the latest freed

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  1. Hello!

    Thanks for the post! I never look there - so just noticed it today!

  2. I write fiction and nonfiction most of the time, though I used to write poetry a lot. How about you? I'll definitely check out your blog. I also have a blog: If you have the time, feel free to check it out.

  3. Great to hear The Latest Freed! What kind of reading and writing? I'm well you should follow me on my blog! Hope to speak to you soon!

  4. I'm doing well. Just writing and reading, my usual habits. As soon as it comes in, I'm going to read "In Praise of Shadows" by Tanizaki, an essay on Japanese aesthetics. I'm very excited about it. How are you, fellow writer?

  5. How are you doing fellow writer?

  6. Taoist Philosophy

    A7, I think you found a great way to thoroughly and convincingly explain "consciousness" in a way that kind of marries what people have been saying on here. Maybe this should be a posted article? Unless it's already been tackled in that form, of course.
  7. Taoist Philosophy

  8. Taoist Philosophy

  9. Taoist Philosophy

    Yes, I believe there's textual support for this in the Tao Te Ching. As Ch. 40 states: "The myriad creatures in the world are born from Something, and Something from Nothing." A thought: maybe the the One (aka "the named" and/or "the mother of the myriad creatures" in Ch. 1) is the collective "presence" of all the myriad creatures? A collective consciousness, like "Dust," if anyone is familiar with the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman? Or maybe the One is a simple atom of hydrogen, with its one proton, which is thought to have been the initial element that made the universe and life in it possible. Ch. 41 states: "The way begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets the myriad creatures." This kind of expresses the multiplying nature of atoms from hydrogen, growing more complex and bonding together through time, that scientists believe brought about the creation of the universe and all of the life in it. But, whatever the One is, I don't think that it's necessarily a separate thing from the No-thing. 3bob said that they're "connected," but I would venture to suggest that they're more than connected: they're the same thing. Ch. 1 of the TTC states, at the end, "These two [the nameless and the named] are the same, but diverge in name as they issue forth." So it's the act of naming that separates them--the observable, identifiable, categorical universe and the ultimate reality of the Way that cannot be defined. Even though they seem different/separate, one issuing from the other, they're really one and the same, which reinforces apepch7's idea that the Way is both constant and inconstant, or unnameable and nameable. Thoughts?
  10. Taoist Philosophy

    Thanks. It's the same way for me, actually. I can't say that I'm noble enough to like being wrong, but I do seem to learn more when I am and I think I've made great leaps in the short time I've been on here. Actually, I really like that. I think that's true. After all, the way I've come to understand it, the Tao encompasses all and can't be defined in any concrete terms. "The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao," and all that. So I think you're right to suppose that it's both constant and inconstant. It can't be categorized, and to try to do so is, possibly, to move further away from the truth of it. Yes, I meant the real laws that the universe follows, not the "laws" as we currently understand them. I know that humanity doesn't understand the universe yet and new things are always being discovered, suggested and then thrown out. I think there's a case for chaos, too, though. Maybe it figures into the ultimate equation, maybe there's no equation, maybe there's no chaos. I dunno. My sure sense of the world always seems to be unraveling. Haha
  11. Taoist Philosophy

    I'll have to check out "Dynamic Tao." I'm intrigued, and a magpie when it comes to books. Thanks for the tip! One question, though: if the "constant" is the Laws of Physics, isn't it kind of a "thing"? Not so much a God-like presence-thing, but a concept-thing, which I would lump into the "thingness" category. I don't think the constant has to have a conscious to be considered a "thing." But then, that may be nitpicking and boils down to semantics, which is completely inarguable because the relationship between words and meaning is never constant. Nonetheless, I had an idea one time (I may have gotten it from somewhere, but don't remember the source) that maybe God (in all its variations--maybe Thing would be better?) is really the perfect, elegant, foundational, yet-undiscovered equation that constitutes Einstein's Theory of Everything; a "presence" in that it's a law that forms the basis of everything in existence, that makes existence possible. That may be a little out there. I dunno. But it was an idea that I thought kind of fit in with the discussion. Oh, and thanks about the "never fear" thing. I just never want to be that person that isn't really adding to the conversation and just tooting her horn to hear her own voice. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better for me to just lurk in the shadows. But then, if I have ideas or questions that haven't come up, who else will address them but me? And if they're not addressed, then I won't learn or grow...
  12. Taoist Philosophy

