Popular Content

Showing most thanked content since 07/21/2019 in all areas

  1. 29 points
    Took a picture of my fruit bowl this morning. You may notice that it is presently occupied by my cat Haomao. I've plenty of space that might seem far more appropriate and convenient for him to claim. But this is what happens every time I run out of fruits and nuts. This morning I was watching him impersonate fruits and nuts like the rest of us do but even more explicitly, and decided that this picture might be a good way to inform the rest of the fruits and nuts that the cat is now officially out of the bag. And unless this place goes once again from "too fucked up for me" to "too fucked up for me" in a smooth succession (may it not come to pass), I'm back. Hi old friends.
  2. 21 points
    👋 Howdy y'all. I wanted to tell you that I've decided to: Revoke all existing moderators. Ask all committed right-wing members of the forum to leave. I realize this may seem extreme and come as a shock to many. I'll do my best to explain where I'm coming from, what this means for the forum moving forward and I'll also request help. > WTF? Pas de replâtrage, la structure est pourrie. No replastering, the structure is rotten. I made a fundamental mistake in the foundational ethos for this forum: believing that "no insults, be nice" is a powerful enough core virtue to sustain a diverse, healthy community. The problem with "just be nice" is that it's impotent in the face of organized malice. In a society where marginalized people often suffer invisibly, taking a clear, assertive stance against the creeping normalization of bigotry and even outright fascism whenever possible is far more important than being "nice" merely to avoid rattling an oppressive status quo. I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." — Martin Luther King, Jr. > This is about Trump, isn't it? Donald Trump is a menacing buffoon but also mostly a disgusting symptom of a very sick society. He's also a kind of litmus test for how deranged I find someone's morality. Being anti-Trump is not "partisan" (if being nonpartisan is even possible or noble). One of the lowest ethical bars I can imagine is finding Trump repugnant. I'm not even going to waste time enumerating Trump's voluminous flaws and demonic policy positions. If you're pro-Trump you almost certainly already know and don't care. This isn't a debate. We have deeply incompatible values, and I'm drawing a line in the sand. > What should pro-Trump and other far-right members of the forum do now? You should leave. If you're pro-Trump, I'm asking you to leave this forum. You're not welcome here anymore. If you're right-wing, please leave. We might need a bullet list. Here we go: If you're pro-Trump, please leave. If you're right-wing, please leave. If you're pro-border wall, pro-ICE, racist, homophobic, transphobic or misogynist, please fuck off and leave. The web is awash with other far-right friendly dumpsters you can crawl into. If you think it's unacceptable that I'm booting members with dangerous, disgusting, antisocial politics, you should probably leave too. (Sidenote: If you're some strange brew of anti-fascist, social anarchist, left-libertarian, or anti-authoritarian, democratic Marxist, socialist or communist infidel, please stay and help me raise hell! ✊ Are there any other leftists here? 👀) > This is an outrage!! ** shits entire diaper ** You're the real fascist, watch this 4-hour Youtube video, something something ... I'm unfortunately acutely aware that if you're being asked to leave that you're not going to understand this decision. I trust that you're going to settle on a self-serving narrative in which I'm a cartoon, totalitarian-communist, "cultural Marxist" suppressor of your patriotic free speech. I'm a hysterical, intolerant "snowflake" that can't stand proximity to your brilliant, hard-truths, lest I be destroyed by sheer "facts and logic". I don't care. I've made peace with your ignorance. Allow me to repeat for those in the back: This isn't a debate. We have deeply incompatible values. So much so that I'm asking you to leave my forum without further discussion. > Did the moderators do anything wrong? I sincerely appreciate the time and energy the previous team put into tending to the forum. If they made mistakes in terms of moderating, I'd hedge they were mostly a result of inheriting the laissez-faire, lazy-white-guy ethos that I unfortunately fostered and encouraged. If you were a part of the previous team and are not being asked to leave and you still want to help out, please PM me. > But this is a spiritual forum! Spirituality without material roots is a dead tree, my friend. The notion that spiritual cultivation, of all things, should somehow be categorically divorced from moral maturation and praxis is a "bad take". This forum has always strived to be a big tent for all manner of weirdos from diverse spiritual and sociopolitical backgrounds. But there have also been times when new boundaries needed to be set. This is one of them. > But what about the terrible things that Obama, Hillary, etc. have done? As I said, I'm not going to debate, and this isn't a political 101 education forum. For what it's worth, here are some of my recent thoughts on the center-right led Democratic party and the rise of Trumpism: The Democratic Party is not inculpable for Trumpism Trump is not a unique Republican If the grotesque insincerity of center-right Democrats (e.g. Clinton and Obama) are the reason that anyone reading this has hitched to the neoreactionary Trump dump-truck, please find a local shaman to unbind this rotten hex. There's a better and much more magical way forward. ✨ > I'm not right or left, I'm a truth-seeker, you're being unreasonable. I've found that people who claim they're "neither right nor left," especially U.S. citizens, are usually center-right at best. (And often worse, e.g., right-wing libertarians or crypto-antisemitic conspiracy-theorists.) The political terms "left" and "right" have ideological meaning. Likewise "centrism" is not defined via an attempt to locate a compromised middle ground somewhere between right-wing Republican monsters and diet-right-wing corporatist Democrats. I've written more about this here: This is what passes for "reasonable" politics. > What about free speech? There's a popular notion that the only civilized approach to social disagreement is to always hear out "all sides" in the "free marketplace of ideas", an imaginary immaterial abstraction. That opinions, no matter how brain-dead stupid or toxic, should always be honored and meticulously ironed out via public "intellectual" debate. But this kind of free speech absolutism is often a pretentious stance weaponized to platform memetic bigotry and silence already marginalized views. By extreme analogy, imagine if there were pro-slavery members on this forum. My stance is that it's a complete waste of time to argue with these people. It would pollute our space with the delusion that both sides of this "debate" are legitimate. I think most of us would agree that bans of racist and violent speech are appropriate. I'm drawing a new, firmer line in the sand. No racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, climate change denial, fascism, crypto-fascism, antisocial bigotry, or far-right bullshit in general (including QAnon and Pizzagate lunacy). There are plenty of other reactionary ashcans on the Internet for these "very fine folks" to brigade. Speech is not harmless. Speech has real, immediate, direct, material consequences on other human beings. Implicitly allowing socially toxic rhetoric to continue platforming itself unchecked in a space, poisons that space, and disproportionately harms the least powerful. > This is a slippery slope, where will it end? Fully automated luxury gay space communism, obviously. You should probably leave now before the communism and gay-stuff starts happening. 🍆💦 > This seems exclusionary and mean. It's exclusionary and not nice, but I don't think it's mean, at least not senselessly. Ask yourself, how many thoughtful, gracious members of this forum have quietly left after seeing relatively uncontested right-wing bullshit plastered across the forums here? I'm aware of several personally. And I don't think the bullshit here is undisputed because of implicit support. I think it's merely sidestepped for the same reason most reasonable people avoid challenging someone screaming evangelical diatribes on the subway. It's literally just not worth the effort. i.e., "the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it." There's plenty of other subways on the internet to scream inside. This one is no longer tolerating right-wing bullshit. > Are we abandoning confused people who maybe need this forum the most? Meh. I think this question comes from a decent place. But this isn't a political education forum. My stance is that we need to reestablish a bare minimum baseline of shared values. > Are you still with me? If so, that must mean: You weren't asked to leave. You think it's okay and even very good that I've gone full heruka. Welcome! I'm delighted to have you here. I hope you'll stay. ❤️ And I hope you'll stand in solidarity with me as I perch precariously on this fraught limb I've now climbed out on. It's my sincere hope that we can reclaim and reenchant The Dao Bums as a weird-left-friendly space again. > Will you help me? I do need your help. In fact I won't be able to do this without you. Please PM me if you're interested in helping our community. There will be free snacks. 🙃 With Love, Sean
  3. 20 points
    NOTE: This is not going to be a debate topic. I stopped debating right-wing dipshits many years ago for literally the same reason I don't argue with small children. Don't post right-wing bullshit in this topic. I'm in a mood and you've been warned. I'm curious if there are any actual leftists on this forum? To be clear, I don't mean neoliberal or "progressive" Democrats. I mean bonafide anti-fascists, left-anarchists, left-libertarians, Marxists, socialists or communists. I haven't been active on here in years. (Short story: I fell in love, crisscrossed the country twice, leveled-up my engineering career, got married, bought a house in a new town, adopted an enormous dog.) It's been incredibly disheartening to see that many of the loudest, most active voices here are right-wing reactionaries and conspiracy theory bros. Frankly, it makes the entire forum feel juvenile and toxic to me. I can barely imagine wanting to share anything in this environment, let alone intimate, personal details of my spiritual practice. Is this just what happens to online communities post-Trump now? The vulnerable aliveness slinks away slowly from the boorish spectacle, slipping quietly out the back door? Trying times y'all. I remember often hearing this trope when I was young that I would eventually "grow out of" being a lefty. At 43 now it appears the prophecies were mistaken. I've only grown from Chomsky to Kropotkin to Marx. (With a cringe laissez-faire libertarian phase in there somewhere.) Hi, my name is Sean. I'm a leftist. 👋 I read a ton but also (hopefully) avoid retreating into purely theoretical astronautics. "If it's not accessible to the poor, then it's neither revolutionary nor is it radical." My perspective continually evolves, but "anarcho-communist" is a shoe that fits well enough. I'm active in community politics and not ideologically opposed to involvement in electoral politics. I vote for the least garbage candidates both nationally and locally. I don't shame people who conscientiously abstain from voting. I think pressuring the generally shitty, center-right led Democratic party leftward is worthwhile even if only as an exercise in shifting the Overton window and organizing solidarity. On a national scale, I believe universal healthcare is a medium-term fight worth focusing on given its populist support and massive capacity to reduce human suffering and death. So, that's a bit about my politics. Any other leftist comrades hiding out here? I'd love to hear from you. Also, feel free to PM me if you're not yet ready to come out as a commie infidel. 😆 Sean
