Marblehead

Mair 17:5

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Master Chuang was fishing in the P'u River.  {{In Shantung province.}}  The king of Ch'u dispatched two high-ranking officials to go before him with this message:  "I wish to encumber you with the administration of my realm."

Without turning around, Master Chuang just kept holding on to his fishing rod and said, "I have heard that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoise that has already been dead for three thousand years.  The king stores it in his ancestral temple inside of a hamper wrapped with cloth.  Do you think this tortoise would rather be dead and have its bones preserved as objects of veneration, or be alive and dragging its tail through the mud?"

"It would rather be alive and dragging its tail through the mud," said the two officials.

"Begone!" said Master Chuang.  "I'd rather be dragging my tail in the mud."
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I understand the position of Chuang tzu from a purely individualistic viewpoint ("What's in it for me?"), but I miss the larger concern for how society is doing. This is where I appreciate Confucius who is actually willing to put himself in danger in trying to improve society, whatever you may think of his way of doing that. 

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58 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

I understand the position of Chuang tzu from a purely individualistic viewpoint ("What's in it for me?"), but I miss the larger concern for how society is doing. This is where I appreciate Confucius who is actually willing to put himself in danger in trying to improve society, whatever you may think of his way of doing that. 

And look what we have come to as a result of all the concern about society.

 

I left society behind in the early 1990s.  I haven't seen any negative effects to society from me doing that but I have seen many positive effect to my life from doing it.  And yes, I have a dirty tail

 

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39 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

And look what we have come to as a result of all the concern about society.

 

I left society behind in the early 1990s.  I haven't seen any negative effects to society from me doing that but I have seen many positive effect to my life from doing it.  And yes, I have a dirty tail

 

That's missing the point. If you or I didn't pay our taxes, didn't vote, didn't participate in politics, didn't do any volunteer work, etc. that wouldn't make a notable difference to society at large. But that doesn't mean society would survive if everybody did only care for his own business. The Taoism of Chuang tzu could still be a personal philosophy for the spiritual elite, but when it's claiming to be viable as a world view for an entire population it looks problematic to me because of the missing social/political dimension.

Edited by wandelaar
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I didn't miss the point.  I ignored it.  Tao doesn't care; the Sage doesn't care; and Marblehead doesn't care.

 

But I do understand your point of view.

 

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20 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I didn't miss the point.  I ignored it.  Tao doesn't care; the Sage doesn't care; and Marblehead doesn't care.

 

But I do understand your point of view.

 

Well, I guess ignoring is also a kind of solution, at least for Marblehead. ;)

 

But does the Sage really don't care? Lao tzu did care (as seen in his political chapters), and the Chuang tzu (if I remember well) sometimes talks of the supposed Golden Age, when all was still well...

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4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

 

Well, I guess ignoring is also a kind of solution, at least for Marblehead. ;)

I can't change society.  Why worry about it?

 

4 hours ago, wandelaar said:

 

But does the Sage really don't care? Lao tzu did care (as seen in his political chapters), and the Chuang tzu (if I remember well) sometimes talks of the supposed Golden Age, when all was still well...

Yes, it must be said that Lao Tzu cared.  He recommended changes.  None of the important ones were implemented.

 

Correct about Chuang Tzu.  But he knew we couldn't return to those imaginary days.  

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Master Chuang refused a job for the government. In Chinese society the hermit, sage, those outside of society were venerated and regarded as the pinnacle of life. Many stories of emperors wanting to hire these people but all refused. To take the job would just never make sense to the sages.

 

The principles of being a sage relates to all things so based on correct internal government it is easy to see proper ways of government in a society.

 

The earth does not care yet cares for all things this is the way of the sage true caring is not preconceived because what self is there to seek benefit. benefit and harm are interrelated.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Marblehead said:

I didn't miss the point.  I ignored it.  Tao doesn't care; the Sage doesn't care; and Marblehead doesn't care.

 

But I do understand your point of view.

 

 

If Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu really didn't care, why did they write those wonderful books?

 

If Marblehead really doesn't care, why does he diligently answer the questions he's asked?

 

;)

Edited by Michael Sternbach

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12 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

If Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu really didn't care, why did they write those wonderful books?

 

If Marblehead really doesn't care, why does he diligently answer the questions he's asked?

 

;)

Define caring.

 

Sure, Lao and Chuang cared and they voiced their opinions.  Marblehead cares so he voices his opinion.  But all three of us realize that we cannot change the flow of Tao.  We present our opinions and then we move on.

 

Why fight a battle that cannot be won?  We just got out of the way so that we wouldn't be destroyed by the process.

 

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Currently reading chapter 24 and there some advice on ruling a country is given....

Edited by wandelaar

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4 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Define caring.

 

Sure, Lao and Chuang cared and they voiced their opinions.  Marblehead cares so he voices his opinion.  But all three of us realize that we cannot change the flow of Tao.  We present our opinions and then we move on.

 

Why fight a battle that cannot be won?  We just got out of the way so that we wouldn't be destroyed by the process.

 

That's already a much more defensible and nuanced position than just ignoring the social/political dimension. ;)

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6 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

 

That's already a much more defensible and nuanced position than just ignoring the social/political dimension. ;)

Well, you know I have never fail to further explain my understands when questioned.

 

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On 6/3/2018 at 7:16 AM, wandelaar said:

 

I understand the position of Chuang tzu from a purely individualistic viewpoint ... but I miss the larger concern for how society is doing.

 

 

I am with you on this point. I am greatly influenced by Daoism personally, through Laozi, Chuangzi and others. And as a personal philosophy I can appreciate the the criticism of the legalist and confucian views. 

 

But I am greatly concerned about our social situation, as well. I am having a hard time seeing how Daoism can play a role in shaping society in a beneficial manner. I am not even sure that a critical mass of Daoist thinking can be achieved. I cruise other forums and see that typically Daoist thought is interpreted nihilistically or as a self-justifying form of anarchy. Wonder if this has always been so. Small wonder Daoists often find the way of the hermit.

 

 

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Well, just don't be expecting me to offer any suggestions as to how to fix society's problems.  I have enough work just dealing with my own.

 

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Fixing society...

Leading people...

 

Those most suited to the job, in my experience, are too wise to accept the position.

 

Sages understand the inherent limitations that prevent one in the job from doing the job as it would need to be done to bring about benefit.

 

Or they realize that they, being one person... do not have the capacity to know what is best for everyone...  or even if they did, the job does not confer ability to create those conditions.

 

Or that no set of conditions, no matter how carefully manipulated by one man, or one administration are going to benefit everyone at all times.

 

Assuming one knows how to 'manipulate nature' so that benefit arises for all involved is a trait of those living in fundamentalist certainties.  It is the realm of dictators and despots, not sages...

 

therefore... i'll keep my tail in the mud is the wisdom of wei wu wei arising and forstalling the interference in the first place...  i.e.  I'll keep fishing thanks.

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