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About beyonder

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  1. According to daoism, what is one supposed to do on a sunny day? Whatever comes naturally. According to daoism, what is one supposed to do on a rainy day? Whatever comes naturally. According to daoism, what is one supposed to do on a cloudy day? Whatever comes naturally.
  2. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    "Intentionality can't keep it at a distance, non-intentionality can't bring it closer. Only he who understands it through silence and gives shape to it through his own being understands the Way." -Liezi (Augustus, Amsterdam, 2008), p. 132
  3. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    For all we know, it might have been Yin Xi of the mountainpass who wrote the "Daodejing". This is irrelevant to the contents though (And yes, I'm aware of Sima Qian). Not a point I've ever made, so you're not arguing against me. I don't really care if it helps me understand the Way better.
  4. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    Hexagram 4 of the "I Ching" comes to mind. Believe what you will.
  5. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    ^ Yeah, I never understood why that's supposed to be an issue. People also generally accept that later chapters in the Zhuangzi where composed by different authors. In any case, I think it can stand on it's own merits as a daoist text, regardless of author.
  6. Why Daoism over Buddhism

    "Do you wish to free yourself of mental and emotional knots and become one with the Tao? If so, there are two paths available to you. The first is the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it. The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness. Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness. Once you arrive there, remember: it isn't necessary to struggle to maintain unity with it. All you have to do is participate in it." -"Hua Hu Ching", chapter 48, Walker translation
  7. Don't use google

    ... I've bookmarked the taobums. No need for Google as a middle man. Also, while I do use google as my standard searchengine, I prefer using the following URL: No bs automatic language changes, no google guessing my search parameters...
  8. it's not the year of the horse

    Yeah, the goat is still working on some issues...
  9. The Busy Mind

    (Cerebrospinal fluid...) :D
  10. The Yi Jing Begins with the Eight Symbols of the Ba Gua