  4. 14 points
    I still remember the first branching of "daoist" off the "general" and the reason it happened. It happened because taoists (it was still TTB then) and taoist sympathizers were vastly outnumbered and incessantly outshouted in the general area by members of far more densely populated denominations, chiefly buddhists and new agers. Some of the latter, encouraged by their strength in numbers, derailed every single taoist-proper thread by pointing out that it's not real dharma, it's samsara, it's maya, it's against the Law of One, against the Law of Attraction, and not what Jesus would have done. The embattled taoists, ganged up on and cornered and bruised, used up all their qi on hissing and meowing back in response to all these allegations, in a cloud of cat fur torn out by mala-twirling, khorlo-spinning hands of the hordes of pious sages, occasionally swinging back a paw and tearing a claw mark into a priestly robe. Well, one or two of them may have done it, not saying all taoists fight back, but when it was proposed to give taoists a place for taoist-proper exchanges, all taoists and sympathizers rejoiced if memory serves. Considering this past experience, I propose a choice of two possible solutions: 1. still keep a daoist proper area alongside general, and maybe put daoist textual studies there as well; or 2. extend some minority protections to daoist-proper discussions. I don't know what shape or form those might take, but I anticipate the need for them. And a far more important proposal: reinstate mod rotation and stipulate that this rule can never be suspended again. I believe this particular rule is needed more than all other innovations combined. Just imagine this on the news tomorrow: the president has decided to abolish all rotations in the oval office. No more presidents coming and going, end of story, whoever is in the office is forever. Regardless of anyone's subjective feelings about this or that past mod, objectively, we were stuck with a Putin-like and possibly a Kim Jong Un-like deal, though even Putin and Kim Jong Un were at least pretend elected. The unelected mods who come and never go away are perhaps wonderful people when they start out -- then complete lack of accountability coupled with this realization at the back of their minds -- I do whatever I want so suck it up because I'm here to stay -- forever -- changes even the best (yes it can, and yes it does) into, sometimes, screwy mods, sometimes triumphant abusive bullies, and sometimes just into burned-out whateverists. Please let's not risk it happening again.
  5. 12 points
    I was practicing meditation with a group last night. We practice together and then share our experiences, both on the cushion and off. We discuss how we are using our practices to address the challenges we face in our lives. One common theme is the degree of pain people are feeling in their daily lives related to our current conditions and leadership in the US. It really is considerable and destabilizing. My observation has been that the more empathetic people are, the more their hearts are open to others (especially those more vulnerable), the more they are struggling with this nightmarish situation we find ourselves in. After 3 years of this, we are now facing the very real possibility of another 4. I think it's healthy to be reminded that we continue to reify our story through giving voice to our pain. On the one hand, voicing can be cathartic and useful. On the other hand, if voicing doesn't lead to letting go and allowing the frustration to liberate, it is simply reinforcing and magnifying our pain. So I'd like to thank Spotless and a few others for giving voice to a lot of what I am feeling and struggling with. I'd also like to thank Rene and Wanderlaar and others for holding up a mirror and showing us how we look to others who are less wrapped up in the situation. Trump really is that horrible and yet we need to find some way of preventing this horror from poisoning our hearts and minds. What is far more frightening to me than Trump is the fact that he has shown what is possible in this country and the next Trump may be far more intelligent, far more cunning, and far more malevolent.
  6. 12 points
    Astonishing. And very sad. WTF is wrong with you people. The spew from the right has been replaced with spew from the left. The energy in your words is no less vile and destructive than the words of those you denegrate. It is possible to clean your house without burning it down. Best of luck, keep well, stay safe. Peace Out.
  7. 12 points
    I appreciate that Lifeforce has been here for a good long time. I also very much (and very much more) appreciate why Sean is not putting up with this shit any more. I can't know exactly why Sean has made the decisions he has, but I don't need to, 'cause know the reasons why I understand them. And it all boils down to: I don't think many if any transexuals had any more choice in the matter of their gender than I had in the matter of growing two arms, two legs, and a head instead of any other combination. And had I come out with six arms I might've even done something so drastic as ask a surgeon to make changes that made me feel at home in my own body, if my body did not feel like home. And I believe that anywhere along the way in that process I for sure would have received so much bullying and disrespect that it would be hard keeping my head high and breathing easy in this world, because I know I've felt plenty cruelty from others--especially in childhood and adolescence--for far lesser "abnormalities" and "transgressions." And I understand that that cruelty is a big part of the reason there are many suicides among transexuals. And the very least we can all do is make this a place where somebody who has been ostracized their whole life breathe easy and find acceptance. Because one thing is for Daodamn sure: all people got spat out of the exact same Dao that births one that births two that births three that births ten thousand things. The process that gave birth to this fool I call "me" gave birth to people who look, think, and act not at all like me. Therefore, tracing things back to their root, I have only two choices: accept that we are of one and the same plant, or cut off my own branch to spite those I have not yet learned to understand, but ultimately cause the withering, ossification, and dry shriveled death of my own shen. Word. Is. Bond. Of course, one can make the argument that one I just said is totally hypocritical and I should open my arms to oppressors in the same spirit open my arms to oppressed, and therefore I should be opposed to Sean's recent decisions. Duly noted, but I view Sean's actions as more like taking a weapon out of the hands of a drunk. A different kind of compassion manifestation of compassion may be needed in different situations. Now, when you've got a bit of qi the universe has a way of answering your questions very quickly. And Lifeforce's post yesterday made wonder what some of the old Daoists I know might make of transxexuality. Lo and behold, this morning at 8:30am I paid a visit to an 87-year-old Dragon Gate master (grandmaster, really) I study with, who is originally from Shandong province in China. He had asked a few of us male students there in the morning to clarify some teachings specific to the male reproductive system, and wouldn't you know his storytelling suddenly veered to talk to some of the young fathers in the room about how it's good to regularly pat kids on the head--but maybe not too much, if the kids are hanging out around cultivators and therefore getting tons of head pats from adults whose laogong points are pulsing with qi. He then told the story of a young man, born in 1981, whose parents were both practicing Daoist qigong regularly in the 1980s, and therefore the kid was often hanging around the school. He was a bright kid and friendly, so he ended up getting a lot of head pats--eventually this had the effect of "opening" (開竅 in Chinese) the spiritual centers in his head, and he quickly turned into a bonafied genius. I will not share the name of the person in the story, but this person is famous, influential, and indeed widely regarded as being truly brilliant, a prodigy. He skipped high school and college and went into the workforce and continues to make contributions in the world. Now, much as I respect him, the master telling this story is close to 90 and not especially abreast of how notions of gender have evolved in the last few years. On the other hand, as you would expect from a devoted Daoist teacher, he displayed no hardness or cruelty or even judgement in his assessment of what happened next to this young man. Continuing the story, the teacher said that one side effect of the boy's qi changes that were brought on when some of the spiritual centers in his brain "opened" was that he started to get frequent, persistent erections--"priapism" this is called. The boy did not have an affinity for Daoist practice, however, and never learned the practices that would have helped him circulate the powerful amount of energy that was stimulating his genitals. In fact, he did not even dare tell his parents about his problems with priapism, which caused him much shame. According to the old Daoist, the unfortunate result was that he came to develop a certain disgust for his physical situation and eventually went to Thailand in his 20s and got a sex change. Now, was the old Daoist right in his assessment? I suspect that at very best he was telling half the story. As I said, the person he was talking about is quite famous, and I looked her up this afternoon and discovered that she has told her own story publicly. One thing she said translates to, "I am 'post-gender.' My choice is to stand on no side of the debate about gender. This is not at all because I feel that this issue is unimportant. Rather, it is because I am of the opinion that debate will not solve any problems." My hunch is that if I asked this woman to tell me about her boyhood changes, she might think that the old Daoist's idea that it all started because people with qigong hands patted her on the head too much is total malarkey. Then again, who knows!? My point is definitely not to try and say, "ooh, look, the octogenarian qi master knows alllllllll, don't rub your kid's head or he'll turn into a girl." Sheesh, please do not let that become TDB sex-related qigong misconception #5,203! (Probably the cat is already out of the bag, sigh) My point is simply to say: the old Daoist who came from a very conservative society (trust me, even today Shandong province, where I spend a lot of time, is not an easy place for misfits of any