Mig

Inequality

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I'm not too familiar with practicing humility or the other treasures, but where can there even be inequality? This whole existence is truly no more significant than a dream. Though seeming to be long, that does not change its dreamlike nature. Then who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed? Like the monsters in a nightmare, or the wealth gained in a dream; neither truly are. Even then, what were horrid deeds in the past are soon erased by time. Equally erased are the great boons pledged to even the mightiest emperors. Soon even traces of this understanding shall erase itself, then even the erasure itself will be gone.

So let those who cry from injustice cry, and let those who smile with their ill gotten prosperity do the same. When all this is akin to a dream, where can there be good and evil? Suffering and prosperity? Merit and demerit? Let the ignorant illuminate this as false, and let the sages steadily know it. Let the animals and humans rest in their sentience, let plants rest in their idleness, and let rocks rest in endless slumber. Let all these things be, and know there be no difference between animals, plants, and objects. For all of these notions can only be compared in imagination, just as the taste of imaginary fruit can only be compared with the advent of imaginary tastes.

Wise men know this fact. They who do not know this, are restless. For even if they attain quietude of the mind by great discipline, they easily lose it to distraction. Believing themselves to be related to gains and loss, they mourn, "Oh I have lost the self!"
 

Lecture aside, it is by my understanding that all three treasures are really just equanimity. For compassion then shines through unconditional love, conservation then exists through all things being, and humility is rooted by the understanding that all things are equal.

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It seems that Daoists through the ages have developed various forms of community and proposed numerous sets of behavioral guidelines and texts on ethical considerations. Thus the importance of ethics in a world of disparities, not the nature but the human construction of our worlds. It seems to be also the central part of Daoist religion on ethics and morality in the creation of a community.

And here I found some notes:
Taoist ethics are concerned less with doing good acts than becoming a good person who lives in harmony with all things and people.
Taoists tend not to initiate action - but wait for events to make action necessary - and avoid letting their own desires and compulsions push them into doing things.
The Taoist ideal is for a person to take action by changing themselves, and thus becoming an example of the good life to others.
But more careful thought suggests that Taoism might not offer happy solutions to the problems of the modern world.

Something to ponder and let see what you wise bums think about this

 

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1 hour ago, Mig said:

But more careful thought suggests that Taoism might not offer happy solutions to the problems of the modern world.

 

I did not know Taoism was supposed to provide happy solutions to the problems of the modern world.  Are there extensive texts on this "careful thought"?  Or was this "careful thought" simply you thinking it?  :)

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1 hour ago, Mig said:

But more careful thought suggests that Taoism might not offer happy solutions to the problems of the modern world.

 

The "problems" of the modern world are no different to Taoists than the "problems" of the ancient world. What you are describing as "problem", Taoists see as "natural". It is not wise to attempt to "solve" nature, so those with power and wisdom will not attempt to solve the "problems" of today. 

 

To me, it sounds like what you are asking for is some specific Taoist dogma. While I'm sure that Taoist dogma exists in many different forms, I'm not entirely sure why you would seek dogma in the first place, and I'm not sure if you'll find the answer you are looking for among dogma. In regards to the answer you are seeking, you have gotten plenty of responses that have the same message, but it doesn't seem that that message is what you are looking for, as you simply ask the same question once again. 

 

I would suggest emptying your mind of preconceived notions, ideals, and desires, and reading the responses of Riversnake, Wu Ming Jen, thelerner, liminal_luke, Freeform, and Mithras once more. All of these fine folks have been saying something that seems to answer your question over and over again, but the message seems to be lost because it is not what you want to hear. 

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6 minutes ago, Paradoxal said:

 

The "problems" of the modern world are no different to Taoists than the "problems" of the ancient world. What you are describing as "problem", Taoists see as "natural". It is not wise to attempt to "solve" nature, so those with power and wisdom will not attempt to solve the "problems" of today. 

 

To me, it sounds like what you are asking for is some specific Taoist dogma. While I'm sure that Taoist dogma exists in many different forms, I'm not entirely sure why you would seek dogma in the first place, and I'm not sure if you'll find the answer you are looking for among dogma. In regards to the answer you are seeking, you have gotten plenty of responses that have the same message, but it doesn't seem that that message is what you are looking for, as you simply ask the same question once again. 

 

I would suggest emptying your mind of preconceived notions, ideals, and desires, and reading the responses of Riversnake, Wu Ming Jen, thelerner, liminal_luke, Freeform, and Mithras once more. All of these fine folks have been saying something that seems to answer your question over and over again, but the message seems to be lost because it is not what you want to hear. 

