The Pendulum Principle (Principle 46)
This principle is covered in my book, The Lost Key of the Buddha and the Principles of Discovery. Excepts are below:
From The Lost Key of the Buddha, Chapter 28:
After I laid several sheets of paper and a pen in front of him he quickly drew five images. “What do you see here?” he asked.
“It looks like five pendulums,” I replied.
“And how are they different?” he asked.
“Their swing is each in a different position,” I noted.
“Name the positions.”
I looked at the drawings and replied, “The drawings seem to depict the swing of a pendulum. The first image appears to represent the pendulum at the midway point as it would be if stationary. Then we have a swing at the far right, the center right, the center left and then the far left.”
“Now what would you say is the desired result of making a judgment?” “I would say that it is an attempt to find the most perfect course of action or purest truth,” I replied.
“Yes,” he stated. “For instance, as you attempt to steer your car a block down the road you use your best judgment to guide it as correctly as possible. But what happens when you let go of the steering wheel?”
“You run off the road,” I noted.
“So no matter how closely you fine tune your steering, it is never good enough to reach the goal without correction. Is this not true?” “You are correct,” I agreed. “I don’t think that I could even go one block without correcting my steering.”
“Now imagine this,” John said, with a knowing look in his eyes. “Visualize the possibility of creating a perfect aim with your steering so you could let go and travel, not only a block but for miles, in a straight line with no correction. We will call this perfect aim the point of purest truth. This point is represented by my first drawing of the pendulum still at the midway point between the two extremes. Now when the pendulum is not in motion the point of truth is obvious. But this is not the case when it is in motion.
“To illustrate, visualize the still pendulum growing in size until it is as large as a ride at the carnival. You note there is a seat for you right at the midway point attached to the blade of the large pendulum. Now see yourself taking a seat there. You have a red highlighter in your hand, and you reach down and draw an X in the middle of the blade right at the midway point of rest under your seat. Now, in this existence of stillness the midway point of truth is black and white. All you have to do is look under your seat and X marks the spot.”
“OK so far,” I said.
“Now here is where it gets interesting,” he added. “You see the pendulum ride beginning to move until it has a large swing back and forth. You are now way over to the far right or at the point in my second drawing. Where is the point of truth now that was marked with the X?”
“Well…even though I have moved, the X is still under my chair marked on the blade of the pendulum,” I said, not sure of myself. “But where is the point of truth which was marked by the X?” “I marked the middle of the blade under the chair. Are you saying it is no longer there?”
“I am telling you to reflect on my words. Now, where is the point of truth?” From this I concluded that the point was not at the obvious place where the X was marked. I reflected a moment and answered, “The only other place it could be would be the point which is now empty space where the pendulum rested when it was still.”
“Correct,” he said. “When the pendulum moved, you assumed the point moved with you because the X that marked the spot seemed to be in the same location as before. Now, relative to your body, it was in the same location, but relative to the whole, the midway point did not move, but was left behind. From an upside down point of view, the midway point seemed to move, but what really moved?”
“I moved away from the midway point. This is getting interesting,” I said. “This is an extremely important point in understanding the Second Key,” he said. “All points of truth are consistent and unchanging. All that really changes is our location in relation to the truth. The truth thus seems to be relative and changing, but instead, it is the observer who changes. Now for another important point. You marked the X on a physical object in the world of form, but when the material pendulum swung away, the real point was still there. Where does this point really exist?”
I reflected and replied, “By one reckoning, the point is between the two extremes of the swing of the pendulum, but by another it merely exists as a point with no dimensions.”
“Yes, in reality the point is formless, with a true existence outside of time and space. This is why Jesus identified the path to the truth as narrow, for to arrive at the point of truth without dimension requires a narrow path indeed.
“Now see yourself swinging to all the four locations in my drawing. First the far right, then the center right, then over the point of truth to the center left and then to the far left. Is the midway point moving or are you moving?”
“I am moving,” I replied.
“But when you look back on your originating point, does this point seem to be moving or standing still?”
“I think I see what you are getting at,” I said. “I have read a little about relativity, and from that teaching the question would be, am I moving away from the point or is it moving away from me? The answer is that it depends on how you look at it.”
“Exactly right,” said John, looking pleased. “And this is what keeps the true power of judgment away from the grasp of the many. The many see the point of truth as being in motion when, instead, it is them swinging back and forth away from reality. True judgment can only come to the individual when he realizes that it is he who is moving away from truth, and, until he perceives this motion and adjusts for it, the truth can never be found or even approximated.”
“Could you give us a real world example?” asked Elizabeth. “My head is starting to spin.”
“Perhaps the best example is in the world of politics,” he said. “Let us say that the conservative view is represented by the swing of the pendulum to the right and the liberal view is the swing to the left. However, both the swings to the left and the right are far away from the midway point of truth. For instance, after World War II, the world, particularly the United States, went through a conservative period. Censorship was everywhere and overdone. On TV and in the movies actors had to have twin beds and not show any passion or scenes that would even indicate the existence of sex. Words spoken, pictures printed, and articles written were censored and often very sterile. Conservative politics acquiesced to the dominant religions of the time and did not challenge them nor offer any criticism. Women, blacks and minorities were judged by the conservative values of the past, civil rights were suppressed, and many were denied civil rights. It was my country right or wrong epitomized by the McCarthy era. The thought of going to the moon seemed like fantasy and science fiction. The music was dull and unimaginative. Then a change occurred, and the pendulum shifted from the right to the left, achieving its greatest momentum in the Sixties and Seventies. Both of you witnessed the changes that took place. How about naming a few?”