kind to live in) told this story as even-keeledly as though he were talking about the weather; he talked about how he and this young woman are still friends; and he spoke glowingly of her brilliance for learning languages and many other things. Of the surgery had little more to say than, "well, that was a big thing that might have been avoided if we had realized what was going on, but she never dared tell anybody, which is a pity." But in his mind the problem wasn't that the young man socially transgressed by getting a sex change and becoming a woman... He thought it was a shame mostly because Daoists just generally tend to advise against avoiding all kinds of surgery if that is possible, because they think cutting up the body is really bad for qi! As far as he was concerned, though, in the end this was a choice the man made, and now he is a woman, so be it! They're still friends! She still visits for tea! The Dao keeps rolling! Yeah! That's how you make it to 87 and remain full of vitality and freshness, not grumbling on the internet about how everybody sucks and this and that change is insidious and I just want my pub lunch. Somebody here said that if there must be political discussion here, let it be from the standpoint of "how might a Daoist look at this." I agree, although I also know that we've got too many people here who think they know every last thing there is about Daoism because they read a translation of the Daodejing once and it evidently told them that you can be a chauvanistic pro-Trump "anarchist" because Zhuangzi said so or some other such nonsense. Nevertheless, in the spirit of whoever said that about politics, I ask, how might Lifeforce have worded his above post in a way that perhaps embodies a bit of the Daoist spirit whilst remaining true to the man that he is? My thoughts on a better way of wording these sorts of things: Obvvvioouusssllyyy (and oh-so-fucking-predictably), a solid number of the people who probably aren't too interested in what I have to say except to argue at it are gonna see what I just did and think: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR, LOOK AT THIS POLITICAL CORRECT BULLSHIT, SNOWFLAKE, STOP STIFLING MY FREE SPEECH, etc, etc. I get it. As you wish, as you please. All I can say is I refer you to what I said above about cutting yourself off from the root to spite the branches whose shapes, colors of leaves, and pinkness of their flowers you evidently do not like. Bad for shen. Bad for qi. Not the Way. You suffer in the end. I speak from experience. I have been cruel to many people. And harmed myself plenty in the process. Hope you get a chance to learn. Hope you get a chance to meet more old masters. Hope you soften up, because Laozi said that the opposite is death. And if you're not interested in what Laozi had to say... why the fuck are you wasting your precious, finite, sooner-than-you-believe-to-be-very-finally-over life bathing in your computer monitor glow staring at this load of bullshit?????? Turn off the computer and go outside and smell a flower or smile at a toddler or help an old lady carry her groceries to the bus stop forchrissake! Sigh, like Sean said, it takes SO much more effort to refute bullshit than it takes to poop it out. Trying to offer a little water and fertilizer to the other branches takes work. But really, there's no other option, 'cause nobody makes it alone.
  8. 12 points
    Many of us come to political activism by way of personal trauma. We take up causes to correct systemic injustice that we know only too well because we ourselves are the victims. Women fight sexism, gays homophobia. Others come to activism not because they´ve experienced injustice directly, but out of a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Some of us experience the pain of others so powerfully, so viscerally, that we´re moved to fight against the injustice of the world. Either way, emotions often run strong. Understandably so. Our efforts to effect change are fueled by hurt and rage. I´d suggest that this emotional turbulence, however justified, won´t bring peace or harmony or even justice. The true revolution will not happen because we´re angry and sad; it will happen because we´re awash in love and joy. An effective activist is a happy activist. We need to work through our trauma first – in therapy or on the meditation cushion – before taking the fight to the streets. Otherwise left-wing distress begets right-wing distress, and vice versa. Otherwise we´re caught in an endless circle of recrimination and contempt. In the best circumstance, political action and spiritual cultivation intersect at the heart. I´d like to propose a politics of love. Namaste: the divine spark in me bowing to the divine spark in you. Can I see through the ways my conditioning has lead me, has lead you, to put up walls of hate and resistance...can I see through all this to the innocent child still there beneath the hurt? Can I feel the infinite human depth of someone who sees life through a political lens that feels impossibly foreign? May we approach each other with softness, with gentleness, and with unbounded respect.
  9. 11 points
    @sean @Taomeow Thanks for the recent thoughtful posts. I never thought political discussion could actually be educational, rather than merely combative, but I was wrong. The rewilding concept is new to me. While I´m not personally ready for the collapse of civilization, I think the zeitgeist is moving ever so slowly in a rewilding direction, perhaps not as rapidly as some would like but moving nevertheless. There´s a resurgence of interest in all things analog. A dawning awareness that life is about relationships with other people, relationships that are best fostered face-to-face rather than through technology. People are eating more grassfed beef and wild fish. Some of us are growing our own tomatoes and planting flowers. Foraging and hunting. The Japanese concept of "forest bathing" is gaining a foothold. Physicians in-the-know are telling their patients to turn off their electric devices a few hours before bedtime for the best sleep. I imagine true rewilders won´t be impressed. All these changes will strike many as too-little too-late. Still, I believe in the power of little changes. There are so many little changes any of us can make short of getting rid of our laptops.
  10. 11 points
    I was an active member ten years ago, before I got married and had a child. I had more time for nei kung practice and forum participation back then, but I eventually stopped participating inTDB for a few reasons. #1, to the extent that I maintained animosity toward myself and was still subject to the power of my own negative, unconscious conditioning, I inevitably projected that animosity toward others, and had a well-earned reputation for being less than honorable when it came to voicing criticism of others and their ideas. If we remain true to our practice of awakening, the reality of interdependence begins to replace the delusion of an isolated self, and the very idea of attacking others in any way becomes untenable, even in the midst of strongly differing opinions. #2, It was not until 2015 that Developmental Trauma Disorder become recognized as a specific condition with the publishing of The Body Keeps the Score. And it wasn't until 2018 that I actually sought and received help for this. (It's possible a DTD thread could be valuable here.) #3, I was having multiple surgeries on my skeletal system back then, and was clearly acquiring a fondness for extra doses of Vicodin, not to mention plenty of weed. This practice is not helpful in the battle over delusion. I own all this and categorically apologize for the hostilities I unleashed in this forum. I was quite arrogant and haughty and justified my style under the guise of being intellectually rigorous. That being said, there were inherent conditions of TDB I could no longer tolerate. Foremost was the sheer volume of lunacy, anti-intellectualism, and magical thinking that prevailed during the era of 2009+/-. I did my best to cite references to support my claims, a practice which often elicited ridicule given my arrogant style, but I still maintain that intellectual honesty is the bedrock of a functioning inquiry. Even discussions of a spiritual nature require a basic respect for critical thinking and definition of terms, perhaps even more. I was taken aback by the volume of right-wing conjecture that was prevalent even then. My earliest posts were attacked and ridiculed through the looking glass of paleo-conservative ideology, void of of any meaningful substantiation. Almost everyone seems a little guilty of confirmation bias these days but the truth is available wherever it whenever it is respected. Ironically, I have actually become more conservative during this last decade, but my conviction has only grown that both Taoism and Buddhism recognize the interpenetration of all phenomena, ideas as well as the entire web of life, and that a sensible and sane politics that prioritizes happiness over the pursuit of pleasure is inconsistent with modern industrial consumer capitalism. So,yeah... ecology is real. And it's radical. I commend Sean for taking his recent actions. Our current leadership is taking cues from the ancient authoritarian playbook to obliterate reality by denying any objective truth, by slowly whittling away the belief that people can be certain of anything. They live beyond the bounds of reason and cannot be reasoned with, not in life, not in forums. Anicca, the Buddhist expression of impermanence of all things, remains the only solution.
  11. 11 points
    (Bolded for emphasis). Well said. I'm no Daoist general or anything, but FWIW I'm not relishing this. Quite the opposite. This is cumbersome labor and something I've avoided and tried to imagine alternatives to for years. Also, my felt sense is not that I'm banning human beings, or treating people with antisocial ideas as if they're discardable in real life. I'm halting the language of memetic bigotry from spreading uncontested in one online space. Sean
  12. 11 points
  13. 11 points
    You've touched on something that I'd like to comment on. I suspect my comments will be unpopular among some but I feel it's something that needs to be said. If your spiritual practice is bringing you closer to others and causing you to feel more empathy towards those less fortunate and more vulnerable, they are working. If you feel more open to others, especially those that once generated feelings of aversion, what a blessing! If you look for and find fault in your own positions and actions preferentially, rather than looking to reinforce your beliefs and cut down those of others, you are making progress. Congratulations and keep up the good work. If you find yourself able to tolerate, let alone support, policies and ideology that scapegoat the vulnerable, cause harm to or withhold assistance for the weak, and put up barriers to closer connection with others, particularly neighbors; your practices are failing, you are not experiencing the expected result. You are either engaged in practices that are not effective for your individual spiritual needs, you are not practicing correctly, or your practices are corrupt. Either give up the facade of being interested in spiritual growth or connect with a credible master who can guide you. I almost never attempt to sound authoritative. Here I make an exception.
