Monday, February 28, 2011

Peter Principle as Vital Energy

A Further Remark on the Peter Principle


By John Taylor; 2011 Feb 25, Mulk 19, 167 BE


Yesterday I wrote an essay about the Peter Principle, a book that influenced me greatly in my youth. I happened to check over the Wikipedia article about that yesterday and Peter's thesis is not as special as I thought. It is derived from a broader idea, the tendency to use a tool until it either breaks or outlives its usefulness.

The article states:


"The Peter Principle is a special case of a ubiquitous observation: anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails. This is "The Generalized Peter Principle". It was observed by Dr. William R. Corcoran in his work on corrective action programs at nuclear power plants. He observed it applied to hardware, e.g., vacuum cleaners as aspirators, and administrative devices such as the `Safety Evaluations' used for managing change. There is much temptation to use what has worked before, even when it may exceed its effective scope. Dr. Peter observed this about humans." (


This reminded me of a similar observation that the Master made in Paris. Just looked it up, and here it is, from a talk called "The light of truth is now shining upon the East and West," given a hundred years ago this October 23rd,


"When a man has found the joy of life in one place, he returns to that same spot to find more joy. When a man has found gold in a mine, he returns again to that mine to dig for more gold. This shows the internal force and natural instinct which God has given to man, and the power of vital energy which is born in him." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 33)

So, the fate of every tool, appliance or idea is to be used and then in the end cast aside as soon as it ceases to serve its purpose. It applies to you and me, and the services we offer God and mankind. And it even applies to the religions, as progressive revelation teaches.

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