Monday, October 31, 2011

Tao Bible - Isaiah 44:6

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
~ King James version ~

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.
~ from Verse 32 of the Tao Te Ching ~
I've highlighted these two passages to illustrate the different conceptions of "time." From the Christian perspective, time is linear with a definite start and end point as signified with God being the first and the last.

For the Taoist, time is circular. The water in the river flows to the sea where it evaporates and its essence ascends to the atmosphere. It re-forms in clouds and falls to the earth as rain...which finds its way into streams (like rivers) that flow to the sea -- a perpetual cycle.

If you're interested in reading more from this experimental series, go to the Tao Bible Index page.

Chapter 5, Part 10 - Confucius

The Master said, "I have not seen a firm and unbending man." Some one replied, "There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said the Master, "is under the influence of his passions; how can he be pronounced firm and unbending?"
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

"Scary" Times

For our first four years here in South Bend, we purchased candy to hand out to trick or treaters. In each of those years, not one child rang our doorbell. This is more than amazing since we have 7 school-aged children on our block.

This year we decided not to waste the money. We've purchased no candy and, as night falls, no child has appeared on our doorstep.

In the small communities of South Bend and Raymond, children trick or treat at downtown businesses, not at people's homes in neighborhoods. More than one person has told me that the reason for this is that we live in "scary" times and parents simply don't feel comfortable having their kids knock on strange doors.

The interesting thing about this sentiment is that violent crime is way down across the board. In North Pacific County, violent crime is almost nonexistent. There are almost no reported rapes, assaults or murders in any given year. (The most prevalent crimes are car theft and property crimes.)

Consequently, the nation, in general, and our area, in specific, are far safer now than they were a decade ago...but the fear factor is higher. Why is everybody so afraid?

The answer is disquieting, to say the least. Our government and the mouthpieces in the mainstream media work very diligently to keep us on edge. They constantly tell us we NEED to be afraid. People are out to get us, we're told over and over again, so we must be forever on guard.

By keeping us scared, they are trying to insure we feel isolated and that we don't reach out to others in our communities. Frightened masses are easier to control and control is the name of the game.

And that's why Halloween has turned more into a scarier specter for parents than it ever was for children!

Afternoon Matinee: Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Part 10

To view this documentary in its entirety, go here.

Just a Few Bones of Contention

The following document is the result of the Salon staff's brainstorming; we're incredibly grateful to Alex Pareene for crafting it into a coherent piece.
~ from A New Declaration of Independence by Alex Pareene ~
I'm not going to cut-and-paste the Declaration here. You can utilize the link above for that. Listed below are the bullet points that Pareene offers as some of the important things needed in this country right now. See if you agree or disagree.
1. Debt relief
2. A substantial jobs program
3. A healthcare public option
4. Reregulate Wall Street
5. End the Global War on Terror and rein in the defense budget
6. Repeal the Patriot Act
7. Tackle climate change
8. Stop locking everyone up for everything and end the drug war
9. Full equality for the queer community
10. Fix the tax system
Hmm. There's not one thing on that list that I have any problem with!

to see or not to see

being not trying
by Ta-Wan

You were once a child with no expectations, no elsewhere, no if only. In time you became a slightly older child who had expectations, places you should be, wishes, desires and regrets.

You sought what was not and you sought reward.

Return to the presence, realize there is no where to be, no where to go, no thing to have. Returning to that which you were, dropping the habitual urges.

This reconnection, simple, effortless, not done. Completing yourself by receiving a gift not given, content of a meal not eaten, loved by the love of loving.

Being not trying to be.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Line by Line - Verse 49, Line 11

and he deals with them all as his children.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

He behaves like a little child.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

The sages care for them as children
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

because he lives a life of child-like wonder.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
Well, it's very obvious that the Feng/English & Hogan versions see the meaning of this line one way, while Legge and Lin see it another! To break the tie -- just kidding -- let's see how some other folks have interpreted it.

Red Pine's rendition is completely different.
people open their ears and eyes
the sage covers them up
For Jonathan Star, this line reads as
All people are drawn to him
every eye and ear is turned towards him
Victor Mair's translation reads:
The common people all rivet their eyes and ears to him,
And the sage makes them all chuckle like children.
Pick the one that speaks to you best and away you go!

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

Um No, It's Not the Same

As I related in a post last night, I engaged in an interesting conversation with a Christian on Saturday evening. Initially, this fellow assumed that I must be a Christian because...well...isn't everybody? When he discovered that I wasn't what he thought I must be, he was a bit flummoxed, but only for a moment or two. We pick up the conversation from there.
Customer: So, you really don't believe in God?

Me: I really, really don't believe in a god, yours or anyone else's.

Customer: So, I guess that means you don't believe in anything.

Me: That's a big jump, don't you think? Just because I don't believe there is a god or a bunch of gods doesn't mean I don't have beliefs. Everybody has beliefs of one sort or another.

Customer: Okay, so what do you believe in?

Me: Lots of things. For example, I'm a Taoist.

Customer: A what?

Me: A Taoist.

Customer: What's that? I've never heard of it.

Me: Are you familiar with the terms yin and yang?

Customer: Sure. I've heard of ying and yung.

Me: No, that's yin and yang.

Customer: Okay, ying, I mean yin (?) and yang.

Me: From the Taoist perspective, yin and yang are the two opposing forces in the universe.

Customer: Oh, I get it. Yin (points upward) and yang (points downward). Those are just fancy words for good and bad, heaven and hell.

Me: No. They aren't. One isn't evil, while the other is good. They are valueless opposing forces.

Customer: What? Everything in this life has to take a side.

Me: Really? What side does a thunderstorm take?

Customer: What kind of a crazy question is that?

Me: You just said that everything in life must take a side, so I want you to tell me which side a thunderstorm takes.

