Zhongyongdaoist

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  1. A Science of Wu Wei?

    You're welcome. Now let's look at the story of the Butcher: The important characters here are 神, shén, referred to above as "my spirit" and the combination 天理, tiānlǐ, rendered as "the natural lines", it is a combination that occurs many times in the Zhuangzi, probably enough to be considered a technical term, rendering tian as heaven and li inherent order we have an interesting combination in which indicates the idea that the inherent order derives from "heaven". Taken altogether it would seem to indicate that the "method of the Dao" involves discarding the senses and using the perceptual powers of the personal shen in order to perceive the "lines" of a pattern originating in heaven. Now let's look at another quote, this one will make the relation between the li and the physical body as perceived by the senses clearer: . Here we want to look at another character and its meaning, 形, xíng, appearance, look, as well as another combination, 生理, shēnglǐ, with shēng, life, living, lifetime; birth combined with li and which in modern dictionaries is translated as physiology. This last is extremely important and would indicate li or morphe, principle/form which is the source of a unified function of cosmic and human qi in the coordination of the body's harnessing of such cosmic functions as the electrical phenomena of the neurons in the brain and nervous system and the "spiritual" function of human qi and ultimately possibly the potentials of qigong and related practices. These are relatively long quotes so I am going to post this as it is and follow with a final quote and some commentary on all three, though I find the above quotes very suggestive and hope others find them interesting. ZYD Edit: Changed spacing in first quote to remove blank space in it to make the whole post more compact.
  2. A Science of Wu Wei?

    Are you saying Pneuma is not the same as Qi, Prana? No, I am saying that Pneuma is not the same thing as "matter-energy", and to my knowledge has never had a usage like hyle, one meaning of which is "wood", as the universal substance that is differentiated by morphe/forms. On the other hand qi has had just such a usage when used in the context of li. Look up pneumatics and pneumatology and then come back here and tell us all what pneuma is. In each of these words "pneuma" means very different things, in pneumatics it is ordinary air as the subject of a branch of engineering that produces such things as pneumatic drills, and in the other it is the Holy Spirit in Christian Theology, and in neither of these is pneuma the same as qi and prana. The same is true of qi which is why I said: (emphasis added, ZYD) The meaning of the character 氣, qì, will vary depending on context. Used to make up a word such as qigong which has a rough equivalence to pranayama, then the "vital energy" meaning above is meant, and then qi refers to something similar to prana, pneuma and spirit interpreted as vital energy, however used within a discussion of 理, lǐ and 氣, qì, as elements of a cosmology, then to equate it with pneuma in the sense of vital energy is misleading, its Greek equivalent would be hyle, or "matter" in the Aristotelian sense of the fundamental substance which in combination with li as form/morphe results in the world visible to, and experienced by sense including the phenomena which we ordinarily describe as "matter" and "energy", but which are complementary manifestations of an underlying "matter-energy" as primordial substance. In this cosmological sense qi combined with the right li, would give rise to the aspects of "physical" energy which I mentioned as being the electrical activity of the neurons involved in typing this and mixed with another li would give rise to "vital energy" experienced in qigong, but qi in this cosmological sense is not reducible to "vital energy", which is why said that the discussion was misleading. I will be explaining all of this in more detail as I continue in these posts. ZYD
  3. A Science of Wu Wei?