    Well - I'm sticking to the king Wen sequence.
  11. So, uh, yeah. That's basically how you do that.
  12. What I stated was that to determine what's yin or yang, one consults the "I Ching" until one is familiar enough to intuit ones way around with the material. This is mentioned in chapter 55 of the "Hua Hu Ching": Fu Kua, the observation of the subtle alterations of yin and yang for the purpose of making decisions, which are harmonious with the apparent and hidden aspects of a situation. The foundation of Fu Kua and of all Taoist practice is the study of the I Ching, or Book of Changes. {Walker translation) Let's continue with the "Ta Chuan", though: Chapter I - The changes in Creation and in the Book of Change I - 1 Heaven is lofty and honourable; earth is low. Ch'ien and K'un were determined in accordance with this. Things low and high appear displayed in a similar relation; the noble and the mean had their places assigned accordingly. Movement and rest are the regular qualities of their respective subjects. Hence comes the definite distinction of the lines as the strong and the weak. Affairs are arranged together according to their tendencies, and things are divided according to their classes. Hence were produced what is good and what is evil. In the heavens there are the figures there completed, and on the earth there are the bodies there formed. Corresponding to them were the changes and transformations exhibited in the I Ching. I - 2 After this fashion a strong and a weak line were manipulated together till there were the eight trigrams, and these were added, each to itself and all the others. I - 3 We have the exciting forces of thunder and lightning; the fertilising influences of wind and rain; and the revolutions of sun and moon, which give rise to cold and warmth. I - 4 The attributes expressed by Ch'ien constitute the male. The attributes expressed by K'un constitute the female. I - 5 Ch'ien directs the great beginnings of things. K'un gives to them their completion. I - 6 It is by the ease with which it proceeds that Ch'ien directs as it does, and by its unhesitating response that K'un exhibits such ability. I - 7 Ease will be easily understood, and freedom from laborious effort will be easily followed. He who is easily understood will have adherents, and he who is easily followed will achieve success. He who has adherents can continue long, and he who achieves success can become great. To be able to continue long shows the virtue of the wise and able man; to be able to become great is the heritage he will acquire. I - 8 With the attainment of such ease and such freedom of laborious effort, the mastery is got of all principles under the sky. With the attainment of that mastery, the sage finds his position in the middle between heaven and earth. Chapter II - On the wording and the use of the Book of Change II - 1 The sages set forth the hexagrams, inspected the images contained in them, and appended their explanations; in this way the good fortune and the bad fortune indicated by them were made clear. II - 2 The strong and the weak lines displace each other and indicate the changes and transformations. II - 3 Therefore good fortune and evil are the indications of right and wrong in men's conduct of affairs, and repentance and regret are the indications of their sorrow and anxiety. II - 4 The changes and transformations are the images of the advance and retrogression of the vital force in nature. Thus the strong and weak lines become the emblems of day and night. The movements which take place in the six places show the course of the three powers in perfect operation. II - 5 Therefore what the superior man rests in, in whatever position he is placed, is the order shown in the I; and the study which gives him the greatest pleasure is that of the explanations of the several lines. II - 6 Therefore the superior man, when living quietly, contemplates the images and studies the explanations of them; when initiating any movement, he contemplates the changes that are made in divining and studies the predictions from them. Thus 'is help extended to him from heaven; there will be good fortune and advantage in every movement'. Continuing on, let's check chapter 4: Chapter IV - The deeper meaning of the Book of Change IV - 1 The I was made on a principle of accordance with heaven and earth, and reveals therefore, without rent or confusion, the Tao of heaven and earth. IV - 2 The sage, in accordance with the I Ching, looking up contemplates the brilliant phenomena of the heavens, and looking down examines the definite arrangements of the earth; thus he knows the causes of what is obscure and what is light. He traces things to their beginning and follows them to their end; thus he knows what can be said about death and life. Essence and breath form things, and the wandering away of the soul produces the change; thus he knows the characteristics of the in- and outgoing spirits. IV - 3 There is a similarity between him and heaven and earth, and hence there is no contrariety in him to them. His knowledge embraces all things, and his Tao is helpful to all under the sky; hence he falls into no error. He acts according to the exigency of circumstances without being carried away by heir current. He rejoices in heaven and knows its ordinations; and hence he has no anxieties. He rests in his own position and cherishes the spirit of generous benevolence; hence he can love without reserve. IV - 4 Through the I Ching, he comprehends as in a mould the transformations of heaven and earth without any error. By an ever-varying adaption he completes all things without exception; he penetrates to a knowledge of the Tao of day and night and all connected phenomena. It is thus that his operation is spiritlike, unconditioned by place, while the changes that he produces are not restricted to any form. To clarify, let's compare 4 - 2 with hexagram 16, line 2: Hexagram 16, six in the second place means: Firm as a rock. Not a whole day. Perseverance brings good fortune. This describes a person who does not allow himself to be misled by any illusions. While others are letting themselves be dazzled by enthusiasm, he recognizes with perfect clarity the first signs of the time. Thus he neither flatters those above nor neglects those beneath him; he is as firm as a rock. When the first sign of discord appears, he knows the right moment for withdrawing and does not delay even for a day. Perseverance in such conduct will bring good fortune. Confucius says about this line: To know the seeds, that is divine indeed. In his association with those above him, the superior man does not flatter. In his association with those beneath him, he is not arrogant. For he knows the seeds. The seeds are the first imperceptible beginning of movement, the first trace of good fortune (or misfortune) that shows itself. The superior man perceives the seeds and immediately takes actin. He does not wait even a whole day. In the Book of Changes it is said: "Firm as a rock. Not a whole day. Perseverance brings good fortune." Firm as a rock, what need of a whole day? The judgment can be known. The superior man knows what is hidden and what is evident. He knows weakness, he knows strength as well. Hence the myriads look up to him. Continuing on with the "Ta Chuan" (Section 2, this time): Chapter VI - On the general nature of the I Ching VI - 1 The master said: 'Ch'ien and K'un may be regarded as the gate to the I Ching'. Ch'ien represents what is of the yang nature (bright and active); K'un what is of the yin nature (shaded and inactive). These two unite according to their qualities, and there comes the embodiment of the result by the strong and weak lines. In this way we have the phenomena of heaven and earth visibly exhibited, and can comprehend the operation of the spiritual intelligence. VI - 2 The appellations and names of the trigrams and hexagrams are various, but do not go beyond. When we examine the nature and style of the appended explanations, they seem to express the ideas of a decaying age. VI - 3 The I exhibits the past and and allows us to discriminate the issues of the future; it makes manifest what is minute, and brings light to what is obscure. Then king Wen opened its symbols, and distinguished things in accordance with its names, so that all his words were correct and his explanations decisive; the book was now complete. VI - 4 The appellations and names of the trigrams and hexagrams are but small matters, but the classes of things comprehended under them are large. Their scope reaches far, and the explanations attached to them are elegant. The words are indirect, but to the point; the matters seem plainly set forth, but there is a secret principle in them. Their object is, in cases that are doubtful, to help de people in their conduct, and to make plain the recompenses of good and evil.
  13. The Worst Mistake in Human History

