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Ice Ice Baybee!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Spiderman, Jan 22, 2022.

  1. Spiderman

    Spiderman Veteran Member

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    My Dad called two days ago and I was complaining about how God wills that an enormous amount of the world this time of year is subject to ridiculously low temperatures that lead to frostbite and complete misery for many (unless you like to ski :) ) , and then he mentions what he is currently watching on TV was a creature in the ocean that cannot survive without ice.

    I had no clue what he was watching when I was complaining, but it seemed like God's way of telling me to shut up and recognize that what appears to be evil to one creature is a blessing for another.

    Do you ever have moments like that? Care to share?
     
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  2. Spiderman

    Spiderman Veteran Member

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  3. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Sure. A very pronounced example would be my experience with the Tao Te Ching.

    When I was in undergrad art school (many moons ago) I stumbled on a paperback copy of the Tao Te Ching. And as I was an avid reader, I opened it up and began reading it. But by just a few pages in, it was beginning to annoy me, and even make me angry. It seemed like every phrase written was being immediately contradicted by the following phrase. And I felt like it was doing this deliberately, just to confuse the reader and make the reader (me) feel stupid. I read a few more mages and then threw it away. All I saw was just intentionally self-contradictory gibberish.

    Then, about ten years later I found myself going through the difficult process of early recovery for alcoholism. And a recovery program friend of mine gave me a copy of the Tao Te Ching, claiming that it would be very helpful, as it was apparently very helpful to him. I didn't even remember trying to read it before until I started to read it again. But this time it didn't make me angry. It was still confusing, and obviously still inherently contradicting, but somehow I sensed a method in it's 'madness'. And some of the 'poems' even made sense. I knew I was being confronted by a new kind of wisdom ... new to me, anyway. And so I read it all the way through, and perhaps understood about half of what I read.

    Another ten years passed and I had long since lost track of that second copy and forgotten about it. And yet another copy of it came into my possession. (I don't recall, how.) I was happy to see it, and to look into it, again. And surprisingly, this time I was able not only to understand what it was saying, but to even recognize a good bit of humor in many of the 'poems'. I understood that eastern philosophy is based on the consolidation of opposites (yin and yang). Eastern wisdom recognizes that we humans perceive our experience of being via a binary cognitive mechanism. "Here" exists relative to "there"."Up" exists relative to "down". "In" to "out". "Cold" to "hot", and on and on and on. But that reality, existence, "being"; is really holistic. All those opposites we perceive are just a reflection of HOW we humans perceive. Such that to someone who lives in an eastern philosophical paradigm, whenever one aspect of that binary extreme becomes apparent, the mind immediately considers it's opposite. A walk through nature on a fall day would make one think automatically of spring. Because the natural world is both fall AND spring. And like that.

    It just took me 20 years, living in our very binary western (good/bad) philosophical and cultural paradigm, to learn how to think the way the eastern philosophers thought: via the consolidation of opposites. Perceiving the world through the ideal that yin + yang = Tao. The Tao being the whole that is beyond our comprehension. But not beyond our appreciation or participation.

    After 20 years had passed since I first encountered the Tao Te Ching, and had tossed it aside in disgust, I found my self reading this:

    "When a superior man hears of the Tao,
    he immediately begins to embody it.
    When an average man hears of the Tao,
    he half believes it, half doubts it.
    When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
    he laughs out loud.
    If he didn't laugh,
    it wouldn't be the Tao."
    Finally, I understood, and I laughed out loud. :)
     
    #3 PureX, Jan 22, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
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