• 0 thru 9
    774
    Tao Te Ching.

    Just an opportunity to show love and appreciation for some of the most powerfully mind expanding words ever written. 81 short pages of distilled, concentrated wisdom which remains as relevant as ever. When i first encountered it, there were two reactions. Firstly, it seemed like it was a way of thinking that went in the completely opposite direction of nearly everything else. Secondly, it seemed to whisper things that i felt in the bones that could not be put into words. Usually only music seemed to work that magic.

    There are several audio recordings of the Tao Te Ching. I prefer to listen to it because it seems to be mentally processed differently as opposed to reading it. The readings by Jacob Needleman, Ursula Le Guin, and Steven Mitchell are excellent, and each brings out a different flavor as well as being different translations.

    Please share your thoughts about and experiences with this book. Thanks!
  • wuliheron
    440
    It is perhaps the third most published book of all time and its commonly said it takes half an hour to read and a lifetime to master. I'm a master of the Tao Te Ching. If you don't know Chinese, it requires studying six to ten English language translations for at least fifteen years to even be considered competent with the text. Like the game "Go", you have to absorb its fuzzy logic through osmosis and it just doesn't matter how intelligent or sensitive or whatever you happen to be because some things just take time.

    What it expresses is a minimalistic Fractal Dragon equation within a broader Mandelbrot pattern of the I-Ching, or what can be described as the assertive masculine within the receptive feminine, and it does so by being able to treat every word as a variable with no intrinsic meaning or value. A complete expression of the text would require some 4,430 poems, but 430 are enough to provide a good representation, however, in over 2,500 years roughly a 150 or so is the best anyone has managed to extrapolate. Within twenty years computers should be powerful enough to do the job.
  • 0 thru 9
    774

    Yes, totally understandable what you are saying about studying 6-10 translations minimum to get a fuller effect. And time, lots of time. Maybe since the original Chinese characters/pictographs were broader in meaning than, for example English equivalent words, it is near impossible to capture its meaning in one translation. The deep subject matter makes it more difficult. But that is the beauty of it. By reading multiple translations, one can pick and choose which ones really illuminates a particular verse. Some make me go "???" Some make me think "ok, that's very well put!". And some just blow my socks off and bring tears. But it also depends on one's circumstances and state of mind. (Almost like choosing a fine wine to go with dinner. :) )
  • wuliheron
    440
    Its written in a specific paradoxical style that encourages the reader to interpret it however they want at the time. If you are pissed off you may argue with the text all they way through it even knowing it is paradoxical nonsense and if you are more content you may laugh instead. The greater truth it expresses is the silences between the notes and undetectable pauses between our dance steps when we no longer make distinctions between who we are and what we are doing.
  • Wayfarer
    7.1k
    I'm a master of the Tao Te Ching. — wuliheron

    According to who? It that something that requires validation, or can anyone say that?
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    I'm the ultimate champion of mortal kombat! It says so when you beat the game!
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Besides, one does not master the Tao, one knows it, and is refined by its subtle breezes.
  • Hanover
    4.5k
    I'm the master of disaster for 2 reasons. 1. It rhymes and 2. take that bitch!
  • wuliheron
    440
    According to who? It that something that requires validation, or can anyone say that?Wayfarer

    According to me. They say when you master it you become part of what the Taoists call the "Yin World" and whisper about among themselves knowing no outsider could possibly understand much less accept what that means. When you master the text it tells you what to write and, among Rainbow Warriors, the proof is in the pudding with our poetry being considered the best indication of how good someone's personal philosophy happens to be.
  • wuliheron
    440
    Besides, one does not master the Tao, one knows it, and is refined by its subtle breezes.Wosret

    That and five bucks will buy you a cup of coffee.
  • 0 thru 9
    774
    When a country obtains great power,
    it becomes like the sea:
    all streams run downward into it.
    The more powerful it grows,
    the greater the need for humility.
    Humility means trusting the Tao,
    thus never needing to be defensive. A great nation is like a great man:
    When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
    Having realized it, he admits it.
    Having admitted it, he corrects it.
    He considers those who point out his faults
    as his most benevolent teachers.
    He thinks of his enemy
    as the shadow that he himself casts. If a nation is centered in the Tao,
    if it nourishes its own people
    and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others,
    it will be a light to all nations in the world.

