“Warning, warning, Will Robinson!”
Card messages in the Illuminated position.
(circumspect, thorough, prudent, careful, shrewd, calculating, tactful, methodical )
- Deliberation can be quick or ponderous. Either way this card says, “do not make decisions lightly”. Have you considered all the factors in a situation? Act as if hunter stalking prey.
- Taking things slowly and with deliberate baby steps insures that you learn to walk well.
Quotations expressing this Pole
- “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Popular aphorism
- “Be slow of tongue and quick of eye.” – Miguel De Cervantes
- Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water. – Swedish Proverb
Card messages in the Shadow position.
Trepidation, phobia, retreating, timid, superstitious, aversion, anxious, worried, jumpy, indecisive, hesitant, dread)
- Paranoia makes people freeze or act erratically. Defensive and reactive, this shadow side might be a cunning and conniving foe instead of a trembling fool. What polarizes you to become afraid of fear itself? Your phobias might be winning?
- Risk averse? Now is not the time to wait n’ see. Make a decision.
Familiar Quotations expressing this Mode
- “All good thing comes to he who waits.” Author unknown
- “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” Alfred Adler
- “There is a courageous wisdom; there is also a false, reptile prudence, the result not of caution but of fear.” Edmund Burke
Relevance in the Michael Teaching
Caution Mode is a way of acting that holds the injunction: “act only when certain”. Like its cousin in the Ordinal Expressive column: Discrimination; it views alternatives with an eye on the safest bet. You can be sure that the Caution Mode person is very thoughtful even when the thinking is looking for things to go wrong or pitfalls in someone else’s logic. The sure thing mindset will lead some in Caution mode to be very habit driven and repetitive. Change comes only when something has “stood the test of time” and has “proven itself” reliable. A familiar word or thought so pervasive to Caution is beware. Therefore, Caution Mode relies upon planning, calculation, and process monitoring. And as you might expect, these are folks, like the Skeptic aspect in its constellation, asks questions trying to make themselves safe and certain about the other person or circumstance.
Essences which have been hurt or disappointment by more active Overleaves like: Passion, Aggression, Idealism, Growth, Moving or Emotional Centers; will choose this Mode as a means to apply the breaks and slow down their reactiveness as suitable. But when life has been filled with tragedy or pain, it is not uncommon for Ego to send a Caution mode person spiraling into indecision and in the extreme paranoia. Most phobias evoke extreme cautious reactions like the “freeze” response of geckos and lizards or like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Not acting until it is too late is often worse in repercussions than having taken a risk in the first place. Cowardice is the interpretation that inaction is based upon excessive fear and thus may be an outgrowth of the negative pole of this Mode.
President George Bush Sr. who is in Caution Mode, was parodied by comedian Dana Carvey who in character would say, “wouldn’t be prudent!” A perfect statement of Caution. As the graphic above suggests, the fear within Caution Mode is intellectualized and they can get caught in excessive thinking or evaluating “what if” scenarios. Most of the fears come from the worst case scenario imagination. Shifting to Power Mode helps that person take authority and make a decision (to cut) other options and implement one.
Financial Capitalism is a conundrum and a contradiction. On the one hand, investors are very cautious when looking for the next, great, sure thing. Yet as the 2008 Wall Street debacle has revealed, we see that venture capitalist are willing to do things that are inherently destabilizing in the name of profit. It brings us to the question: “whose version of caution are we to consider?” Business, as a sector of society, will figuratively pat itself hardily on the back speaking with unbridled pride about the reliance upon standards like efficiency, productivity, and other sound market fundamentals which guide their decisions. Yet when Wall Street is spooked, it runs for the safety of tried and true investments like gold and silver.
In a society dominated by consumption gets a duplicitous narrative about Caution. Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware, pays lip service to caution. But in the media, easy credit throws caution to the wind with a rallying cry of “charge it!” And of course, the imprudence of the consumer failing to deliberate the asserted view that economic growth will keep house prices and employment and ever growing, paid the price of their folly with foreclosures and bankruptcies.
Politically, Caution can be a stall tactic to grind progress to a halt. Invoking the phrase “this issue needs more study”, many a situation has worsened to the extreme. Examples in the 20th century include: the Great Depression, isolationism before WWII, and climate change, to name but a few examples where a diversion in the name of deliberation, was employed which allowed countervailing forces to congeal and lead to disastrous consequences. Almost all of which could have been prevented or mitigated with proper action.
But there is danger in the backlash to over caution as well. Upon the failure of caution to produce a result, often the mood swings diametrically opposite of what was happening and overpowers all other considerations ram-roding or imposing a solution onto a situation throwing all caution to the wind. A balance between careful deliberation and the power to render a decision rests with the institutions called the courts.
So make your inner judge and verdicts you render a balance between the careful deliberation of positive Caution and balance it with the personal exercise of authoritative justice. A poem which typifies the challenge to act even when in caution was written by Pastor Martin Niemöller, perhaps you have read it.
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
President George Bush Sr., Stephen King, Paul Simon, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Prince Charles, Prince William, Dennis Hopper, Justin Timberlake,
Your Mode of Action is Cautious if you…
- Analyzing a situation for the pro’s and con’s, advantages and disadvantages, risks and payoffs, almost automatically.
- Making a decision is painful because I worry about making a mistake.
- I suffer from several different types of phobias.
- When being pitched to buy something, I often need to read materials or reviews and I seldom purchase on the spot.
- Tend to wait and see what other people do before you act.
- Are hesitant to decide what action to take.
- Want to be sure that the method is sound by your reckoning.
- Feel terrifically strong fear or aversion to taking risk.