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Daoism and Justice

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I am curious to know how Daoism deals with justice and injustice, say for example injustice cases as against child abuse, those who are victims because of they become the prey of those who are stronger, richer or meaner. I understand that in some cases a Daoist practitioner would not contend or argue but not sure if you he/she will do something to help others in order to do something about injustice. Let me know if I am clear.

 

Thanks,

 

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2 hours ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

In Daoism there is also the idea is De or Te, which is related to virtue, morality, righteousness, and so on. If there is an injustice, then it will be harmonized into non existence. In terms of personal ethics, it would be a matter of xinxing---moral character. If you are witness to such an abuse, it would be a defect of xinxing* and a deficit of Te to let it go on. 

 

*which is related to xin and xing---xin being a disposition/habituated tendency and xing related to essential nature/the heart of a person. Basically, participating in injustice or letting it go on would imply a defect of a person's spirit/soul.

Interesting approach and it makes sense regarding "De". I keep reading that one of the observations is that Daoist won't interfere or fight to avoid contention or arguments. Indeed, there are times that as much as we criticize or fight for someone there is not much control as long as we have power. What makes me think that in Chinese history there had battles for power or survival and someone had to fight. Big eared Du, gangster boss from the crime syndicate in the 20's and 30's was accused of wiping thousand of communists to help Chiang Kai-shek. At the end there were those who fled, didn't do anything and those who fought and finally got rid of a ruthless mafia. This is where I have difficulties in understanding how a Daoist would say oh well it is not my business so I return to my den and enjoy what I have. As for xinxing I just found: To be a falun gong practitioner, you must upgrade your xin xing which means mind-nature or moral character. Is that what you are referring to? Or where does xinxing comes from?

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I still stand by the concept that if there is nothing we can do about it we should let it go.  However, if there is something we can do about it then we should do what needs be done.

 

And this, of course, requires us to know our self, as well as our capabilities and capacities.

 

 

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I'd also like to add, it isn't the business of someone to intervene necessarily IF they don't know the true nature of the conflict. If they get to the party late, it cannot be virtuous to get involved with something when blind. The objectivity of the situation will be broken, thus making the judgement of the Taoist void.

 

You can also be manipulated by media and campaigns to make you believe that something is wrong and should be dealt with.

 

By the time you sit and observe and get all the facts, most of the time you'll find that you've wasted energy even delving so much. That, or the issue has gone away of its own accord.

 

Finally, it is said, that when you need to take action, you will know. There will be no other choice.

Edited by Rara
My mind to finger connection is out today. It was for the better to edit, otherwise you may have read some things a but wrong.
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6 hours ago, Marblehead said:

I still stand by the concept that if there is nothing we can do about it we should let it go.  However, if there is something we can do about it then we should do what needs be done.

 

And this, of course, requires us to know our self, as well as our capabilities and capacities.

 

 

 

But don't you live in a society where each of us has some responsibility. There is a fine line to draw where we can do something about it. Maybe you can give us examples of practical life both personal and social situations.

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3 hours ago, Mig said:

 

But don't you live in a society where each of us has some responsibility. There is a fine line to draw where we can do something about it. Maybe you can give us examples of practical life both personal and social situations.

Sure.  I have the responsibility to respect the rights of others as long as they are lawful.

 

I do not have the responsibility of respecting someone who is trying to steal my car.

 

In the first case there is nothing to be done.  In the second case I will take some kind of action to prevent the theft.  

 

Do I try to save a child that is about to be hit by a speeding car?  Of course I do.

 

Do I try to stop the speeding car.  Sorry, I'm not Superman. 

 

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2 hours ago, Marblehead said:

Sure.  I have the responsibility to respect the rights of others as long as they are lawful.

 

I do not have the responsibility of respecting someone who is trying to steal my car.

 

In the first case there is nothing to be done.  In the second case I will take some kind of action to prevent the theft.  

