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  1. Language we trick ourselves with

    Very well said. There are many people that don't really understand exactly what "science" is, or even what it actually says. Science is, like you said, nothing more than a methodology of learning trends and developing theories about how our nature seems to work. One cannot confuse nature itself with a simple method of study, as this leads to many misconceptions about what scientific principles actually say about nature and the universe. What bothers me even more is the misunderstanding with what mathematics actually is. I'll ask someone if they understand what mathematics is, and I'd be more willing than not to bet that the first thing out of their mouth is, "Well, math is a science that..." No, this is incorrect, math is not the purest science; it's not even a science at all. Mathematics is a language, based in principles of logic. If you want to argue where logical principles come from, read some literature on epistemology. Math does nothing more than give us a means to explain and model physical (and non-physical) systems in a way that we can understand. It doesn't really have any connection to nature at all. "But math seems to predict nature so well," you might say. This is true, within reason, but here's the thing: math can model things that don't fit our universe as well. It's a blank slate for us to work with, and we make it useful by adding rules to it and seeing if those rules tend to line up with the tendencies of nature. Without rules, math is formless and infinite, but this is not useful in any way. 2 + 2 = 4 has no more meaning than the meaning which we assign it. Even the concept of 2 is more complex than most people would realize. That is why I've become so interested in epistemology, the study of knowledge, what we can "know" and how we come to "know" it. But I seem to be going off on a tangent now, so I'll stop here.
  2. Power

    Then what of the situation where we require manipulating nature simply to support the number of people that are alive on Earth? Local farming is all well and good, but it seems the only way we can sustain the human race is by turning food production into an industry. Even if it's not this way now (which I believe it is well beyond already), it more than likely will be in the future. So is this not even moreso going against nature?
  3. Power

    I never said control was abuse of power, I said control is that which is subject to being abused. I did not intend to imply that there should be a negative connotation associated with control; rather, I wholeheartedly agree with your reply, so I do not see a contradiction.
  4. Power

    Some more thoughts after sitting on this: I feel that there is a significant difference between "power" and "control". Power comes from within. Nature has physical power, while people have individual personal power. Using technology, studying and manipulating the physical properties of the universe to harness the power of nature is not power; this is control of natural power. This can be useful, but it is also an illusion, because the power does not come from the individual. This control can come close to being absolute, since nature does not have its own agenda other than to follow the Dao; but it does not necessarily reach absolute control, since no one can have a perfect understanding of nature. How close or far would depend on the individual's understanding of nature. Likewise, when an individual leads a group, this is not power, but control of the power of individuals. This control is not absolute, and is subject to the individuals under the leader. Study and learning typically consists of improving control. Then, cultvation consists of building and making more efficient the usage of internal energy, thereby improving personal power. Building personal power does not lead to improving control. Rather, I would say that zerostao's assertion that we could liken power to De as being more accurate, though I've come to appreciate Master Liao's (via dwai) description of De rather than simply calling it "virtue". So, as from above: Control is abused, not power. "Superior power" is power. "Inferior power" is control. ... maybe.
  5. Power

    I feel that this is a great excerpt to take note of (as well I applaud your presentation of these numerous translations), as this alone speaks volums on many differences between the ways of society and Dao, the natural way. I have not read all of your commentary, yet, but what I have read so far is very interesting.
  6. Power

    This is very interesting, as you almost always hear of De and virtue being practically synonomous (note that in most translations Dao is kept as Dao, while De is almost universally translated as virtue). A very good observation, if I may say so myself. Indeed, Lao Tzu even says that whatever goes against the Dao will soon cease to be. Perhaps much of what we as humans consider to be "power" is a lot to do with the views of society. A man or woman of great station is still a man or woman, they are simply elevated to that station because their society has allowed it, and such a station is simply a title and position that has been assigned to them. Can such use and abuse of "power" even be called such? Only because society allows it.
  7. Power

    On a calm, sunny day, most people are happy; this is simply nature taking its course. During a terrible storm, many are unhappy, yet this is also nature taking its course. So, the people are pleased when nature goes with them, but they are upset when it goes against them, even though it serves neither end; it is neutral, and does not strive to any end. Would this same idea apply to power? I shall sit on what a good definition for power might be.
  8. The Greatest Quality

    I like the last part, but I think we should be wary of using terms like "wisdom" loosely. Lao Zi certainly was, as he never associated wisdom as a quality of a sage. Then again, that may simply be from people who misuse the term in the first place....
  9. The Greatest Quality

    Is not honesty the fool's trait? The clever one is the one who learned to lie for their own gain. Cleverness may be a useful tool to many, but not necessarily to the Daoist (Dao De Jing, Ch. 19). Hmm... perhaps a better question would be to address also the collection of qualities necessary to support the highest quality. As well, as rainbowvein mentioned, I too would be curious on your take of the Three Treasures.
  10. The Greatest Quality

    I just started thinking about this question this morning, and I'm kind of curious to see how other people feel about it. What do you think, in you personal experience is the single greatest quality or charactericstic that a person can have or exhibit? Among many other qualities, I would have to say kindness. A person who, in a given situation, has to decide on a course of action, I believe that a kind action would generally be of the more prudent choices. However, I haven't had a significant amount of time to meditate on this, so I may come up with a new answer later. What do you think?
  11. Perhaps you're right. I sort of had the Buddhist idea of "non-permanent identity" in mind, but it's all a jumble of thoughts in my head, so trying to explain something esoteric from a perspective personal understanding is a bit like trying to explain to someone the best way to swim in a pool full spaghetti, as learned from some personal experience and second-hand expertise.
  12. An image I like to use in this regard if I find my ego building is to imagine the mind as a slate, upon which the personalities and characteristics of that person are written, and to simply return to being a blank slate. Kind of a blend of ideas, but I think part of this image comes from the idea of anatman, where keeping the blank slate you see that behind all ego we are all essentially the same entity. Close the thinking mind, close the judging mind, open the seeing mind, open the understanding mind. Look at a person externally and you see what distinguishes them as an individual. Look at them internally and you see that you are fundamentally the same. Like that? or am I off the mark? Anyway, just a thought.
  13. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    Are we speaking of the BIble or are we speaking of religions? The text may have veiled meaning, I agree, I do not discount many of the teachings of religions. I'm speaking of the concept of theism expressly, in that we are regarding the existence of a creator god(s) which exists superior to mortal beings.
  14. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    Let me clarify, I was speaking expressly on theistic religions. I would not call Daoism a theistic religion. ... or is there something else to which you were referring?
  15. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    In an ideal sense, but even the wire through which its transmitted has resistance. It's important to not confuse the mathematical/physical model we use to understand with the real thing. The Dao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Dao. "You must be your own lamps, be your own refuges. Take refuge in nothing outside yourselves. Hold firm to the truth as a lamp and a refuge, and do not look for refuge to anything besides yourselves." -The final words of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha ^ Meditating on this today. I find this message resonates very well with me. When I look to other religions, they all speak of dependence on something else. Something which controls the very fate of their afterlife, which seems rather arbitrary when you consider how many religions claim having the correct path which will win favor with their god(s). This is why I rejected theism as a religious practice (as a concept, that's a different argument).