Be careful what you say and do – the ripples they cause might be HUGE!
We all know that when you throw a stone into the centre of a pond, the ripples travel outwards to the sides, creating a pretty picture of circles as this occurs. Throw several stones into the same pond and we create a complex picture of ripples interacting together but all with the same aim of reaching as far out as they can. Ripples, of course, can travel thousands of miles as demonstrated by some of the world’s largest ‘ripples’ called Tsunamis.
Many years ago in Australia in the early 1970s, I attended one of those live-in weekend motivational programs that you hear so much about nowadays. One of the things they taught me was the “Kicking the Cat Principle.” I recollect that the story goes something like this: A business executive gets out of bed, the telephone rings and he gets a message that upsets him. On his way out of the door the cat rubs up against him, but he swears and gives it a kick. When he arrives at work he shouts at his secretary to get his Operations Manager. The Ops manager arrives and receives a barrage of anger. The Ops manager in turn gets angry and when he gets back to his workplace, he berates one of the female Supervisors who then goes down to the shop floor and blasts one of her staff. The staff member then takes it out on the cleaner. The moral of the story might be that in the bigger picture of things, might it not have been better for the cleaner to go around to the business executives house earlier that day and kick his cat, and then everything in between might never have happened. Ripples of anger definitely travel quite far. Anyhow, I’m sure you get the picture.
As I was browsing the internet recently, I came across a phrase on BobScarborough.net presumably written by Bob Scarborough of Seattle, USA which says: “I believe we never know how far the ripples will reach when we toss a pebble of kindness into the pond of another’s heart.” Good words! In a movie I watched recently (the name escapes me), Angelina Jolie said something similar, as she talked about how things said thousands of years ago still have an impact in today’s world, when she said: “You never know how far the ripples go.” I also read on TheZenCenter.org that: “We never know how far the ripples of compassion might reach with a compassionate word, a kind gesture, a smile at a stranger. Allowing someone to merge on the road, giving directions to someone lost, helping an older person read the small print on a label at the store… who knows what ripples may flow out from and small kindness, and how far the ripples of kindness might go.”
It seems apparent that even an expression on someone’s face could cause enormous ripples across the whole planet as one person reacts to it and the domino effect takes over, and creates repercussions into the future. Of course, we have all heard of the story that it might be possible for a butterfly flapping its wings to cause an earthquake on the other side of the planet. The 2000 film “Pay It Forward” stirred quite a few minds when we are shown that our small acts of kindness can have huge impacts as the kindness is ‘paid forward.’
There’s another principle, too, that is quite amazing: “The Six Degrees of Separation” principle which states that we are only ever six people away from knowing everyone on the planet. In other words, you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, and so it goes. This only has to happen six times for you to make contact with the whole planet. So if you wanted to get a private message to the President of the United States, for example, in theory, you simply need to work out who the six people are that stand in between you and the President.
Around 1982, I came up with a little principle that I developed in my own mind and that was “The Principle of Knowingness.” What I wrote was this:
“Our brains contain three compartments of ‘Knowingness’. The first compartment contains things that ‘you know that you know.’ For example, you know how to ride a bicycle, tie your shoelaces, etc. The second compartment contains things that ‘you know that you don’t know.’ For example, you might not know how to perform brain surgery, but you know that you don’t know. The third compartment, which is much bigger than the other two, contains things that ‘you don’t know that you don’t know.” In the latter case, meaning things out there in the world that you don’t even know are out there to be known.”
Around 2002, I switched on the television one day as saw Donald Rumsfeld give a USA Department of Defense News Briefing where he said the following (quote):
“The message is that there are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns, and these are the things we do not know we don’t know, and each year we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.”
I was astounded! He was talking about the very principle that I had been talking about for years – except that, because I provide examples in my explanation, my explanation is probably more understandable, whereas the jumbled words of Rumsfeld is today a favorite on TV blooper programs.
I am certainly not seeking any credit here for having come up with this principle, because maybe I didn’t. I acknowledge that it’s possible that someone else on another part of the planet came up with it around the same time or earlier. If you read the book SuperNature by Dr Lyall Watson, you will understand that this is not just possible, but actually very likely.
No, the point I am making is that I came up with a little principle in my business world in Perth Western Australia in the early 1980s and I talked about it a fair bit. So, just imagine, for a moment, that if what came out of Donald Rumsfeld’s mouth in 2002 actually DID originate from the principle I developed in the early 1980s, and that it had travelled through a myriad of ‘ripples’ to end up on Rumsfeld’s lips two decades later.
“The Principle of Ripples” is quite profound, and I have tried to define it for you:- The Principle of Ripples is: “That any thought, action, deed, word or image has the power to travel immense distances through an ever-expanding ripple-effect, and is likely to grow, expand and influence outcomes far away from, and much larger than the initial starting point.
So what does this all mean? In your world, this means that it is possible that everything you do, think or say might have major consequences in the future far beyond your imagination.
So it’s possible that if you stopped and helped the little old lady over the road this morning, that your act of kindness gets mixed up in the huge stew pot called the Universe, and eventually might have enormous effects on all manner of things to come. It’s possible that if you stooped to pick up the piece of paper discarded by someone else and put it into the rubbish bin, that somehow, good things might happen to you at sometime in the near or far future. One argument, of course, could be that the outcomes may not necessarily be good. They may be bad, too.a