Customer: (starts to walk away) Look, I need to get back on the road. I've got a schedule to keep. (Note: He is an over-the-road trucker.)

Me: Okay.

Customer: It was nice talking to you. If you don't mind, I'll say a prayer for you.

Me: Go right ahead. If it makes YOU feel better to say a prayer, then say a prayer.

Customer: Well, I won't be doing it for me; I'll do it for you.

Me: I don't need it. I don't believe as you do. The way I see it, people pray for others because it makes them feel good about themselves. It makes them feel as if they've done something proactive. So, if praying for me makes you feel good, go for it!

Chapter 5, Part 9 - Confucius

Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said, "Rotten wood cannot be carved; a wall of dirty earth will not receive the trowel. This Yu, what is the use of my reproving him?"

The Master said, "At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to make this change."
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Daily Tao - Zen Dog

I scratched my dog's belly and she grinned.

I walked away and she looked for a second, put her head down and slept.

I picked up her lead and she stood alert to walk.

This is a Master of Tao, spontaneous, non-attached. With a hairy suit, cute eyes and bad breath.

Daily Tao is a reprint from Ta-Wan's blog, Daily Cup of Tao, which offers one post per day for an entire year. You also can read these posts in an ebook.

The Mouse Wars

The Mouse Wars
by Scott Bradley

A couple of months ago I moved out of the ranch house and into a trailer where a friend has been living intermittently for many years. He warned of a serious mouse problem. Mouse problem? I like mice.

Mice! Mice scurrying about in broad daylight. Mice joining me in bed. Mouse droppings all over the kitchen counter. Mice wearing size 13 combat boots, making an incredible din all the night through. Time to go to war.

Being compassionate (without the need of a goddess of compassion), I shall catch them alive and transport them.

Mouse One enters large bottle to get peanut; bottle falls upright into sink; mouse jumps straight up and out.

Sorry, time for a non-compassionate trap. Cute little Mouse Two gets caught by paw; I immediately release with great guilt.

The Compassionate Mouser (patent pending) is invented. Mouse Three enters 3" PVC pipe; activates mechanism; Mason jar lid falls; mouse goes into 5 gallon bucket; mouse jumps to rim and escapes (outside).

Mouse Four stays in trap which goes in bucket; trap is taken to distant woodpile; regrets and best wishes are expressed; trap is empty.

Mouse Five stays in trap which goes in bucket; trap lid is held down by towel; to the woodpile; regrets are expressed; no mouse.

Mouse Six stays in trap; goes in bucket; Weber barbeque lid placed over bucket; to the woodpile; regrets expressed; no mouse; vent on lid was left open.

Mouse Seven is denied open vent; goes to woodpile; gives me an accusing and mournful look and disappears. Success!

There is a brief respite from complete infestation. New very non-compassionate trap is discovered. The Toaster. Mouse Eight enters weight-activated Toaster....Caution: Extreme danger of fire!

At this very moment, I hear them marching in triumph. A mouse scurries across the floor a few feet away. I lie not. They have won. Only a month to go and I return to the boat and the bird-poop wars (cormorant, heron, and osprey poop isn’t tweetie-poop!). But as a dear friend says, They were here first. And they’ll be here when we’re gone; just like the Taliban.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tao Bible - Isaiah 44:1-4

Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
~ King James version ~

The highest good is like water.
Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
~ from Verse 8 of the Tao Te Ching ~
One of the central themes of the Bible is that God has chosen a certain tribe of people as "his people." They are the prime recipients of his blessings and, like children, are punished when they are bad. And, of course, the authors of the books of the Old Testament just happen to be members of this extra special group.

As the Taoist sages illustrate time and again, Tao plays no favorites. No individual or group is singled out for special dispensations or punishments. We each live in the same world which is governed by the same laws of nature.

If you're interested in reading more from this experimental series, go to the Tao Bible Index page.

Chapter 5, Part 8 - Confucius

The Master said to Tsze-kung, "Which do you consider superior, yourself or Hui?"

Tsze-kung replied, "How dare I compare myself with Hui? Hui hears one point and knows all about a subject; I hear one point, and know a second."

The Master said, "You are not equal to him. I grant you, you are not equal to him."
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Ooh, A Bad Assumption

Last night I was visiting my friend, Paul, who owns the local mini-mart. I was joking around with him about Halloween, saying my wife and I were going to try to think up a good costume for him. Overhearing our conversation, one of the regular customers remarked that Halloween started off as a Christian celebration. Here's sort of how the conversation went from there.
Me: I don't know about that, but the pagans must have taken it over. Go pagans!

Customer: You know, as a Christian, you shouldn't say such things!

Me: Did I identify myself as a Christian?

Customer: You are one, aren't you?

Me: Nope. I'm an atheist.

Customer: You don't really mean that.

Me: What do you mean by saying, I don't really mean that? That IS what I mean. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in the Bible.

Customer: But you do believe in Jesus, don't you?

Me: Well, I believe that a guy named Jesus probably existed at some time, but he died a long time ago.

Customer: Don't you think you'd be better off believing in God than not believing in God?

Me: Obviously not.

Customer: Look at it this way. It would be better for you to believe in Him and then discover that he's not real as opposed to not believing in him only to discover that he IS what is advertised -- your blessed Heavenly Father.

Me: Aah yes, the "cover your bases" argument.

Customer: Good. You see my point.

Me: Actually, no. From my standpoint, it's a dumb argument. If, as you say, God is real, wouldn't he KNOW that I believed in him simply to "cover my bases?" Don't you think he would be smart enough to see through this little ruse of mine?
I'll share the second part of our conversation in a subsequent post.

Afternoon Matinee: Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Part 9

To view this documentary in its entirety, go here.

