Selected Essays

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Essay 43. CONSEQUENCES

Unlike any kind of fortune-telling, prophecy, or magic, the I Ching does not tell the future, it can only analyze the present. Its use does not allow one to make forecasts, only diagnoses. If there were a comparison possible with a Western equivalent, it would not be to the crystal ball but to a chess playing computer program that analyzes the current situation in order to choose one of a number of options. — Cyrille Javary, Understanding the I Ching.

Quantum mechanics is a procedure. It is a specific way of looking at a specific part of reality. The only people who use it are physicists. The advantage of following the procedure of quantum mechanics is that it allows us to predict the probabilities of certain results. — Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

One of the principles of modern physics which has contributed heavily to current organizational theory states that matter is nothing but relationships. That’s the glue of an organization — relationships. Without honesty, there is no trust, and consequently, very weak relationships. — Alan Downs, Seven Miracles of Management

THE FRONT

The literal meaning of the root word is to “follow after.” Webster’s first definition of consequence is a result that follows an action or process as an outcome or effect. Second, it is a logical result or conclusion, an inference. Third, it is the relationship between cause to effect. Last, it is defined as importance or influence, as in a high-ranking person of consequence.

Board games like chess train the intellect to think in terms of strategy. High ranking players, white and black, oppose each other. Contestants maneuver their pieces, the object being to take over the field.

Pieces of different consequence are ranked according medieval social status from kings, queens, and bishops, down to lowly pawns. Each has a proportional range of motion, pawns having the least. But, with persistence, pawns can traverse the field and change rank, becoming powerful players in the end.

The United States was founded in reaction to European governments which violated natural law, subordinating merit to class interests and siphoning the resources of workers to fill the coffers of a privileged few.

In contrast, the original American dream honored the natural law of cause and effect. Everyone was free to live according to conscience and advance according to merit. Each was entitled to receive just compensation for honest work. All were entitled to equal protection under the law.

Throughout history, there has been a push/pull tension. On one side are those who respect the biblical maxim, “As ye reap, so shall ye sow.” On the other are pseudo-royality who set themselves apart from the rest. As if enthroned, they act as if they were exempt from the rules others follow, deluding themselves that power – be it superior physical strength or control of resources – place them above the laws of man, nature and nature’s God.

In nature, there are times of plenty and times of want, times of success and times of defeat. Some, however, try to short-circuit the process, by-passing the hard times that teach us humility, abusing human law to short-sighted, ego-serving ends. They’d rather — by ignoring conscience and denying common sense – be ceaselessly, excessively prosperous, at the expense of others who suffer in perpetual want.

Rather than engage in the give-and-take process on the chess-board of life, where the light and dark, yang and yin, alternate in orderly succession, wanna-be tyrants choose to fold the board, refuse to play by the rules, and withdraw from the life process.

But even the attempt to ignore conscience and evade natural consequences has consequences.

The I Ching, like the game of chess, is a miniature of the human psyche and of community relationships. Like playing three-tiered chess, working with the I Ching not only engages the intellect, but cultivates a keen sense of the hidden forces, deeply irrational and sometimes sublime, which drive and even occasionally inspire the players.

These disciplines teach us to make our choices in terms of cause and effect, mindful of long-term implications. They teach us to overcome daily challenges with wisdom and grace, preparing us to survive and prevail when confronted by opponents who would wipe us off the board.

The title Dancing Wu Li Masters refers to the Chinese word for “physics,” translated as “patterns of organic energy.” Sadly, the logical reference to I Ching science was ignored.

The Positive Paradigm of Change derived from I Ching — consistent with Einstein’s physics and with the teachings of Christ — holds the key to fundamental life questions which continue to elude western physicists. Whether or not we choose to benefit has dire consequences for future survival.

THE BACK

The opposite of consequence would be inconsequential, having no meaning or importance. However, the Chinese saying goes that even one small grain of rice can tip the scales one way or the other.

Logically, if there is no action, there would be no consequences. But there are also consequences, sometimes dire, to failing to take action.

Perversions of consequences include attempts to break the cause-effect connection, either to act without paying the price or to collect unearned rewards.

Out of laziness, fear or greed, wrong-doers attempt to cheat life, change the course of events by unnatural means. In the long-term, it never works as intended.

Instead, violating natural law sets chain reactions in motion that explode when events reach critical mass.

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