Active flux.
Harmoniously enlivening.
Gentle heat opens out all nature.
Taxes are manacles;
The taxed are released from their dues.

1. Make sounds/movements only in response to other sounds/movements. Treat the silence/stillness as something which is very fragile and precious.

The purpose of this rule is to insure an interconnectedness between the performers themselves and their environment. Nothing can be done in a premeditated way. A premeditated action would require the performer to block out some outside stimuli in order to give preference to something s/he are experiencing only internally and, therefore, is not shared with the other performers. The second part of the rule puts even more emphasis on listening and watching. This allows each performer to remain an audience. It also gives a higher aesthetic value to those random events that happen around us when we are not actively participating in them. They are random in the sense of how they occur juxtaposed against each other through time.


The wind begins to shake,
The thunder increasing follows . . .

Rule 1., by itself, when transposed into science, would describe a system in which observation would be given preference to hypothesis. Experiments would be made only in response to observed phenomena. Pure observation is given importance over experimentation. In every day life this might describe one who, as we say, "blows with the wind," seldom taking conscious control over his/her environment. Although, when taken in its broadest sense, it could describe all behavior, if one believes in the idea that all things take the path of the least resistance while being unconsciously influenced by a complex web of forces. When taken this way, this soft breakable rule becomes a hard and fast law that governs all phenomena. It is difficult always to see this law influencing human behavior because our intent seems to be very wrapped up in what we do, but one wonders what forces contributed in the making of that intent. Following the path of the least resistance or the path of the greatest force seems only a matter of perspective.


The high exalted nobleman.

Even something as premeditated as writing a grant proposal could be interpreted as a response to the external environment, i.e. the deadline, diminishing balance in the bank account, or the success of a previous project and the need to do another one.


Shaking, shaking,
Do not use insulting words;
Wash the mouth,
Cleanse it from shame.

If, then, all behavior is governed by this "law," why is it listed first as a breakable rule in an improvisation piece? In answer, it is not breakable and attempting to follow this rule only makes the will willingly conform to the reality of the situation, eliminating any unnecessary anxiety about how things are going or how right or wrong someone is acting. Passive action with an appreciation for non-action is the goal. What else could happen?


Shaking, shaking,
Do not use insulting words;
Releasing shame without direction.

The performer, in this case, becomes a mirror to his/her environment without any effort towards making an "accurate" reflection. A mirror does not need to think about what it is reflecting. The photons enter and exchange with electrons in a way that is most convenient to them. The mirror is only the medium.


Now is imprisonment, afterwards fortune;
Finally casting off fetters and manacles.

This brings up the issue of whether we ultimately have free will. To avoid that lengthy debate it is enough to say that we think we do. The first rule simply asks that we willingly give in to the forces that surround us and not fight them, although that fight could be interpreted as part of the process. Generally, I believe that one who feels that s/he is fighting against any forces s/he can perceive would think s/he was breaking this rule, but breaking these rules is considered acceptable. So, how can you lose?


Active flux;
Inner vigor can be the pattern, and so,
The multitudes seize upon it,
Likewise the closely-knit families.

Next, consider silence. It is so rare and fragile, we seldom experience it. Even when there are no sounds externally, we still hear the sounds from our bodies, not to mention our thoughts. In a performance situation, being a large audience that is just listening to an air-conditioner or a buzzing light can be a very powerful experience. It is so easy to break that quiet, but our wills seem united, focused on what is usually considered background noise that could potentially be annoying. When everyone listens to it, it becomes the vehicle on which each person has the opportunity to get on the same mental track. Physics tells us that everything is continually in motion. The experience of absolute stillness and quiet is impossible while one's body remains alive. An approximation of it may be seen as an approximation of the experience of death which could have a very transforming effect. A quiet mind in a quiet environment seems closer to death than even sleep, which is often considered a "little death," that is so busy with the images of dreams.


Quenching metal,
Melting stone,
Sending little,
Receiving abundantly.

There is no such thing as a mistake although actions may be contrary to one's will. "Thy will be done" implies acceptance of all that happens as God's will which must ultimately be for what is good. God's grace is when the two wills actually become one.

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