    -chapter 61 (from ios app by John Bogil)

    "a nation... centered in the Tao". One hopes that it is still possible at this point. May the leaders of the world act in accord with this ideal. To the extent that they do may be our only hope. As for me, removing the Berlin walls in my mind and the barbed wire in my heart is almost a full time occupation. But it's a good start.
  • Wayfarer
    7.1k
    When you master the text it tells you what to write and, among Rainbow Warriors, the proof is in the pudding with our poetry being considered the best indication of how good someone's personal philosophy happens to be.wuliheron

    I recall the story of the extraordinary Matteo Ricci. He was the first Christian missionary in China, a Jesuit, who arrived in the early 16th Century. He mastered classical Chinese and many branches of classical Chinese learning, and dressed as a Buddhist monk (and later a Confucian scholar). He stayed for more than 20 years and so impressed the Chinese that they gave him an imperial state banquet on the eve of his departure. At this banquet, he was asked to speak, and amazed his hosts, when he rose to his feet and delivered improvised classical Chinese verse.
    220px-Ricciportrait.jpg
    Matteo Ricci, dressed in Confucian scholarly attire.

    (Regrettably, the Dominicans and Franciscans, who arrived a little later, felt Father Ricci had been far too accomodating to the heathen and caused such offence to the Emperor that within a few generations, Christians had lost the priviledged position that the incomparable Ricci had brought them.)
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I googled this rainbow warrior and all I found is some native American tribes, and nothing to do with Taoism. There seems to be no Taoist rainbow warrior - at least not in China.
  • 0 thru 9
    774
    Thanks for posting that, very interesting! To keep an open mind to foreign cultures and learning their language is hard enough today. Back in Matteo Ricci's day it must have felt like landing on Mars or something. Credit to him and to his Chinese hosts. The search for knowledge and wisdom knows no boundaries or borders. The search goes on...
  • wuliheron
    440
    I googled this rainbow warrior and all I found is some native American tribes, and nothing to do with Taoism. There seems to be no Taoist rainbow warrior - at least not in China.Agustino

    Its a western anarchistic hippie thing that evolved into what is known as the Rainbow Gathering. Back to the land hippies would meet in a national forest every solstice and equinox to celebrate their own holidays. There are no leaders, just hippies who call themselves the Rainbow Family Tribe and organize themselves using a handful of traditions including no violence or money exchanging hands at a gathering. Many of us have invented our own additional traditions including extrapolating poetry from the Tao Te Ching and combining it with Socratic wisdom.

    The poetry is actually a well known genre that is popular around the world and all the metaphors it incorporates are agreed upon by the people who read and write it because its all mathematical. You could say we are carrying on a prehistoric tradition in developing the mathematics of nature that express how love rules the physical universe.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    And you reckon the Chinese Daoist masters would consider such gatherings as part of the Daoist practice? I feel they were more interested in statecraft and the art of governance - similar to Sun Tzu.
  • wuliheron
    440
    Whether you believe everything is causal or not, east and west must meet somewhere on the same ground and our poetry is how we combine the wisdom of both and express it with mathematical rigor. It is egalitarian poetry which is something those with power and wealth can never comprehend.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    It is egalitarian poetry which is something those with power and wealth can never comprehend.wuliheron
    Why can't the ones with power and wealth comprehend it? What is the necessary link between power and wealth ability of comprehension in this case?
  • wuliheron
    440
    Why can't the ones with power and wealth comprehend it? What is the necessary link between power and wealth ability of comprehension in this case?Agustino

    Its memory systems logic with a chicken flock providing the classic example. The lights are on when nobody is home and the mob is going on autopilot just following the money around like so many cattle. Like a good autopilot on an airplane their reactionary politics prevent the cattle from mindlessly stampeding over the nearest cliff more often. Forty years of studies have finally confirmed that the republican party is organized along the lines of a flock of chickens, but they just represent the obvious tip of iceberg of all the revelations coming about how civilization actually functions.

    Within twenty years computers will catch up to all this nonsense and the fundamentals of systems logic are now being revealed by the mathematicians and physicists. Already we can predict the tipping point of such systems, like predicting the temperature at which something will boil, and can now mathematically predict how to destroy the resilience of organizations like the republican party. It seems Asimov was right about "psychohistory", except, instead of quantum mechanics it requires systems logic.
  • wuliheron
    440
    And you reckon the Chinese Daoist masters would consider such gatherings as part of the Daoist practice? I feel they were more interested in statecraft and the art of governance - similar to Sun Tzu.Agustino

    Screw the civilized mystical Taoists, these are the primitive pragmatic tribal roots of Taoism. Contemplating your naval and playing politics might be productive in some ways, but the world needs more than that these days. We allow our poetry to speak for itself and beautiful words are honest words that can defy even unbalanced gravity hanging in the air between us.
  • 0 thru 9
    774
    The yin/yang symbol (or Taijitu) and concept may pre-date the written Tao te Ching, but they seem to be intimately related. And what a concept it is. If all we had was the later-developed dualism of good/evil, our philosophy if not our world would be more impoverished. It is said that one could possibly become enlightened by meditating upon a painting of yin and yang.