 

Do I try to save a child that is about to be hit by a speeding car?  Of course I do.

 

Do I try to stop the speeding car.  Sorry, I'm not Superman. 

 

 

Good examples and thank you, so far it seems common sense for most of humans I will assume. Then the problem I am having in understanding what's the position of Daoism more specifically the DDJ if it is in a chapter about make justice or fight injustice. To be specific, if we know there is fraud in a community election, some people won't do anything because they may not care, some others won't do anything because of politics, some others won't say anything in fear of retaliation and there are those who will fight and others will follow because they agree the election was rigged. Where does it stand a Daoist practitioner in this kind of situation? What part of the DDJ says to do or not to do?

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26 minutes ago, Mig said:

 

Where does it stand a Daoist practitioner in this kind of situation?

 

What part of the DDJ says to do or not to do?

Excellent questions both.

 

Chapter 2, Line 10. Therefore the Sage dwells in nonactive affairs and practices the wordless teaching.   Speaking to avoiding dualities.)

 

Chapter 7, Lines

5.  Therefore the Sage:
6.  Puts himself in the background yet finds himself in the foreground;
7.  Puts self-concern out of [his mind], yet finds self-concern in the fore;
8.  Puts self-concern out of [his mind], yet finds that his self-concern is preserved. 
9.  Is it not because he has no self-interest,
10.  That he is therefore able to realize his self-interest?

 

Entire Chapter 8 (non-competing)

 

Chapter 9, Line 9.  When the deed is accomplished you retire;

 

Chapter 10, Line 9.  Help them to grow but don't rule them. 

 

 

Should I go on?

 

 

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On 1/19/2018 at 8:45 PM, Mig said:

I am curious to know how Daoism deals with justice and injustice, say for example injustice cases as against child abuse, those who are victims because of they become the prey of those who are stronger, richer or meaner. I understand that in some cases a Daoist practitioner would not contend or argue but not sure if you he/she will do something to help others in order to do something about injustice. Let me know if I am clear.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Are Taoists just when injustices happen?

 

Is the Tao just when injustices happen?

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26 minutes ago, rainbowvein said:

 

Are Taoists just when injustices happen?

 

Is the Tao just when injustices happen?

 

Good questions. If I look at history, or even recent history, those who were Daoists, during the Qing dynasty, after the republic and during the cultural revolution, suffered one way or another: destruction of temples, being banned, some may have been killed, etc. Today is a different story even though we live in a world where we know better, we are informed better with sensationalist, fact and fake news. And still we know that poverty exists, drugs, racism exist, segregation exist, money prevails, internal conflicts in countries in search of power and following other powerful countries interests, etc. Where is the Dao when injustices happen? What Daoist practitioners do if you are part of those situations or conflicts?

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Something to think about the monk comments. The westerner seems he was not able to ask questions, maybe linguistic barriers who knows

 

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On 22/01/2018 at 6:19 PM, Mig said:

 

Good questions. If I look at history, or even recent history, those who were Daoists, during the Qing dynasty, after the republic and during the cultural revolution, suffered one way or another: destruction of temples, being banned, some may have been killed, etc. Today is a different story even though we live in a world where we know better, we are informed better with sensationalist, fact and fake news. And still we know that poverty exists, drugs, racism exist, segregation exist, money prevails, internal conflicts in countries in search of power and following other powerful countries interests, etc. Where is the Dao when injustices happen? What Daoist practitioners do if you are part of those situations or conflicts?

 

I would say we should be differentiating between "Dao" and "Daoist".

 

Where is the "Dao" when injustices happen? Everywhere. But the Dao doesn't stop them, how can it? That would be dictating nature, as opposed to letting it be.

 

Alas, this means that injustices are present. But we learn that those who stray from the Dao, cause and suffer the injustices.

 

Now, the Daoist recognises this and therefore works on him or herself so that there is not need to be involved with something as petty as, say, causing direct and uneccesary (those two words are very important) harm.