Brush Lessons

Brush Lessons
by Baroness Radon

There’s a lot of discussion here at RT about self and no-self, reality and non-being, socialism and capitalism, I think sometimes a lot of yammering, but none of it compares with my relationship with my wolf brush.

I have sometimes talked about the necessity of practice, the actual doing of something, just you and the something, to understand Tao: qigong, meditation, study of classics. But my newest teacher has a bamboo handle and is so flexible and responsive to the moment, I have come to see painting as a kind of energy practice and a teaching of how to regard the world. Of course, this is nothing new: the Chinese painting masters have always been driven by Tao in their compositions and subjects. Painting as an activity is a two-way street.

I actually look at things differently, and the attempt to “capture” the energy is a humbling lesson. This may be why Matteo Ricci, the great Jesuit who loved China and was beloved by the Chinese, never quite “got it.” As a painter he was still trapped in a Western vision of the world, unlike Castiglione, another Jesuit who is considered to be a great Chinese painter.

I have been blessed to study with a wonderful woman, my age, trained in classical techniques in Fujian and Taiwan, and who has “transmitted” some sort of energy to her students. She’s a Christian, is learning English through Bible study (as I learn Chinese through Tao Te Ching study), wears a delicate golden cross at her throat, but says her mother was “a Buddha.” (At my throat is an ancient faience Egyptian wadjet eye, which has nothing really to do with Tao…or does it?) She is a taijiquan practitioner and freely refers to and demonstrates the qi required in painting.

Two years ago, when I was obsessed with landscapes but not her bird and flower emphasis, she said, “Maybe in two years you paint a flower.” While landscapes are still my preferred subject, lately I have been enjoying the Four Gentlemen and doing roses, peonies, and fuschia. With the coming of autumn I’ve been painting a lot of chrysanthemums. She is so prescient. Once I presented three versions of something for her review. “Ah, this one is best,” she said. “You did it first?” She was right. Spontaneity is a key element in Chinese painting of the xieyi type.

I was just doing an inventory of my paint and brushes. I have acquired lots of tubes of Western, Japanese, and Chinese watercolor, including the strange pricey pans of bright kawaii Japanese color (from my Korean teacher). I told the Wizard, “If you see me drooling over some paint box, please to remind me that I need no more paint.” In fact all you really need is a good indigo, a good yellow, some sort of red, black ink and white gouache; everything derives from those, a sort of yin-yang melding of CMYK and RGB. Although that sounds so PhotoShop, which is completely antithetical to what goes on with the brush, the ink and water, and the paper; there is nothing spontaneous about bit-fiddling. And generally, you can't modify anything after the brush meets the paper.

And I have a lot of wonderful brushes, but there are really only several I use consistently. A couple of wolf brushes, a couple of fine-line brushes, and a nice stiff shan ma (mountain horse) brush. This all suggests that the real key to painting, and probably any other thing you want to do, is about skill in using simple tools with well-taught and well-practiced technique.

You can check out other musings from the Baroness here.

Self Inquiry

Self Inquiry
by Ta- Wan

The universe said "what is this?"

The universe replied "who's asking?"

"Ah ha!" It exclaimed.

The universe had completed self inquiry.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Line by Line - Verse 49, Line 10

The people all keep their eyes and ears directed to him,
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Others look to him and listen.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

The people all pay attention with their ears and eyes
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

People pay attention to him
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
Sagacious people don't play favorites. They size up any given situation and go with what they feel is the best option. It is because of this that many people flock to them. When we are in the company of a sage, we KNOW that we will get a fair shake.

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

Defusing the Self

Defusing the Self
by Ta-Wan

A part of the programming in being a human is this supposedly immovable fact that we are separate, live in a world and that it all matters. I'm not sure monkeys, pigs, dolphins or petunias have this.

With some people the circuit breaks. It can be a big life shift, it can be a dramatic event, an illness or just grating a carrot. After this they no longer feel the effects of the program. They do not feel separate, don't feel the world has problems or even that they live as such.

This can be deemed by an outsider as an awakening, the awakening, the realization. So the outsider may have questions.

The outsider asks: "What's it like?" "What must I do to reach this?" "What of the oppressed and the poor?"

And they don't like the answers which are: "Normal" "Peal carrots" "I don't know".

After all, it is not awakened people who make people poor or sell enlightenment; unawakened people do that. Awakened people do not think in self and other, good and bad, achieving anything, only on what is. Their mere being is reward. Feelings are felt and they go as they came, they do not give rise to doubt or action or disease as the circuit which said anything was separate to them has fused.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Chapter 5, Part 7 - Confucius

Mang Wu asked about Tsze-lu, whether he was perfectly virtuous. The Master said, "I do not know."

He asked again, when the Master replied, "In a kingdom of a thousand chariots, Yu might be employed to manage the military levies, but I do not know whether he be perfectly virtuous."

"And what do you say of Ch'iu?" The Master replied, "In a city of a thousand families, or a clan of a hundred chariots, Ch'iu might be employed as governor, but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous."

"What do you say of Ch'ih?" The Master replied, "With his sash girt and standing in a court, Ch'ih might be employed to converse with the visitors and guests, but I do not know whether he is perfectly virtuous."
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Daily Tao - Drawn In

She drew the light of the world into her eyes, closed them to trap it, then quickly dropped the world into her heart where it vanished.

Daily Tao is a reprint from Ta-Wan's blog, Daily Cup of Tao, which offers one post per day for an entire year. You also can read these posts in an ebook.

Alan Watts Didn't Get It

Alan Watts Didn't Get It
by Scott Bradley

Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen is a classic interpretation of Zen for the West. When we read the testimonies of people whose interest in Zen began more than a couple of decades ago, it becomes clear that Watts had a significant influence upon many of them. Though my active interest does not go back more than about five years, because I somehow stumbled onto a copy, he has also greatly influenced me.