    And you could put that in your pipe or bong and smoke it! (lol! :D )
  • wuliheron
    440
    The metaphoric logic of the Pakua is the 12,000 year old origins of the I-Ching and Tao Te Ching. The first half of the Tao Te Ching came from the isolated Taoists in the southern mountains of China who combined Indian pantheism with their tribal wisdom. The book, "Tao Chronicles" is a good introduction to the primitive tribal roots of Taoism and why it is our personal philosophy that matters more than anyone's opinion. Enlightenment is merely accepting who you really are when you no longer make distinctions between who you are and what you are doing, but almost everyone requires taking up some sort of discipline. It is neotenic or the retention of childlike attributes when wonder becomes the beginning of wisdom and we accept the child of God or the Truth that we really wish to become.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    and can now mathematically predict how to destroy the resilience of organizations like the republican partywuliheron
    What stops the Republican party from doing the same? And more importantly, if you can predict with mathematical precision, then please predict for me how to destroy the resilience of Coca-Cola because I want to open a beverage company competing with them and winning :P

    Contemplating your naval and playing politics might be productive in some ways, but the world needs more than that these days.wuliheron
    What does the world need then?
  • wuliheron
    440
    What stops the Republican party from doing the same? And more importantly, if you can predict with mathematical precision, then please predict for me how to destroy the resilience of Coca-Cola because I want to open a beverage company competing with them and winning.

    What does the world need then?
    Agustino

    It will be another twenty years before the computers can spit out the numbers, and probably a hundred before they'll collected most of the basic information required, but the beginning of the end will be within twenty years with the introduction of a Theory of Everything. Robots might take over our jobs, but that's just an indication that money is becoming less important than information and the ability to use it. What the world needs is a metaphoric Theory of Everything and Nothing that can give humanity back their sense of humor which has been suppressed in favor of seeking truth and beauty in the name of growth and progress.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    It will be another twenty years before the computers can spit out the numbers, and probably a hundred before they'll collected most of the basic information required, but the beginning of the end will be within twenty years with the introduction of a Theory of Everything.wuliheron
    Okay, but I gave you a practical problem. I wanna beat Coca-Cola. How do I go about it? If this beginning of systems logic cannot even suggest a path to do that, why should I trust it? It seems to be no better than classical theories that we already know - they too fail to give a way.

    And you haven't answered the question of what the world actually needs, I'm curious what you think that is!
  • wuliheron
    440
    Okay, but I gave you a practical problem. I wanna beat Coca-Cola. How do I go about it? If this beginning of systems logic cannot even suggest a path to do that, why should I trust it? It seems to be no better than classical theories that we already know - they too fail to give a way.

    And you haven't answered the question of what the world actually needs, I'm curious what you think that is!
    Agustino

    Systems logic is already being used in countless ways including to make weather predictions and meteorologists are already talking about implementing weather control both on local levels and globally. You can run, but you cannot hide from your own truth.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Systems logic is already being used in countless ways including to make weather predictions and meteorologists are already talking about implimenting weather control both on local levels and globally.wuliheron
    Sure it is used, but that's not what I'm asking for. I've actually studied and worked with chaos theory for engineering purposes with regards to structural dynamics. So I know it exists and it is used. But I gave a specific problem. How does one compete with Coca Cola in the production and sale of canned coke? How does systems logic answer THIS kind of question? This isn't a technical question - what is the weather over there, or what happens to this column in such loading/vibration conditions. I'm asking how systems logic helps address these non-technical, non-numerical problems.
  • 0 thru 9
    774
    What does the world need then?Agustino

    (singing, accompanied by a piano and soft horns)
    What... the... world... needs now...
    is love... sweet love
    It's the only thing, that there's just too little of...

    Now, everyone join in! What the world needs now...

    (L) O:) (L) (sorry! thanks for playing the straight man. lol)
  • wuliheron
    440
    Sure it is used, but that's not what I'm asking for. I've actually studied and worked with chaos theory for engineering purposes with regards to structural dynamics. So I know it exists and it is used. But I gave a specific problem. How does one compete with Coca Cola in the production and sale of canned coke? How does systems logic answer THIS kind of question? This isn't a technical question - what is the weather over there, or what happens to this column in such loading/vibration conditions. I'm asking how systems logic helps address these non-technical, non-numerical problems.Agustino

    Coca Cola is a money making machine and not a product. Already computers have taken over perhaps 30% of the business of Wall Street because they are faster and becoming more complex than even people. Humans are just much too slow for too many of these tasks and systems logic can be self-assembling where you just have to apply the fundamentals and watch what it does.
  • Agustino
    11.3k

    Well yeah good luck with that. Very often when people run out of things to say they speak of love, but they do so vacuously, with love meaning only some vague kind of compassion, with no specific way to implement in practical situations. So it's just like getting each other drunk on cheap wine.
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