  14. 10 points
    EDIT: Revised based on suggestions. You can see latest along with revision history here: https://gist.github.com/seanomlor/d3c6caca3263bfe3706fd54456316f66 I'd like to simplify the forums a bit. The biggest change I'm wanting is to merge Daoist Discussion and General Discussion, along with many of the subforums. Given the nonsectarian roots of this space, I've never been super stoked on the compartmentalization of e.g. Buddhist vs Hindu, etc. etc. It's also a can of worms because we're certainly excluding innumerable traditions. My feeling is that merging a bunch of these separate forums into one big, weird "Discussions On The Way" simpler, flatter forums will promote more cross-pollination between us. Anyway, here's a quick rough draft of what I'm imagining the new forum/subforum structure to be. THE COURTYARD - Welcome! (merges Welcome and Newcomer Corner) - Discussions On The Way (previously Daoist Discussion) - 道家学说 - Textual Studies (merges Daodejing, Zhuangzi, etc.) - Vast High Weirdness (😆 still working on this name, previously General Discussion. The word "general" just feels so boring.) - The Rabbit Hole (merges "The Rabbit Hole", "Off Grid". Basically an off topic forum to talk about whatever, but not an "anything goes") - Meta-Talk (merges Forum and Tech Support, Moderation Logs, Rules and Use) PRIVATE GARDENS - Group Studies - Personal Practice (still has everyone's private subforums under this) - Gender Gardens - Nonbinary (for nonbinary, gender questioning and intersex) - Women (for women and female identified) - Men (for men and male identified) - Interviews - Lending Library - Local Meetups and Events (merges Local Meetups and Upcoming Events) Please discuss, definitely want to hear your feedback, concerns, any subforums you think should still be separate for whatever reason, etc. etc. Sean
  15. 10 points
    I don't see the site as having the intention of giving out information. I think of it more as hosting a relatively open forum where people can share. Allow us to be your spiritual guide at your own risk!
  16. 10 points
  17. 10 points
    Thanks Steve, From a Buddhist perspective I think it might be helpful to say that anger, fear, uncertainty, dissatisfaction and so on - in any situation - are indispensable aids to vajrayana practice. By this I mean they give an opportunity for realising emptiness - because those emotions are fundamentally empty. By saying this I am not saying they don't matter - or that the political situation doesn't matter - I don't want to fall into the nihilist trap of saying 'its all illusion, man'. But it is very useful to use both good and bad situations for practice. So when we find a good situation we are happy for the benefit that arises - when we find a bad situation we are 'happy' for the opportunity to realise that what we are experiencing is a flux of energy. It must be true to say that whatever arises depends on causes and conditions - and this includes Trump. If you attack Trump then you are attacking the appearance of Trump - but if you look to the causes and conditions which gave rise to his election and deal with them then he will literally disappear (yes really) since whatever supports him will no longer be there. This is why I say that people voted for him because of dissatisfaction(s) in their lives - if you like, they were emotionally drawn to him (in sufficient numbers but not a majority) because they had needs. Needs that were not being met by the alternative narratives being presented about what had happened and what will happen. Perhaps you could say needs and aspirations - which I would say were born from (looking at the local time frame) chiefly the events since 9/11 when the USA was shocked into action/reaction leading to and through the 2008 financial crisis. Violent acts have violent results. Karma. I think that is why Trumps main bad feature, to me anyway, is instability - he's angry, defensive and personal when he doesn't need to be. I'm rambling now - but I hope you can see what I'm trying to say.
  18. 10 points
    So many ways to respond here but I'll try to be brief. First, thank you for bringing up this point. It is an important one. Yes, I've engaged with this question for many years, especially so since 2016. I gave it some consideration again after reading your post in the present context. I don't think there is much value in sharing my conclusions. They're really only meaningful for me. Each of us needs to look at this for ourselves. I've got nothing you haven't already heard if you participate in political discussions and sharing is unlikely to be of much value to either of us. Second, since you've already posted your conclusions and presumptions about my position on censorship and exclusion, I won't bother with that either. I simply posted something I was genuinely feeling in the moment. Your response was to invalidate and negate my experience while using that to further support and defend your own position. This is how we tend to "communicate" in political discussion. Nothing I'm interested in engaging with. This is a major reason I stay out of the political threads entirely. My practice goes in the opposite direction - question my own position, try to break down my own story rather than reify it at another's expense. Finally, the loud and obnoxious right wing rhetoric that blossomed here in 2016 has made the board feel claustrophobic and foreign to me. I've read a lot of crazy shit here over the years but nothing as mean and dangerous as what I've seen in the current political threads. While it's easy to stay out of the political discussion, it is difficult to not be affected by it. Seeing the abject lack of compassion, the harsh indifference to suffering, and the willful ignorance in people who claim interest in spiritual practice and growth has been disappointing and somewhat horrifying for me. Hence, to see someone like Sean lead a bit of charge to counterbalance the extreme right wing invective that's dominated the tenor on this board for 3 years has been a true breath of fresh air for me. Peace y'all
  19. 10 points
    Biden's a creepy piece of shit. 😆 I'm much further left than Bernie but IMO he's the only viable center-left option. He's been fighting this fight for decades. Though I'm not holding my breath that he won't be thrown under the bus by shitlibs again. Regardless, while I participate in electoral politics, I also think it can be an entangling distraction. Join a local democratic socialist, anarchist or communist group and meet real people. Decide for yourself if their ideas resonate with you and if they feel like good folks. Ask for book recommendations. There's a long, deep history to all of this. Find ways to get involved. Start small. I said, "there's a better and much more magical way forward than hitching to the reactionary Trump dump-truck." I mean that but I'm finding it difficult to unpack entirely in a soundbite. Maybe a first step for anyone still under this absurd Trump spell is to simply recognize how much of a boring, tried, dead-end it is. It's the exact same story Republicans have been hawking for decades except now incoherently rambled by your retired, senile, grandpa. Throw in some slightly raised volume on the same old, lazy, racist dog whistle bits Reagan deployed, thus cleverly hijacking a philosophically rudderless corporate media financially dependent on spectacle. Trump is not a unique Republican. He's merely the churlish face of it Republicans usually hide behind closed doors. When Republicans (or even most Democrats) disagree with him, it's generally on tone only. Trump's demonic policy positions are nearly all entirely conventional, demonic, Republican policy positions. If there's anything unique about Trump, it's not that he pushes much beyond Republican-standard plagues. It's that he breaks with decorum and "says the quiet part loud." It's that he flagrantly galvanizes his supporters around their most crass, cruel, ignorant and delusional instincts. In a way, I actually appreciate this about Trump. While presently it can certainly feel like Trump's "won the day", I also see that the spell of sham respectability cast by decades of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama "polite murder" style politics is fracturing in his wake. People seem to be waking up a bit and finally seeing, starkly, that the emperor has no clothes and indeed never did. This shared experience of so many, now staring into the unmistakable, unmasked face of American evil is, at the very least, an opportunity to reevaluate and revitalize social values and boundaries. There's no "one weird trick" if only we all did that will save us from our present-day dystopian hell-world to "immanentize the eschaton" 😄. In fact, not to sound hyperbolic, but I think our avoidance of annihilation as a species is far from guaranteed. The "hard pill" of a leftist perspective is a kind of bleak, depressive-realism. Things are really bad, we have very little power, we lose constantly, unbearably beautiful people we deeply love are beaten, jailed and murdered. I think it all demands a widening capacity to presence more and more emotional pain. 😬 Behind the vulgar spectacle of smirking politicians, idiotic pundits and inane advertisements for shit we don't need is an incredibly grim, real-life horror movie. It's crushing to see the depth and scope of it. The least fortunate of us are victims in the worst scenes of the horror show. Those outside of it generally try their best to avoid the pain of acknowledging it even exists. "This is fine." Others, whether they like it or not, seem naturally cursed with a deeper capacity for both seeing and "holding" this pain. Many people are driven at least a bit mad when exposed to too much, too suddenly. (Hence why some lefties can come off a bit "unhinged." We've seen some shit.) There might be a decent shamanic or Kundalini analogy one could make of all this. So I think at least one crucial component is, maybe just an apophatic way of restating what Steve already said so beautifully: Stop turning away from the pain in this world. Don't harden your heart to the suffering of those less fortunate and more vulnerable. I think an indication you're doing this "correctly" is that you'll probably cry more often. And experience more rage. Fun, right? I think this may be the price of admission, if you haven't already paid it. But it's through this, if you can bear it, that I believe you'll also eventually find yourself laughing and loving and creating more. This heart-broken-open place is the foundation from which I hope and believe that we might reenchant this floating world. Anyway, fuck, I hope none of this sounds like life advice. Jesus. I'm not qualified for that shit. 😂 Sean
  20. 9 points
    Good question. Sung is of primary importance in all of Daoist internal training. The key is to first understand sung... it's releasing, but not a floppy sort of release... It's an 'active' release... it has an alive, springy feel to it - not soft and floppy. Think of a flower bud tightly compacted... as it releases, it actually opens up and expands outward - the petals are sung - they're not contracted, they're relaxed, springy, alive and they're not floppy like when they wilt. The next thing to understand is that there is always more sung available... You release, sink and as that opens your body a little, another layer of sung makes itself available. It never stops. Standing is a good way to train sung, but there's definitely a glass ceiling to it. as Miffy says, you need to move too. In fact, in the beginning, you should move more than stand. As Ride says, you need to release into the correct structure. If you just sung, without having the correct structure, you'll just relax into your habitual posture. You probably know this already. But it's important to always remind yourself of the correct posture. When standing, Ting and Sung work together. Ting is the 'scanning' you're talking about... but this also needs to be studied... Ting means listen... which is a passive sense - scanning suggests 'looking for' which is active... Ting, once it's developed in quality will have an intensity 'dial' to it... When you ting through a correct structure, it will systematically engage the 'soft tissues' (not muscles)... this will connect your body together. Then you sung into that connection... the expansion as a result of sung will slightly loosen your connection, so your ting must go deeper, re-establish the connection - then you sung that... then you ting that in turn... and so on The intensity of ting is important to get right - too intense and you'll cause too much 'activation' - too gentle and you'll not cause enough activation... So as you can see it's a very in-depth study. To build skill in Sung with movement, you can learn a lot from this video... there is unfathomable depth to it if you're obsessive enough to pursue it.
