Life is a force that gives us meaning. Monday, Dec 15 2008 

I will begin by stating that the nature and material existence of the world and an individual’s purpose within its limitations are perfectly in-twined. One draws his purpose from his every changing environment – from birth – and another defining element of human nature, usually called “free will.” I will posit this in a largely reduced manner: how are the ideas of seemingly predestined fate and free will to be dealt with by he who questions his nature – by he who asks the question why? This is the issue of philosophy, and, sadly, cannot be appropriately answered to satisfy the minds of many. What we can do is examine the issue from a loftier perspective; perhaps by absolving ourselves and others from the equations of sin, we can arrive at a middling answer that will satisfy this quixotic notion. What can be said of such overt discrepancy? Little makes sense, I’m afraid.

Surely there have been pure believers in both total predestination and total free will. Sure, these ideas are easily thrown aside, but let’s have a quick look, philosophically.

–Predestination: you are born into a world where everything you do leads, faultlessly, to your fate. There is nothing you can do about it, there is simply what happens and this is it. Accept everything as inherently important, because you are like the viewer of a movie in which you are the lead actor, and not the lead actor himself. You were predestined to do what you thought you decided to do. There is no real action, only the observation of what happens perfectly in accordance with the rules of the nature and everything man made.

–Free will: you had free choice over every decision you ever made, including where you were born, how you acted as a child, how the government treats you, your economical status at the moment. Everything is your own personal fault and your own personal victory. You are the unfinished novelist, adding the next words to your novel everyday you live.

These are perversion of what happens to anyone, regardless of circumstance. Imagine predestination, and how large and unindividual it seems to be. There is no self, only the perspective of the self in flux with another group of selves. Why then would a self exist in the first place? Do we as humans have to believe in what lies before our eyes, without a second estimation? Are we merely disillusioned in seeing out of the same pair of eyes every day, waking up to the same world without exit from this bag of skin we call “I”? If there is some divine purpose being filled here, on earth, why can’t I know what it is I must accomplish? There are no questions answers, only answers. This is not the nature of humans. Imagine total free will, and how maliciously individual and frightening the world becomes. All your faults are a direct consequence of your actions. All imperfections you now assess in your present life are of you culpable nature. Humans are naturally culpable, as what they do necessitates immediate, exact repercussion. What separates the repercussions of nature and those of human dissent from perfection? What force can a damn an innocent child to a seemingly inescapable end, much less at their own willful discretion – such as childhood cancer or any other terminal childhood disease? Who would submit themselves to such a thing. Not even the most perfect of humans because they would be hoping for the best of humanity in their actions, which such a seemingly unavoidable death would not transmit to the rest of people waiting for enlightenment.

What can be said? Are we the product of an unavoidable future or are we the producers of our final ends? This question cannot be answered to suit all tastes. There exist black and white views, left and right, positive and negative. What we desire is the middle answer – the answer that answers all answers. Can this ultimatum be applied to all of the sentient race? Yes, but the answer is unreachable for most. The answer is not easy to arrive upon. It’s not particularly hard to accomplish, but it’s also not easy. The medium of these two extremes holds the truth, as with most dualities.

Neither extreme holds the truth. Extremes can expose the truths of their impossibilities, and nothing more. Truth requires no justification in a wise man’s mind. The sad truth is that most men are not wise with this truth. There is no hidden secret in nature; it can be evaluated with scientific precision. There are only secrets in the minds of men. You are your own disillusionment, as true as the workings of man and the workings of nature. We exist as questioners in a seemingly unchangeable nature. Where is the sense in questioning nature? Where is the sense in questioning who we are as individuals? In some way, above the human capacity, there exists the plane of God, which we will never reach with pure thought and discussion.

