“Fire and Water, The Balance,” by Nev Sagiba

This is possibly the most ancient of battles and it’s still raging. In a sense it’s not a battle at all, but a seeking of balance. However, by the time human beings appeared, it defined our existence from the core, and it still does.

Externally we can not live without either fire or water. Nor the earth and air. The planet is carbon based minerals surrounded by a thin later of air which modifies their changes, at the surface at least. The vast bulk of the planet is water. All this is cooled and heated by the cycles of the sun. These primaries, identified by the ancients as the original ancestors: fire, water, air and earth, are not entirely separate entities. The each exist in each other. They intersperse each other. At the surface, the atmosphere is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% other stuff (carbon dioxide, water vapour, argon, etc.); the oceans, water: 2 hydrogen, 1 oxygen; the solid crust, 62% oxygen (by number of atoms), 22% silicon, 6.5% aluminium, bits of iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, etc.

The ancients noticed this from day one; and our scientists are still analysing details. Some are lost in the details often drowning in too many details and miss the underlying principles. The great universe, put in the simplest way, sources these basics from the plenum which compose it, hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen and so on. These originate from one.

This massive complex variables of simplicity comprising the universe, then the infinite galaxies within it, supporting countless worlds appears to form something akin to the hardware. Whether by a “design” or an “accident,” a moot debate, there appeared on the thin screen of the surface of at least this planet, the “software;” in the DNA of all life. Little mobile pixels who could know no better than to be a reflection of all that, but also containing the attributes of sensation, mobility and a slower evolution; consciousness which appears to reflect some attributes of existence.

As life evolved and intelligence redesigned itself through the rigorous necessities demanding adaptive evolution, some of these life forms were able to notice more than simply the need to eat, pass waste and breed, driven by the urges of temporal survival, cravings, fears and bewilderment of the newly found attribute; consciousness.

To survive within this great energy cycle, provided by the sun who continually is reclaiming all that is on loan to us in a slow devouring, these needed to transport energy from matter as well. They needed to eat. To support eating and drinking, feeding survival mechanisms evolved from experience, and became embedded in our genetic makeup: fighting, fleeing, posturing, submission; and over time a refinement of these attributes evolved further as tribal etiquette, social graces and agreed upon methods of creation. Life also needed to replicate itself in order to continue. Of necessity, the attrition of existence transmutes the crude expressions into more refined ones. There were falls and regression, re-learnings and refinements and the lessons of existence continue to refine. Unity and separation re-establishing appropriate and workable balances wrought much change.

Where do we comer from? What are we? Where are we going? Many multitude belief systems have come and gone. Some are with us now. These too will pass. Many more will come and go. We who are graced with a measure of consciousness appear to be on a journey of some kind. Perhaps travelling from mere belief towards clarity and knowing. More than this, who knows?

That we can observe and reflect existence is interesting but in the vast measure of things, of what value is a pixel, because it is charged with electricity, imagining itself to be more conscious than it really is, understand the functions of the computer which defines its existence, let alone the world outside of that hardware it cannot see? With every boot-off, the pixel disappears forever, despite its feelings of importance at the time. Perhaps it is recycled and becomes another pixel at the next boot-up, perhaps not. Can that be known?

Behind the pixel are zeros and ones, the binary language and caprices and also some measure of orderliness of the yin/tang language of subatomic particles.

Be all that as it may, we hare here and now as we are. Or as we think we are because we appear to be. At least we all think so and agree to dream that dream. And so it is. These pixels, us, over what to us at least, have been long periods of time, have sought a balance. Many battles have been fought over this balance.

To exist requires certain preconditions be met. There is no escape. Too hot or too cold and we die. Too much or too little atmospheric pressure and we die. Too much or too little of pretty much anything and our fragile existence ceases to be. We are fragile indeed. And in some ways we at least like to imagine ourselves as powerful. Until the next boot-off at least. We flicker, needing to sleep. We like to imagine immortality. Perhaps that’s because the current that runs the “computer” of existence, does indeed go for a long time. Even when switched off, it is still there as a potential.

Over time, we found that by pooling together we can continue to exist, if not individually, at least as a species. But we also have our differences. There are different ways to resolve these differences. Some are more vigorous and even violent and destructive and others more benign. And this brings us to the balance.

For human life, there are two extremes. One is that of ruthless autocracy whose chain of command, briefly dictates and can get what appears to be fast and decisive results. But does not sustain. The other of more randomized individuation, having no order, is soon decimated over time. Usually by the former. It seems that there is no escape from the interactions of opposites.

When opposites arise they give birth to possibilities and energy, but having arisen out of one original essence they hold dear, it is possible that when this interplay affects a consciousness lacking understanding, the other opposite seems as an enemy to be fought. And so they do. In any event everything returns to its source. Nature does not seem phased by wasted opportunity.