  21. 9 points
    I guess as the last few years wore on I saw enough smug, seldom-retorted pro-Trump-isms and alt-right-conspiracy-isms pop up (with "likes" applied to many of them by a certain fairly outspoken mod) to lead me to conclude that this reflected the culture of those in charge here. I mean, look at one of the most prolific members, who popped up in nearly every thread and got close to 50,000 posts. Now, I know Marblehead is beloved to some here, but I recall a fair bit of pro-Trump rhetoric from him, and that was not necessarily the central problem. To me, the problem was that he also resorted to blatant misogyny when he got into a disagreement with a woman, and much later resorted to an attempt at "ask about me in the streets" bullying to try and silence me personally when I disagreed with him. For whatever reason he seemed to catch no flak, so later, when 8-Chan/4-Chan madness started to infiltrate the site, I came to believe that whoever was making the decisions here was cool with the directions the winds were blowing in. A bit of rambling to illustrate some of my thinking more generally about why the board needed the recent changes, and why perhaps you are not "spectacularly dense," and perhaps I am simply "spectacularly sensitive"... I have not lived full-time in the US since 2006 and I am quite a bit more anti-CCP than anti-GOP, so I'm one of those people who can see the "right twice a day" part of the ticking clock (hopefully not time bomb) that is Donald Trump. I think the trade war probably needed to happen some way or another (though it is a hamfisted mess), I'm glad he took Taiwanese President Tsai Yingwen's phone call, and I think that whatever you might/should say about them two (and their motives), at least Pence and Pompeo have stood up on the world stage and pointed glaring lights at the ethnic cleansing destroying Uyghur culture in Xinjiang province. Heck, I even go so far as to actually sometimes downright sympathize with Trump when he complains that the media twists his words, because I've seen him quoted in outlets like the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the NYTimes, gone and found the full quote, and then though, "ehhhhhh, he's kinda right." Quite a few times, actually. But on the whole, I feel that the man is a walking, tweeting shitshow who has clearly channeled and amplified the worst of the "paranoid style in American politics." The paranoid style of his supporters is deeply troubling to me. Here's an example of why letting TDB become a place where even the "pizzagate" theory finds a cozy platform disturbed me: I just got back to my hotel room from a boozy Chinese business meeting where I acted as an interpreter and where one of the "guests of honor" has been a Chinese Communist Party member since the 1960s. I tend to be loquacious, gregarious motherfucker with a pretty strong stomach for baijiu, and it is when the baijiu flows that people in this watch-what-you-say culture open up a bit... hence the custom of holding important meetings at night, over dinner, with liquor pouring at twice the rate of tea and thrice the rate of water. Anyway, he was a bit cagey around me at first (I put him off with my 'tude in the beginning, as I'm jaded enough that I don't really give a fuck about the "bothersiderism" that people habitually use here to avoid admitting that there is always and 800-lb gorilla in the room with a red hat on, and I will say straight to people's faces that I think the HK protests are A-Ok, that Taiwan is fo' damn sure a free and separate country, and that everybody here is oppressed and anybody who won't admit it is either afraid to or brainwashed or some combination of the two), but after a couple of bottles and a few jolly conversations about our favorite hikes up a little-known holy mountain in Guizhou province and the beautiful women of Tongren City, I managed to break the ice I'd created and he switched into friendly storytelling mode. Once the party member was good and jolly, another guy his age (late 60s, pushing 70) who grew up in HK broached the topic of the Cultural Revolution. The party member started telling us about how he got swept up in the madness in 1966, when he was in middle school. He became a Red Guard just like everybody in his school did, because classes just stopped, and then it was join or get the shit beaten out of you, maybe get killed, maybe get sent to a gulag, and definitely see your family suffer miserably if you didn't do as you were meant to. Soon enough the Red Guards, even just the ones in his 500 person middle school, split into warring factions (three, in the case of his school), and nobody was safe, because nobody was afforded protection from the factions one didn't belong to. Madness, violence, and the unrecoverable destruction of a culture ensued. He had to stand by and silently watch his grandfather get cursed and then beaten by a rival faction of Red Guards, despite the fact that this granddaddy had been a war hero on the Communist side with a battle injury and papers to prove it. What could he have done to interfere that would not have made things worse for everybody in his family? Probably nothing, I believe. Most of us "know about" the Cultural Revolution and the many other terrible upheavals of recent history, but how often do you guys speak to living, breathing survivors of these paroxysms of the worst of human mob mentality? How many of you, as I do, have a friend who has disappeared, and very likely been sent to a concentration camp because she is a Uyghur--an extra high risk one, because she studied overseas? I say this because while I personally do not have the clearness of vision to determine whether or not Trump is on par with a Hitler or a Mao or even an Erdogan or a Bolsonaro, I do know too many people who can look you in the eyes and tell you one scary thing on the basis of personal experience: it doesn't necessarily take all that much "work" to make millions of people go goddamn batshit crazy and start doing "the unimaginable." Given that fact, I believe that nothing on the spectrum that runs from Orbans and Dutertes to Kims and Milosevics to Maos and Stalins is acceptable, because that whole slope is way too steep and slippery for any society to flirt with. We therefore have a responsibility to pull things away from that ledge, even if only in tiny ways that may seem almost pointlessly ineffectual, like writing posts on websites like this one. Conversations like the one I had tonight are a bit like sitting with a Rwandan who narrates their life story to you, versus you sitting and watching Hotel Rwanda. The latter was a powerful film, but it was Hollywood, and after it's over you can eject the DVD out and file that in your mind as "just a movie," even if you know it was "based on real events." However, sitting with somebody who was in living memory whipping the shit out of their own parents and teachers--or was one of the beaten and whipped, as has been the case with other stories I've heard--is very different from watching a historical film or a documentary. This is living, breathing evidence that societies really can explode into a millions pieces of human shrapnel. Spending long years of my life in the totalitarian surveillance state that grew out of the living generation of people who passed through total insanity between 1966 and 1976 has given me a potent appreciation for the fragility and not-at-all-guaranteedness of what we can take for granted in functioning democracies, as faaaaaaaaar from perfect as they certainly are. And when you are so very well acquainted with that fragility, well, I guess maybe it just makes you sensitive to certain things in posts here that other people might not so easily notice. Maybe it even makes you oversensitive. But I guess I'll just take oversensitive instead of blase when it comes to a fans of a man who flirts constantly with the idea of outright ordering his most committed followers to pick up their guns and take "MAGA" into their own hands, and who is already well documented as being the inspiration for border vigilantes, perverse behavior perpetrated by ICE employees, a pipe-bombing wacko, and countless isolated incidents of hate crime and harassment... much of the above committed, I suspect, by people who are pretty sure that their "red pill" knowledge justifies their extreme acts. Most of that "red pill" shit comes from websites with poor QC. I understand your concern and consider it valid. Flame of intolerance from one side answering those of another will lead nowhere good, even if the flames never do more than consume this website. I probably have not always chosen my words well enough and it is probably true that all of the people writing passionately here should be very cautious--even if one feels very even keeled when writing, the words may not appear that way. That said, without speaking for Sean, I will say that my interpretation of this thread's title was never "anybody who has views on the right side of the political spectrum must leave," and rather as, "get that alt-right bullshit out of here." I don't want to sit here and try and define the alt-right with a taxonomist's precision. I'm talking about tiki torches, MAGA rallies, cars crashing into anti-racism marches, David Duke, AR15s in pizza shops, "lock her up," QAnon, etc. As I said, today I worked as an interpreter, and my American client is a guy with an auto-parts company who I've known for about four years. He's such a Republican that yesterday, out of nowhere, he told me the following story: "when my twin brother came out here on a business trip to China with me one year, at dinner he suddenly said, I've been meaning to tell ya, my son is gay. So the next day I called my nephew to say to him, 'hey, your dad told me your gay, and I want you to know I love you and I don't care about that, I just wanna know what political party you belong to.'" Shit, the old guy is such a Republican that he assumed I knew the answer, but I didn't, so I had to ask, and he proudly replied (with noooooooo irony), ""oh, yeah, it's fine, he's still a Republican." I couldn't but laugh. Today we had a four hour car ride between factory towns and we talked about everything from global warming to wind and solar energy to the Flint water crisis to the trade war and so forth. I'd say he disagreed with me on about 75% of the issues, but the man disagreed from a standpoint I would call sane, well-read, well-thought-out, and conservative. I was not convinced by everything he said, but I definitely learned things, and I very much respect him for having given the thought to these things that he has and indeed applied himself in his life to try and make some positive changes to people's lives using the considerable amount of money he has. I'm never going to see eye-to-eye with this guy, and due to the asymmetry that exists in a relationship where he signs my much-needed paycheck, I'm never gonna even get a chance to present counterpoints to most of his points (though, two years ago when Trump first got started, I did once interrupt him and say that I thought the "give the guy a chance" line was more or less some bullshit--the man's 70s, he's been had his chance to not be a scumbag). That said, we can get along just fine, because we more or less subscribe to the same basic social contract that we need to live in a world where mass hysteria and the violence that can come with it will not take hold. Despite the fact that, as I said, I don't know how what we see now lines up with pre-WWII Germany, I do not think that Trump subscribes to this social contract. He might not actually be planning to try and push the US into the throes of something like we've seen in the bloodbaths of the 20th century... but he's fucking crazy and well-liked enough that he might end up doing so by accident. Avoiding anything that beats the drum for the march in that direction is how I interpreted "enough right-wing bullshit." Somebody wants to talk to me about the virtues of Bob Dole or even Mitt Romney without invoking flat earth and the Annunaki, hell, I'll hear him or her out. But somebody wants to tell me that the red faced, racist, molesting, Velveeta-drinking real estate hustler is involved in a battle against the deep state to save us all from "the swamp" while engaging in the Velveeta drinker's own brand of bullying... well... fuck that.