 

By imitating the Dao as closely as possible, the Daoist may be able to avoid conflict for the best part, not all, of their lives. Wouldn't it be nice for others to follow the perfect Daoist's lead? Sure, but the person has to want to. The person has to want to be peaceful and live in harmony. But people don't want to. They want to fight and wear themselves out and others into the grave. That's up to them...

Edited by Rara
I missed a word. I'm getting better though!
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On 23/01/2018 at 6:43 AM, Mig said:

Something to think about the monk comments. The westerner seems he was not able to ask questions, maybe linguistic barriers who knows

 

 

Yes, I posted this in another thread a couple of years ago. The Bee Taoist sets a lovely example. Perhaps too much of an idealist, but the messages are wonderful either way.

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9 hours ago, Rara said:

 

I would say we should be differentiating between "Dao" and "Daoist".

 

Where is the "Dao" when injustices happen? Everywhere. But the Dao doesn't stop them, how can it? That would be dictating nature, as opposed to letting it be.

 

Alas, this means that injustices are present. But we learn that those who stray from the Dao, cause and suffer the injustices.

 

Now, the Daoist recognises this and therefore works on him or herself so that there is not need to be involved with something as petty as, say, causing direct and uneccesary (those two words are very important) harm.

 

By imitating the Dao as closely as possible, the Daoist may be able to avoid conflict for the best part, not all, of their lives. Wouldn't it be nice for others to follow the perfect Daoist's lead? Sure, but the person has to want to. The person has to want to be peaceful and live in harmony. But people don't want to. They want to fight and wear themselves out and others into the grave. That's up to them...

 

could you give some examples in imitating the Dao?

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To me, Taoism is about about skillful means.  In conflict there is fighting, getting out of the way, building stronger defenses, taking away weapons, waiting & investigating deeper.. myriad.    A master recognizes the infinite possibilities and moves in the direction of what is proper.  He understands the possibilities beyond fight, flight or ignore. 

 

sometimes making a cup of tea, stops the war. 

 

 

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On 1/24/2018 at 2:43 AM, Rara said:

 

I would say we should be differentiating between "Dao" and "Daoist".

 

Where is the "Dao" when injustices happen? Everywhere. But the Dao doesn't stop them, how can it? That would be dictating nature, as opposed to letting it be.

 

Alas, this means that injustices are present. But we learn that those who stray from the Dao, cause and suffer the injustices.

 

Now, the Daoist recognises this and therefore works on him or herself so that there is not need to be involved with something as petty as, say, causing direct and uneccesary (those two words are very important) harm.

 

By imitating the Dao as closely as possible, the Daoist may be able to avoid conflict for the best part, not all, of their lives. Wouldn't it be nice for others to follow the perfect Daoist's lead? Sure, but the person has to want to. The person has to want to be peaceful and live in harmony. But people don't want to. They want to fight and wear themselves out and others into the grave. That's up to them...

 

Isn't Dao=nature and Daoist=human? Are injustices created by humans for humans and animals? Or could you give me examples of injustices? Correct me if I am wrong, I have the impression that Daoists are always where wealth prevails not necessarily where people struggle day after day.

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23 hours ago, Mig said:

 

could you give some examples in imitating the Dao?

 

Hi Mig,

 

Sorry, I see you've been giving this some thought over the last day. Been a bit busy but I'll begin with this and move on to your next question when I can :)

 

Examples of imitiating the Dao, ok. Not directly related, but bear with me as I think that is a separate question that makes up more of a bigger picture in your OP.

 

My example is kind of in my 2nd paragraph but I'll try an explain it a bit more pragmatically...

 

If we observe nature, we see everything for what it is. The sun rises in the morning, it sets in the evening etc;

 

Based on circumstance, water can sit still as a lake, or it will come crashing down with gravity as a waterfall. Animals will eat other animals. One day, death will take us naturally at a specific time, unless we choose to harm ourselves to the point of getting a terminal disease etc etc.

