The Principle of Proportion

“All is well when things move together, not in isolation”

This Principle means that if, in striving toward a goal, we disrupt our whole life, then we may in turn be subject to numerous accidents that make it hard to reach our goal, and even if we do reach it, this result will have bitter consequences.

For example, if in order to gain wealth or prestige we harm our health, sacrifice our loved ones, or give up other values, we may have accidents that will keep us from reaching our goal. Or we may reach it, but no longer have the good health to enjoy it, or loved ones to share it with, or other values that give us meaning.

“All is well when things move together.” This is so because our life is a whole that requires balanced, not partial, equilibrium and development.

Since some things are more important than others, everyone should have a true scale of values so that first-, second-, and third-level priorities can be taken care of according to their importance. If energy is applied proportionately in this way, everything will truly work together.

Let us illustrate this with a tale showing how disproportionate actions can end up producing disastrous consequences:

There were four magicians who were friends. Three of them had attained great learning but lacked judgment. The other abhorred learning but his reasoning and judgment were excellent.

One of the magicians said, “What good is judgment without learning? You can know if something is good or bad, but not how to do one thing or another.“

To illustrate this, the youngest said, “Tomorrow we are supposed to be in Persepolis, but it’s a long way off, too far for our camels to travel in one day. With our learning, however, we can do it.”

So they asked the wise one to bring up one of the camels. One magician stretched its legs until the camel was as tall as a house. Another broadened its back so that the four could fit between the other humps, and the other magician gave the animal a neck so long that it could see any point of interest from far away.

The next morning, only three of the magicians mounted the enormous camel, because the wise one said, “Better three than four when the problems multiply.” So the three mounted, laughing at the fearful one.

The race started at great speed, but in a short time they ran out of water to quench such an animal´s thirst. To make matters worse, the enormous monster kept bumping its head on the tall sandstone pinnacles, so instead of standing upright, it had to move more like a serpent speeding after its prey.

Thus the camel, weakened and thrown off balance by the abnormal position of its neck, ended up collapsing like a tower without a foundation.

Sad was the magicians’ return. Fortunately, the wise one was waiting to comfort them.

In any case, they failed to arrive at their destination on time, and lost their business.

Another day, the four found a dead animal. Wanting to prove to the wise one the value of their learning, the learned ones said, “Hey, let’s do something for this poor dead lion. But this time let’s all agree, so that all the parts fit together in a reasonable whole, because that whole business with the camel came from the ability of each one of us, but not from all three of us together.”

The first then said, “I know how to put the skeleton together.” The second said, “I can supply the skin, meat, and blood.” And the third said, “I can give it life.”

So the first put the bones together, and the second supplied the skin, meat and blood. But when the third tried to give it life, the wise magician advised against this, noting, “This is a lion. If you give it life, it will kill us all.”

“Idiot!”’ cried the third. “I will be the one to reduce your good judgment to nothing.”

“In that case,” he replied, “Wait a moment while I climb this tree.”

When he had done this the third magician gave life to the lion, which sprang up and killed the three. When the lion had gone away, the wise magician descended from the tree and went home.

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