Elizabeth replied, “I’ll take a stab at it. For one thing, music became much more exciting with the advent of rock-and-roll. Censorship was all but eliminated–to the point that almost anything goes. Few movies are complete without explicit sex today. We’ve given minorities so many rights that the civil rights of the majority are at risk. It seems strange today that we females are called a minority when we are greater in number than the male, and control more wealth. It seems that instead of my country right or wrong, the motto of today is my country is always wrong. Instead of supporting traditional religion it seems to be attacked at every opportunity. In my youth a minister or priest was often the good guy in the movie or book. It seems that today every religious person who appears in a movie is either the villain or is crazy as a loon.”
“Great observations,” said John. “Now, have you noticed a change in the liberals since the swing of the Sixties and Seventies?”
“I certainly have,” I said. “I have great respect for the liberals who worked for change in the early days like JFK and his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King, all the great musicians who changed the world of music, NASA and supporters who took us to the moon, the innovative movie makers who challenged censorship, and the liberal comics who loosened us up. The trouble is that they did not leave good enough alone. They seemed to think that if some liberalism is good, more is better, and today the admonitions of the liberals seem to be extreme in most areas, and the conservatives seem to be the voice of reason. The tables are now reversed from the early Fifties. Does this mean that the conservative pull will cause the pendulum to swing the other direction?”
“Yes,” he replied. “The pendulum always returns to center and then swings to an opposing extreme again. But here is an important Key to enhancing your power of judgment. When the pendulum swings back again to the right, we will not have an exact repetition of the last conservative cycle. With each swing of the pendulum, the force to the left or right is slightly reduced by the friction of the times. This means that the next conservative cycle will not be as oppressive as the one before, and the future liberal cycle will not be as unrestrained as the one we are in now.”
From Principles of Discovery, Number 15:
Understanding the Pendulum Principle is a powerful key to aid in the discovery of truth. It can basically be stated as follows:
Average humanity swings back and forth in their beliefs from one extreme to the other. The reason for this is an extreme belief requires little thought or judgment. One can be lazy and not use the mind, but rely completely on feeling which swings to the extreme without check. In other words, everything is viewed through a black and white mode. All is good or evil, right or wrong with no shades of gray.
The reason this principle is important is that in most cases the extreme position is filled with error. If the seeker understands that some widely accepted beliefs are really an extreme position taken by the lazy in thought, then he can look at the middle, use judgment and discover much truth.
Let’s go through some popular beliefs and see how this plays out.
Extreme Belief Side One: Jesus is the God of the universe, is all powerful, all knowing and created all the billions of galaxies.
Extreme Belief Side Two: Jesus was just a regular man if he existed at all.
It is most likely the truth is between these two popular extremes. Good judgment can find it.
Extreme Belief Side One: Global Warming is caused by man and threatens our very existence within the next few years.
Extreme Belief Side Two: Global warming has not been proven so ignore what they say.
The most likely truth is that we will successfully adapt to any warming or cooling that may come just has man has done in the past.
On the other hand, we cannot just take it for granted that we are not creating a problem for the future and should work toward a reasonable understanding of our possible effect on nature.
Extreme Belief Side One: There is a conspiracy behind every major tragedy that happens.
Extreme Belief Side Two: All conspiracy theories are silly and to be ignored.
Again, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Obviously, not all disasters are caused by government conspiracies, but then we know from history that sometimes there are true conspiracies. However, these often involve assassinations rather than some very complex plot that would involve thousands of people.
On a side note, here is part of a humorous spoof I made about Bush shortly after the Tsunami in Indonesia.
I could go on and on about the genius of this mastermind conspirator who has been behind conspiracy after conspiracy with impunity.
The most famous of them all was 911. Again he (Bush) was the mastermind who arranged for the planes to fly into the buildings and the cover-up. Since conspiracy buffs know about this I will not go into details. Instead, I will tell you about Bush’s latest exploit of which Michael Moore is not even aware.
Too much attention has been placed on the problems in Iraq lately and Bush needed a diversion. He thought he would kill a few Islamic terrorists in Indonesia at the same time as creating diversion so he dropped a 100-megaton atomic bomb in the Indian Ocean on a fault line. This created the largest earthquake in recent memory causing the giant Tsunami which killed over 150,000 Muslims and left millions homeless. This sent an underground message to the terrorists to not mess with Texas.
I found it amusing that a few days after I made this post that conspiracy theories started to arise that a nuclear bomb on a fault line had indeed caused the disaster.
This was predictable because of the permeation of the extreme beliefs held by general humanity.
Extreme Belief Side One: We must cease from drilling for new oil for we are running out of resources and destroying the environment.
Extreme Belief Side Two: We must drill for all the oil we can for the foreseeable future.
Truth: Oil needs are increasing so we will need new domestic oil production, but if we are wise we can switch to alternative fuels within the next 30-50 years. Then we will need very little oil.
Extreme Belief Side One: Bush is totally evil and I hate him.
Extreme Belief Side Two: Bush is totally good and I love him.
Truth: Bush is a man with flaws just as were the past presidents. He should be judged as a brother doing his best, not as a Hitler or a saint.
We could go on and on but the sad truth is that many of the popular beliefs and positions of average humanity are extreme and lacking judgment. Some of these extremes are accepted as being moderate if popularized by the mainstream media. The true seeker will see where the true extremes lie and avoid taking a blind unthinking position on that extreme as he would a plague.
We live in a world where lemonade is made from artificial flavoring and furniture polish is made from real lemons. Alfred E. Neuman, MAD magazine
Feb 24, 2007
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