Spirituality

Last of the American Boys

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He is self-assured

A cool man headed into Adventure

He won’t turn back now

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He wears his cuts n’ scrapes

Like a badge of Tested Mettle

He is hitchin’ a ride

Like a smilin’ thumb on the Road

He left his stuff behind

While givin’ the Dow Jones the finger

He makes enough to survive

As he’s movin’ from place to place

 

Like a Navigator at the

Heart of the Expedition

He is one of a kind

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He plays his ole’ six string

Singin’ songs of the open highway

He is a sucker for

All the mountains he has yet to climb

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

 

Like an Indiana Jones

Off on another crazy Adventure

He just can’t stay home

He’s the last of the American Boys

 

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

And we need him to Live

Cause, he’s the Last of the American Boys.

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Categories: Blogging, Character Development, Fear, philosophy, Poetry, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vagrant Story Episode 3: Drinking, Painting, and Money. Can the Lawyer be trusted?

When Bryan awoke the following morning he had a slight hangover. Nothin’ he ain’t dealt with before, he was a sailor, so he knows how to drink. Making a quick breakfast of oatmeal and Earl Gray tea, Bryan thought back to a thought he had last night amidst the inebriated pool game. Get a tattoo, Bryan mused to himself. I think it’s time to get my Compass.

Bryan had long wanted to get a compass tattoo on his left forearm Continue reading

Categories: Blogging, Business, Camping, Character Development, philosophy, Self-improvement, Spirituality, Taoism, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vagrant Story Episode 2: Preachers, Guns, and the Venomous Great Escape from Hell?

Leaving the Citgo station our favorite Nomad resumes walking on the southbound road. He decides that he really just wants to walk for a while. The weight of his rucksack starts digging into his hips, pressing thin, hard metal carabineers into his soft, squishy skin. Bryan knows that this is happening because he refuses to adjust his bags. You see, Einstein thought it might be a brilliant idea to wear a belt under a belt attached to a belt. Huh? Continue reading

Categories: Blogging, Camping, Character Development, Health, Leadership, philosophy, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vagrant Story Episode 1: Wanna play with a Mountain Lion?

In the words of Cowboy Beebop…

“I think it’s time to blow this scene.

Get everybody and the stuff together…

OK. 3. 2. 1. Let’s Jam.”

Ladies and Germs… it begins. (And is written in the narrative third person for fun.)

After being dropped off at a truck stop in Mortons Gap KY, Continue reading

Categories: Blogging, Camping, Character Development, Equipment, Fear, Gear, Leadership, Paleo, philosophy, Primal, Self-improvement, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts about Technocracy

Let me be clear from the start: I am NOT anti-science or anti-intellectual. As you may well surmise, I think alot, I read alot, and I spend a great deal of time trying to ‘get to the bottom of things.’ I applaud science for many of the wonderful modern day technologies such as ovens, cars, computers which I love so much for there ability to bring me information that would else be very far out of reach and other such inventions without which life would be a hell of a lot harder.

But I also point my finger at science for such ‘abominations’ as nuclear weapons and waste, advancements in weaponry, Bioweapons, Chemical warfare, as well as processed foods, refined grains devoid of any nutritional value, the excess sugars pumped into dull and drab foods to make them sweet. And though this is not the place to go into it, I’ve got a thing against furniture that you wouldn’t believe. These are all scientific advances; their triggers and causes may have been economic, that could be true, but science is what brought them about.

My point is that some science, some technological advancement is good, but only if that tech is used in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration (A philosophy) which we as a human race have not, as yet been able to establish.  And if science was a bit more ‘philosophical,’ that is to say, if scientific baseball had on its team a few players who asked, “Should we?” Instead of always asking, “How can we?” then technology might evolve in a more hospitable spirit (ideology, mentality whatever literary symbol soothes your nerves.)
Technology would change, improve, and evolve at a much slower pace, that’s true (thank goodness), but its evolution would be conscious, focused, purposeful instead of what we have today which is, “Hey, let’s invent all this shit and wait to see its unintended consequences…. OHHHH! Nuclear technology… man that really came back to bite us in the ass hasn’t it?” Instead of waiting for yet another ‘miracle drug’ to be recalled from the market cause, ‘Hey its design was faulty after all… who knew?’ (that guy knew, and he tried to tell them) we could have a little ‘wisdom and compassion’ with our science.

(A side note, those three words feel weird together for me as though they don’t usually go together. Anyone else have that feeling?)

Philosophy is important. Its more important than anything else we’ve got going for us as humans (I would say that wouldn’t I), though the modern day academic attitude has all, but destroyed the art and science of philosophy. Hell, with what passes as philosophy these days, Universities might as well shut down there philosophy departments and move them all into Law or Mathematics.