I was somewhat taken aback, therefore, when a friend who has put serious time and effort into the study and practice of Zen, told me “Watts didn’t get it”. Aitken likewise mentions how D.T. Suzuki, referring to a Wattsian interpretation of a passage, in his humble way, said, “He didn’t understand that statement.”

But I don’t think I ever truly believed that Watt’s did get it. And this, I think, is what makes his interpretation of Zen so appealing. He was not, strictly speaking, a believer. He was not a partisan. He spoke with deep appreciation and insight of a way of being into which he had not himself been immersed and was thus able to present the matter without a religious reek.

About thirty some years ago a friend gave me a book on Zen, explaining that he was unable to get past the first page. Neither was I. I am not sure, but I think it was by Suzuki.

On this first page, the author essentially said that Zen was the superior way. My nostrils stung and I could go no further. My aversion to the religious-mind is longstanding.

I was actually quite interested to know about Zen at that time. And had that book been by the non-partisan, non-religious Alan Watts, perhaps I would have begun my return to things spiritual way back then. But then, if that had been the case, perhaps I would myself now be writing that Zen is the superior way.

Perhaps there is a sense in which Watts, in not getting it, understood Zen better than those who do get it. If this seems counter-intuitive to the extreme, perhaps that is because it also Zennish. The Zen masters are not alone in having the right to smack people upside the head. We, the people, have the right to smack them right back — that is, to smack them back to where they belong, back into the realm of non-partisan, non-religious, undiscriminating Reality.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tao Bible - Isaiah 43:23-24

Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
~ King James version ~

It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one's true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.
~ from Verse 19 of the Tao Te Ching ~
You know, I wouldn't think this is the kind of picture Christians would want of their God -- he's openly whining! He's having a tizzy fit because his selfish desires aren't being met.

As Lao Tzu illustrates again and again, Tao is desireless. When desire is lacking, there is no way to experience disappointment.

If you're interested in reading more from this experimental series, go to the Tao Bible Index page.

Arcs over dimensions.

Arcs over dimensions.
by Ta-Wan

Arcs over dimensions. (Oh my Buddha he's talking that physics stuff again!)

Have you ever squinted your eyes at night and seen tiny arcs of light around a bright light source? You may have seen the phenomenon if you saw a bright light in the rain at night, or if you've hallucinated at all, even if that be due to tiredness or illness.

You're aware of the arcs that magnetism follows on a magnet and may have seen visual representations of the magnetic flux over the earth, the one that birds and dolphins align themselves with to navigate. Even insects of various varieties have been seen to align their dwellings with such lines. We don't see them.

We should not be too mystified by extra dimensions but take this example. A 2D scientist has witnessed a point, then later another point. He measures what happens in between and there is this mysterious 'slight absence of light' path along his 2D world that joins his two points. He will spend his life mystified as to how the point "thing" moved A to B leaving this strange trace but there was no physical presence of the object as it travelled. In 3D we see what happened. A ball was placed on the ground and kicked A to B and only the shadow seemed to move in 2D, the ball itself travelled "Extra-Dimensionally". That scientist may drive himself wild in the search for something he can't conceptualize.

Currently, in fact for the last 45 years if you're Stephen Hawkins, the big question has been of gravity. How does it appear so weak compared to a small magnet that can overcome gravity's power so easily and then so much weaker again to the bond between atoms and again to the one between nuclei? If light is not travelling in our dimensions and as far as it is concerned it never leaves point A, it simply arcs A to A via nowhere, and magnetic flux does not go North to South but arc around the magnet or planet then can't we see that gravity is arcing too?

For light to arc but be seen by all observers then this explains how light "particles" seem so small as the large energy in a photon E .... bla bla Einstein. So too gravity must arc around huge bodies in space and its effects be wide felt, so it would seem weak in our 3D measurements. The "Strong Nuclear Force" seems strong in our 3D world (holding both you and your laptop together, and the floor too) as the energy within a tiny atom only has to arc near zero distance.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Chapter 5, Part 6 - Confucius

The Master said, "My doctrines make no way. I will get upon a raft, and float about on the sea. He that will accompany me will be Yu, I dare say." Tsze-lu hearing this was glad, upon which the Master said, "Yu is fonder of daring than I am. He does not exercise his judgment upon matters."
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Geography Mash

One of my favorite subjects in school was geography. By the time I was in 5th grade, I had memorized all 50 US state capitols plus Canadian provinces and most major cities of the modern world. I still have a great affinity for maps -- I have oodles of them and it's not uncommon to find me hunched over one studying the contours of the land or any number of hundreds of other geographic variables.

It's a good thing I went to school in the days of yore because the US map is being redrawn today by an odd group of people: major college athletic directors!

Don't believe me? Well, why don't you take this little geography quiz I've made.

In general terms, describe where the following US cities are located.
(Example: New York City - Northeast)

Boise, ID
Boulder, CO
College Station, TX
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbia, MO
Ft. Worth, TX
Morgantown, WV
Syracuse, NY

Okay, let's see how you did.

Boise, ID -- Eastern US
The Big East Conference has invited Boise State to join. If the Broncos accept, they will play in a conference where almost every other team is in the Eastern Time Zone.

Boulder, CO -- West Coast
This year the University of Colorado began play in the Pacific-12 Conference, a league in which most of the teams are from California, Oregon and Washington (states that border the Pacific Ocean).

College Station, TX -- Southeast US
Texas A & M is currently a member of the Big-12 Conference with other schools in the Midwest, but has been accepted as a new member to the Southeast Conference.

Columbia, MO -- Southeast US
Like Texas A & M, it is expected that the University of Missouri (my parents Alma Mater) will leave the Big-12 to join the Southeast Conference.

