[Strategy] Axioms II: The Tetrahedron

[12.10.2012 Note]: Another update is already needed for this articulation. We’re getting warmer. Progress.

Since first writing down my Axioms, they’ve matured, and it’s already time to re-visit them.

The Purpose of the Axioms

The point of the Axioms is to generate boundaries that define the space where I should focus all of my energy. If a thought or an action falls outside of these boundaries, I need to redirect my energy.

By crystallizing these Axioms, I no longer have to worry about how I live my life, so I can master the living of every single moment.

Envisioning the Axioms

Since the point of the Axioms is to generate boundaries, you can conceptualize the Axioms as a geometric shape. There are 4 Axioms, and you can imagine them coming together to form a tetrahedron — 3 triangular sides, and a triangular base.

The first 3 Axioms: the sides of the Tetrahedron

1) Integration

Integration refers to becoming more deeply connected to other people (family, community, and humanity as a whole) and the environment (both physical environment, as well as the abstract thoughts, concepts, and interactions that permeate the Universe.)

Integration doesn’t occur just through meaningful conversations with people or experiencing the wilderness. Integration occurs whenever we grow our understanding of our connectedness or when we make contributions that help bring the components of the system together into a more unified whole.

Whether the Axiom is being met or not can be decided by this question,  “Is my energy currently bringing me closer to other people or the greater environment?”

2) Differentiation

We are born unique. However, we most often fail to fully realize this uniqueness.

Differentiation is the process by which we realize and express this uniqueness. We become more unique as we gather our own experiences, skills, and thoughts. We become more unique as we start to express our own unique feelings, desires, and style. We become more unique as we formulate our own goals.

Whether the Axiom is being met or not can be answered by this question, “Is my energy currently creating, clarifying, or expressing my uniqueness?”

3) Enjoyment

Enjoyment is the source of positive emotions, and is very different from happiness.

Enjoyment is an ordered consciousness and is epitomized by Mihaly’s Flow state that he observed in his research. A disordered consciousness is anxiety and other bad feelings our minds naturally fall to if we let them.

Our consciousness can be ordered by controlling what we expose consciousness to, such as by choosing what activities we participate in or what ideas we entertain.

Consciousness can also be ordered by changing how we perceive. An incident can cause one person the utmost grief, while the same terrible incident can leave another person, although perhaps saddened by the turn events, still exuding the powerful energy of Enjoyment. The difference is how they perceive and order their consciousness.

Whether the Axiom is being met or not can be answered by this question, “Am I participating in life, or perceiving life, in a way that is ordering my consciousness and keeping it from falling into disorder?”

The final Axiom: the base

Consider this particular observation that follows from the first 3 Axioms:

Life can be a series of Enjoyable, Integrating, and Differentiating experiences, and yet, when we look back upon our life at 70 years of age, it’s conceivable that we could be disgusted upon seeing that it “amounted to nothing.”

This thought points to a hole that is filled by the final Axiom.

4) Meaning

Meaning is the demand for purpose at every level of being–from the ground level all the way up to the bigger picture. For a person living a completely Meaningful life, everything “speaks” to them because everything is done with purpose. The work they do, the words they speak, the shoes they wear, and every little detail builds up to the greater story and a higher purpose.. 

This line of thought conjures the ultimate question, “Why do anything?”

I believe the answer is the Axioms themselves. I believe the Axioms are self-evident, and I think about every good answer one could give for why they do anything flows from them. I can think of no better reason to do something than to come closer to other people and the Universe, to become fully self-actualized, to enjoy every breath, and to work towards a higher purpose that creates a more harmonious future.

This brings me to an important point on Meaning that needs to be explicitly mentioned: Meaning is made. We do not need the Universe to bestow a special purpose upon us. We can imbibe every present action with Meaning, and we can make our past experiences Meaningful.

Whether the Axiom is being met or not can be answered by this question, ”is my energy being directed with purpose at every level?”

We are not robots

The Axioms are not meant to provide us with a computer program, a checklist, that we consciously run every step we take. While the Axioms can be very successfully used as an analytical tool to help us dissect specific situations and decisions, ultimately the Axioms are meant to inform our intuition. Ideally, the Axioms fall into our subconscious, and quietly guide us in the background.

However, as humans, there are other memes, other lower desires, that seek to control us every step we take. And by stating these Axioms explicitly, by creating this Tetrahedron, we allow the Axioms to take on a life of their own and empower them to continuously shape our guiding intuitions. And, for myself personally, I believe very strongly this Tetrahedron, or whatever it evolves into, will help me make a very Meaningful contribution to a better future.

