Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Here

Trey Smith

If you haven't noticed, we've added an About page as part of the blog's redesign. Each of our authors (we're still waiting for the Baroness) has written a little about themselves so that you, the reader, may be provided with a small inkling of who we are and what we're about.

Both Scott and Ta-Wan have mentioned somewhat how they arrived at where they are -- though this is NOT to suggest that where they are is some sort of destination. Every day represents a step on a path and each step may be on a path previously chosen or it may be a new one altogether! In many ways, a path only can be identified in retrospect.

I think it is evident that my four colleagues are far more versed in Asian (I think the term, Oriental, has fallen out of favor) philosophy than I am. Shawn, Scott and Ta-wan have mentioned Zen themes in some of their posts and the Baroness's knowledge of most things Chinese is expansive.

I have never intentionally written anything that makes reference to Zen because I know hardly a thing about it! You also won't find me referencing Buddhism because, like Zen, my knowledge of this religion/philosophy probably could fit on one 3 x 5 inch index card.

Though I am, by nature, a very inquisitive and research-oriented fellow, I think my autism plays a role in why I have focused almost exclusively on studying philosophical Taoism and have not branched out to research other similar philosophies. I can illustrate this notion by referencing the difference between how my wife and I utilize the TV remote control.

When Della sits down to watch TV, she may spend 10 minutes flipping through the on-screen program guide in order to survey what the offerings are for that particular time period. She usually narrows it down to two or three programs, then decides which one piques her interest the most.

Not me! I usually start at a predetermined point and work my way up the dial. As soon as I find a program that interests me, I stop. Unless I later decide it was a bad choice, that's the program I watch.

My preferred method drives my wife crazy. "How can you know that's what you most want to watch IF you don't know all the options?" she often screeches at me. To my way of thinking, it doesn't matter how many potential options I might have. Once I find something that interests me, why confuse the matter by looking for more choices?

In this same vein, when I left the Christian mindset behind to look for different worldviews and I somehow stumbled onto philosophical Taoism, I saw no reason for me to keep looking. Taoism resonated deeply within me and, as I mentioned in my brief bio on the About page, it struck me that I had been a Taoist my entire adult life without realizing it!

Since philosophical Taoism struck such a chord with me, I have dedicated the past 9 years or so to study, reflect on and write about it. This blog came into being because of my love for this specific philosophic tradition.

But Scott, Ta-Wan and Shawn -- through their various musings -- have spurred me to want to take a peek beyond my self-imposed enclosure. Over the past month, I have purchased a few used books that discuss the philosophy of Zen. I've only cracked one of them open thus far, but I have found what I've read interesting.

Who knows? Maybe I'll write a post one of these days on a Zen theme!


  1. My universities name began with B. It was the first one alphabetically to offer the course I wanted.

  2. The Baroness has been traveling a lot lately, adding to her recent bio information. Details forthcoming.

  3. My husband gave up TV several years ago when the cable station changed its lineup and all his presets on the remote were no longer valid. He determined it was not worth it to reprogram them. I'm actually glad; it was very annoying when he surfed his choices. He tended to watch TV the way a ham radio operator listens.

  4. "He tended to watch TV the way a ham radio operator listens."

    And what way is that, Baroness?

    I watch TV like your wife, Trey, and the same goes for my radio station presets in my truck. I check them all, then listen to the song I most prefer. In fact, I'm like this spiritually, too, haha. Though I've settled pretty well into Zen and Taoism.

    Interesting though, your way. To be content like that must simplify things in a way. Depth over scope, more focus, etc. I could never do it, I gotta know my options, then often try to do more than one at once, meaning I do none fully. :\

  5. @Brandon -- kind of like logging the signal, monitoring the station, making contact, moving on when there was a commercial interruption (noise), more than actually watching the programming. (Although he did love "Junkyard Wars".)

  6. I LOVED junkyard wars! And also, I understand about not watching commercials. That's part of why I check all the stations, so I have things to flick to.


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