Ft. Worth, TX -- Eastern US, Intermountain West or Midwest
Texas Christian University (TCU) used to be a member of the Southwest Conference. When that conference dissolved, they joined the Mountain West Conference. Last year they announced they would move to the Big East Conference, but they changed their mind and decided instead to join the Big-12 (Midwest). In the last three years or so, TCU has landed all over the map!

Morgantown, WV -- Midwest
A long time member of the Big East Conference, West Virginia University accepted an invitation this week to join the Big-12.

Syracuse, NY -- Atlantic Coast
Syracuse University, a long time Big East Conference member, will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in a year or two.

Of course, where college teams choose to call home conference-wise doesn't genuinely change their coordinates on a map, but if college athletic directors wrote elementary school geography texts, American students wouldn't know whether they were coming or going!!

This situation offers yet another example of how greed can poison anything.

Afternoon Matinee: Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Part 8

To view this documentary in its entirety, go here.

Have you ever seen an Ego?

Have you ever seen an ego?

by Ta-Wan

Have you ever seen an ego?

Surely not but you have seen egoistical behaviour. Ego is a behaviour or thought pattern and not a thing in itself. Isn't it now more simple to see how to drop the ego? It is not a thing we're stuck with but a conditioned or untamed thought process.

"I'm not happy but if I got that X, then I'd be happy." - Says the egotistical mind pattern.

"I is nothing but happiness and this is only missed because of that egotistical mind pattern." - Says the true self.

The more we sit with inner peace the more we can observe that constantly lacking ego popping up demanding medication - and we can see it as what it is and let it go.

Following or answering each and every whim of the ego will lead to deep sadness as true peace is our true being, the ever present stillness within.

Luckily ego is not a thing you are stuck with but a behaviour pattern which can be unlearned.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Consciousness is the only known thing and the answer too

Consciousness is both the only certain thing we know and the answer we seek. Some call it Tao.
by Ta-Wan

No one is anything but consciousness. You may deny all you like but not being conscious.

Asleep you dream. In wake you dream? Or you see the concrete reality? You can't say either way.

Matter is provably empty space and so fits what we deem to be consciousness right now, it is natural though to see matter as solid, liquid or gas and to imagine it is made of parts. This view though is experimentally provable as not to be the case. It may be difficult, depending on how old or educated you define yourself as, to ever break free of the solid matter model. New generations will see matter as it is, immaterial.

The speed of light squared is perhaps the first very important thing we ever paid no attention to at school. We were told Energy equals Mass multiplied by the speed of light squared but we were too busy wondering what colour Yo-Yo we'd like from the shop. We never paid attention to it and never gave it another moments thought. We did though learn that we square things when talking of flat area. An area of space will be the size that light could travel in size per second. If this space contains large bodies then the flat area of space will be bent, lights path will be altered and the large body will roll about in the bent space. Light though did not travel at all. This was one seconds cognition done in and by the brain. The actual reality is unseen, we see only the minds interpretation of the data.

As the mind interprets data it builds a little past and a little forwards to give a more convincing model. In doing this it says light went A to B, light though did not travel or even exist, only information existed and was decoded as what you saw. Science insists on measuring the mind made illusion but then discounting consciousness as something which came about from this dead lump of flesh called the brain. This method is completely backwards akin to breaking open a TV set to steal a car on screen. So convinced by the mind model the mind can not make the leap and accept that the car was in a different place and time and may not even exist any more.

Our world view, though shifting, is fundamentally flawed and there are 3 paths to fixing it. We confuse ourselves with science, we accept and attempt to decipher what great masters have said years before us, or we discount all concepts and start again with intuition only - build from the only known fact, that we are conscious.

(I bet no one read this far.)

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Line by Line - Verse 49, Line 9

The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision, and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

The sage is shy and humble - to the world he seems confusing.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

The sages live in the world
They cautiously merge their mind for the world

~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

A Master throws himself
into the world completely,
forgetting everything he's been told.

~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
As we slowly have worked our way through the TTC, I have often found Legge's translation to be stilted and lacking as much depth as the other two translations. For this line, however, I think he captures it well.

The wise person doesn't allow biases and preconceived notions to be the driver of decisions. It is when we approach the world indifferently -- we size up ALL the information available -- that more possibilities abound. Where others see roadblocks and dead ends, the sagacious individual can find a route around a seeming impasse.

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

It Will Happen

A lot is being made of the fact that some Occupy Oakland protesters threw bottles and other objects at the police. Folks on the Right are now comparing all protesters to a bunch of hoodlums, while those on the Left are beseeching protesters not to screw up the movement's peaceful message.

As regular readers know, I am an avowed pacifist. I believe that, regardless of the situation, nonviolence is the way to go. But I also know something else: Most Americans are NOT pacifists. Because of this fact, violence FROM the protesters is bound to occur.

In my mind, there are two factors to consider. First off, we live in a society that glorifies violence. Not only is it prevalent in our various modes of entertainment, but our national policies are predicated on it. We should not forget that 50 cents of every taxpayer dollar goes to prop up our behemoth military-industrial complex.

In recent years, our nation has adopted the policy of "shoot first and ask questions later." We kill thousands of people each year through bombs, missiles, bullets and drones.

So, it should surprise no one that a significant segment of our society views violence as a positive means to exact change. Some of those people are part of the various Occupy groups and, when appropriate situations arise, they will feel justified in meeting the force of the state with a force of their own.

The other factor at play is frustration and desperation. As the economy on Main Street continues to flounder, more people will join the protests in the streets. If the politicians remain unmoved and the police forces become ever more aggressive, some peaceful protesters will begin to strike back in utter exasperation.

Most people I know don't like being hit repeatedly and, at some point, many will feel enough is enough. Aggressive police tactics will push some people over the edge and riots will break out. In those instances, all bets are off.

It should go without saying that many police forces are trying to goad protesters to turn violent. The powers that be want images of violent protesters to flood the airwaves in the hope that this will convince the general public to withdraw their support for the Occupy groups that have sprung up all over the country and across the world.