 

Can you tell me which out of any of these are the preferred things in life?

 

That's not a trick question. Of course, the lake is lovely with its peacefulness. A state of harmony, if you will. Yet is the water to be pitied if it falls over the rocks and creates high impact and as it falls down? Is the water aggressive or angry? The water is merely acting from its circumstance, with no fear of who it may harm with its ferociousness. Is it bothered by its call to action to experience something a little "rougher"?

 

Animals eat other animals. Are we bad if we eat animals? If we were dying of hunger and needed to survive by eating bugs in the forest for ptotein, would a vegan activist have a "moral" ground to argue against your natural need? Some might say it's an injustice to animals to eat meat. But who defines injustice here?

 

My aunty passed away just before Christmas, aged 90, in her sleep. A few weeks later, a friend's wife was rushed into A&E with a burst abscess that caused an infection. She was obese and the surgeons struggled to operate. She passed away two days later, age 35. Subjectively, when my friend said she was a good soul and didn't deserve to go, fair enough. Did Dao see it this way? Did Dao save? Did it judge? Is "deserve" even a factor here...suddenly, it seems like a made up word.

 

I love my friend, but if the surgeon did all that he could, we have to look at this case objectively and understand why this unfortunate situation happened. I'm sure the surgeon understands more than we do! Notice how my aunty needed very little to be said in this section?

 

The above scenarios may not directly relate to your own circumstances or injustices that you have witnessed, but I hope you can understand how the underlying attitude (or lack of) of the Dao doesn't actually engage with the concept of injustice.

 

Now, more directly to the point, I did say how those that stray from the Dao cause these injustices. To put things bluntly, if you are a dictator and choose to bully countries with nukes, there will be a backlash. People might be oppressed in these states, but a decision to NOT intervene, knowing their own limitations, could save their lives. Their cultivation through meditation and living a Daoist life cannot bring any more heat to an already heated situation.

 

So, the calm lake will still move but with slow-motions. Think Tai Chi long forms. But it doesn't deny that there will be moments of chaos. Think Tai Chi fast forms - still as skilled and calm as the other, but recognises there will SOMETIMES be a time when we have to fight and up the intensity. I capitalise the word "SOMETIMES", because 9 times out of 10, I learn that situations never really escalate to the point where I need to. Don't waste energy - conserve it for when you really need to take that battle.

 

A daoist will live, balancing wall that separates chaos and order. This way, they don't buy into the hype and hysteria that the world tries to throw at them.

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2 hours ago, Mig said:

 

Isn't Dao=nature and Daoist=human? Are injustices created by humans for humans and animals? Or could you give me examples of injustices? Correct me if I am wrong, I have the impression that Daoists are always where wealth prevails not necessarily where people struggle day after day.

 

I can answer this quickly as I just realised that I've covered most of this above.

 

Why do you think that Daoists are where wealth prevails? Unless I've misunderstood your question, to the best of my knowledge, Lao Tzu's message was to strip the wealth. Chuang Tzu seems to me to have been an anarchist living in an appartment (metaphorically speaking) and Leih Tzu may even have been a peasant.

 

Not to mention the social situation of China's people vs authorities back in the day.

 

But if you're talking modern-day, yes, I see how there is an easy way to be a Daoist in our more liberal cultures, especially here in England where you can pretty much be anything. Even when you have no money, you still have more than a lot of people do overseas!

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On 1/19/2018 at 6:37 PM, Apeiron&Peiron said:

In Daoism there is also the idea is De or Te, which is related to virtue, morality, righteousness, and so on. If there is an injustice, then it will be harmonized into non existence. In terms of personal ethics, it would be a matter of xinxing---moral character. If you are witness to such an abuse, it would be a defect of xinxing* and a deficit of Te to let it go on. 