Kevin
11.19.2012

Addendum:

4 vital principles that flow from the Axioms

Since I’m inspired to do so, I’m going to continue building on this geometric model.

There are 4 extremely important principles that flow from the Axioms.

1) Mission 

You could imagine mission being the very top vertex of the Tetrahedron–it’s the top of the mountain.

I’ve already discussed this on the blog and why it’s important. To be short, if we want to focus our energy on this Tetrahedron, Mission is the cause that will make this Tetrahedron glow white hot. Defining our greatest personal challenge and reaching for it causes us to develop our uniqueness, come closer to the environment and other people, and by default requires us to live with purpose. Additionally, it also helps us to order our consciousness. In light of the Mission, everything is one more joyful step in the greater story.

The remaining 3 principles occupy the foundational vertexes.

2) The Right to be Wrong, The Right to Not Know

As soon as we start to think about this idea of integrating our consciousness more closely with the  Universe, we quickly become very aware of what seems to be an infinite unknown. And right now, it’s only possible to hold a small teacup of this infinite consciousness in our head, and it’s absurd for us to know much more than that. And coming from this, due to our current limitations, we each have a right to not know, and a right to be wrong. We’re here trying to work through this infinite unknown, and better understand what we do already know. Recognizing these limitations and reserving these rights empowers us to keep growing.

From a personal standpoint, I will live by my convictions, and one of these convictions will be to keep growing, to not be afraid to be wrong, and to continue to expand my perceptions of reality. And I think this principle is what keeps men of conviction from becoming men of ignorance.

3) What we think about, creates us. Who we connect to, defines us.

What we let into our consciousness, shapes our consciousness. We can focus on information, thoughts, and perceptions that energizes us to do things we find meaningful, things that make us proud. We can also let our minds very easily fall to things that lead us to deteriorate.  Upon meditating on this, the point becomes very clear: what we think about, changes us. A lot.

And we can extend this further. The most influential factor in our lives is almost certainly the people we expose ourselves to.  They dictate to the greatest degree what ends up entering our consciousness. With that in mind, we see the other and perhaps most important side: the people we connect to define us.

4) We own our consciousness

We own our consciousness. We can control it. Evidence suggests this is possible. Observation states it’s necessary. And from interacting with the Axioms, it’s very clear that this needs to be one of our deepest convictions.

 

  • Chris Ruberg

    Thoroughly enjoy reading your post Kev. It helps provide some conscious guidance to my scattered thought process.

    • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

      Chris, I’m super happy that you found this useful. It has certainly proven useful for me after mulling it over for some time now, and has also helped me cut out some things that just weren’t good enough usages of time and energy. Thanks so much for the comment. Positive feedback (and criticisms) are always inspiring.

  • http://thebryanhernandezgame.wordpress.com/ Bryan Hernandez

    ” I can think of no better reason to do something than to come closer to other people and the Universe, to become fully self-actualized, to enjoy every breath, and to work towards a higher purpose that creates a more harmonious future.”
    This is simply fantastic.
    -Bryan

    • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

      Thanks, Bryan. I really appreciate the comment.

  • John T

    My favorite para is the one that comes closest to dealing with ethics. “This brings me to an important point on Meaning that needs to be explicitly mentioned: Meaning is made. We do not need the Universe to bestow a special purpose upon us. We can imbibe every present action with Meaning, and we can make our past experiences Meaningful.”

    You’re taking a swing at the meaning of life and I love that you are putting the responsibility on the individual. I wonder (without conviction) if the axioms shouldn’t have more of an ethical base and I wish you had expanded more on the above paragraph.

    • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

      Very interesting comment, for a lot of reasons. First, if there is a simple enough answer that you’re willing to share, why do you wish I had expanded more on this? I suppose I’m very interested to know why you potentially felt there was something important that was left unaddressed. This is a product of a lot of thought, and I’m aware that there might be key points that I’m leaving out in order to make this simple, at the expense of reducing it’s value.

      Secondly, to help me dig into this, do you think you could formulate this statement:” I wonder (without conviction) if the axioms shouldn’t have more of an ethical base and I wish you had expanded more on the above paragraph” into a question?

      I’ve realized the Axioms need yet another upgrade, and it actually has to do with #4 (Meaning), and it might make sense to add in what you’re on to.