 

In the beginning I asked to understand what Daoists say and where those thoughts come from. It certainly possible that I don't understand what they say and clearly I am not looking for to hear what I want to hear. The situation we live today is nothing new in human history and I was trying to find out in which text Daoists follow the thought relating to this situation of inequality so I can understand the point of view of those texts or from those who are Daoists.

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3 minutes ago, Mig said:

The situation we live today is nothing new in human history and I was trying to find out in which text Daoists follow the thought relating to this situation of inequality so I can understand the point of view of those texts or from those who are Daoists.

 

I'm not the most "Daoist" person out there, as I've only studied the DDJ shortly, but what I've seen said can be traced directly back to the DDJ. That said, where I believe most of Daoism's value lies is the practices and thought-processes behind those practices. I tend to stick to Daoist-based practices as they feel best for me, so perhaps I could be considered Daoist, but perhaps not. 

 

 

This is the version of the DDJ that I'm most familiar with. Give it a listen while you relax, and you may find the answers you're looking for. 

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6 hours ago, Mig said:

Daoists follow the thought relating to this situation of inequality so I can understand the point of view of those texts or from those who are Daoists.

 

Daoists are not concerned with trying to influence society.

 

They were very much the 'anarchists' of their time - and they rebelled against Confucian ideals which were very much focused on developing a harmonious society (Confucianism may well be what you're looking for)

 

The Daoists assert that to impose any external structure onto people would invariably cause major problems. Even if this external structure was benevolently seeking the best outcome for everyone.

 

Instead of perfecting society, they sought to perfect themselves by dissolving any internal structures and contrivances accumulated through culture, through their experiences and external cosmological factors.

 

When the human spirit is tamed and controlled (even when this control is aimed at making things more equal and fair), it cannot possibly align with Dao. Just as caging a bird and feeding it the best quality grain and offering it warmth and shade and the finest living conditions - it's still imprisoned and cannot express its true nature.

 

The Daoists sought to elevate their functioning to be in line with Dao - not in line with ideology. There was no talk of equality. Even though people have some potential - they don't all strive for achieving their potential - so no, there can not be equality. In fact, there were categories of people. To function in line with Dao, you can't will yourself, or control your actions, live by a moral or eithical code (these were used, but more as a stop-gap to develop the correct inner qualities that would result in transformation). These are all externally imposed structures onto your nature. To live in line with Dao, you must transform yourself by dismantling all these structures - layer by layer, until your true nature shines through (and in some Daoist traditions they took this futher into enlightenment and 'immortality')

 

Along the spectrum of transformation they would talk of categories of attainment:

 

The vulgar people - these were the people absorbed in worldly life - raising animals, growing food, making money eating, drinking, fuucking etc. They are largely blind to the deeper aspects of who they are. They are living in the tamed, controlled circumstances - but they're completely blind to the fact that they're imprisoned.

 

The natural people - these were the ones that realised that there's something more to life... They worked to align themselves with nature. Not focus on loss and gain, status and money - but become intimately in tune with the patterns of nature. These guys were healthy, smart, and with a high degree of self development.

 

The sages - these were the legendary wise people. They had a deep understanding of nature and transformed themselves to the point of touching Dao. They realised their innate nature and acted in accordance to it. Their conduct was often confusing, but they were deeply aligned with the Dao. These were the healers, 'scientists', wise consultants, philosophers, often poets and artists sometimes appeared to be common folk like butchers or beggars...

 

The Zhenren - the enlightened ones. These had transformed themselves a step further. These were the ones that reportedly had magical abilities... laregely lived away from society - or amongst society, but completely hidden. They could see into the cause and effect chains of any events... They were the peak of what's possible for an earthly human.

 

The immortals - fully transformed every part of themselves into their innate nature. There were claims of actual immortality and there were claims of 'spiritual immortality' - where they lived unbounded to the earthly or heavenly realms. They could reincarnate or choose not to. At the moment of death their bodies would disappear into a bright light. They were technically not human any longer - they were more like fully actualised spirits incarnated into a body that's on the verge of being light rather than physical substance.

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34 minutes ago, freeform said:

The Daoists assert that to impose any external structure onto people would invariably cause major problems. Even if this external structure was benevolently seeking the best outcome for everyone.

 

Instead of perfecting society, they sought to perfect themselves by dissolving any internal structures and contrivances accumulated through culture, through their experiences and external cosmological factors.

The entire post was erudite and resonant.