Protests that turn violent will provide the state with the political cover to become even more violent "restore public order."

I'd love to say that I hope that nonviolence wins out. I'd like to believe that most protesters realize that acts of violence on their part would create a no-win situation. But, I also try to be a realist and simply observing human nature tells me that, sooner or later, one group or another is going to respond to state-sanctioned force with force of their own.

From my standpoint, sadly, this occurrence is inevitable.

Chapter 5, Part 5 - Confucius

The Master was wishing Ch'i-tiao K'ai to enter an official employment. He replied, "I am not yet able to rest in the assurance of this." The Master was pleased.
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Daily Tao - 1

A heart wanted to know great heights, but did not have the head for it.

A head wanted to know great love, but did not have the heart for it.

A hand wanted to touch the tree, but did not have the legs for it.

The legs wanted something, but could not put a finger on it.

You can't know this life, unless you came from stillness.

You can't know suffering, unless your root is bliss.

You can't feel separate, unless unity is you.

Only this moment, undefined, is true.

Daily Tao is a reprint from Ta-Wan's blog, Daily Cup of Tao, which offers one post per day for an entire year. You also can read these posts in an ebook.


by Scott Bradley

Some time ago I did a post entitled "Love" in which I began with a quote from the Gospel According to John to the effect that God is love. I must have strayed from my intended purpose, because this led to people telling me what love is. BR said it was a verb rather than a noun, and I think that says a lot about love. So my real question can now be resolved to this: In what sense is Reality a verb? I am going to cheat and rephrase the question: In what sense is Tao a verb? And if it is a verb, is it transitive or intransitive? Does its love require an object or no?

In substituting Tao for Reality, I have begged the question; Tao does nothing, according to our orthodoxy, and is indifferent to us. "Tao treats all things as straw dogs," Laozi tells us. This may or may not be true. But as Zhuangzi points out, since any revelation as to the nature of Source is conspicuously absent, it really makes no difference. 'For all practical purposes', Nature is Tao, and Nature seems utterly indifferent to questions of love.

All of this brings me to the concept of compassion as some supreme quality exemplifying the nature of ultimate Reality. Buddhism even proposes a goddess of love. She makes a great garden ornament. Nice and sentimental. But I don't get it.

Discounting all those mythical bodhisattva characters, I honestly don't see a whole lot of transitive compassion among these compassionate ones, in any case. So, if Reality is a verb, it must be intransitive. It's about feeling good, not doing good.

Today, on the radio, I heard a medical doctor bemoaning that she couldn't get a job. Really? I'll bet the Somalis would be glad to give her one. But then the BMW would have to wait, I suppose.

I confess that I am an extremist. Talk to me about compassion and I'll stick your nose in a pile of shit in Calcutta where, even as I write, some child is looking for something to eat. I have seen them. Compassion? My ass.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

He Ain't Heavy...It's Just Metal

Throughout my life I have noticed that, as people age, their tastes in music tend to soften. If they grew up to head banging music, they become more enchanted with softer ballads. The same seems to be true for the artists themselves. Singers and groups that used to scream at the top of their lungs these days are more apt to play acoustical versions of their past hits.

Since I am a proverbial nonconformist, I've noticed that I'm heading in the opposite direction! When I was younger, I more favored what was called pop music and rock 'n roll. As I've aged, however, I've noticed that I'm listening to more and more heavy metal.

I recently discovered that this one song that they play frequently on our local rock station -- a song I just love -- is by the heavy metal group, Def Leppard. Back in the day when Def Leppard was big, I don't think I could have named one song they performed. I also didn't listen to Europe, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath or any other group of that ilk. These days these groups and more dominate my play list.

Weird how tastes change with the years!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tao Bible - Isaiah 43:16-17

Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
~ King James version ~

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
~ from Verse 30 of the Tao Te Ching ~
One big difference between the Christian God and Tao concerns the issue of war. In many ways, Yahweh is a war-like god who brags about armies, death and destruction.

Tao, on the other hand, is not war-like at all. As Lao Tzu points out, when something is forced against its nature, it will resist and resistance creates tension and suffering.

If you're interested in reading more from this experimental series, go to the Tao Bible Index page.

Chapter 5, Part 4 - Confucius

Someone said, "Yung is truly virtuous, but he is not ready with his tongue."

The Master said, "What is the good of being ready with the tongue? They who encounter men with smartness of speech for the most part procure themselves hatred. I know not whether he be truly virtuous, but why should he show readiness of the tongue?"
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Normal Is Great

Normal Is Great
by Ta-Wan

Enlightenment could be a thing of the past. By the old standards, most of us are probably enlightened or more. Smarter too.

I say this because children understand gravity and teenagers understand that E=m, maybe they don't understand the maths, but they intuitively know. Einstein got there by intuition, the maths came later. Lau Tzu got there by intuition (he never read a book on it), Buddha too. In those times, there were many people who didn't get these things, they thought that angry gods brought rain and famine, that the world was flat and things moved down.

Now we don't, we're generally more enlightened than before. We don't on the whole believe in gods, we do have more intelligent concepts for things than we used to. This is said even given that in a few years we will be exposed as dumb by new thinkers, for now though, we're good.

What is this enlightenment people seek, what is this perfection, this release? Just exposure or admission of an inner imbalance? Not to worry, that's being human.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Afternoon Matinee: Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Part 7

To view this documentary in its entirety, go here.

Common Potato

Common Potato
by Ta-Wan

Are you the action or the replay?

Are you the light collected by the the iris or the prejudiced playback?

What is it to recite that which may have been before (in your opinion) and speak of it as it were a solid immutable truth, rather than to carve a unique path which is what it is?