When extreme autocracy burns out after tyrannizing anarchic chaos, it often gives birth to something else. Whole species of predators and prey have evolved, become extinct, being replaced by others and again and again, this pattern recycled over long time. In nature animals that predate, maintain a balance of herbivores just sufficient to stop the grass being made extinct and forming desert. Sometimes a slight shift and the desert comes anyway.

For that matter, great empires became extinct following desertification when they ceased to respect the balance and properly maintain resources. Marauding armies merely followed, having watched and waited the depleting of resources. It is happening now on a global scale. It will repeat.

Extremes of autocracy have had many labels in human societies over the ages. The labels don’t really matter. Along with their flags and emblems of arrogance they soon become extinct and forgotten. As do their victims who were either unable or unwilling, too complacent to gather, unite, work together in a meaningful way and thereby scattered. Some empires, such as Pax Romana, gathered these disparate and less “powerful” tribes into the empire. What was left of them after decimating them in war, of course. Nowadays we call it “multicultural,” but it is nothing new at all. Another flux of nature.

A dojo reflects the universe. And life on earth. Each dojo is unique in its personality. Some are too brutal. Some too nice and thereby effete. Some continue for generations. Some disappear. Notwithstanding the variables, the dojo is more than a playground, rather a field of training for social values embracing the full spectrum on how to deal with the most intense of circumstances (albeit faked) to the essential courtesies, manners and etiquette that enable social and life navigation. A suburb without a dojo, a school, or a place of learning, of art, of science, of thinking and developing creative skill, has only “the street.” Paved or otherwise, the street can also be a place of learning. But sometimes it can be too much of a jungle.

The outer is reflected within, but that which is developed within, is also reflected into the world. This is where we have absolute jurisdiction to find and make balance. In ourselves.

We can be too disciplined, too fiery and burn ourselves out. We can be insufficiently disciplined, drift and fall into a dependant state. Or, we can seek to find a balance. A balance of powers is more likely to reflect those attributes of the universe which sustain.

The balance we find within ourselves affects the world. It may not affect the great universe, but it can reflect that great balance and harmony, still unfinished and journeying towards a greater harmony. The expanding universe is light. The many combined journeys the great flow of kannagara no michi and the light of that, kami no hikari that sustains it all and from which all are made.

Since there is nowhere this is not, it is also within ourselves offering guidance from within as the inner teacher providing inner tuition, or intuition.

In Aikido training, learn to listen with your whole being and eventually, those humble keys, the basic core kihon will unlock that inner clarity and flow that is the balance of fire and water, strength and gentleness, authority and calm, power and peace, intensity and compassion…

The battle is within. The victory can happen no place else.

But once one consciousness becomes clear, it touches others. Without a word being spoken, or any influence exerted. And it is slowly takes over the world. When you clear your mind and reclaim yourself, your whole demeanour alters permanently from a deep cellular level and even deeper, molecular, atomic and subatomic where it cannot be reached by any external human means. When an individual become free of fear, greed, hatred and delusion, a deep composure that overrides all the other things takes place.

A truly clear mind tends to be infectious and it is not long that some of that clarity rubs off onto others. Such an awakening force tends to shatter erroneous beliefs and once having taken hold, tends to breed more clarity.

Once a mind is clarified and sees clearly, it sees through the matrix of delusions, no longer hypnotized by spin, deceit and group fantasy. When this predisposition spreads to other minds, whole swathes of people become free, truly free from manipulation. When awakened minds, as a collective, involuntarily take charge, a democracy of soul begins to take place that is immutable. Not bent by opinion, rather elucidated by clear vision, this universal power enables possibilities never before thought possible, to emerge. And petty differences to disappear.

It makes a mark on all life in a way neither the pettiness of terrorism nor war ever can. Because it is infectious and spreads from host to host, igniting irreversible awakenings, it magnifies and multiplies with the death of a host instead of ceasing. The light expands, infecting many others and proliferates thereby. A death cannot stop this force. Rather it enables it to spread among the living.

Slowly but surely this progression of light or awakening consciousness is taking over the world. It started long ago. Before history. From time to time, its messengers infiltrated the dark layers of this world to impart more of this light and to plant seeds of awakening in the minds of humans. Notwithstanding their various persecutions, their messages continued to carry the seeds of awakening even when the message carrying the light was hijacked and ransacked for evil purpose by some, the message continued. And the light behind the message, slowly but surely proliferated.

An injustice not properly noticed will continue and multiply if for no other reason than it is getting away with it. Once noticed with incisiveness it begins to shrink in shame.

There is a difference between seeing and noticing. Noticing requires sufficient measure of awakening to know the difference. Noticing discerns. Noticing reveals. Noticing unleashes the light of consciousness and lays things bare.

Perhaps this is what Shakespeare meant when he wrote the passage:
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out;
And take upon ‘s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a walled prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

King Lear, 5. 3

Or Plato when he penned the Allegory of the Cave, much as Larry and Andy Wachowski: The Matrix.