But this in particular resonated as the functional answer to Mig's question as to why imposition of external pressures on society is doomed to failure in eliciting natural dao and why I would agree that it is as you say, a Confucian notion and not Daoist in its likely source.

 

Whom would be capable of perceiving and then deciding and then implementing what external structure would benefit and be best for all?  Benefit to some species is detriment to others. 

 

The war and chaos in my digestive system, fuels my vitality and health on another level.

 

The degree of our myopia in perception of 'social woes' and 'justice' seems the major determining factor in what our emotions then dictate to us as 'proper conduct'.  All are prone to our own storyteller and social programming/conditioning.

 

Confucian methods have always been antithetical to my awareness.  Rigid, externally imposed, unnatural and doomed to fall apart the moment their impetus among human-centric support structures stops being fed continuously.

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22 hours ago, silent thunder said:

this in particular resonated as the functional answer to Mig's question


To be honest I think Mig’s question wasn’t really a question...

 

It was more like a ‘Daoists don’t care about inequality - prove me wrong’

 

Sometimes when I answer, it’s not an answer to that person’s direct line of inquiry, but to the lines of inquiry that spin off the original for other readers. Changing resistant minds is not a fun game. Sharing my perspective to open, inquiring minds is delightful. Hearing other carefully considered, nuanced perspectives (especially when they disagree) is also delightful.

 

Politics is a big hot topic at the moment and I think it’s interesting to see the true perspectives of other cultures and ways of seeing the world.

 

Me personally, I don’t 100% agree with the pure Daoist view. I think that there’s room for taking some political action to move society in a better direction. I think the Confucian approach definitely has some merit - especially to the ‘vulgar’ class of people. I firmly believe that spiritual cultivation is not right for the majority of people. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


But I 100% agree with them that however nuanced my understanding of how societies function, it doesn’t come close to the reality of the matter. I’m well aware that my view is severely limited - and that my own ideologies (I do have them) are not necessarily ‘right’ and will invariably have unintended consequences when applied at the societal level.

 

My political action is simply to voice my opinion, vote and make changes in my behaviour after considering the full picture as best I can. Then I leave it be. As I say - trying to change resistant minds is one of those foolish games that I’m not interested in playing. Getting emotionally involved in opinions, to me, is also the silliest thing imaginable. It invariably creates divisions, narrow mindedness and the sort of ‘self’- idolising drama and wilful ignorance that I find really distasteful.

 

In my opinion it’s never politics that changes society to any great extent - it’s technology.
 

The abolition of slavery is seen as a big win for politics, but in reality it came about when a much ‘cheaper’ and easier form of power became available (oil). 
 

It’s things like metallurgy, medicine, printing press and internet that create big change - politics just plays in the sandpit created by these big society shifters.

 

No wonder that the Daoists were the ‘scientists’ and advisers of their time (rarely the politicians)

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Inequality is a rather modern western concept.  There are teachings in the Asian religions which mentions equality in one way or the other.   But these are never the main directions.   Inequality is still a minor issue today comparing with the more pressing issues in Asia.

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9 hours ago, freeform said:


It was more like a ‘Daoists don’t care about inequality - prove me wrong’

Hmm, not sure I want someone to prove me wrong, it is a simple inquiry about how Daoists act in this kind of situations and in which Daoist text they support their beliefs or explanation as inequality has always existed.

9 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Sometimes when I answer, it’s not an answer to that person’s direct line of inquiry, but to the lines of inquiry that spin off the original for other readers. Changing resistant minds is not a fun game. Sharing my perspective to open, inquiring minds is delightful. Hearing other carefully considered, nuanced perspectives (especially when they disagree) is also delightful.

 

Politics is a big hot topic at the moment and I think it’s interesting to see the true perspectives of other cultures and ways of seeing the world.

 

Me personally, I don’t 100% agree with the pure Daoist view. I think that there’s room for taking some political action to move society in a better direction. I think the Confucian approach definitely has some merit - especially to the ‘vulgar’ class of people. I firmly believe that spiritual cultivation is not right for the majority of people. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


But I 100% agree with them that however nuanced my understanding of how societies function, it doesn’t come close to the reality of the matter. I’m well aware that my view is severely limited - and that my own ideologies (I do have them) are not necessarily ‘right’ and will invariably have unintended consequences when applied at the societal level.

