The Problem of Conflating Input Value with Output Value, on the Path of Intentions


This is just a quick note about avoiding a misunderstanding that can occur in life, and when viewing the Path of Intentions in Primary Scenes. It’s something that I often forget, and that I think we should all be mindful of.

The basic point, is that we frequently conflate difficulty and effort with value. It is quite common to hear statements like “good results only come from hard work”. There is a certain Puritan charm to that kind of sentiment. There is a sense of equity and honor to the idea that input value and output value will balance. We can also look into our own life experiences and see that many things do, in fact, seem to correlate hard work with valuable results. It can take years of hard work to become a great physician, a great artist, a talented writer, to raise a family etc.

The problem, is that we can forget that input effort is not always, indicative of output value. What can happen all too easily for some of us, is that along our road in life, we can begin to assume that working hard automatically means generating a valuable result. I fear that many people waste much of their lives under this kind of assumption.

This is an important distinction to make. It would be easy to mistake the Path of intentions for a Path of valuable results, but the world does not always work that way. The linear assumption, in our minds, leads us to connect cause with effect, input with output, in a way that seems proportional. Thus, it becomes easy to assume that input effort that is valuable to us, will lead to output results that we find to be equally valuable. Unfortunately, there is no law of nature that enforces such a relationship.

The issue is that in complex systems, with nonlinear effects, the amount of input effort does not always equal the amount of output result. That means we can spend a massive amount of energy pushing the Boulder against the wall to no avail. We can have little to no output benefit, or worse, we can even suffer from negative output, i.e., harm, as a result of all our efforts. Unfortunately, many people get into a burnout cycle like this. They just keep their heads down and grind, without taking the time to make sure the output results are valuable enough to justify the input.

On the other hand, there are people who live much of their lives on higher paths where there is much less input effort required. They may spend significant time on the Sun path, for example, with no intentions beyond awareness of the present moment. Yet ironically, this is where people are often in their most productive and creative stretches. These are the times they can reap tremendous benefits, with little to no effort, from these higher paths. The paradox is that we frequently seek value on the hardest paths, only to come up empty-handed, when we could gain so much more, with so much less, if we only knew where to look.

This is just a reminder to make sure that you focus on the value of the intention’s output, and the Path it is on, rather than assuming the input value will be equal to the output.