All science, ALL OF IT comes from philosophy, the First Science, way back in the day (which was a Wednesday), before man had microscope and beaker; back when a rational man (gasp they existed back in those HEATHEN times) had naught but one tool at his disposal with which to explore his external (or so called external) world: His Mind.

And every technological tool invented since that is for acquiring information serves man as an ‘extension’ of one of his senses; it does not replace it. The microscope ‘amplifies’ his sight, it does not supersede it, mathematics ‘assists’ his logical mind to new heights. Mathematics IS logical philosophy. I think the philosophy that most people (and much of the empirical sciences) seem to disdain is the realm of metaphysics, and I won’t even go into the cognitive judo that explains that the rejection of metaphysics is itself a metaphysic. 🙂

All the problems that we have are philosophical. The proposed solution for our worldy ills, ‘Technocracy,’ is itself a philosophy. It is the ‘idea’ that experts should be running the show. That only those with skill should make decisions regarding areas of life (which are apparently all technical though they know fuck all about any spiritual crisis of which man has many) with which they have experience. This is the set up for what is in philosophy called dualistic thinking and consequently, dualistic living, since human society is philosophy in action. We’ve been doing it for almost all of recorded human history and its how we got ourselves in this mess to begin with.

Right now, one of our most basic and self-destructive form of dualistic thinking is deeply embedded in our monetary system: Those that are Wealthy as opposed from those that are Not Wealthy. Those that are wealthy have all the power and make decisions (are the causers) and those that are not wealthy are the followers (the eventers, the ones who more strongly and directly experience the results of ‘their’ decisions and causes).

In this hypothetical ‘Technocracy’ the stage is set for a similar dualism: Those that have Skill and those that do Not have Skill (I wonder what will happen to ‘useless’ and ‘non-practical’ skills like music, poetry, art, drama) . Those that have skill will make all the rules and decisions, while those that have no skills (or don’t have enough skill to have a voice) will just have to trust they ‘they’ know what they’re doing. This set up is a disaster, because its what we’re doing right now (only not so thoroughly and completely as full blown Technocracy would have us do), and it ain’t working.

We’re already outsourcing our decisions to ‘experts.’ When someone gets a tummy ache, the first place they go is the doctor (who charges you an arm and a leg) instead of looking at diet and nutrition, amount and quality of sleep… etc. When your toilet leaks; call a plumber. No, no, no, don’t investigate it first to see if you might be able to fix it on your own (which is notoriously easy to do), call in ‘the experts,’ cause they know what should be done. Car trouble? Screw figuring it out for myself, I’ll call a mechanic.

We’re already doing something a lot like that on a daily basis, such that no one even cooks anymore, they all figure that cooking’s too hard and it’s better to pick up fast food, or get something microwaveable from the store.

I admit I was initially excited about The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement and Technocracy, but upon delving deeper, I think these ideas stem from the same philosophies of perpetual frustration from which we already operate. In fact, at first glance I can see glaring and quite frightening similarities (from the point of view of one who studies ideas and where they come from) to Christian thought inlayed in the design of Technocracy.

I’m not sure how deeply you’ve thought about Christianity, but I’ve gone pretty far down the rabbit hole and the first and most important realization in rationally thinking about Christianity (as it is generally understood), is to understand how, in that mental construct one relates to Ultimate Reality. It’s an important question and in Christian baseball, man relates to Ultimate Reality as a subject to a King; and the King is the maker and shaper of the world; he’s a Cosmic Technician. In Christianity, God is an Autocratic Technocrat. That is to say, that God makes the world according to his own ideals and according to some kind of natural law; some kind of ‘higher order’ that he imposes upon a dumb and stupid world which He makes. And all his creations (subjects) are compelled by threat of punishment to comply with His law, which they may or not understand, but if they have concerns there is the Clergy and they know what should be done.

Now, I see the same gleam in the eye of Technocracy. Those who have Skill are going to be the movers and shakers of society. We hope that they’re unbiased in their ‘scientific’ (and not at all emotional) findings and therefore in the guidance in which they provide, but let’s be honest, humans are (after all) human. Who’s to say that the technological ‘experts’ calling the shots don’t have ulterior motives they’d like to push?

Even if you take money out of the equation and install a Resource Based Economy, getting rid of money, does not get rid of human desire or the whole host of problems that come with it, such as ambition, fuss over ones reputation, the attainment of and the desire to attain rewards and commendations… etc (Ha, ha, ha! Technological entendre… Install! As though society was a mere mechanistic ‘thing’ in which one could just swap certain parts, sigh, why does no one get that Life is organic and doesn’t work like machinery?)