 

My political action is simply to voice my opinion, vote and make changes in my behaviour after considering the full picture as best I can. Then I leave it be. As I say - trying to change resistant minds is one of those foolish games that I’m not interested in playing. Getting emotionally involved in opinions, to me, is also the silliest thing imaginable. It invariably creates divisions, narrow mindedness and the sort of ‘self’- idolising drama and wilful ignorance that I find really distasteful.

 

In my opinion it’s never politics that changes society to any great extent - it’s technology.
 

The abolition of slavery is seen as a big win for politics, but in reality it came about when a much ‘cheaper’ and easier form of power became available (oil). 
 

It’s things like metallurgy, medicine, printing press and internet that create big change - politics just plays in the sandpit created by these big society shifters.

 

No wonder that the Daoists were the ‘scientists’ and advisers of their time (rarely the politicians)

 

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7 hours ago, Master Logray said:

Inequality is a rather modern western concept.  There are teachings in the Asian religions which mentions equality in one way or the other.   But these are never the main directions.   Inequality is still a minor issue today comparing with the more pressing issues in Asia.

Inequality as a modern concept? If we read Chinese history, isn't inequality all over both socially or economically, it is a fact of life and I am trying to tackle from different angles to understand the Daoists texts.

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13 hours ago, freeform said:


To be honest I think Mig’s question wasn’t really a question...

 

It was more like a ‘Daoists don’t care about inequality - prove me wrong’

 

 

3 hours ago, Mig said:

Hmm, not sure I want someone to prove me wrong, it is a simple inquiry about how Daoists act in this kind of situations and in which Daoist text they support their beliefs or explanation as inequality has always existed.

 

 

I don´t buy the "simple inquiry" tack, Mig.  I do think that this thread goes to a very common critique that politically active people often make of those whose central focus is spiritual development: how does all that navel-gazing benefit anybody but yourselves?  As a committed navel-gazer, I consider my various practices to be the most important thing I could possibly be doing in life, but this opinion is not universally shared among my friends and family. Some believe that with all that´s wrong in the world I might find something better to do than bizarre spontaneous movement practices.  And there was that memorable afternoon at the beach where I spent hours doing self-marma massage in our rental cabin followed by a long spell in the fetal position.  I caught hell for that one.   

Edited by liminal_luke
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The Dao considers us ceremonial straw dogs.  The rain falls equally on all.  I think that we're talking on two different dimensions, trying to merge the light with the physical.

 

As I see it, in order to get into Consciousness, one stills the mind and transcends the physical.  Into the metaphysical.  It is from this perspective that we realize the oneness, the connection of all form, seen or unseen.  If one sees that everything is part of everything else, the concept of inequality isn't pertinent.  Misfortune (which probably isn't misfortune at all) and fortune become one and the same.  Our inner Self is aware at all times that that is our true essence has nothing to do with our bodies, our appearances, our life stories.  It's always Just Fine.  And it will always be Just Fine.  That, we can count on.

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14 hours ago, Mig said:

Inequality as a modern concept? If we read Chinese history, isn't inequality all over both socially or economically, it is a fact of life and I am trying to tackle from different angles to understand the Daoists texts.


Inequality is everywhere in every part of nature. The idea that that’s wrong and that we need to make inequality equal - that’s a modern concept.

 

Politically it’s been the apparent driver for a number of pretty brutal dictatorships from Stalin to Pol Pot.

 

14 hours ago, Mig said:

it is a simple inquiry about how Daoists act in this kind of situations


How do you act in this sort of situation?

 

14 hours ago, Mig said:

which Daoist text they support their beliefs or explanation


Daoism is not like Christianity - while there are classical texts, they are not used as the focal point of truth like the bible is. The idea in Daoism is to transform yourself so that you discover the truth within yourself - not in an external source.

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17 hours ago, Mig said:

Inequality as a modern concept? If we read Chinese history, isn't inequality all over both socially or economically, it is a fact of life and I am trying to tackle from different angles to understand the Daoists texts.

 

In the old days, no one cared much about inequality.   Perhaps it was culture.

 

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I recall for decades being obsessed with the concept of balance.  Live a balanced Life.  To become awakened balance was the key.  In all activities, habits, passtimes, spiritual pursuits, hobbies, emotional states, thinking process, job sites... strive for balance I would tell myself.  It's a noble idea, one my logical thinking mind devoted itself wholly to for years and years.  It could be seemingly applied to all aspects of life, even philosophy and politics... but one that was based on illusory, human-centric assumptions and eventually was revealed as such. 

 

I recall one day, the revelation arising seemingly spontaneously one moment (after years of work, prep and re-conditioning) that never in nature has there ever been actual balance.  That in all my time hiking and living I had never once perceived anything in complete balance.

