Thinking – really thinking – about way the world works and how we fit into it is essential to human survival. This, in large part, depends upon careful, conscious use of the primary tools of logic and language.
Digging deeper than programmed assumptions to understand what we truly mean is one of the basic skills we never learned in school, but should have! Being able to clearly express our concerns and insights is equally important.
This includes knowing the precise definitions of words – how we intend them, as well as the many ways they can be misconstrued by others who use them differently.
Each of the 64 Essays in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide addresses the Tower of Babel dilemma, where it’s shown that the words we use every day have devolved to mean one thing as well as their opposites. Each Essay highlights the many different meanings assigned to a single, key concept in the English language. Each then focuses on the word’s use in the context of the natural law encoded in the Chinese I Ching.
Westerners, for the most part, remain ignorant of the order implicit in dynamic natural law, as well as the critically important, two-way role it serves as the “middle man” gatekeeper between human and divine law. We suffer the adverse consequences of this blind spot in every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, even many urban, “modern” Asians seem to have become disconnected from their wisdom roots.
The following is one example: the word ORDER.
As with each of other 64 key terms, its meaning is illuminated by placing gradations within the levels of the Life Wheel. The first principle of Dr. Kushi’s “Principles of Order of the Universe” acknowledges the ONE which resides at the timeless center hub of the Wheel. Infinity is represented by its creative extension process, with its alternating, rhythmic expansions and contractions. The outline below could be expanded and elaborated upon in volumes, and still barely touch the surface of the implications.
Forthcoming blogs will elaborate on the basic principles of universal order which we should have learned as the basics in school and need to know NOW, as an urgent matter of survival.
Principles of the Order of the Universe:
1. Everything is a differentiation of ONE Infinity.
2. Everything changes.
3. All antagonisms are complementary.
4. There is nothing identical.
5. What has a front has a back.
6. The bigger the front, the bigger the back.
7. What has a beginning has an end.
8. Nothing is solely yin or solely yang.
9. There is nothing neutral.
10. Large yin attracts small yin. Large yang attracts small yang.
11. Extreme yin produces yang, and extreme yang produces yin.
12. All physical manifestations are yang at the center and yin at the surface.
— Michio Kushi, Natural Healing through Macrobiotics
In the secure, high-synergy societies, wealth gets spread around, it gets siphoned off from the high places down to the low places. It tends, one way or another, to go from rich to poor, rather than from poor to rich. — Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
When evil men plot, good men must plan. . . When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice. — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Roots of order mean straight, row, or regular series. The first of Webster’s seventeen definitions is a social position or rank in the community. Order means a state of peace or serenity, observance of the law, or orderly conduct. It can refer to the sequence or arrangement of things or events, a series, succession. [As in, “Order in the court room!” or “It’s time to put your affairs in order.”]
Order can refer to a fixed or definite place, system or law of arrangement. It can refer to a group or class of persons set off from others by some trait or quality. It can mean a group of persons constituting an association formed for some special purpose, like the Order of Knights Templars, or a community of monks or nuns following a rule.
Order can refer to a group of persons distinguished for having received a certain award or citation. Order can mean a general state, as in “not in working order.” It can mean a command, direction or instruction, usually backed by authority. It can mean an established method or system, as of conduct or action in meetings or worship. It can be a request or commission to make or supply something, such an order for merchandise or services.
In I Ching context, order refers to the sequence in which straight and divided lines are placed in the three-line trigrams which represent the eight building blocks of nature. Alchemical interactions amongst these primal natural forces are mapped by pairing trigrams in every possible combination. The 64 six-line hexagrams which result are placed in ordered matrices, sometimes encompassed by a circle. Different sages place these figures in different order with different effect.
However, any or all of the lines within each six-line configuration can change to its opposite. So the myriad possibilities inherent in any circumstance have the potential to shift in an infinite number of directions.
The implication (and opportunity) is this: Despite appearances, nothing within a given situation is static, nor can the fluid, dynamic permutations of change be controlled or foreseen. Put another way, those who understand how to work with the laws of change can use them to advantage, accepting that no situation, no matter how dire, is either hopeless or without useful possibilities. Order lies in the process, not immediate specifics.
Cutting edge physicists continue to probe the order of the universe. In The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene builds on violinist Einstein’s vision, describing the string theory which “can heal the breach between gravity and quantum, unifying all of nature’s ingredients.” His book is recommended to those who “want to get a real appreciation for the amazing miracle that the universe is.”
The I Ching is recommended for the same reasons. Its advantage over modern physics is first that it is time-tested and proven, second that its careful use over time can bring abstract intellectual theories closer to home, making them applicable to immediate, practical concerns. For it is only with a profound understanding of how the world works, that these dynamics can be applied to establish communities like those envisioned by Maslow and King, where equity and justice prevail.
In biblical context, the shadow side of order is chaos, the primordial state which predates manifest creation. This is different from the chaos physicists study, which refers to turmoil or dynamic instability within which humans have not yet recognized inherent order.
In social context, rigid caste structures based on blood lines or material possessions are perversions of the dynamic natural order. Pigeon-holing or excluding people by race, age, gender or economic status is a competitive strategy; it has nothing to with inherent divine order, human potentials or functional competence.