December 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm #43564
This is 50 minutes…but if you are interested in environmental issues, well worth it.
Shows how Taoist philosophy fills in the gap for what missing in the western environmental movement.December 28, 2014 at 3:24 am #43565
Note: this is turning out to be one of the most useful articles I’ve recently read.
Western philosophy, having little connection with everyday living, is (to this observer, at least) comparatively egocentric and impractical, with much Arguing and Theorizing, and much bounding back and forth across the intellectual landscape a Pleasant, part-time diversion formulated by and aimed at the likes of Owl, Rabbit, and sometimes Eeyore, but not particularly supportive of the likes of Piglet and Pooh. Western philosophy has become the domain of pipe-smoking, tweed-suited college professors (who may profess it but not necessarily practice it) and hypercerebral students who, for all their intelligence, often seem to have a hard time washing their clothes or repairing the lawn mower.
Looking askance at all this, the typical Mind of the West says: So who needs Eastern philosophy? To such a mind, Eastern philosophy has two things wrong with it. First, its Eastern exotic and mystical, quaint but useless. Second, its Philosophy And what good does that do anybody?
What this narrow-minded attitude overlooks is the fact that much of what makes up the Practical West came from the East, and most of that came from China. And, we might add, a good deal of it came from the Taoists Chinas foremost scientists, inventors, medical men, artists, and observers of the natural world…
Before it begins its approach, wed say to those people who havent had the inclination or the time to become acquainted with the natural world: Never mind youll be getting acquainted with it, anyway. Because over the next few years, the natural world will be coming to you (although not necessarily in the way youd like it to). Perhaps you might benefit by beginning your acquaintance with it now. Just a suggestion…
But to conclude what we were saying… Whether many people realize it yet of not, man, the Inferior Animal, has by now proved himself incapable of keeping his own species and others alive for very much longer. So the earth has begun its own plan to set things right. True to its generous, gentle, and loving spirit, it has been giving us one warning after another of what it will be doing doing, we wish to emphasize, for the sake of human survival. The sensitive are receiving the messages. But one day when they least expect it, the insensitive will suddenly find themselves Out in the Cold, rather like the mammoths found every now and then up north encased in ice, with once-fresh vegetation in their mouths and an I say who just shut off the heat? look in their eyes. As we understand it, the major cause of Whats Coming is the present-day denuding of our planet the massive overcutting of its forests.
American citizens are spending one billion tax dollars a year to subsidize the U.S. Forest Services Giant Giveaway of old-growth public forests to the logging industry and Japan, causing countless native animals and birds to lose their homes. By now, ninety-six percent of the nations original forest has been removed. Meanwhile, the government of China is permanently employing forty-five million people in reforestation, making tree planting a compulsory subject in schools, and decreeing that every Chinese citizen over the age of eleven must plant from three to five trees a year. (The smaller children are being taught to plant grasses and flowers.) Maybe these people Know something.
Back again, eh? Did you find Pooh?
No, replied Piglet. I dont know where he is. Hello, Eeyore.
Ah, said Eeyore. Friend Piglet. Not like some around here.
Eeyore, said I, have you seen Pooh?
Yes. I have. Hes a rather short, roundish Bear pleasant personality, but not particularly intelligent, if you know what I
Yes, yes. But do you know where he is?
Oh, here he comes, Piglet with Rabbit.
Pooh, asked Piglet, did you remember to help Owl remove that
Of course, said Pooh. I have a phonographic memory, you know.
You mean, said Rabbit, a photographic memory.
No insisted Pooh. Phonographic. It goes around and around. Sometimes it gets stuck. Thats why I remember things so well.
So you took care of it, said Piglet.
Took care of what? asked Pooh.
Yes. But lets continue, shall we? Wed like to suggest a thing or two that might help us through the previously mentioned Approaching Transition.
As we hope weve shown by now, Taoism is not an Unbending Path. After all, Taoism follows Tao and Tao does not operate in a rigid, unyielding manner. As Lao-tse emphatically stated in the first line of the Tao Te Ching, The Way that can followed [literally: The Way that can be wayed] is not a changeless way (a line usually translated as The Way that can be told is not the Eternal Way). Traditionally, Taoism is considered the Way of the Dragon the dragon being the Chinese symbol of transformation. Considering the Bad Press that dragons have received in this part of the world, perhaps a better image would be that of the Butterfly. Whatever the symbol used, Taoism is a Way of Transformation a way through which something is changed into something else.
It is fitting that for centuries Taoists have been associated with magic, as Taoism is, on one level or another, a form of magic a very practical form, perhaps, but magic all the same. Here we will briefly describe two secrets of that magic two principles of Taoist transformation that may prove Useful in the coming years. The first is Turn the Negative into Positive. The second is Attract Positive with Positive. Unlike some other Taoist secrets, there is little danger of these principles falling into the Wrong Hands; because in the wrong hands, they wont work. We might add that they work best for Piglets.
Turn the Negative into Positive is a principle well known in the Taoist martial arts. Using it for self-defense, you turn your attackers power to your benefit by deflecting it back at him. In effect, he swings his fist and hits himself in the face. And after a while, if he has any intelligence at all, he stops and leaves you alone.
Transforming negative into positive, you work with whatever comes your way. If others throw bricks at you, build a house. If they throw tomatoes, start a vegetable stand. You can often change a situation simply by changing your attitude toward it. For example, a Traffic Jam can be turned into an Opportunity to Think, or Converse, or Read, or Write a Letter. When we give up our images of self-importance and our ideas of what should be, we can help things become what they need to be.
In a similar way, negative personality traits can be transformed. Self-centered stubbornness can be changed into a selfless devotion to an altruistic cause. A desire to control others can be turned into a desire to take control of ones own life and improve oneself and help others do the same. A tendency to become lost in details can be transformed into the ability to connect things carefully together, step by step, to reach a goal. Indecisiveness can be developed into versatility, and a balanced point of view, And so on…
…Despite the tired old claim that Necessity is the Mother of Invention, its usually Observation and Imagination that deserve the credit. The major portion of useful inventions, knowledge, and achievement has been brought about by curious, childlike, creative observers of the world around them, whose vision is unclouded by judgments of what is possible or impossible, good or bad.
The telescope, for example, was invented in principle by some Dutch children playing with defective lenses discarded from the shop of a spectacles maker. They found that when the lenses were held one in front of another which, of course, everyone knew was not supposed to be done distant objects appeared closer. News of their discovery spread to Italy and to the eager attention of a man named Galileo Galilei…
Taoism – as lived by Pooh and Piglet
When considering current (and past) events, its quite important that we do not judge the behaviour of our nations too harshly. They are not evil, just immature and not yet well educated. They are like children playing, harsh and brutal at times but capable of social evolution. Nations, like children (and adults!), still need to learn caring adult behaviour.
Its important that each one of us conceive of ourselves, of all of humanity, as a species emerging from its childhood and moving toward more mutually supportive, adult behaviour. Remember, what you visualise and expect has a powerful effect upon the world you experience. Your vision will assist all of us to grow up in consciousness.
One wonders, however, if there might be some effective way to accelerate the maturation process of the nations and governments of our planet. The need is large. If we continue in the direction we are currently headed, we may well destroy much of the life of earth and make it, for our descendents, more of a trash heap than a lovely place to live.
…January 29, 2015 at 11:29 am #43567
I just now learned that my forum will automatically ad the http even when not needed, and chops off long links.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.