Can you build an ego you're happy with on the works of others or would you rather stand alone right in your shoes?

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

Jumping On and Off This Magical Rope

Jumping On and Off This Magical Rope
by Shawn Tedrow

We must get to the place where all of our conditions and beliefs on what enlightenment and truth is or isn't becomes painfully meaningless, where one's preferential spiritual understanding and knowledge doesn't work anymore, and going off the cliff of all our human understanding becomes our only option. (Please note that I am not suggesting pursuing and trying to get this to happen).

This is when all of our philosophy that we are grasping on to and all our transcending efforts abruptly cease and come to an end. But what is so strange and perplexing, in order to get to this critical point, it was all of our useless contextual philosophizing and egoic efforts that we are letting go of and divorcing ourselves from that actually bring us to this hot-point of a spiritual crossroad. What has been realized to be useless had usefulness.

There was a time when I visualized this spiritual journey we are on as being a magical rope that is suspended vertically in air, starting from the earth’s crust and extending up beyond the heavens. Very much like a Jack and the Beanstalk scenario.

Some of us are moved within to jump onto this rope by faith and begin journeying upward, not-knowing where we are going, like inspired pilgrims on an expedition-odyssey headed towards uncharted living.

This rope represents our sincere interactive engagement with our spiritual journey which involves deep heart workings accompanied with very intense thinking.

As we struggle and climb upward, below our feet this rope is aflame, burning-up and disintegrating. We keep climbing and ascending upward but below our feet this rope keeps on being reduced to ashes (there is no turning back).

Finally, we get to what feels like the end of the rope at the top, but this burning flame keeps moving upward all the way into our hands grip. The heat is unbearable so we let go into a freefall. As we are falling, besides knowing that there isn’t a rope to grab onto, we realize there is no ground below us. There is nothing solid to fix onto period. There is only Source.

Falling, we seamlessly blast through the minuscule cell of the never ending universe that we have been living in with a weightlessness-sense that self was left behind.

This Magical Rope...the paradoxical unnecessary-necessary.

You can check out Shawn's other musings here.

Line by Line - Verse 49, Line 8

--and thus (all) get to be sincere.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Because Virtue is faithfulness.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

Thus the virtue of belief
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

This is real faith.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
For Derek Lin,
The compassion of the sages is truly universal. They treat people well, whether they are deserving of kindness or not. In general, sages expect the best from everyone and get it, because people cannot help but raise their standards to live up to the bar that the sages have set for them.
To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

Reading the Newspaper

Every now and then, I purchase a copy of The Daily World. Published in Aberdeen, it is the closest [almost] daily newspaper around. I picked up yesterday's edition because two of the headlines caught my eye: 1) Study: Rich Getting a Lot Richer and 2) Gregoire Calls for Deep Cuts.

In regards to story #1, the Associated Press reports that "average after-tax income for the top 1 percent of US households almost quadrupled, up 275 percent, from 1979 to 2007." For the middle class the increase was only 40 percent and for those of us near the bottom, the increase was a paltry 18 percent.

Those are sobering statistics! The impact of the information presented in article #1 play a central role in the information presented in article #2.

It seems that our state has a $2 billion shortfall. In her proposed state budget, Democrat Gregoire "is proposing eliminating the state's health care program for the poor, trimming another 15 percent from higher education and reducing levy equalization for poor school districts by 50 percent."

Do you see a connection here? The rich keep growing richer which, in turn, impoverishes state government and the way state government proposes to dig out of the financial hole is to stick it to the poor. By eliminating or curtailing programs that serve the poor, we only will grow poorer, while the rich continue to get richer.

This model represents a dead end for too many Americans and offers yet another quintessential reason why so many have taken to the streets.

Chapter 5, Part 3 - Confucius

Tsze-kung asked, "What do you say of me, Ts'ze!" The Master said, "You are a utensil." "What utensil?" "A gemmed sacrificial utensil."
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

Daily Tao - It Always Gets There in the End

All conversations end in silence.

Daily Tao is a reprint from Ta-Wan's blog, Daily Cup of Tao, which offers one post per day for an entire year. You also can read these posts in an ebook.

Finding Nothing

Finding Nothing
by Scott Bradley

Bodhidharma's first disciple, Hui-k'o, came to him and said, "My mind has no peace; please put it to rest." Bodhidharma replied, "Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest." Hui-k'o exclaimed, "I have searched, but I cannot find it!" "There," retorted Bodhidharma, "I have put it to rest!" Hui-k'o had satori.

Since this is mythological, I paraphrase as I please.

I have at hand a book of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi in which he expounds upon the realization of Self through the 'simple' repetition of the question, "Who am I?" The implication is that there is something there to find; I am Self and Self is the Ultimate. His sweet smiling face nearly convinces me.

Most Zen teachers advocate discovering our 'original nature', our Buddha-nature. Again, there is something to find.

Bodhidharma, on the other hand, seemed to advocate finding that there is nothing to find. Hui-k'o could have just as easily spent his time asking himself, "Who am I?" And when he failed to find it, Bodhidharma's retort would have been the same. "You have found where peace is found." This echoes his answer to the Emperor Wu's question, "Who the hell do you think you are?" "I don't know," replied Bodhidharma.

Find your way to nothing.
There is nothing for you to find.
Surrender is the triumph of the heart.

Like so many sayings of Chen Jen, this one both inspires and embarrasses me. They contain wisdom, but written by one who does not embody them, they are also seem trite. Nevertheless, the dialectic goes on.

Some find it in something. Some find it in nothing. Most don't find it at all.

Some see it in the light. Some see it in the dark. Most abide in twilight.

Some find it in pain. Some find it in joy. Most avoid too much of either.

Who am I, and who is anyone else, to discriminate between them?