 

*which is related to xin and xing---xin being a disposition/habituated tendency and xing related to essential nature/the heart of a person. Basically, participating in injustice or letting it go on would imply a defect of a person's spirit/soul.

 

Just forgot to ask how de¬† Śĺ∑ is related to Áĺ©: Righteousness , Śĺ∑ morality,virtue. I had the impression Śĺ∑ was an inheriting power or moral excellence. Or the other meaning as in¬†Zhuangzi 5: ‚ÄúDe is maintenance/cultivation of complete (inner) harmony‚ÄĚ (Śĺ∑ŤÄÖśąźŚíĆšĻ荥©šĻü).

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On 1/25/2018 at 0:41 PM, Rara said:

 

Hi Mig,

 

Sorry, I see you've been giving this some thought over the last day. Been a bit busy but I'll begin with this and move on to your next question when I can :)

 

Examples of imitiating the Dao, ok. Not directly related, but bear with me as I think that is a separate question that makes up more of a bigger picture in your OP.

 

My example is kind of in my 2nd paragraph but I'll try an explain it a bit more pragmatically...

 

If we observe nature, we see everything for what it is. The sun rises in the morning, it sets in the evening etc;

 

Based on circumstance, water can sit still as a lake, or it will come crashing down with gravity as a waterfall. Animals will eat other animals. One day, death will take us naturally at a specific time, unless we choose to harm ourselves to the point of getting a terminal disease etc etc.

 

Can you tell me which out of any of these are the preferred things in life?

 

That's not a trick question. Of course, the lake is lovely with its peacefulness. A state of harmony, if you will. Yet is the water to be pitied if it falls over the rocks and creates high impact and as it falls down? Is the water aggressive or angry? The water is merely acting from its circumstance, with no fear of who it may harm with its ferociousness. Is it bothered by its call to action to experience something a little "rougher"?

 

Animals eat other animals. Are we bad if we eat animals? If we were dying of hunger and needed to survive by eating bugs in the forest for ptotein, would a vegan activist have a "moral" ground to argue against your natural need? Some might say it's an injustice to animals to eat meat. But who defines injustice here?

 

My aunty passed away just before Christmas, aged 90, in her sleep. A few weeks later, a friend's wife was rushed into A&E with a burst abscess that caused an infection. She was obese and the surgeons struggled to operate. She passed away two days later, age 35. Subjectively, when my friend said she was a good soul and didn't deserve to go, fair enough. Did Dao see it this way? Did Dao save? Did it judge? Is "deserve" even a factor here...suddenly, it seems like a made up word.

 

I love my friend, but if the surgeon did all that he could, we have to look at this case objectively and understand why this unfortunate situation happened. I'm sure the surgeon understands more than we do! Notice how my aunty needed very little to be said in this section?

 

The above scenarios may not directly relate to your own circumstances or injustices that you have witnessed, but I hope you can understand how the underlying attitude (or lack of) of the Dao doesn't actually engage with the concept of injustice.

 

Now, more directly to the point, I did say how those that stray from the Dao cause these injustices. To put things bluntly, if you are a dictator and choose to bully countries with nukes, there will be a backlash. People might be oppressed in these states, but a decision to NOT intervene, knowing their own limitations, could save their lives. Their cultivation through meditation and living a Daoist life cannot bring any more heat to an already heated situation.

 

So, the calm lake will still move but with slow-motions. Think Tai Chi long forms. But it doesn't deny that there will be moments of chaos. Think Tai Chi fast forms - still as skilled and calm as the other, but recognises there will SOMETIMES be a time when we have to fight and up the intensity. I capitalise the word "SOMETIMES", because 9 times out of 10, I learn that situations never really escalate to the point where I need to. Don't waste energy - conserve it for when you really need to take that battle.

 

A daoist will live, balancing wall that separates chaos and order. This way, they don't buy into the hype and hysteria that the world tries to throw at them.

