Further thoughts on PROGRESS

The I Ching is composed of 64 universal principles which have been arranged in a precise sequence; each principle is best understood in relation with the others. In terms of sequence, PROGRESS follows GREAT POWER and stands in place before CENSORSHIP.

Progress depends on the appropriate use of power -- in human terms, on ethical choices and actions. Power -- energy -- is everywhere evident; what will we do with it? Were the sun to deviate from its correct location or function, all life on Earth would perish. If we deviate from judicious and moderate use of energy, we cause harm and injury.

One of the human engines of power is the mind. In our present age, "progress" tends to manifest as rampant growth, relentless acquisition, and steamrolling achievement -- all chosen by minds that mistakenly think of power as something to get or to use over. As environmental philosopher Edward Abbey observed:

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

Nature provides checks and balances on the expression of its powers; we are wise to do the same. That's where CENSORSHIP comes in. Progression and regression are two sides of a coin, two aspects of a process. Both are natural and inevitable; power ebbs and flows.

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.
(Truman Capote)

The I Ching counsels a middle way -- moderation -- through all processes, including the use of power. Moderate use applies to everything from how much sleep is optimal for restoration, to how nations establish and maintain their borders.

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.
(Alfred North Whitehead)


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