  22. 9 points
    And now I'm laughing at your assumption that I embrace bothsidesism. What I DO embrace is respectful dialogue, regardless of one's position held. Isn't that why the way of TDB was drug from the days of RON JEREMEY? Ah..but those are times long gone. Also sad, that. IMO, of course.
  23. 9 points
    Thank you for the "random thoughts," Sean. I think the fighting spirit, the imperative to actively engage, in any revolutionary thinker, is directly proportional to his or her level of energy available to invest in the engagement and inversely proportional to the experience. I have to confess I was a revolutionary kindergartener, or maybe it started even earlier. But now there's only the cynical "nah, been there tried that" remarks from Experience and the tired "nah, just cultivate your own garden" mumbles from Energy. Rewilding (for which I happen to have both the energy still and the experience in the past, but not enough of either to pioneer anything -- I'd only jump on the bandwagon if a bandwagon that is not falling apart as it rolls ever showed up) is not likely to appeal to many precisely because we're all children of technology, and nothing scares most of us more than an invitation to be weaned off that artificial mother's tit. I, too, imagine myself with assorted bodily needs of my civilized body not being met should civilization collapse... but the truth is, rewilding (if it was possible somehow without civilization collapsing first, or even after -- put it in your pipe and smoke it, then try to put the smoke back in the pipe...) is likely (all the indoctrination to the contrary notwithstanding) to produce bodies down the line that might need none of those crutches, not being disadvantaged and distorted from the start by the usage they were never built for. But who can blame us if we're not prepared to fight for those hypothetical future bodies and their happiness, and are more interested in winning over the minds of our contemporaries. And those are fully civilized minds, and I have no idea how to undo that. Yes, AnPrim extreme is antisocial -- so is our society, despite the oxymoron an "antisocial society" is -- so the best they have come up with is fight fire with fire... and that's where my Energy says forget it, you've used up your quota, and my Experience says forget it, if they actually do something practical, they'll just be marked as troublemakers (or worse) and banned (or worse) and that's the end of it. So... considering I do believe in a main premise of my own -- yours is "ownership of the means of production," right? -- mine is "civilization is not sustainable" -- I'm pretty much left without a fight to fight and without hope that someone else will fight mine. Except... Except I've been trying for at least 15 years to write a rewilding novel that would make my case indirectly -- art sometimes convinces while bypassing intellect, just turns something around in the imagination. And now I'm writing on TDB again instead of fighting that fight. Sigh. We're all hopeless.
  24. 9 points
    One of the main factors being that it was never in existence. "Communism" was something the Soviet Union was supposedly "building." What was operational for 70 years was called "socialism" and the residents asserted they lived in a "socialist" country, which was only dubbed "communist" in the West -- a bit like "eskimo" instead of "innuit," not the self-name. We were only indoctrinated to look forward to the "communist future." Whatever it was, it had the same features of feudalism that I now lovingly recognize in the simpler, more straightforward approach to exploiting the masses known as "capitalism," operational since Sumer and Babylon and to this day pretty much everywhere and for all purposes. The differences, if you take a bird's eye historical view, are minor. Whether the emperor owns the fief overlords or is owned by them; whether the government owns the corporations (as it did in the Soviet Union) or the corporations own the government (as in "capitalist" countries), serfs are still serfs, property is property and serfs still own 1% of all there is to have under "capitalism," are allowed to use a varying percentage of it but usually no more than 1% under "socialism," and control even less of all there is to control -- plus new and improved propaganda spins that blind them to the fact, and a helluva lot of distractions. Of course for a decade or two or three you can find yourself lucky living in the rare and precious period of social well-being happening locally in a particular spot. A kinder emperor, nicer fiefs who have read some social justice philosophy or other. A currently less precarious geopolitical spot. In other words, for a short while, you're Norway. It happens. It doesn't last. Any rewilders out there?.. ...Didn't think so.
  25. 9 points
    Trump is certainly the antithesis of the sage of the Daodejing. I found it powerfully strange that some members, notably Dawei, like both the Daodejing and Trump. However, Daoism isn’t the Dao. Although I personally find Trump obnoxious, my main interest at this late stage of my life is in understanding why the Dao throws up a Trump-like force. Could it be that our contemporary world is way out of harmony with Dao and the Trump ‘illness’ is a very visible aspect of Nature’s way of highlighting this profound imbalance? He’s a catalyst for change. And how that change plays out across the whole world is not something Trump or anyone else can control. If he’s powerful enough, he’ll cause deep chaos. And out of that chaos new life will eventually be born. The Dao is composed of polar forces (yin-yang) in continual motion and works by reversal. I wrote a little about further aspects of the process of change on my “The Spirit of the Dao Bums” topic here and here. For me, Trump is a low-level manifestation of archetypal force that the Western alchemists of old called the spirit Mercurius. The trickster. He’s a quintessential “poison dripping dragon”. His strength is actually fragile because he’s merely a vehicle for spiritual forces of which he has no awareness. A high-level manifestation of the spirit Mercurius is someone with total awareness of the forces they are manifesting. And that’s definitely not Trump.
  26. 9 points
    Not to worry, this forum will always remain nonsectarian. Personally, I deeply enjoy teachings across religious traditions, including Christianity and Islam. 🥰 Sean
  27. 9 points
    Here´s something you might not know about me: I´m addicted to political drama. For years now I´ve been saying that the forum should eschew talk of controversial social issues altogether and return to it´s roots as a place to discuss Daoism and other spiritual pursuits. I still stand by this opinion. At the same time, I get a kick out of the drama of Off Grid. It´s exciting. Bad for me but exciting. So imagine my alarm when Sean came along and actually shut down Trump Talk. Where would I get my fix? I need not have worried. Now we have the "No more right-wing bullshit" thread and the fighting here is every bit as good. Better than Netflix anyway.
  28. 9 points
  29. 9 points
    Hundreds of moons ago, in my late teens and early twenties, I tinkered with "ceremonial magick" a bit, mostly within the Golden Dawn tradition. "Folk magic" (although I don't think I was aware of this term) was always appealing but I could never find a good shaman and Wicca seemed dubious. Lately I've been feeling drawn back into the weirdness. 👹 I've been surprised and delighted at how texts on "folk magic" seem to have evolved since I last poked around in this space. Or maybe I was just looking in the wrong places. I recently read The Chaos Protocols, which is more chaos than folk but it was good and it also literally caught fire one evening from a stick of incense nearby. A hole burned through the center almost exactly to the page I was on. Spooky and surely a sign for an Aries Fire Dragon to proceed. 😆 Last week I finished A Deed Without a Name, a grounded overview of "Traditional Witchcraft" from a scholar and practicing witch. I enjoyed it enough that I ordered Standing and Not Falling by the same author. Beautiful. I'm also concurrently reading Ancestral Medicine, which is superb. My "witchy read next" list expands and shuffles, mostly with Traditional Witchcraft, Appalachian Folk Magic and Hoodoo titles floating to the top. Good shit. This current feels alive. Anyway, nothing more profound to say. It's been so long since I've shared anything personal here. I've actually grown bashful on my own forum. 😊 Sean
  30. 9 points
    Unnecessarily bringing in political issues can destroy otherwise healthy and productive discussions about Taoism and spirituality. There are (or should I say were) some definitely right-wing Bums here on the forum who had much valuable things to say regarding Taoism and spirituality. It is my opinion that in such cases it is much better to leave politics out and have a fruitful discussion, than to bring politics in and end with name-calling and disturbed relations. Political discussions should be handled with extreme care, or when the participants ain't capable of that better be left out completely. There are more than enough non-spiritual forums on the internet where out-of-control political discussions can be held.
