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July 10th, 2018

Is it wise to fight fire with fire?


In order to successfully battle fire, what is needed?


Edgar Allen Poe once wrote a deliciously ripe story called “A Descent into the Maelstrom” 


In this story a man is on a boat and gets sucked into a vast whirlpool in the sea.  The situation is one that would cause many people to panic, and as we all know, panic can make us do some dumb things.  As his fate appears to become more certain in the chaos and he sinks ever closer down to a central eye of deep crushing oblivion, he does something that seems really strange to an outside observer, perhaps even dumb.  He lashes himself to a barrel and abandons the safety of the ship he’s on and jumps off.  This action seems ludicrous.



Unless you know what he knows.  As he descended, a calmness overcame him.  He became serene.  And in that serenity he looked around and he was able to observe.  It is this awareness that allowed him to notice something important: Objects of a certain shape seemed to escape the whirlpool, like a barrel.  But ships and boats ended up at the bottom where they were crushed. 


At face value, if you don’t know the precious observation, his action seems insane. 


In the chaos of the whirlpool there was an order, that he was able to discern by becoming the opposite of the whirlpool, the opposite of chaos: being serenely observant.


In order to successfully battle fire, it’s ‘opposite’ is needed: water.


Chaos wins by spreading it’s emotional state: panic.  More panic breeds more panic.


The antidote to chaos and panic is not more panic.


The opposite is required.


To feel better.  Does not necessarily mean feeling different


The antidote to a dark emotion is not an equally bright emotion. 


This is like battling a grease fire with an electrical fire.


The antidote is to throttle back on emotion all together. 


To gain a state of calmness. 


To reside in the space between dark and bright emotions.


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