    III. Let us now turn to the questions of when agriculture was introduced, the complexities of its introduction, and its implications for the future. A. The introduction of agriculture, sometimes called the Neolithic revolution, was a crucial change in the human experience. Some would argue that, other than the emergence of the species itself, the development of agriculture and the later replacement of agricultural economies with industrial economies are the two key developments of the human experience. B.Agriculture was invented in at least three separate places. 1. The first invention occurred in the northern Middle East/Black Sea region with domestication of wheat and barley. 2. The second invention occurred in South China and continental Southeast Asia around 7000 BCE with the introduction of rice. 3. The third invention was the domestication of corn, or maize, in Central America about 5000 BCE. 4. Agriculture may also have been invented in other places, including sub-Saharan Africa and northern China. C. By 5000 BCE, agriculture had gradually spread and was becoming the most common economic system for the largest number of people in the world. Despite the advantages of agriculture over hunting and gathering, its widespread adoption was slow. 1.One reason for this slow spread was that contacts among relatively far-flung populations were minimal. 2. Not all regions were suitable for agriculture; some were heavily forested or arid. 3. An alternative economic system based on nomadic herding of animals prevailed for a long time over agriculture in the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Central Asia. 4.Agriculture involves settling down,which might not have been attractive to some hunting-and-gathering societies that treasured their capacity to move around. IV. When agriculture was introduced, it brought massive changes in the human experience. A. Agriculture involves more work, particularly for men, than hunting and gathering; thus, it redefined and increased the work expectations of human society. B.Agriculture also redefined gender relations. In most hunting-and-gathering societies, men did the hunting and women did the gathering, but because both groups contributed to the food supply, women usually had some influence in society. In agricultural societies, however, patriarchal systems predominated. 1. The most obvious reason for the increase in male dominance was that agriculture both permitted and required an expansion of the birthrate. 2. Men increasingly assumed the role of principal cultivator of the crucial food crops, resulting in the development of patriarchal societies. 3. In hunting-and-gathering societies, children had few functions until they reached their early teens. In agricultural societies, childhood and work became more closely associated, and the idea of obedience tended to follow this shift. V. The advent of agriculture raises interesting questions about human progress. A.Despite what many of us learned in grade school, the adoption of agriculture had a number of drawbacks. In some cases, these drawbacks affected some groups willingness to adopt agriculture. 1.The first drawback is the introduction of new kinds of inequality, particularly between men and women. 2.The second is that agriculture allowed people to settle down into clustered communities, which exposedthe inhabitants to increased incidences of epidemic disease. 3.The third is that agricultural societies altered the local environment in a way that hunting-and-gathering societies did not do, to the extent of damaging and even destroying a regional environment and the communities that existed there. B.The advantages of agriculture, however, allowed it to spread. 1.One not entirely frivolous theory toexplain this spread is that agriculture allowed the growth of products that could be fermented to create alcohol. 2.More systematically, agriculture significantly improved food supplies, which in turn allowed families to have more children and resulted in population expansion. 3.These conditions prevailed for a long time, between about 9000 BCE until 300 to 400 years ago. C.Agricultural economies were constrained by limitations in the amount of food that a given worker could generate. Even the most advanced agricultural economies required about 80 percent of the population to be engaged primarily in agriculture, which limited the amount of taxation that could be levied and limited the size of cities to no more than 20 percent of the populationa crucial feature to remember about agricultural societies in general. D.Agricultural societies also generated cultural emphases, especially by encouraging new attention to the spring season and to divine forces responsible for creation. E.The crucial features of agriculture were its role in population increase and its capacity to generate discernible surpluses, which freed at least some people to do other things, such as manufacturing pottery. As we will see in the next lecture, manufacturing could lead to yet additional developments in the human experience, including the emergence of cities and advancements in other areas of technology. -Peter Stearns, "A Brief History of the World" Guidebook 1, p. 9, 10, 11 F. It is a mistake to think our ancestors were unsophisticated. 