Life is something to be experienced, something to be lived. Don’t waste your time, as so many have, on the dogmas and minutiae of the world and the individual’s psychology, because nothing will come of it without wasted time. You are the key to the locks you create, you are the answer to all your questions. If each man and women is born into a different circumstance, let each man and women create their own destiny based upon the same thing which you base yours upon. There is no real, quantifiable difference between you and your neighbour, or you and any person living upon this earth. The truth lies in the present; the truth lies in the existence of things as you see them now. How else could the world provide us with realistic meaning? The present is the issue of importance; the truth of nature is the issue of importance. Things exist for certain reasons. Without purpose, the human is useless.

We have an inherent purpose. Which is: to have purpose. We, as humans, have free will, so that we can create this purpose for ourselves. We have control over ourselves, and this is all we will ever need. Our actions will persuade the dissenters. The pure hearted will conquer the evil hearted, as has always happened in the end of things.

What is there to do with your life? Live as if each person you meet is yourself, and act accordingly. How would you like others to treat you? It’s not a matter of whether or not you think you have the power to change the world, it’s a matter of whether or not you have the right mentality to help others in the places in which you faulted.

Please. Exert your ability to act righteously in the face of the world. Please. Exercise your right to be yourself in the face of social pressure. Never give up your heartfelt beliefs – beneath the dogmas, stipulations, and laws – to oppressors. Please. Embody the existence of god in your body. Be all that he is. Rise from your confusions and act as you know you should act. This is the human element, and nothing short of it. Life is a force that gives us, humans, meaning.

Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 8 Excerpt Thursday, Jul 31 2008 

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

Absolutely fantastic passage. Lao Tzu makes some direction here on ways to make life simpler. In particular, I find that being fair and generous in conflict is one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done, as well as being completely present in family life. Even if a few of these ultimatums seem to be unreachable for you, at least make the effort to begin; it’s a never-ending path. When you are satisfied with your self, you’ll never have to look for happiness in anything else.

By.Debbie.Hopkins.
By.Debbie.Hopkins.

Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 68 Excerpt Wednesday, Jul 30 2008 

The best athlete
wants his opponent at his best.
The best general
enters the mind of his enemy.
The best businessman
serves the communal good.
The best leader
follows the will of the people.

All of them embody
the virtue of non-competition.
Not that they don’t love to compete,
but they do it in the spirit of play.
In this they are like children
and in harmony with the Tao.

Children love to play. And, ironically, even though children seem to be wired to play, they’re the best learners in the world. The uninhibited, carefree nature of children, in a way, allows them to absorb their world through the medium of awe. Awe, to me, can be a powerful tool. When you fully sense the sublime organization of the world and accept it, there is only more to seek and little else to fear. Fear is rarely a characteristic attributed to children unless they feel a sense of abandonment–otherwise children generally feel content, and are able to accomplish many things effortlessly.

By.Mr.Tambourine.

By.Mr.Tambourine.

Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 12 Excerpt Tuesday, Jul 29 2008 

Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.

It’s amazing how modern science has portrayed the sense of sight. To Western Civilization, and most scientists, the world can only be accepted when it is seen to be “real.” What we are fast learning is that what we sense is not appearing how we once perceived it to be. On the atomic scale, amounts of what we would call “space” seem to be outstandingly more present than what we would call “stuff.” The amazing thing is, when you take a reductionist approach, that we are primarily just that: “space.” Perhaps this affirms some truth in the statements made by Lao Tzu, which were recorded long before the standardization of the Scientific Method. When you stop being controlled by external judgement and focus on yourself instead, perhaps the world will make even more “sense” than ever before. When we judge ourselves and not others, the world can then fall into place.

By.Luis.Montemayor.

By.Luis.Montemayor.

Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 72 Excerpt Monday, Jul 28 2008 

If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.

Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
chances are that you’ll cut your hand.

This seems to remind me of candles. On the molecular level, the flame is changing so fast it burns our fingers to touch the flame for more than a split-second. The best way to put out a candle, to me, is to eliminate the oxygen that reacts with it. Fire is unlike other “elements,” because it is simply the effect of matter chemically changing in form. Fire is both amazingly beneficial and amazingly destructive.

By.Teon.Harasymiv.

By.Teon.Harasymiv.