  31. 9 points
    Guys, points will be awarded later (actually they won't).. shall we move on? also I spotted a like by Taomeow, Yay! Been too long, hope to see things in print too. there she again, gosh she's fast
  32. 9 points
    This topic is an embarrassing pile of trash. As founder of this space I'd like to personally invite members committed to far-right politics leave this forum. You're not welcome here anymore. The web is awash with other far-right friendly dumpsters you can crawl into. Peace, Sean
  33. 9 points
    The original post was like a bong full of fresh air! 3 pages of “Ignore Users” has made much of the muck palatable. I am far to the left of the conservative Democrats and who and what “Republicans” are at this point resembles godless fundamentalists and ball-less air head mafia cupcake pushers with projectiles. It has been unseemly to see such exuberant mushrooms from the right in such numbers here - but - the light still shines in so many places that it is indeed worth visiting even if less often and in less depth. Thank you Sean!
  34. 9 points
    Rich! I remember you from Yamu's qigong class in Springfield MO. And, of course, your gorgeous blue eyes. I hope you're doing well! And Sean! you were there too! So nice to see you posting again! Big hugs to you both. I don't have a lot to add to this discussion - although I am a leftist, I don't have a lot of specific opinions other than being absolutely convinced that our president is the tool of Mr. Putin. I have a mental image of Putin sitting on a work bench, stirring a big bucket of red, white, and blue paint; Trump is the paint stick he's stirring with. I think the current chaos is intentional, and I've heard it said that chaos is right out of the Russian playbook. The man-made cyclone around us renders us immobile in the sense that we can't stop long enough to focus on any one thing, and this seems to be the intent. And from the point of view of just being a good human being, I can't for the life of me see how folks who otherwise seem to have deep understanding of the cosmic laws that govern are sucked in by such a mean spirited political view - a view where the rest of the world is unimportant, where racism is rearing its ugly head more each day. Where the conditions at the border are allowed to exist; and where Money is the god. This whole administrative scenario truly seems to be a swamp where creatures are unearthed daily. Other than that, things are going swimmingly.
  35. 9 points
    💯 There's a popular notion that the only civilized approach to social disagreement is to always hear out "all sides" in the "free marketplace of ideas", an imaginary immaterial abstraction. That opinions, no matter how brain-dead stupid or toxic, should always be honored and meticulously ironed out via public "intellectual" debate. But this kind of free speech absolutism is often a pretentious stance weaponized to platform memetic bigotry and silence already marginalized views. By extreme analogy, imagine if there were pro-slavery members on this forum. My stance is that it's a complete waste of time to argue with these people. It would pollute our space with the delusion that both sides of this "debate" are legitimate. Speech is not harmless. Speech has real, immediate, direct, material consequences on other human beings. Implicitly allowing socially toxic rhetoric to continue platforming itself unchecked in a space, poisons that space, and disproportionately harms the least powerful. Sean
  36. 9 points
    Hi Sean, Great to see you posting again here! I´m not sure I´d qualify as the kind of lefty you are inquiring about, but I am somebody whose disheartened with the pronounced right wing slant of the political threads here. It´s weird. Don´t socialists read Chuang Tzu and practice Tai Chi? I think they do, though you wouldn´t know it reading the Trump Talk thread. My take is that appearances are deceiving. Many of the Bums I respect most are left-leaning cultivators who simply prefer to post about spirituality and eschew political conversation here altogether. In my experience, the political threads are mostly toxic -- and addictive (like so many other toxic things). Luckily, there´s a lot of other more nourishing conversation to be had when I tear myself away from the political fighting. Thanks so much for the forum. It´s been a blessing in my life. LL
  37. 9 points
    Agreed. I have no idea what happens to someone after a death from suicide. Perhaps it is as terrible as some here have portrayed but I hope not. How cruel that someone should suffer so in this life only to suffer to an even greater degree in the next. My dad committed suicide and I always wonder why he didn´t go to New Zealand instead. He used to talk about going to New Zealand and raising sheep, and he could have done it too, why not. I hope he´s not burning in some terrible hell realm. That wouldn´t seem fair. We didn´t get along very well when I was a kid and I could tell lots of bad stories about him -- and yet he was also a good person. He was a person who did the best he knew how under difficult circumstances. My dad and others like him, people dealing with great emotional pain, deserve our compassion not our condemnation.
  38. 8 points
    The sad fact is that dawei and other admins did ask for volunteers - most people don't want to do it (very wisely) and many others don't last very long. I know it may be hard for people to believe but it is a tough and thankless job - you get shit thrown at you from members, other mods and even the owner (occasionally ). Its easy to say rotation - but you need a good pool of people to draw from and they just aren't there.
  39. 8 points
    Im taking a minute here to pause and reflect on the stark difference in the tone of discourse as evidenced in the latter parts of this thread, and throughout the now defunct nightmarish Talk Trump Talk ones. Its clear not everyone's singing Kumbaya here, as some had scoffingly remarked in the recent past. Their cringeworthy reality was obviously skewed. This leaves little doubt in my mind that some of those who were booted out needed that at precisely the right time (for them). Thank goodness for Manjusri's wisdom sword being unsheathed and used in a timely manner. Already, a few of the treasured members of old have made their return, and this augurs well for the site. It may not all be apparent now, but it already feels healthier and lighter, just like after, crass as it may sound, a satisfying detox purge. (i wanted to use "dump" but couldn't type it except as an after-word).
  40. 8 points
    I get that there's indignation in this topic that's unpleasant and we have started to veer into some brimstone ranting. It's only been about a week though, and for some it's the first time they've been able to express themselves without being brigaded for years. I would just ask that those of us on the fence with where this is all going be patient with your "captain" 😂 There will be some turbulence as I figure out how to even navigate this ship anymore. 🙏❤️ Sean
  41. 8 points
    Maybe I came back just in time.
  42. 8 points
    I love this site because I discovered the DDJ at a yard sale, fell in love with it, and somehow happened on to this site maybe 12 years ago. I was thrilled that it wasn't just Daoists, because I consider myself All Of It and None Of It. I was thrilled to find that all traditions seem to meet up in metaphysics, the place where we find the hole in the middle of the donut, and where we can all dwell together. The place of no-thing-ness. I think turning this back into a Daoist-only site (although it may well have started that way) would eliminate a lot of people; it has evolved into what it is because that's what the site wanted to be. It's a living thing. I have learned so much from the Buddhists and Daoists here, and it has furthered my growth immeasurably since finding the site. What I've seen missing from this site are folks who are really trying to walk their talk. We do have a handful that obviously do - but we also have a great number that obviously don't. To me, I think the actual 'practice' is an inner journey, and what's the difference if our paths differ a bit if we end up in the same place and achieve the same understanding?
  43. 8 points
    Unfortunately for us who went against nature, there's forces of nature that are stronger than market forces (aside from the fact that most of the world presently lives in a fully fledged corporatocracy, and the consolidation of corporate power is only getting more drastic and complete, swallowing up any vestigial market forces in a continuous gulp that is only getting wider), and nature did not create us to rule over billions... or even over more than 120, to be precise. Rule over more people with the help of any forces and you wind up brain damaged. So it's not the "smartest or ambitious or inventive" that end up populating the top -- according to science, it's the brain damaged ones: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/power-causes-brain-damage/528711/?fbclid=IwAR3oCqcPUHDKaa2So4ShHi_tjtIPGvKSASWvfNNnRZI5oyEWAhFxP2BIGqw
  44. 8 points
    Capitalism: the rather naive notion that the greediest of individuals, left unregulated to operate only from their selfish motives would somehow work to the benefit of all.
