In 1988 Laura and I created a three-stage model of what we called “living process.” We called the three stages Good Thing, Rut, and Transition. As we saw it, Good Thing becomes Rut, Rut becomes Transition, and Transition becomes Good Thing. It’s a continuous circuit.
A Good Thing never leads directly to a Transition, in large part because it has no reason to. A Good Thing wants to remain a Good Thing, and this is precisely why it becomes a Rut. Ruts, on the other hand, want desperately to change into something else.
Transitions can be indistinguishable from Ruts. The only important difference is that new events can occur during Transitions, whereas Ruts, by definition, consist of the same thing happening over and over.
When a scientist makes what is recognized as an important discovery or breakthrough, this is perceived as a Good Thing. But then the discovery or breakthrough inevitably becomes a kind of dogma or Rut. This is followed by a period of Transition until someone makes a new discovery, creating a new Good Thing.
The duration of the stages is not consistent from case to case: a system could be in Good Thing for a long time and then pass through a brief Rut—although the opposite is more likely. Good Things by their nature are fragile.
The model as a whole helps to define what might be called a “healthy” system, a system capable of evolution and renewal. Notably, Ruts are integral to even the “healthiest” system; however systems that tend toward shorter Ruts can be thought of “healthier,” of having better odds of survival.
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Encountering these ideas again (I found them in an old journal) made me remember Laura, which in turn made me question the model we created. Is our friendship in an extended Rut? A Transition? I know it’s not a Good Thing. Is there a fourth stage we missed? This is what I suspect, only I don’t know what to call it, nor where it fits with the other stages, nor even if it can thought of as a stage. Instead it seems like something that swallows the stages, or that swallows the thing that moves through stages. What is it?
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Addendum 10/10/05: I just turned the page in my old journal and found this entry from the following day:
I’m not sure what Transition is, nor if it’s even necessary. Maybe the model should just go: Good Thing, Rut, Good Thing, Rut. This dualistic model scares me because I think the truth of the matter is closer to Good Thing, Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut, Good Thing, Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut Rut….
But this then reminds me of something else: “The nine shallow, one deep rhythm delights your partner. The vacuum has tremendous effect: she feels empty then full, empty then full. This pause pleases because you constantly refresh her senses with change. When we eat our fill, we want no more. But one delicious taste increases desire. We satisfy then stimulate desire. We create desire then renew satisfaction.” —Mantak Chia, Taoist Secrets of Love

Source: Oblivio > Archives > System

Reposting here so it is not lost.