Facilitating change and the Pythagorean theoreum

October 7, 2010

In Greek mythology the three Fates were: Atropos (the inevitable), Clotho (the spin of the thread of life) and Lachesis (both luck and fate). According to the Greek tradition, the deeper meaning of the three orders of Destiny could be interpreted by the aid of the Pythagorean right-angle triangle and theorem (see the figure) as follows:
Atropos was the vertical side and represented the immutable Providence (a divine force);
Clotho was the horizontal side and represented the mutable will (human re-action); and
Lachesis was the hypotenuse side and represented the unanticipated, both positive and negative chance.

As the hypotenuse side of a right-abgle triangle results always from the other two, human fate can be viewed as the combined result of the inevitable and the human deeds. The main concern of humans should be then the capacity to distinguish between the immutable and the mutable aspects of life. The former should not be forced by human desire, but in the contrary should be accepted as part of life, drawing the human action close to them. On the other hand, the latter should be enjoyed as gifts of life and conveyed to others. Therefore, free will is the informed and conscious decision, which takes the fundamental (archetypal) laws into account and acts in order to employ them.

I find this interpretation of the Pythagorean theoreum very insightful regarding change in complex systems. A change practitioner should be informed of:
– which of the intangible aspects of a system can be subject to change and which cannot,
– which parts of it should not be disturbed (in order to avoid energizing the collective shadow) and which should be evoked,
– which of the existing patterns could be maintained or strengthened, which could be reduced and which new ones could be introduced.

Thus, he/she would know what (informed and conscious) decision could make all the difference.

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