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Dialogue #15

Unpretentiousness (Ch'ien)

Metaphors: Humility / Modesty


Social A dialogue prospers best by acting in an unassuming manner, whether in a position of influence or not. This principle also favours its efforts to establish order by reducing those extremes and inequalities which are the source of social discontent.

Sub-conditions:

1. The dialogue may successfully undertake dangerous enterprises if the situation is not confused by unnecessary claims and by the resistance of others resulting from such claims. (Resulting in: Decline).

2. When an unassuming manner is natural to the dialogue's mode of action, the possibilities of exerting a lasting influence emerge of their own accord. (Resulting in: Advancement).

3. If the dialogue responds immodestly to widespread recognition of its achievements, criticism develops, preventing the work from being carried through to its final fruition. (Resulting in: Receptivity).

4. The dialogue should guard against the danger that an unassuming manner of action may become an effective disguise for irresponsibility and inaction. (Resulting in: Conscientiousness).

5. Circumstances may call for energetic corrective action by the dialogue, which should not interpret the merit of an unassuming mode as an excuse for letting events take an inappropriate course. (Resulting in: Obstruction).

6. The dialogue should act vigorously to defend itself and order its environment, especially when the root of the problem lies in weaknesses of own. (Resulting in: Inaction).

Transformation sequence Valued possessions and unpretentiousness together engender enthusiasm. (Resulting in: Enthusiasm).


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Earlier version in 2nd edition of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986).

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