    I am sorry to be so long getting back to this, but in looking for online references for the subjects of the following post, li and qi, I did some extra research and came up with some fascinating quotes from Zhuangzi about li, including its use in the story the Butcher which has been cited in relation to “flow”. I have decided to post the following as an introduction and then will post a discussion of these quotes from Zhuangzi to show how the concept of li is used in the book attributed to him, and possibly by the “great man” himself. One of the disagreements that has arisen here is one of whether Wuwei is the same as “flow”. I don't think that they are the same and will argue this in terms of what I have l have already proposed, that of modeling Wuwei using Aristotle's four causes which will show a clear line of demarcation between Wuwei and “flow”. This will be further examined by references quotes from both the Dao De Jing and the Zhuangzi, but first I need to do what I mentioned before of taking a few characters from out quotes and examining them in more detail, in the process I will introduce two of Aristotle's Four Causes, matter and form. In Greek matter is called hyle and form, morphe, this leads to one of the fundamental characteristics of Aristotle's theory, Hylomorphism. The two characters which I will cull from what we have quoted so far are: 理, lǐ which roughly corresponds to Aristotle's Formal Cause and 氣, qì which roughly corresponds to Aristotle's Material Cause While just about everyone here is familiar with Qi, very few know much about Li, which, depending on context can have meanings like: The common usages of qi as energy or bio-energy are at best a small part of the meanings of qi, again depending on context, which can include accepted two and three character combinations with qi, that are part of traditional usage. The following should give some idea of the range: For our purposes the tradition usage that is most useful is that of a general “substance” which is a basic constituent of all manifest things, and thus is similar to Aristotle's concept of matter. The combination of li as “intrinsic order” and qi as an underlying substance which is ordered by li, has a rough equivalence to Aristotle's form and matter combination as the basis of “physical” objects. A modern author commenting on this use of qi as “hyle/matter” had this to say: Which is accurate but then follows it up with a comparison to “pneuma” which is in a sense misleading and reinforces the tendency to think of qi solely as some sort of bio-energy when in fact it is as much at the root of the electrical phenomena running the devices upon which I am typing this and on which people are reading it, as it does the electrical phenomena taking place between my brain and fingers as I type this and the electrical phenomena happening between the eyes and brain of the reader. So, the reader can look forward to some interesting quotes from Zhuanzi about li in my next post. ZYD Edit: Minor edit for clarity about Wuwei and "flow" in the second paragraph.
  4. What is the Taoist religion?

    ... with a legion of celestial beings featuring ancient emperors, mythical monkey beings, immortals (in spirit form), ancient philosophers, impersonal spiritual energies, gods that created stuff, gods that destroy stuff, gods that resemble dramatically other buddhist gods, which in turn resemble Indian gods, etc... It is all that and more. That is what Daoist Religion looks like to the outsider and the lay practitioner or member of a Daoist Temple, but to the practitioner it is a very powerful system of internal cultivation with both ritual and meditative aspects that provides powerful tools both for magic and internal alchemy. I first became familiar with the broad outlines of the "Religious Daoism", which I prefer to call Ritual Daoism a little over forty years ago when I read Michael Saso's Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal. At the time I had been studying, since I was about twelve and practicing, since I was seventeen, Western magic, and since my early Twenties supplementing it with qigong and what I would call Daoist awareness meditation based largely on my understanding of Charles Luk's Taoist Yoga book supplemented with what little literature existed at the time. Saso's book was a real eye opener and I was immediately taken with the whole system described there. I liked it so much that in humorous response both the the "born again" Christians who were popping up every where and my Neopagan "witchy" friends, I started jokingly referring to myself as a "born again heathen". I don't know how much detail the OP wants about Daoist Religion, but there is a lot to it and it is both a fascinating study and rewarding practice. ZYD
  5. A Science of Wu Wei?

    1 and 2 are hopelessly bad translations 3 and 4 are just bad this is correct, yes quite close I'm not a big fan of Roth myself, however his book is probably the most common version available and part of the reason for the popular interest in Neyye, so I quote him. Right now I don't want to get bogged down in details and we agree on the basic point that the passage is "practically a description of wu wei and ...... very close to the notion of the "unchanged changer" of Aristotle". This is not the place for textual analysis, though I may pull some of the Chinese characters out of the text for closer examination down the road. The purpose of the citations was simply to establish a possible relation between ancient Chinese concepts and those of Aristotle to see if anything in Aristotle will be useful to modeling what the Chinese are trying to describe and help us understand better what is going on and how one might actually be able to achieve wu wei.
  6. A Science of Wu Wei?

    Let me start with two quotes, the first from the Neiye: In the above the phrases "But to transform without expending vital energy; to alter without expending wisdom" is practically a description of wu wei and the phrase "Exemplary persons act upon things, And are not acted upon by them" is very close to the notion of the "unchanged changer" of Aristotle which I mentioned above, and finally "Only exemplary persons who hold fast to the One are able to do this" points to the importance of the One as a causal factor in this type of "non action". The second is from the Dao De Jing: This points out that even the Dao De Jing recognizes the importance of the One. In the West Plato outlines a "Metaphysics of the One" in his dialog Parmenides and Aristotle's Four Causes and the "Unmoved Mover" is developed in several works, mostly his "Physics" and "Metaphysics". During the period between 200 BCE and 300 CE the "Middle Platonists" worked to synthesize these ideas, this diverse body of work was further synthesized and systematized by Plotinus, whose work marks the transition from Middle to Late Platonism usually called Neoplatonism. In my next post I will expand upon this with both references to my posts here and more internet links as well as some important books. ZYD Edit: Spacing and minor corrections.
  7. A Science of Wu Wei?