Furthermore, who gets to decide which experts get to make which decisions? What ‘expert’ chooses other experts to inform society? And if the experts are informing society, then who is it that informs the informers? If these experts are to be the guardians of civilization, then who guards the guards?

Also, meditate on this: What about non-joiners? What if you have a selection of the population who decided that they don’t very much like the idea of Technocracy and that they’d like to do things their way and live in their backwater ancient ways and would really just like to be left alone? If it’s a small percentage I imagine Technocracy would be fine with it and could still function.

But supposing that the opposition is much larger say China, or a combination of Far Eastern cultures; what then? From what I understand RBE is an ‘all or nothing thing,’ the whole world has got to be on board or it won’t work. After all, resources must be allocated for the benefit of ALL people or else you get another dualism: those that have the benefit of RBE and those who do not. And those who do not have; have always wanted the treasure of those who have; thus we see the beginning of war.

Now, I should make it clear that my role, my Act in this Grand Drama we call Life, as a philosopher is just to put out ideas and get people thinking. I am not a Technocrat, nor am I a technician, nor am I really a huge fan of the empirical sciences as they exist today (mostly because they are based on the 19th century philosophies of Freud, Newton, Darwin… men who I would gladly strangle were they alive today, for convincing us that the Universe is dead, dumb and driven by blind brute force.)

I just want people to think about Technocracy before they cream their pants over it. If you think about it and it sounds like a worthwhile idea to you, then I wish you well in your endeavors; I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what they should or should not do. I have my opinions of course, and when I write, I write with a voice of authority, but in the end I am never to be taken seriously; I’m not nearly that stuffy and full of myself. I also realize that my thoughts are taken sometimes to the extreme. I do that on purpose, I want to take my thoughts are far as seems to me reasonably ‘possible,’ though not necessarily probable. Again, the point is just to generate other thoughts and to stimulate contemplation.

So in closing, I am curious to know your thoughts? Those of you who really go to bat for Technocracy; let’s hear from you. I myself am curious as to how it would all work. I’m open to the idea that maybe its not as I imagine it to be.

Categories: Ancient Classics, Building, Character Development, Economics, Government, Leadership, philosophy, Politics, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Technocracy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My views on Astrology

Astrology: One of many advanced ideas from ancient times.

I find astrology to be an interesting idea. Many have refuted the idea and benefits of astrology because their daily horoscope in the Sunday paper was wrong, or because they have very ‘logical’ mind sets and think it’s bogus that the arbitrary positions of the planets can have any bearing on one’s personality.

With these people I most heartily agree. Your Sunday horoscope means nothing. I can’t stand the idea of Prophecy to begin with and it irritates me to no end that everything that Astrology contains has been watered down to a few sentences about your day based on your sun sign.

The idea that the planets themselves influence one’s personality is also stupid. But, if we look at this idea from a different point of view we find that perhaps the relationship between planets and personality is different that we imagine. You see most people have that idea in mind; the idea that the planets themselves create or fashion the personality, they think this is stupid so they write it off. But, what if the planets don’t ‘do’ anything? What if they are merely ‘indicators?’

Most people reject the idea that external planets ‘create’ an internal personality, in very much the same way that most people reject the idea of an external ‘Creator God’ having anything to do with the shaping of the physical Universe and internal psyche. People don’t really believe in God, not like they used to. After the bombshell that Newton, Freud, and Darwin dropped on us in the 19th century, people have begun to hope that there’s a god; to really, truly, and sincerely wish that there was one, and feel they should believe, but they don’t.

I shall have much more to say about that in other essays. But the astrological point is this: play with the idea long enough and you get the notion that the planets indicatethings in an individual rather than do anything to them.

In THIS post I write about my view of the Universe and human consciousness.

Now, if you understand that, if you feel this fact, then the idea of astrology makes perfect sense. It really seems very forward thinking of our ancestors of many different cultures to come up with some system of Consciousness interpretation. Back to oceanic examples. A wave is the ocean and it’s all the same energy, it is all the same water. So it may be said that the state of the wave is reflected in the state of the ocean; that is to say that if one could devise some way of interpreting or analyzing the state of the ocean, and then you could have a way of analyzing and interpreting the state of any individual wave.

That’s what astrology is. It is a method devised a really long time ago and by many different people, to interpret the state of our particular pool of Universal Consciousness, namely our Solar System. The ancient cultures had some kind of idea that the state of an individual could be reflected in the state of the visible ‘heavenly’ Universe and thus certain interpretations could then be made about the state of the individual; the ‘wave.’

