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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pattern and Principle

One of the primary constructs that I run my life by is that the world is ordered by pattern and principle. There is an inherent order governed by laws and principles that if you can discover you can utilise to your benefit. Whether you choose to take it a step further and follow the concept of inherent design (that an ordered world emanates from a creator of the order) doesn’t really change the fact that there are certain laws in place. A prime example would be the physical law of gravity-jump off a building and you find yourself rushing to a point where you will discover once and for all if there is an afterlife. One principle can be superseded by another, if you have a parachute the law of aerodynamics kicks in and you can base-jump with relief.

Principles are not just physical though, some are economic (e.g. if you don’t work you don’t eat), some spiritual (the law of reciprocity-otherwise know as karma-you reap what you sow) and some biological ( if you don’t drink you die). How can you find these, well one way is to watch and learn. The other is to read what others have written, most religious writings for example contain many of these principles.

I found one this week that was hidden in the instructions for laying siege in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy where it speaks about not cutting down fruit trees to use for siege weapons but keeping them for food for the present and future. The principle is ‘do not sell your future for your present.’ Read ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and you’ll find the same advice. History is unfortunately full of such examples (e.g. Lobengula selling mining rights to the British, poorer nations accepting external loans that they cannot repay the interest on). How different Africa might look if it stopped selling its raw materials and invested instead on processing them into the more expensive finished product. Think about it, I can buy Belgium chocolate made from cocoa beans from North Africa and sugar from Mauritius and pay an arm and a leg for it. How many chocolate factories are there in North Africa? I’d say probably not as many as there could be.

Zimbabwe stands at a crossroads this weekend, and, while the future is not that clear regardless of who wins, stories and rumours abound of those who have been offered food for their votes (mealie meal today for future under a government you vote for). Although not having witnessed this first hand, the stories just serve to highlight the principle.

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