  45. 8 points
    A friend sent this to me a couple years ago when she was doing research for her Master's in Psych. I think it is important for people to know this given what we endured the past couple years here on the forum, because many of these and more were used in the Trump and climate change. I have set in blue the most egregious and obvious types that I have seen on the forum. A lot of people in emotionally abusive situations don't have the words to describe what they're going through. It's partly why they end up being stuck in the situation for a longer period of time or end up blaming themselves. I had discussions with trauma survivors who said that they wished they knew the word for "gaslighting" earlier. Anyway, these terms can apply to both an emotionally abusive childhood or an emotionally abusive romantic relationship. Not all of these are psychological terms but they're in enough use in contemporary language that people in support groups will probably understand you. 1. Gaslighting - When a person constantly makes you doubt your memories, judgment, and reality instead of acknowledging your version of truth. This makes it easier for them to blame you for something they did. 2. Projection - When a person doesn't react to who you actually are, but to their own internal feelings about themselves or others unrelated to you. 3. Triangulation - When a person intentionally creates a scenario where two other people end up fighting for his/her attention. This could be in a relationship or in a family, say siblings fighting for a parent's attention. The two other people end up blaming each other or tearing each other down instead of recognizing that the abuser is the architect of the situation. 4. Neglect - The absence of a need being satisfied adequately. Example, when a child's presence is never acknowledged. This is not always intentional, but it can be an invisible form of abuse. 5. Minimization - When the abuser downplays the severity of a negative event they triggered, or downplays the feelings that the victims has. For example, pervasive school bullying can be minimized by the abuser as "just a prank" and tells the victim that they're overreacting. 6. Informed consent - Adults agree to do something together before they actually go ahead and do it. If one party withholds information relevant to what is being agreed upon, then that is not informed consent. That is what's called a bait and switch, which is basically like getting scammed. 7. Personal boundaries - The mental, emotional, and physical limits we have around ourselves to protect us from harm. Usually emotional abusers push these limits or get angry if these are enforced, and assert that their wants are more important than your needs. 8. Narcissistic supply - People on the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum have a pathological need for attention from others. They will seek attention even if it is destructive towards others, because they don't see the separation between self and other, and cannot regulate their own emotional needs. They will regularly trigger events, confrontations, and provoke a reaction, scandal, and confuse people around them. And when they receive this attention, they will gather social information about involved parties to instigate another event, confrontation or scandal to repeat the process. 9. Grooming - When an emotional abuser tests a potential victim, by pushing his or her boundaries and seeing how far they can take things. Think of a frog being slowly boiled in a pot of water--grooming is turning the heat on. This is also when the victim begins to see red flag behaviour or has the gut feeling that something isn't quite right, but he or she may dismiss them ("Oh I was overreacting") or think that the abuser was just joking. This can also be the time for the abuser to plant seeds of doubt in the victim's mind about their own reliability, competence, ability to live happily without the abuser, who they can trust, and so on. 10. Golden child and scapegoat - This often happens in a household with a narcissistic parent. It's a form of triangulation where the parent pits the two children against each other, but the golden child is the favoured child that can do no wrong, while the scapegoat is the child where everyone's problems are projected on. The golden child will begin to mirror the narcissistic parent and also abuse the scapegoat to win the affections of the parent. 11. Isolation - Some emotional abusers will isolate the victim so that he or cannot depend on others or use other resources to protect his or herself, or have regular contact with healthy normal relationships to compare the abusive dynamics with. This can be more obvious in the form of financial control, or it could be more subtle and the abuser can successfully convince the victim to cut off ties to friends and family. 12. Hot and cold - It's pulling a Jekyll and Hyde. When a person acts inconsistently and oscillates between affectionate behaviour and either complete withdrawal or outright hostility. The emotionally abusive person acts unpredictably so the victim never knows where he or she stands, and the victim will work hard to seek the "good side" of the abuser. There are a lot more terms of course, but I hope that this at least makes it easier for folks to understand invisible or insidious dynamics by being able to finally put a name to them. If you're a victim, you cannot change an abuser and you are not responsible for their actions. All you can do is disengage. Unfortunately it's hard for some especially if the abuser is your family (assholes end up having kids after all, unfortunately), but being able to manage the level of contact can help. You are not alone. If you see yourself taking part in some of these abusive behaviours, you might not be conscious of them. You might have grown up in a dysfunctional household that taught these behaviours. Maybe you were the golden child. You may not be 100% responsible for your destructive behaviours, but you are 100% responsible to change for the better for the sake of everyone around you. Even if you intend to change, remember that people you have mistreated in the past are under no obligation to forgive you or to remain in contact with you. Stay safe out there, kids. It's a weird world out there. Remember, no one is entitled to your body, time, or spirit. Healthy friendships/romantic relationships/family dynamics are filled with respect and mutual care. People are not who they say they are or the promises they make, but how they consistently treat you in the here and now. And remember you are not responsible for other people's destructive behaviours no matter how convinced they are otherwise. Don't set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.
  46. 8 points
    It's a little town in the much larger world of the Dao Bums, and, as the "sheriff" of the little town, I get to maintain the peace as I see fit, with the guidance of a trusty deputy. This is the only site I frequent, and the only forum I have participated on in a few years. I like it here, and the only way I'm leaving is if somebody manages to torch my happy little town, and even then my departure would be questionable. Don't like a "mini forum", then don't visit it.
  47. 8 points
    Somehow it's easy to forget that it's socialists that fight for socialized healthcare. Also socialists that fought for dozens of basic rights we easily take for granted in the U.S., e.g. elimination of sweat shops, child-labor laws, 8-hour workdays, etc, etc. These advances were not magically bestowed on the working class by benevolent capitalists one sunny day they felt chipper. They were fought for relentlessly at all levels, including the streets, and at great personal sacrifice. It's capitalists (which in the U.S. are now represented ubiquitously by both Republicans and Democrats) that oppose tooth and nail nearly every non-profitable, socialized service and safety net that, sure, might incommensurably reduce human suffering and senseless death but also * cough * might mildly put a dent in some bottom lines, good sir. BTW — this is not some naive, anti-business owner screed. We live in a capitalist society and have to do our best to survive. If you own a business I'm not pissing on that. I'm just asking us not to close off our imaginations to what might be possible. I own my home and land but I'm not attached to some weird, cosmic, fetishism of individual private property ownership for all eternity. Sean
  48. 8 points
    I think this highlights the discrepancy between "knowledge" and "practice." I can know everything there is to know about chocolate, even have a pantry-full, and still not know how it tastes. Lot's of experts our there, very few effective practitioners. We need only look at any Buddhist website, or the state of "Christianity" in the US. ... or here, apparently.
  49. 8 points
    Woah. Where are we going with this? I always thought this place was more or less free speech - except in extremis i.e. racism, misogyny etc and particularly ad homimen attacks. Open conversation is the way to learn new ideas and opinions and to strengthen and test your own. If you want me to sign up to anarcho-communism which is basically the wet dream of over privileged middle class kids - count me out. I want genuine change to the left which gives people dignity, a decent standard of living, healthcare and otherwise lets them do what they want. I want new models of living which emerge from today not some nineteenth century failed rhetoric. I want maximum free speech on Daobums with some outside limiters to prevent descent into flame wars and so on.
  50. 8 points
    I suppose I am a lefty .... is an Aussie lefty the same as an American one ? I remember our attempts to be left ... left alone that is . Good God, I even got free University as a youth ! Even I was surprised, I asked why it was so at the enrolment office , and how i dodnt even have to do a grad course, just select whatever units appealed to me, didnt have to do exams if I didnt want either .. why so ? The woman at the office looks at me and " Well, the better educated people are in a society, the better that society will be ." yes, back then the government thought like that ! Here is our old 'hero' Gough giving back the land to indigenous ( after passing land rights legislation ) But then .... he went too far ... that 'Pine Gap business' ( US world surveillance centre in Australia ) . What else might make me a lefty ? Well, I been living in a commune for over 30 years ( and I can say that no individual land ownership has ever been an issue with me , cant tell the difference, except the big jobs and responsibilities are shared and I have never had a mortgage but still get to live as if I owned it , on 300 pristine acres of sub tropical rainforest, riverfront . yeah, the government tried to take it back and I fought the Attorney General (prosecutor) in the Supreme court for over 2 years on it ( and going to Supreme Court appeal ) ..... kicked their efen arses ! Ha Har ! What else .... I done a bit of eco protests .... we took 'magic to the forest' , it was fairly successful , one day the loggers turned up with heavy machinery to remove the barricades we had built overnight ... I painted Necronomicon and spirit sigils all over it . I wasnt there in the morning but someone else told me the bulldozer driver freaked out " Thats it, I have had my equipment sabotaged , piss bombs dropped on me, the road blocked everyday and now THIS , (pointed at sigils) I'm not putting up with THAT shit ! " and went home ! YES! I worked volunteer Amnesty International and worked in refugee relocation . Back then you could drive in and out of 'Villawood Immigration Centre ' by showing an Aussie drivers license, take people out for the day, to lunch, check out jobs and real estate, show them the ropes etc . Now its 'Villawood detention centre ' behind razor wire ... people on the roof in there with signs "'Please help us ' we dont know what goes on in there , so sometimes the public congregates outside ...but dont get too close to the fence , even from the outside " Step away from the fence SIR ! " They even got kids in there I saw the old mayor of Adelaide being interviewed - he is Asian . " Oh, I came to Australia many years ago ... as an 'illegal' refugee myself . It was very different back then , my first encounter with Australia was the coastline coming into view after being lost at sea for some time, we where not sure where we where . Then we saw the coast, and this fishing boat came racing towards us with 3 guys in it . They pulled alongside and checked us out . It was pretty obvious by our condition what we where . One of the fishermen opened a can of beer and handed it to me and shook my hand and said 'Welcome to Australia' . eventually I became the mayor of Adelaide . " Done some political protesting too at parliament house (errmm that got a little out of hand , a mate chucked a live running chainsaw over the fence .... over the heads of police on the other side ...... Oh O! They came out after us like a swarm of bullants . And other stuff . Yeah ..... I think tht Trump thread should be closed down . More than one good person has left here because of that . I have nothing to do with it ! Except maybe occasionally post a pic of 'dogs that look like Trump'.