wreck his or her chances of a well-paid place in the promised land. The newsroom has many talented journalists of middle rank, who know what’s wrong with the organisation, but who don’t rock the boat for fear of blowing their futures.

[...] What the BBC wants you, the public, to believe is that it has ‘independence’ woven into its fabric, running through its veins and concreted into its foundations. The reality, I discovered, was that for the BBC, independence is not a banner it carries ­principally on behalf of the listener or viewer.

Rather, it is the name it gives to its ability to act at all times in its own best interests.

[Peter Sissons]
"Left-wing bias? It's written through the BBC's very DNA, says Peter Sissons", from Daily Mail Online.

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Tell me the truth, Frank.

Remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it.

No one forgets the truth, Frank. They just get better at lying.

['April']
Dialogue from Revolutionary Road (film)

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[...] I might say that no time can be more unfavourable to philosophy than that in which it is shamefully misused as a political means on the one hand, and as a means of livelihood on the other.

Now, if governments make philosophy the means to their political ends, then scholars see in professorships of philosophy a trade that nourishes the outer man just as does any other. They therefore crowd after them in the assurance of their good way of thinking, in other words, of the purpose or intention to serve those ends.

And they keep their word; not truth, not clarity, not Plato or Aristotle, but the aims and ends they were appointed to serve are their guiding star; and these at once become the criterion both of what is true, valuable, and worthy of consideration, and of its opposite.

Therefore whatever does not comply with these aims, be it even the most important and extraordinary thing in their department, is either condemned, or, where this seems precarious, suppressed by being unanimously ignored.

[...] How could philosophy, degraded to become a means of earning one's bread, generally fail to degenerate into sophistry? Just because this is bound to happen, and the rule "I sing the song of him whose bread I eat" has held good at all times, the making of money by philosophy was among the ancients the characteristic of the sophist.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.xix, xx

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"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"

[Peter Plichta]
God's Secret Formula
 
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I don't care if my house is built on shaky foundations.

I have invested a lot of time and money in building it, and I am very comfortable living within it. I do not even want to hear your thoughts about its foundations.


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