1. To survive using Stone Age technologies, they needed detailed scientific knowledge of their environments, accumulated through millennia of collective learning and stored in stories and myths. 2. Southwestern Tasmania was one of the most remote environments on Earth in the Paleolithic era. Yet modern archaeological studies of Kutikina Cave, which was occupied from 35,000 years ago to perhaps 13,000 years ago, have revealed hundreds of stone tools, ancient hearths, delicate spear points of wallaby bone, and knives made from natural glass (Mithen, After the Ice, pp. 30607). The first Tasmanians exploited their environment with great efficiency. -David Christian, "Big History" Guidebook 1, p. 63 B. To many, it may seem obvious that Paleolithic lifeways were harsh, brutal, and unpleasant. Yet in 1972, American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins wrote a famous article, The Original Affluent Society, in which he questioned these assumptions. Sahlins argued that in some ways Paleolithic life was not too bad. 1. Being nomadic, people had little desire to accumulate goods. This, he describes as the Zen path to abundance: a feeling that everything you need is all around you. 2. Diets were often healthy and varied. 3. Modern studies of foraging societies suggest that people often survived on just 3 - 6 hours of work a day. 4. Because there was little accumulated wealth, Paleolithic societies were more egalitarian than those of today (though this does not mean there were no conflicts between individuals, or divisions by age, lineage, and gender). C. On the other hand, studies of Paleolithic skeletons suggest that most people died young, usually from physical trauma of some kind. D. Sahlins may have overstated the case, and we can be sure that someone reared in a modern society would struggle to survive in a Paleolithic society. Nevertheless, Sahlinss article reminds us that we should not assume without question that history is a story of progress. -Ibid. 2. Agriculture did not necessarily improve living standards, which is why many foragers who knew about farming rejected it. Archaeological evidence suggests they may have been right, for many early farmers suffered from poor health and nutrition. This idea encourages us to look for push rather than pull explanations, for factors that forced people to take up agriculture whether they wanted to or not. -Ibid. p. 72 V. How well did the first farmers live? Did agriculture necessarily mean progress? A. We saw in Lecture Twenty-Two that, by some criteria, Paleolithic foragers lived quite well. B. The evidence on early farmers is mixed. 1. The first generation or two probably lived well, enjoying improved food supplies. 2. However, within a few generations, population growth created problems that nomadic foragers had never faced. Sedentary villages attracted vermin and rubbish, and diseases spread more easily with a larger pool of potential victims to infect, particularly after the introduction of domesticated animals, which passed many of their parasites on to humans. Studies of human bones from early Agrarian communities hint at new forms of stress, caused by the intense labor of harvest times, or by periodic crop failures, which became more common because farmers generally relied on a more limited range of foodstuffs than foragers. Periodic shortages may explain why skeletons seem to get shorter in early Agrarian villages. 3. On the other hand, early Agrarian communities were probably fairly egalitarian. Relative equality is apparent even in large sites such as Catal Huyuk, where buildings are similar in size, though differences in burials show there were some, possibly hereditary, differences in wealth. VI. The early Agrarian era transformed a world of foragers into a world of peasant farmers. Within these denser communities new forms of complexity would begin to emerge. Yet by some criteria, living standards may have declined. Complexity does notnecessarily mean progress! -Ibid. p. 75 By modern standards, Paleolithic and early Agrarian communities were simple and egalitarian. However, during the early Agrarian era, institutionalized hierarchies began to appear, dividing communities by gender, wealth, ethnicity, lineage, and power. About 5,000 years ago there appeared the first tribute-taking states. These were controlled by elites who extracted labor and resources, partly through the threat of organized force, just as farmers extracted ecological rents from their domesticated plants and animals. The appearance of states was a momentous transition in human history. -Ibid. p. 77 V. Now we return to the early Agrarian era to trace how power structures became more significant and more institutionalized. It will help to imagine two distinct ways of mobilizing power. Though intertwined in reality, we can distinguish them analytically. A. Power from below is power conceded more or less willingly by individuals or groups who expect to benefit from subordination to skillful leaders. People expect something in return for subordination, so power from below is a mutualistic form of symbiosis. As societies became largerand denser, leadership became more important in order to achieve group goals, such as the building of irrigation systems or defense in war. 1. Familiar modern examples of power from below include the election of club or team officials or captains. 