    I would agree that there's one Tao, but not just one book on it. There have been different interpretations for thousands of years, even among the oldest of texts. I'm under the impression that even the oldest Taoists, Confucians, etc., had different understandings of the Tao (not that similarities don't exist among them, but different applications are evident). Otherwise, what would be the point of having different philosophies? You may only accept one understanding, but that doesn't mean that others don't exist and haven't existed for many, many years. Yes, this is basically true, I think. He wasn't Lao Tzu; he came afterward and was a follower of the principles in the Tao Te Ching. But he had some interesting and valid ideas to contribute, I think, which is why his work is considered an essential part of the Taoist canon by Chinese and non-Chinese people alike. And, as far as I know, his text doesn't conflict with the Tao Te Ching. But I don't know everything; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'll check out the text. Thanks. But I think it's important to note that education doesn't always equal wisdom, nor does nationality. Even the Tao Te Ching states this, which I think is why it values "the uncarved block" and returning to the childlike state over intellectualism. Education can sometimes cloud logic and truth because it often gives a person a false sense of authority and teaches them to reject other ideas, regardless of their validity. It can be a source of flawed pride. I'm not saying that education is worthless or useless; I'd be a hypocrite. I'm just saying that those with degrees shouldn't be the only ones considered fit to approach or discuss truth. As the Tao Te Ching states: "Drop wisdom, abandon cleverness, and the people will be benefited a hundredfold...These three [wisdom/cleverness, humanity/justice, shrewdness/sharpness] are the criss-cross of Tao, and are not sufficient in themselves. Therefore, they should be subordinated to a Higher Principle. See the Simple and embrace the Primal..." (Chapter 19, Wu translation). Simplicity is higher in principle than intellectualism gained by lots of education. I think that's important, though I don't think that willful ignorance is a virtue (or the definition of simplicity), either. Which is why I'm trying to learn by discussing these things on here and reading as many translations as I can and slowly learning to read Chinese. I don't think this is a fair assumption. Innocence is not an embarrassment, and if I'm innocent in the field of Chinese culture (and I'm not entirely), then I'm at least willing to learn. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't. And a willingness to learn is certainly not an embarrassing thing. I've received quite a bit of formal education, actually, as I'm in my last year of graduate school, and I'm smart enough to realize that total education includes learning outside of an academic atmosphere. It includes world experience and reading lots of different things and thinking on one's own and with like-minded people. So I think I'm at least sort of adept at reading and reasoning. Anyway, if you have a greater understanding of Chinese culture and Taoism than I do, I'm more than happy to learn from you. But please don't call me an embarrassment for attempting to learn and understand. That's a waste of a good opportunity.
  13. Taoist Philosophy

    I agree with you about the manifestations of Nature (or Nature itself, depending on the definition) always changing. But then underneath, or behind, or amongst all the layers of creation and change, isn't there a foundation/presence of some kind that is constant? This could be defined as the "processes of Nature" that you mention, or maybe it's even beyond that. The Chuang Tzu refers to "the constant" in Book 2, saying: "No thing is either complete or impaired, but all are made into one again. Only the man of far-reaching vision knows how to make them into one. So he has no use [for categories], but relegates all to the constant" (Burton Watson's Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings, p. 36). I'm aware that various translations choose words with different connotations, so my understanding of "the constant" may be incorrect, the meaning having been lost in translation. I'm handicapped in that, at present, I can only read a few characters of Chinese and therefore have to rely on translations. Then again, several translations say something pretty consistent with Thomas Cleary's following translation of Book 2: "The knowledge of ancient people reached somewhere. Where did it reach? Some thought the ultimate is where nothing has ever existed. This is all--nothing can be added...Therefore the aim of sages is for diffused brilliance: they do not employ it for affirmation, but entrust it to the constant. This is called using clarity" (p. 60 of Vol. 1 of Cleary's Taoist Classics). And I'm thinking that that sense of "the ultimate...where nothing has ever existed" is the constant behind/underneath/among all of the changing things. And that constant could be the Tao, or the processes of the Tao, or the Singularity/chaos referred to earlier. Or, even further, the reality before/beyond Time where nothing existed (exists?)--not even the Singularity, if that's possible. And if everything is the same, "unified," at their most basic, then change would only be a perception. The first chapter of the Tao Te Ching also refers to the constant, as something that cannot be spoken of or named. So there does seem to be a recognition of a constant in Taoist thought; it just can't be defined in any way. I may be reiterating everything you've already said, but with different words; if so, sorry for wasting so much space and I'm glad we agree. If not, though, feel free to persuade me to think otherwise, if you still disagree.