Despite the dreams of tyrants and criminal minds, the virally damaged pixels, who would make of the world a nightmare for us all. Despite the unrequited rage of victims and their relatives who would, if let loose to express that rage, only compound the already too immense measure of worldly problems and sufferings. Despite the often well meaning but incompetent attempts of the unskilled… despite many things and perhaps indeed because of the pain and suffering; consciousness, awareness, clarity of mind, awakenings and various enlightenments are not going to diminish, but rather continue to increase steadily.

Even if it may take as long again.

Clarity is on the rise. And irreversibly continues to do so. There is no escape. It is taking over the word as we speak.

What will happen when it reaches saturation point?

Nev Sagiba


  1. bruce baker says:

    Maybe I am too simplistic, but one must study the chaos of the many things that evolved planet earth into the place it is today.

    Things are not always as we see them today and there was much chaos to cause the environment, and the evolution of nature, to be what it is as well as evolve the human animal into the creature we are today.

    Yes, there is science at the bottom of everything, but our perception that there is science which causes us to search and to use these things that help up, and avoid those things that harm us, is at the heart of it all. Indeed, there are many shades of gray, but learn we must until the day we die and pass on that knowledge we have learned so each generation can build on the one before.

    Do you believe in the supernatural? Then you believe that eventually, through perception, the human race will find the science behind the things you can not understand yourself.

    Yes, there will be regressions of knowledge, and ignorance will hide knowledge, but then the pendulum swings a very wide arc, even if swings quickly into the realm of ignorance and slowly into the realm of knowledge.

    We must use all the tools at our command to find truth, to find safety, to protect the weak, and sometimes to run, to hide .. to simply survive.

    We struggle against our animality, our ignorance, and those who ignore or destroy knowledge in the quest for power and material wealth.

    Because the world is a balance of positive and negative, we cannot exist without the fool who would give up all for knowledge, or their opposite who would seek the paths of power and material wealth.

    The world will change and human form can not survive in this new world as it cannot survive in the ancient worlds we find in nature, despite our illusions that we can…we cannot. OUR TIME IS NOW, but it will pass as all things do.

    Our human struggle will invent things to help us be better than our greedy, selfish, animal instincts lead us to be in this time of here and now… and indeed we eventually turn conflict into a means of keeping order. But who keeps this order, and how do they do it?

    Figure that out .. along with the science and history that brings the world to be what you know today .. and you understand how the evolution leads to such things as .. aikido.

  2. Yet again Nev i must say i like all your essays but today you have left me inspired and amazed — Brillant work! thank you– nick

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    Very inspiring, snythetic. I’ll enjoy reading this and learning from it many times. Thanks as always Nev!

  4. Brett Jackson says:

    “Clarity is on the rise. And irreversibly continues to do so. There is no escape. It is taking over the word as we speak.”

    I hope this is true. I admire the spirit! It’s very likely something good to believe — there is a positive feedback loop here. It provides motivation for the immense struggle; it’s a good faith. Maybe it is the primordial faith. I lean in the direction of that faith myself. But I’m not sure it is true. I think it is definitely a faith, a mythos or discipline.

    I agree with all the “despites”:

    “Despite the dreams of tyrants and criminal minds, the virally damaged pixels, who would make of the world a nightmare for us all. Despite the unrequited rage of victims and their relatives who would, if let loose to express that rage, only compound the already too immense measure of worldly problems and sufferings. Despite the often well meaning but incompetent attempts of the unskilled… despite many things and perhaps indeed because of the pain and suffering….”

    But I can’t tell if this is true: “… consciousness, awareness, clarity of mind, awakenings and various enlightenments are not going to diminish, but rather continue to increase steadily.”

    For each indication there seems to be a counter-balancing contra-indication. So much evil in the world both on an individual, group, and political level! I believe that we as a species have made some moral/spirital progress in the last two million years (not just technical progress), however it’s very hard to tell the extent of that moral/spiritual progress. And if we compare the moral/spirital development between current native groups and developed civilizations, I’m not sure we can say that the developed civilizations have the upper hand.

    We can vaguely through a glass darkly imagine the end state – I think that is what you mean when you say: “What will happen when it reaches saturation point? Some kind of practical harmony so far as is possible on an individual, group, and political level. No wars, very little crime, prisons much emptier than they are now, much improved educational systems, much more in-tuned way of using resources, etc. How far off all that would seem to be!

    As awakenings are charismatic so too are diseases infectious — Nazi Germany, Moaist China, etc. Whole populations corrupted with the belief that the end justifies the means. Craziness on a massive scale. Apparently continuing on a lesser scale in some countries today despite all the shining lights we’ve seen in our collective world history. It’s hard to imagine a path from here to the saturation point.

    Not saying we shouldn’t try. One step at a time is all we can do. Start with ourselves.

  5. Brett Jackson says:

    Starting with ourselves, as you say, walking the Aiki path.

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