It seems to be human nature to gravitate toward groups and/or to share group ideals. This is why people get involved in religious, political and social organizations. In a manner of speaking, we like the isms (or other similar terms) we attach to our identity.
Talk to ANY stranger for more than a few minutes and you will hear the various isms that he or she identifies with. You will learn that person is a Republican, Democrat, fundamentalist, conservative, liberal, radical, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Taoist, optimist, pessimist, utilitarian, pragmatist, go-getter, wallflower or any one of a million other labels we use to define ourselves.
But, while we each subscribe to shared or collectivist ideas, each ism we claim is entirely our own. While we might cling to the majority of the written or unspoken dictates of a particular group concept, we each filter this agreement through own unique prisms.
Gather together ten members of any group -- say, 10 members of the First Baptist Church -- and you will hear 10 different versions of what all the members of that church purportedly believe in! Grab 10 self-professed Democrats, Republicans, or Socialists off the street and, within a few scant moments, you will learn that these beliefs are different for each individual.
If we are at all honest, the belief that we most strongly subscribe to is the ism of me. This ism may share much in common with others within the various groups, religions and ideologies we belong to, but it also will deviate on key points. It is unique and cannot and will not be replicated by anyone else.
I refer to myself as a philosophical Taoist. I share some of the views of others who call themselves the same thing. But my philosophical Taoism is not the same as any other person's. How could it be? No one else has experienced what I have experienced from the perspective of my own unique prism of life.
My Taoist ideas are shaped, in part, by my upbringing, socioeconomic class, race, gender, political ideations, geography, brain chemistry and a host of other factors and variables that are unique to me. Since you are not me and I am not you, even if we both claim to be philosophical Taoists, our philosophical Taoism will be different.
So, while we Rambling Taoists write about topics that, at times, intersect with the general understanding of philosophical Taoism, it should be understood that what you read on this blog are really nothing more than the philosophies of Scott-ism, Ta-Wan-ism and Trey-ism.