    Maybe in the second half of the book, it looks like he is taking a more broad view from there on. I will keep you informed. I found Western Classical Philosophy particularly Aristotle's Four Causes and his concept of the "unmoved mover", better translated as "unchanged changer", to be very useful in modeling wu wei. There are passages in both the Neiye and the Dao De Jing that support this comparison, especially in regard to the notion of "the One". I have posted on these ideas in several places, but if you are interested I can work up a post and some references for here. ZYD
  8. General theory of relativity a pseudoscience?

    The discussion about black holes is somewhat bogged down because it needs to consider Hawking Radiation which describes how and why a "photon" might leave the black hole. That might not satisfy Taoist Texts though since he may also dismiss quantum physics as a religion.
  9. General theory of relativity a pseudoscience?

    Interestingly it is one of the proofs why GRT is bogus: because there is no need for it to explain the lensing. Deflection of light by the Sun Henry Cavendish in 1784 (in an unpublished manuscript) and Johann Georg von Soldner in 1801 (published in 1804) had pointed out that Newtonian gravity predicts that starlight will bend around a massive object.[15][16] The GRT plagiarized an idea discovered a 100 years before and used it to position itself as a globalist religion. (Emphasis added, ZYD) I would have left this discussion alone, but I am really astonished by this post and its implications for you own thinking, but to address the purely scientific aspects of the matter, Newtonian corpuscularism is an obsolete worldview, one which failed experimental tests and was and is incapable of providing the basis of a coherent worldview, to say nothing of how it was and has been used to attack the spiritual traditions of East and West. Basically it seems that for reasons that are only implied in your post, you are perfectly willing to dismiss everything that science is because of your position that General Relativity is a "globalist religion" and a revival of the claim about Einstein made by the Nazi and anti-semite, Philipp Lenard, as your use of the term "plagiarized" strongly implies. To be honest I really do not want to go where all of this is pointing, I have always begun any of my disagreements with you with the phrase "with all due respect", but based on the implications of the sources and apparent inspiration of the ideas which you are citing, I may never be able to do that again. I leave it to others to follow through on the sources and implications of what you have said, I am only concerned about the integrity of science, and if your opinions are based on the types of sources which have been implied, then you have no real basis for criticism, based on anything that can be considered legitimately scientific, for that reason I consider the matter closed and will not post further in this thread. ZYD
  10. General theory of relativity a pseudoscience?

    but, but... thats how GRT is proved: by observing how the gravity of the sun changes the direction of the starlight. Apparently you are also incapable of distinguishing between a direct and an indirect effect: As far as the "light" is concerned it went in a perfectly straight line. All of this goes back to the every day experience of the "Bent Stick" where a stick when partially submerged in water seems to be bent, but in point of fact is not. This "optical illusion" was noticed in antiquity and was was eventually formulated as the "principle of least time" by Fermat and was considered very important by Leibniz. In the early Eighteenth Century it was generalized as the "principle of least action" by Maupertuis and in the late Eighteenth Century was used to reformulate Newtonian Mechanics in the form of integrals instead of differential equations. Maxwell's original equations were in this form as Quaternions, which of course implied four dimensional solutions, and the later Nineteenth Century rebelled against them because of there implied teleology as I noted here: It is this implied teleology that is represented by the two solutions to Maxwell's equations which result from the advanced and retarded waves as the two solutions of Maxwell's equations one of which, the advanced, was ignored by Nineteenth Century physics. The whole problem as you are understanding it derives from thinking that light is a "beam", or a particle such as a "photon" which passes through a "space" in a particular "time", which are "common sense" notions that are not supported by either the experimental evidence or the mathematics used to model it, if you want to toss all of that out because you don't understand it, fine, but be honest about it, and don't assume that people who actually understand the science think in terms of light "being bent", it is space--time that is bent according to the scientific understanding of the matter, for all intents and purposes thinking of it as a beam of light which is bent is just a simplification offered to the general public so that they can get some idea, even if a misleading one, about what is going on, it is NOT what the science is talking about. Unfortunately there is not an agreed upon interpretation of exactly what is going on at present, but the criticisms that you have mentioned are not based on the actual science, but upon simplifications offered up for popular consumption, they are in a sense pseudo-science, but General Relativity is not. I do want to say that most people, including some scientists, who criticize Relativity and Quantum Mechanics have no idea of the conundrums which research into electromagnetism had presented to physics in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century and the enormous amount of clever research and thought that went into solving problems such as black-body radiation and those presented by spectroscopy. One can get an idea by wading through E. T. Whittaker's two volume work, A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity (2nd edition) as I did, after doing so it will become clear how difficult the problems were and how unsatisfactory all other approaches were to solving these issues. Relativity and Quantum Mechanics emerged as legitimate, and successful models of the physics because nothing else worked. They were accepted because they worked in theory and practice, however much they may offend commonsense and the older notions of physics. I could write pages more on this, but I think the fundamental point is that what has been proposed so far as being problems with General Relativity, it is more an attack on popular misconceptions about the science and not the science itself, and as such it misses the mark completely, and really is not worth any more of my time. ZYD
  11. General theory of relativity a pseudoscience?