My way finds nothing, but hesitates to say there is nothing there to find. Instead, it says that nothing need be found. Not-finding is as sure a path as finding, if it leads to an open heart.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tao Bible - Isaiah 43:10-11

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.
~ King James version ~

Better to stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
~ Verse 9 of the Tao Te Ching ~
Here we have another example of God telling people to do as he says, not as he does. What does the Christian Church teach about vanity? It's bad and not godlike, yet here is that same God exuding vanity for all to see!

Tao works in the background, never calling attention to itself. Taoists agree with their Christian brethren that vanity is a human foible and not Tao-like. However, we can point to the humble nature of Tao as proof.

If you're interested in reading more from this experimental series, go to the Tao Bible Index page.

Chapter 5, Part 2 - Confucius

The Master said of Tsze-chien, "Of superior virtue indeed is such a man! If there were not virtuous men in Lu, how could this man have acquired this character?"
~ James Legge translation via The Internet Classics Archive ~
Go here to read the introductory post to this serialized version of the Analects of Confucius.

This Is Why

Why has the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement taken much of the world by storm? Because Wall Street and the financiers wield too much power! They control the flow of money -- to their own benefit, of course -- and they can choke off anyone at anytime. If you don't think so, take a look at the story below by Dan Gillmor.
Suppose you are the proprietor of an information service. Your customers buy what you sell using the major payment systems such as Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal. The information you provide is greatly upsetting to powerful people who would prefer to keep it a secret. You have been charged with no crime, much less convicted of one. But one day, you discover that all of these payment systems – quite obviously responding to pressure from the government but citing no actual legal authority – are refusing to accept money from your customers on your behalf.

This, sadly, is not a supposition. It is nearly the precise situation that WikiLeaks has encountered since late last year, stripping most of the revenue away and now, as reported this week, forcing the whistleblowing media operation to suspend all activity except fundraising in a struggle merely to survive.

If this was happening to any traditional media company, it would be a scandal, and the media in general would be screaming about the threat to free speech it represented. While the news media are covering the WikiLeaks situation, they are not offering serious support in ways that matter to an organisation with which they have much more in common than not.

The New York Times has often angered American politicians and bureaucrats in recent decades – and in fact, the Times's activities in ferreting out classified information differs not at all, in any practical sense (and probably in any legal way), from what WikiLeaks has done. Like other publications, the Times has reported on WikiLeaks' financial predicament. And as at others, the editorial page has not condemned the government and financial institution actions that have precipitated it.
You know, the issue is NOT about whether you support the work of WikiLeaks or not. It doesn't matter whether or not you're a fan of Julian Assange. No, the issue is that the financial elites can silence pretty much anyone they want to in the public sphere. They willfully control the flow of information and, if they don't like the information being spread, they can turn off the spigot.

This is why people have taken to the streets. They have decided to create their own news and spread their own information. The state -- that entity which is controlled by the elites -- is trying to thwart the effort, but, so far, the people are refusing to be silenced.

Afternoon Matinee: Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Part 6

To view this documentary in its entirety, go here.

Real Life Tao - You Aren't What You Wear

About 6 months ago -- after our beloved Princess succumbed to cancer -- we went to the local Humane Society and adopted Lily. Our new little doggy is part dachshund and part xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless). Having never had a hairless canine in the family before, we have spent a lot of time performing research on the internet.

One important thing that we've learned is that hairless dogs are impacted by extreme temperatures more so than other critters. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Fur acts as an insulator and this dog don't got no fur on over 90 percent of her body. (She has a little bit on the top of her head, around her muzzle, on her feet and the tip of her tail.)

When the weather turns cold, the experts recommend that you have doggy sweaters, pullovers, jammies and coats ready at hand. Well, the weather here has turned colder and so, particularly in the evening and night, we dress our doggy in her warm weather clothing.

We've purchased several used outfits and, yesterday, we went to a pet store near Astoria (Oregon) to buy her a new sweater. Last night we put it on her and, let me tell ya, she looks cute as a bug!

Yes, we are responsible pet owners. We're working diligently to ensure our little xolo doesn't get cold. There is only problem: She isn't cooperating!!

It seems like every time we get her dressed up in a piece of her apparel, within a few minutes or hours, we discover that she's naked as a jay bird! She invariably finds a way to wriggle out of it. Mind you, we're not dressing her up so she can look like a little foo-foo dog; we're trying to protect her from the elements.

What does she do when she's obviously cold? She finds a blanket or some of our dirty clothes and she burrows underneath them. She stays there until she is sufficiently warmed and then comes charging out to run around the house and yard like a banshee.

I'm certainly not suggesting we're going to throw away all of her dog clothes. When we get into the middle of winter, maybe she won't think a sweater or pjs are so bad. But we're learning that all the expert advice -- much of it good-intentioned -- isn't on the same path as she is.

This situation offers a good lesson to those of us who walk on two feet. External advice as to how to lead our lives often will miss the mark. By its very nature, this kind of advice is generic and each of us is unique. What may work for the average person may or may not suit us.

Each being plies its own path.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

Free Will?

free wool

I was unable to alter the title of this post. I could easily edit it at any moment, but it seems I'm not about to. And who is this I who could or could not and who wrote?

Were free will the truth of the matter, then wouldn't millions wake up, late, tomorrow feeling great, skip work and go flying? Wouldn't they then return to their rich life and have superbly passionate sex with the partner of their dreams who never ever farted?

Most people wish or will for a life situation quite different from the one they have, do they then have free will? Can anyone reading this, have not have started reading it? Can you relive that last embarrassing moment and avoid the slip up? Why with free will did you make a complete tit of yourself last Tuesday?

Given that you can't change the past, or do anything other than what you're doing now, or shape the future, then is this "I" you say you are anything? Is there a separate agent there or if free will is not the case aren't "you" just one of trillions of illusions inferred by one indivisible wobble? To be continued (?)

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.