2. When we think of power as legitimate (e.g., the right to tax in a democratic society), we are generally thinking of it as power from below, even if it is backed by the threat of force. B. Power from above depends on the capacity to make credible threats of coercion. That depends on the existence of disciplined groups of coercers, loyal to the leader and able to enforce the leaders will by force when necessary. In such an environment, people obey because they will be punished if they do not. This aspect of power highlights the coercive (or parasitic) element in power relationships. 1. The existence of jails, police, and armiesis evidence that such power exists. 2. Yet no state can depend entirely on coercion becausemaintaining an apparatus of coercion is costly and depends on maintaining the willing support of the coercers. No individual can single-handedly coerce millions of others. C. In practice, the two forms of power are intertwined in complex ways. Protection rackets, for example, offer a service. Yet it is often the racket itself that is the likely source of danger, so does the payment of protection money count as a form of power from below or above? D. Building coercive groups is complex and costly, and the earliest forms of power emerged before such groups existed. That is why the first power elites depended mainly on power from below. -Ibid. P. 78 According to my idea, those who knew well to govern mankind would not act so. The people had their regular and constant nature: they wove and made themselves clothes; they tilled the ground and got food. This was their common faculty. They were all one in this, and did not form themselves into separate classes; so were they constituted and left to their natural tendencies. Therefore in the age of perfect virtue men walked along with slow and grave step, and with their looks steadily directed forwards. At that time, on the hills there were no foot-paths, nor excavated passages; on the lakes there were no boats nor dams; all creatures lived in companies; and the places of their settlement were made close to one another. Birds and beasts multiplied to flocks and herds; the grass and trees grew luxuriant and long. In this condition the birds and beasts might be led about without feeling the constraint; the nest of the magpie might be climbed to, and peeped into. Yes, in the age of perfect virtue, men lived in common with birds and beasts, and were on terms of equality with all creatures, as forming one family - how could they know among themselves the distinctions of superior men and small men? Equally without knowledge, they did not leave (the path of) their natural virtue; equally free from desires, they were in the state of pure simplicity. In that state of pure simplicity, the nature of the people was what it ought to be. But when the sagely men appeared, limping and wheeling about in (the exercise of) benevolence, pressing along and standing on tiptoe in the doing of righteousness, then men universally began to be perplexed. (Those sages also) went to excess in their performances of music, and in their gesticulations in the practice of ceremonies, and then men began to be separated from one another. If the raw materials had not been cut and hacked, who could have made a sacrificial vase from them? If the natural jade had not been broken and injured, who could have made the handles for the libation-cups from it? If the attributes of the Dao had not been disallowed, how should they have preferred benevolence and righteousness? If the instincts of the nature had not been departed from, how should ceremonies and music have come into use? If the five colours had not been confused, how should the ornamental figures have been formed? If the five notes had not been confused, how should they have supplemented them by the musical accords? The cutting and hacking of the raw materials to form vessels was the crime of the skilful workman; the injury done to the characteristics of the Dao in order to the practice of benevolence and righteousness was the error of the sagely men. -Zhuangzi, Horses Hoofs 2
  14. Happy New Year!

    Happy new year, everyone!
  15. Which books sit on your nightstand?

    I've got a bookshelf in my bedroom (mostly philosophy, some rhetorics, some physics, some religious stuff), so have no need for keeping books on a nightstand. I'm currently not actively studying anything, though.