    For a person who is always touting his achievements in Neidan Taoist Texts you have a surprisingly three dimensional and sense based perspective on science. I'm sorry to quote something from the popular press, but it was quickest to hand and also spot on in terms of its relevance. It is both contemporary and brings out the point which I wish to make, which is that "gravity" as an effect of mass has no direct effect on light, its speed or direction, which is one of the unstated premises of such arguments cited by Taoist Texts such as this: In general relativity it is space-time that bends, not the path of light, and the "beam" of light should it wish to comment on its path would say, "I didn't notice anything strange", and be quite flummoxed when presented with evidence to the contrary. Science proceeds from what is "observed in our human experience" to what can be deduced from and confirmed by experiment and further observation, and measurements and "meter readings" are part of that human experience. As a person who has spent time studying the historical development of electromagnetic theory, and seen how both Quantum Mechanics and Relativity are related to a full interpretation of Maxwell's equation's including both advanced and retarded waves, an aspect of the theory half of which Nineteenth Century physics swept under the carpet, a deficiency which Wheeler and Feynman attempted to rectify in their early Absorber Theory, I have a "synoptic" view of the matter, and I have a view far more similar to Tetrode and the Kaluza-Klein models, but also working in the direction of an information based approach, which would unify a Kaluza-Klein viewpoint with the Transactional Interpretation. I don't have the purely technical and mathematical skill to work this out in detail, but on a conceptual level something like this makes sense to me, based on my reading of Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century history of Science. Unfortunately this is all that I can contribute to this topic at this time. ZYD Edit: Corrected some spacing problems, which may have been due to gravitational distortion. Edit: Corrected the "light beams" comment to "I didn't notice anything strange" from "a thing strange".
  12. First of all as for a source to what I mention, I am afraid that after decades of reading and study in largely intellectual history and focusing on the esoteric and its practices, any knowledge that I have of Chinese social structure was incidental, and to come up with source at this point in time would be more work than I care to do, but I remember the order which I mentioned because I thought it interesting at the time. Occupations of tradesman and farmer are what common people do, since the question was about tradesman and farmers, I gave an answer about common people, not about the elite. I don't want to get into a detailed discussion about social structure, it is not of much interest to me, and I could no more give specific citations for my opinions about that than about what I have for the lower classes. I could for example speculate that one of the reasons that this classification developed was to put social climbing tradesmen who had accumulated large fortunes in their place as money grubbing exploiters with an eye on the money and a thumb on the scale, but that would be pure speculation. Wrong. This assumes Medieval feudalism as a universal model and projects it everywhere, and while as far as I can tell it this can be done for many times and places it is not universally applicable, and there are local variables. It is often not applicable to the earlier periods of societies and particularly those where there were small family run farms such as early Republican Rome. Again I am not going to cite anything for this, just as Stosh has not. I don't intend to put any more time into this, I hope that those who continue it have fun. ZYD
  13. It is because the traders were considered to be people who profited from other peoples productive labor, and created nothing themselves, except profits for themselves. Peasants were at the top because they were farmers who created food, the necessity for all, and then craftsmen who created useful items from tools to clothing. ZYD
  14. Complex numbers

    Thanks Steve, I have been doing the posting equivalent of biting my tongue for three or so hours, but I didn't want to post again unless absolutely necessary to get past this obstacle, and I was hoping that someone else would bring up these points, so I wouldn't have to. ZYD
  15. Complex numbers

    With all due respect wandelaar, if I were going to discuss complex numbers I would use a number theory approach, and show how both "negative" and "imaginary" numbers arise from doing such basic operations as addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, on what are called "the Natural Numbers", then the nature and origin of these concepts, such as negative numbers can then be seen as answers to questions which naturally arise, like "I know that 8-7 equals 1, but what does 7-8 equal?", and becomes much clearer. All the best in your endeavor, ZYD