Self-organization and Yogic Goals

Focus on a future of independently operating working crews

Welcome to the Labour Day weekend edition of The Shamcher Bulletin.

In a sense, hierarchies grow and change organically without any direct intervention or nomination.


Hierarchy vs Self-organization

In the business world the hierarchy of executives, supervisors and such is accepted almost without a question. Few notice the gradual change going on. Fewer still read the musings of some pioneers eyeing a future of independently operating working crews. 

Eric Hoffer, the former longshoreman who became a lecturer of philosophy at the University of California, told us about a road building job in the San Bernardino Mountains above Los Angeles. It was difficult finding workers, so two trucks were sent down to skid row. Unemployed, drifters, winos were picked up and dumped at the site with tools, camping equipment, hardly any instruction. The first day they set up camp. Then they built the difficult road, to the satisfaction of all, in a minimum of time. 

During World War II in liberated Belgium a crowd of civilians came to our air field and wanted to help. As an Officer of the Royal Air Force I was singled out to receive and accept them. My commanding officer shook his head as he looked over the sorry lot, starved, almost skeletons, dressed in rags, rheumy eyes and noses, all looking sullenly down at the snow. I told them I was sure they counted among them men who knew more than any of us in the armed forces about the things needed to be done and that I would form no organization, no hierarchy of supervisors and supervised. They went to work immediately without forming any hierarchy among themselves either. When barracks were built the carpenters among them guided the work. When a plumbing job came along the plumbers came forward while the carpenters dropped back into the pool of general helpers. Once a fully-organized engineering unit arrived from Britain and became impressed and dismayed by seeing this unorganized group work both faster and better, even though in addition to their work they prepared their own food and attended to all the housekeeping chores that the soldiers had had done for them by others. One day a leak became evident on the air field. Our security failed to solve the problem. Our unorganized Belgians solved it and straightened out our security in the bargain.


Trailanga Swami (photo from wikipedia)

Talk With an Old Yogi Beside the River Ganges

I thanked him and admitted that I was not at all sure that I could reproduce Trailanga’s feats, but that I would work toward it. I asked him if he, who had known him and who was an initiate, would be an example and an encouragement to me by giving me a demonstration.

There was a father's tender look in the old Yogi's eyes as he gently shook his head. “He had come far in mastering his mind and his body, but not so far in gauging the effects of his actions on others. If I were to repeat his feats and stir you to try to emulate me and, if you were then to fail, frustration and weakened faith in yourself would be your reward. What you want to do, you, yourself must do. None other can do it for you." 

"But how can I?" 

"Any man can do anything he wants to do," said the old Yogi, "if he really wants to do it. And if he does not set impossible conditions." 

"What sort of impossible conditions?" 

"Such as demanding to be able to do it right now, without preparation. There must be no limit to the effort of time which he is willing to spend," said the Yogi solemnly. 

"Will you help me – teach me?" 

"On those conditions, yes," he answered. "But do not be surprised if, in mid-course, when your wisdom has grown, you find that there is a more worthwhile goal for you to pursue."

(from Fairy Tales are True)


Is It Really Possible?

And here, a question arises. Is it really possible for a human being to raise himself up into a knowing, almost divine status in this manner? If it is, then it would seem the greatest quest. If it is not, it still remains important to purify mind and heart by controlling the influx. No one can know without trying. And it would seem a worthwhile try. All religious traditions insist that it can be done, that it is the law of life and the purpose of man and the universe. A few persons have had the privilege of meeting someone who seemed to them to have succeeded. 

The pinnacle of modern Western Civilization is the scholar, the scientist who, after years of patient study, may find a piece of truth. To expand this fragment and fit it into the larger pattern, he must humble himself to the state of the mystic, with no thought of self and not the slightest ambition. Then he may reach the wider goal, when he least suspects it and after all notion of self has passed. 

Therefore, when a man says, I can read your thoughts, he cannot. No one can read another's thoughts. No one has that right or that power. But when a man loses himself and lives in the eternal, he lives in all, loves all and knows the thoughts of another as he once knew his own. For now. For a moment, he truly is that other person. As soon as he ceased to be that other person, he can no longer know his thoughts. 

Very few who set out to reach this state ever fully succeed. But they always benefit by just having undertaken the journey. They gain in health, wisdom, clarity of mind and purity of feelings. No harm can come from setting out on this path, so we may safely attempt to explore it.

(from Fairy Tales are True)


The Shamcher Bulletin brings you snippets from Shamcher’s writings that might help frame and context our experience of the world we live in today. In every issue, the text is as originally written, with only a few editorial tweaks if necessary.

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The Shamcher Bulletin is edited by Carol Sill, whose newsletter, Personal Papers, is HERE.

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