Sunday, October 19, 2014

The clockmaker's dilemma, part I

Dutch Burr-Walnut clock by Rutgerus van Meurs,
18th century Amsterdam
Private Collection


Do you connect everything in life to the system / the work? Do you look to the teaching of the system to all things in your life when necessary? For example, when handling un-useful habits or negative emotions and you notice them arising, are you reminded of what the system "says" about it, and can you thus 'do the right thing?' 


There is a fine old clock in a train station. 

It is gummed up and untuned, and isn't working correctly; and so all the trains run late, or early, or not at all. 

The public, seeing how confused the trains are, raises a huge outcry, and great energy is turned towards fixing the trains, the schedules, and the layout of the station. Politicians get involved (they always do.) No one thinks that the issue begins with the fact that the clock isn't working properly. The dysfunctions it is causing are great, and they absolutely get all the attention.

Finally, the clock problem is recognized by a few more perceptive but relatively minor bureaucrats, and after a lot of effort and argument a very young, somewhat naive clockmaker is employed.

At once, instead of allowing him to work quietly on the clock, dealing with the very fine details of machinery that are absolutely necessary in order to correct the time, the public demands that he participate in the rewriting of schedules, rerouting of trains, and so on. He isn't even capable of doing that. What he can do is slowly and quietly make very fine adjustments to the clock so that eventually, all the trains will come back onto schedule; but he's young and easily influenced and distracted. Instead he succumbs at once to the pressures of the outside world, and his energy is wasted on all the uproar that started the need for his work inside the clock in the first place.

Sometimes he dies before he ever actually gets to open the clock and make any adjustments; but because he becomes completely identified with the uproar, even convinced of what the others have told him, he thinks he's accomplishing something.


This is a very interesting question to me. 

I think it begins with the fact that people generally confuse everything about inner work. The moment they hear the words, they hear them outwardly; and everything that ought to become inward is automatically and mechanically turned outward.

In part, this is because people's thinking is actually very weak; all the thinking is generally outward, that is, automatic and mechanical, whereas thinking ought above all to be inwardly inspired, and begin there.

Outward thinking turns inner work into outward action; this is adultery and mixing of the worst kind. All inner works can be perverted in this way; and they generally are, because so few understand what it is to work inwardly, that is, according to the actual influence of a higher energy.

This idea that any system of inner work can be "used" to fix outward life and "do" things is to misunderstand both the direction and nature of inner work. Inner work is intended to change essence; and this is an inward quality that exists and influences action before anything ever takes place. As such, inner work is turned to the origin of causes, not the amelioration of effects. If I turn my attention to the origin of causes, that is, the original self, the effects will take care of themselves. But this doesn't produce the immediate results that people demand, and think is their right.


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