 

Briefly, I see nature as a constant battle for survival just like when I eat something I can only imagine what happens to food and nutrients in my stomach. Even at the neutron level, I can see there is constant battle. So seeing nature as peaceful or calm, it is not my perception, I see both sides and what brings me tranquility. Now in terms of social justice and what I can contribute to society, I am opposed to drugs (all of those that people become dependent of), sexual harassment, child abuse, racism, among many where my voice can be heard.

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4 hours ago, Mig said:

 

Briefly, I see nature as a constant battle for survival just like when I eat something I can only imagine what happens to food and nutrients in my stomach. Even at the neutron level, I can see there is constant battle. So seeing nature as peaceful or calm, it is not my perception, I see both sides and what brings me tranquility. Now in terms of social justice and what I can contribute to society, I am opposed to drugs (all of those that people become dependent of), sexual harassment, child abuse, racism, among many where my voice can be heard.

 

Sure, hence what I said about animals eating animals, survival etc. "Nature" has its way and we cannot control that.

 

All things present within the Dao.

 

What you're talking about with social justice (and those who you labelled) are those who I say "stray from the Dao". They're within it, but they simply aren't practicing its principles.

 

You might like a book called The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris. You may be familiar with him, a neuroscientist/philosopher. Not Daoist but very familiar with its principles and I relate a lot of his blunt observations to some Daoist ones. To paraphrase, he says that if we put religous traditions to one side, the human race generally agree that suffering is not good, and therefore we should try to avoid inflicting it. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

 

Sometimes it cannot be helped, but it's not our way to go out and seek to cause damage.

 

The question is, does fighting it serve a purpose? How is the war on drugs going? Or would good education and abstaining from bad influences be a more fitting strategy?

 

And that's what it comes down to. The daoist has a strategy...choosing the path of least resistence. The same way that nature does, without effort, the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening...

Edited by Rara
I always gots more to say
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9 hours ago, Rara said:

 

Sure, hence what I said about animals eating animals, survival etc. "Nature" has its way and we cannot control that.

 

All things present within the Dao.

 

What you're talking about with social justice (and those who you labelled) are those who I say "stray from the Dao". They're within it, but they simply aren't practicing its principles.

 

You might like a book called The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris. You may be familiar with him, a neuroscientist/philosopher. Not Daoist but very familiar with its principles and I relate a lot of his blunt observations to some Daoist ones. To paraphrase, he says that if we put religous traditions to one side, the human race generally agree that suffering is not good, and therefore we should try to avoid inflicting it. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

 

Sometimes it cannot be helped, but it's not our way to go out and seek to cause damage.

 

The question is, does fighting it serve a purpose? How is the war on drugs going? Or would good education and abstaining from bad influences be a more fitting strategy?

 

And that's what it comes down to. The daoist has a strategy...choosing the path of least resistence. The same way that nature does, without effort, the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening...

 

Thank you Rara, great input and need time to digest and understand your responses. And thank you for the book, just found a copy online and one more book to read

https://skepdic.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The_Moral_Landscape__How_Science_Can_Determine_Human_Values.pdf

 

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1 hour ago, Mig said:

 

Thank you Rara, great input and need time to digest and understand your responses. And thank you for the book, just found a copy online and one more book to read

https://skepdic.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The_Moral_Landscape__How_Science_Can_Determine_Human_Values.pdf

 

 

No way! Nice find :) Yes, it's a good read. My main issue with the guy is that his solutions are a little freaky for my liking. If he had the power, I hate to think what lab experiments he would sign off for humans to have morality engineered into them.

 

No problem, yes the Daoist way is an everlong journey. I've been practicing for around 10 years now and it's taken that long for me to get to this understanding on this topic. I am engaged with this thread because these are things I were writing about on this forum a few years ago and I struggled for years.

 

But I'm sure there is much more that I'm missing as well. Keep me posted on things. Feel free to DM me if you get stuck with anything in particular or fancy debating some ideas.

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