 

Nature was always in a state of moving toward balance, without ever being truly balanced.  Nature, while always balancing, it had never come to rest in true balance, for that would be static and Nature is flow and motion.

 

What happens when I balance a pencil on my finger?  It comes to rest and stops.  Relative to itself it's balanced at that moment, yet is it truly balanced?

 

Nature never stops.  So where was this balance in Nature I kept trying to emulate in my inner life?  As without, so within?  In that moment I realized that wei wu wei had another level for me to work with... and it related to relative balance and the act of ever balancing without coming to stagnancy.  A state of perpetual motion in the direction of balance, without ever being it.

 

Sure to my human eye and my human sensibilities, things around me, (trees, stones) may seem to be stagnant, unmoving, even balanced "for a time", but all of Nature follows Dao and Dao moves like a bellows.  There is always motion in Nature, only my level of perception is prone to the illusion that some things are unchanging and sedentary. 

 

If nature was ever truly balanced, and utterly equal, motion would cease, growth would cease, decay could not happen.  For there to ever be manifest balance life would need to cease, the push and pull of all unified polarities, gravity would need to cease and this would be wholly and utterly unnatural.

 

So then, I moved toward a notion of 'relative balance'.  A modification of wei wu wei came to mind.  A life that was always balancing, while never in full, actual static balance.

 

Like the way walking is the process of a controlled fall forward.

 

Or more akin to a dance.  Where intention and response to partner and conditions results in motion and controlled falling that is always motion toward balancing, while never quite resting in perfected balance.

 

Equality and Inequality arise as concepts in human mind.  Dependent on the forces of assumptions planted there by family and social influences.  To live long and thrive, emulate nature, which emulates dao. 

 

I no longer strive for balance.  It's more akin to a dance where "i" respond to the conditions of life and while ever in the process of balancing, am never actually balanced.

 

Lately, it's not even relative balance I seek, but an openness. 

A subtle responsiveness and awareness of flowing conditions that when "i" am tuned to, can dance with in a manner that almost feels effortless.  Action without Forcing is my preferred translation of wei wu wei. 

 

It's not balance "i" seek any longer.  But a responsiveness to the conditions of dao expressed through nature.

 

 

All motion arises from, pivots about and returns to a point of stillness.  Yet never am I truly still... always my body, my planet, my solar system, galaxy... motion response and flow. 

 

Now if I 'strive' for anything... it's to be a subtle responsive dance partner to the conditions of life, of which I am seemingly an intrinsic co-expression of...

 

 

Edited by silent thunder
tacked a thought on the end.
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On 10/17/2020 at 12:59 PM, Mig said:

Hmm, not sure I want someone to prove me wrong,

 

Only you know what ideas are natural to you and what aren't. The idea that we've somehow completely strayed away from our nature and need to find it again through idiotic justification is false. This varies from person to person. Do you really believe you're wrong in seeing what you're seeing. Keep asking others to change your point of view, and eventually they will. Only the numb cannot identify that which is in their nature and recreate it through false philosophies. Also, if you believe everyone's nature is the same that's incorrect. Your nature isn't necessarily derived from your physical existence, it goes much deeper. Your nature may very well be different than the nature of those whom you ask. There is a duality going on, and everyone is here for a different reason. If you're looking to be wrong, you will certainly be at some point. Anything can be justified through the mind and that's why truth doesn't exist in it. When you listen to the ideas of others do you really believe there is something deeper that's being used other than the mind? To me, it is very mind driven. Everything they feel is mind driven, so therefore it's all mind. Life's really fucking simple. It's people's minds that complicate and convolute truth.

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On 10/18/2020 at 6:31 AM, silent thunder said:

Now if I 'strive' for anything... it's to be a subtle responsive dance partner to the conditions of life, of which I am seemingly an intrinsic co-expression of...

 

 

 

What a beautiful post, Creighton.

 

At this point in my life, I don't worry about balance either.  When you know what you actually are, you are perfectly balanced within.  You are a part of everything and everything is part of you, there is a sense of being 'settled' and content.  We can act, react, or not-do according to our wishes.  Personally, it has taken over 40 years to get here.  And such a big part of it is to have control over our thoughts.  We can choose to run with a thought or dismiss it.  We are courageous and often do what others will not. 

 

No longer straddled with the monkey mind, the balance issue is almost moot.

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Here is an example of a so common case that is much prevalent in this world today, view of what happens when inequality shows:

 

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