Whether they put it into words or not, the ancient cultures openly thought that ‘who you are’ goes well beyond the confines of your skin, to such degree that the position of visible ‘heavenly’ bodies at the exact moment of your birth; in the exact location in which you were born, could be read to give insight as to the state and personality of the individual. It’s really quite an advanced concept when one thinks about it. Assuming a method like astrology can reliably make certain claims about one’s personality based on planetary ‘indications,’ one could almost take it as a verification of a living, intelligent, self-aware Universe.

Here is a segment of my Natal Horoscope that I pulled off café-astrology. I agree that it is important to take any computer generated Natal with a good dose of salt, however I never the less find this interpretation staggeringly accurate as to my personality.

[Begin Natal Horoscope]

Sun in Aries

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and Aries natives are the first to start–and the first to finish–whatever they set out to do. Aries is an active, energetic sign. People with Sun in Aries are direct, straightforward, and uncomplicated. They expect the same from others, and are baffled when they don’t always get it.

The body comes first with Aries. Sun in Aries people are natural athletes. At the very least, their natural inclination is to use their bodies to get things done. They’re not given to long, drawn-out emotional moments; nor are they big on planning ahead. Instead, they live their lives simply. What is happening right now is most important to Aries. Impatience is a definite vice, and innovation is a huge strength. Aries loves to start anything new, and they have trouble sitting still. They are pioneers in whatever they do, and there is a very basic quality of bravery in these people that is unmistakable! Aries generally knows what they want, and they know the quickest route to getting it. They take shortcuts if they must, but generally everything is aboveboard. Underhanded just isn’t their style. Some Aries people are bold, but even the quieter ones are brave and even plucky in their own way. Independence is their birthright. Nothing gets them going more than a fresh slate, the promise of a new day, and a brand new start.

Sun in IX (House)

You have a deep need to understand the world around you. You have high ideals and you have your eye on what’s on the horizon. You are looking ahead, and at times can seem quite restless. You are proud of your knowledge and of your morals. Be sure to avoid self-righteousness in your enthusiasm to share your knowledge. When used correctly, you are a tolerant, adventurous, and curious person, and you want to see the best in people and in life.

65 Trine Sun – Uranus

It is natural for you to question tradition. You are, above all things, an individualist. You naturally rebel against that which is established. It doesn’t mean that you consistently break all the rules, but you definitely do question some of the rules, especially those that simply don’t make much sense. You possess much self-integrity.

You easily embrace new ways of doing things, you stick up for the underdog, and you express yourself in unique and inspiring ways. You value honesty and truth, and you avoid putting on airs. You believe in the equality of people, and easily relate to people from all walks of life. You possess an unmistakable enthusiasm about life, and generally your life is interesting because you invite unusual or adventurous experiences into your life. You are generally appreciated by others because you are open-minded, fair, and not judgmental.

Moon in IX (House)

Highly imaginative. Prolonged studies, is intuitive. Professionally successful abroad, or in import-export or as a diplomat. Contact with foreigners. Long journeys. Ability to learn foreign languages.

You are a philosophical sort, interested and curious about the world, other people, and perhaps different cultures. You can be extremely restless and discontented if you don’t have a definite goal in mind.

31 Trine Moon – Ascendant

He has a good influence on the family, which loves and helps the person. He likes travelling, movement, change. He likes contact and is open to other people.

Mercury in IX

His thirst for knowledge is never satisfied. He is full of mental activity. He undertakes exhaustive studies, always studying for pleasure. Likes journeys to faraway places, and can go to live abroad.

You are eternally curious and hunger for knowledge. You enjoy studying and learning, and do it not because you have to, but because you want to. You enjoy exchanging ideas and personal philosophies with others. You can be especially buoyant, enthusiastic, and even inspiring in your communications. While you may not pay enough attention to details, you are skilled at finding a quick solution to problems. You readily see the bigger picture and enjoy sharing your opinions and ideas. You get off on how information affects people’s lives, and you take great pleasure in learning that something you have shared or taught has inspired others to take action, experience something new, or make changes in their lives. Some of you might be too quick to offer advice, however, that might be lacking in thoroughness and practicality, or that you yourself don’t follow.

[End Natal Horoscope]

Personally, I find this to be incredibly accurate as far as indicating (not determining) my personality. Given that I travel a lot and am the philosophical sort… as you might have guessed… I’d say these are fairly accurate statements.

