The Principle of the Weakest Link

Carl H. Flygt

December 2005


Any social exchange entails the use of fields around (within) the consciousness of each individual involved in the interaction. These fields are at least twofold, and can be characterized on the one hand as etheric, governed by one set of laws, and on the other as astral, governed by a second, independent set. The etheric laws are basically anti-gravitational. They conduce to levity in the self-consciousness of the body, and are responsible for feelings of health, for vitality in the blood and for organic growth and sensuality, as in the presence of a lover or a work of art. They are also responsible for the “sixth sense” of unity within the social organism of the beehive, of the fish school or of the human family.


The astral laws are quite different. These are the laws of the individual consciousness and the soul world, of the sentience that arises out of the fact that our intelligence is distributed through voluntary movements in space and time and supervenient on a cosmic order of existence. They have to do with the fact that our reference to things in the world and to things in our minds is ontologically reversible, with neither our point of view nor that of the object having any ultimate priority one over that of the other. They have to do with relationality per se, and depend for their expression on how things in sentient relationship are actually constituted. By and large the astral field reflects a two-way street between consciousness and object, and when consciousness is sufficiently attenuated, either in a healthy or in a pathological manner, it exhibits a reversal of order over relations that are normally taken to obtain in the cosmos and in the ordinary world.


The astral field, of course, is what comes into play as consciousness reaches the threshold of death and passes beyond it, into the experience of the kama loka and whatever destiny awaits whatever manages to survive death with some coherence intact. But it also plays a role in ordinary earthly existence, cementing more or less permanently patterns of response to the individual’s own situation in the world, and calling up reenactments of situations, sometimes quite literally, that involved particular identities and relations that were bound together through some kind of emotional drama in certain configurations. It is what is responsible for form in the biological world, and for emotion and movement in the human. In reality, the astral field represents time or temporality brought into a spatial relationship with the other three dimensions of space. It is a manifestation of the laws of the fourth dimension, of the laws of consciousness as it exists objectively in the space-time continuum.


A decent and satisfying social experience, therefore, makes intelligent use of these etheric and astral laws and of the fields they govern, and a decent and satisfactory society builds this intelligence into its social contract, into the a priori expectations, practices and understandings of what social experience and social consciousness in general mean. Conversation, which is actually the cause of the overarching social order, therefore should be practiced, and as a matter of historical fact probably has been practiced, in certain venues, in a way that is directly sensitive to these laws. The basic form of such conversation (I call it “pure conversation”) is thus etheric unity, and the corresponding etheric levity, and astral relatedness or ontological (astral) force. Traditionally, the high cultures of history, from those of India and Persia, to those of Egypt and Judea and others devolved from conversations, most of them educational, conducted one-to-one between teacher and student initiate, under these conditions.


Now neither etheric levity nor astral force are common to the experience of most individuals in modern society, except perhaps in high spiritual dreams or in certain psychotherapies, such as Constellation work. These features of consciousness and experience require considerable motivation and practice to acquire and master, and good guidance as well, and individuals are perhaps more likely to fail in their systematic acquisition than to succeed. There is some good news, however. These crucial factors of spiritual motivation, practice and guidance can be derived from purely social formalities, and thus in principle can reach many more individuals than was possible under traditional systems of tutelage. That is what my theory of pure conversation purports to do, or at least to make possible, and if not to lead all souls inevitably to material and cosmic enlightenment, at least to create a hierarchy of such souls, a ladder of reciprocal inspiration and aid that permeates all of society and all the world, and that thereby brings all of nature explicitly under the etheric and astral laws, as well as those of material nature.


Now the social formalities necessary and sufficient for the soul world ultimately to subsume the material world are not difficult to understand, and although there are probably a great many of them, and although they are not easy to put into practice, they are the sort of thing that any rational person will, once understood, instinctively accept in principle. This is because rationality is a feature of a spiritual nature which in turn subsumes the soul world and in many ways becomes an actual feature of that world. Things are complicated out there. The thing to understand is that not everyone’s self-consciousness is completely rational; not everyone’s soul instincts are completely developed. How could they be? That is what material incarnation is really all about. Material incarnation is really about the astral body and the astral world, the objective four dimensional space-time continuum, through inorganic and organic nature, coming completely to itself. That is something that is not going to happen overnight, but it is what life is all about. Life is about the making and remaking of a chain, of an education, of a gigantic system of relations and intelligence, that brings the consciousness of the individual into an astral condition that is at once free and enjoyable and cosmically transparent.


Pure conversation, or our essays at such a thing given the diversity of our starting points, will thus inevitably contain, at each conversational moment, a person who represents the weakest link in the chain of the cosmic intelligence and the cosmic fields. It can be no other way. The cosmic chain is unitary, stern and sublime, and it represents an absolute necessity in the conversational moment. With fear and trembling, we are each enjoined, as pure social beings, to muster ourselves to live up to its law. Some of us, in that moment, will be in a weaker position than others, and one of us will be the weakest and will understand the least. This is the person who should speak. This is the place where the social focus should be, and it is to this that my theory of conversation conduces, or purports to conduce. If the speech is in error, care should be taken to correct and support it. If the speech is acceptable, acknowledgment should be given. Something analogous, I am certain, takes place in a Constellation. Here the focus is on the weakest or most endangered member of the family system. To sustain such focus is simply necessary to satisfy the higher laws of the social organism, of the social fields. If the chain breaks, it breaks because of the weakest link. To have a chain, i.e. to have a decent and unified conversation or a decent and unified family situation, the weakest link needs to be supported. The organism as a field moves in terms of the limitations set by the weakest link.


Now the principle of the weakest link is the rationale behind the principle of absolute democracy. Absolute democracy is the principle of the weakest link. From the viewpoint of unified social experience, it makes no sense to initiate a social program (such as the one on The Soul World contemplated for San Francisco in January 2006) without everyone present contributing a certain amount of positive regard and good will toward it. If not everyone can do so, the social essay, as a spiritual exercise, is flawed a priori, and should not be attempted. Since there is no way of knowing beforehand if everyone in attendance has responded positively to the published methods and purpose of the program, or if everyone will be persuaded by the rationales presented by the speakers on a delicate and complicated topic, and particularly if there are strong and principled objections possible, there is simply no guarantee that the required spiritual unity will be present. If such unity is lacking, the focus should go to the one objecting, to the one attempting to exercise a veto, until either that person is convinced to go along with the program freely and willingly, or that person is shown to be out of step with everyone else. In this way, the entire evening represents a sacrifice, or a possible sacrifice. It is up to the gods whether what is intended will succeed. The best we can do is prepare as well as we can, and be ready to respond, based on that preparation, to novelties that cause us to look at ourselves and at the cosmic mystery in ways we could not have anticipated.