I have used astrology to help shed light on certain areas of my life during times of personal confusion. I have used my Natal Horoscope to identify facets of my personality that are strong and merit continued dedication and focus. Astrology has been an invaluable tool in helping me to decide what was worth investing effort into and what was just an idle fancy. For instance, I tend to be a Jack of all Trades, and I’m usually good at anything I really set my mind to do, from teaching English, to miltary service, to studying philosophy, to the healing arts, to installing a new toilet tank this morning. Because I adapt so quickly and learn so fast I have a really hard time choosing ‘what to do’ (as though I could only choose one thing.)

I believe this difficulty has been brought about by my experience with our education system which pressures children (and consequently the adults they will become) to ‘specialize’ that is to pick one thing they are good at and do more or less only that. For most kids this was an easy pick, it was fairly obvious what they were good at and what they were total failures at, so given the slightest bit of psychological validation from an important figure in their lives, they ran full speed towards whatever made important figure happy.

I was not like this. I was always good at many things, I still am; and I always rejected the thoughts and opinions of others about me; choosing instead to trust myself as my own moral compass. This produced a lot of confusion in me as I waivered constantly between this and that; never able to pick just one skill to invest in or one track to follow. You will often see me refer to myself as a ‘Joker;’ a societal ‘Wild Card’ and most people have always found my natural flip flop ability to be very disconcerting.

Astrology helped clear my head a bit by allowing me to contrast my chart with the charts of friends and family members and gave me what I call ‘Astro Eyes.’ I learned to see just how different my personality ‘blueprint’ was from most of the people that I read and I began to slowly understand that I wasn’t ‘wired’ like most of my friends and family and that this was a very good thing.

My self-esteem didn’t hinge upon the praise and blame of others and this allowed me the freedom to do things my own wrong way, make my own mistakes and learn from them. I began to read about astrology and take the knowledge and use it in ‘cold reading’ people. It’s most important use was to show me that the reason I am good at so many things is because everything revolves around ideas and that’s my astrological area of expertise: ideas. Basically, I ‘get it.’ I start doing things and I begin to intuitively understand the pattern of what I’m doing. Before I know it, I understand what I’m doing and without the mystery it becomes boring and I lose interest.

Astrology has also helped me identify areas of challenge, areas of my life that if I would willingly take the time to develop would assist me in evolving as a conscious being. For me, my greatest challenge is in self-control and self-discipline. I tend to be a very ‘on the go’ kind of guy and my challenge is to be stable enough to accomplish something. I generally give way to my impulses and a lesson that would serve me well is a lesson in self-discipline.

It seems odd that the Navy wasn’t my bag as one would think that the military would be great for self-discipline, but it can’t be a discipline that is forced on me. The Navy was much too…’ do this or else.’ If you back me into a corner I fight (Aries), but if I back myself into a corner, fully knowing and understanding why I am submitting myself to this rule, tradition, practice, or structure , then the healing and growth can begin; because it will be a discipline that I have chosen for myself.

In this way I can hold myself accountable and discipline myself to engage in certain beneficial practices like my nightly meditation, my conscious awareness of bodily nutrition and body posture. But the most important aspect about self-discipline is being able to treat myself fairly. I know myself, I know what encourages me, what motivates me, what repels me, what discourages me. I’m only human and sometimes I can’t always live up to my own expectations or hold myself to higher standards all the time. Being my own mentor, I can handle myself tactfully taking care not to discourage myself in the future.

Sometimes I act out of spite. I may know that an authority is right, but if the world won’t live or die in the decision, I may make the logically wrong decision just to show that I can exert my free will and to feel victorious in the sense that even if I’m wrong or fail, at least I wasn’t controlled. I freely admit that this makes me very easy to manipulate if you can manage to trick me with well played reverse psychology, though I can usually see that shit coming a mile away.

This long ass diatribe of myself; all this self-knowledge has come about as a result of my astrological studies. I did not know these things about me when I was in the Navy and much of my childish attitude and standoffish nature could have been understood and then worked through had I this knowledge. I wasn’t a very self-aware individual then, but my foray into astrology changed all that and now I know why I feel ‘right’ when I hitchhike and cycle across the country, why foreign languages interest me, and why I can read Plato’s Republic like a bedtime story.

For those who are curious about astrology and would like a place to get a pretty detailed free natal chart, I direct you here. Mind you, it is a computer generated chart, so take some things with a grain of salt, but its a great starting point. I found mine through this site to be amazing ‘accurate,’ if such a word can be used, and I hope it will be of benefit to you. If you’d like to get into my head, HERE is my Natal Chart.

Categories: Astrology, Character Development, Emotion, Health, Leadership, philosophy, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts about Religion Politics and the Idea of a Philosopher King.

Religion fascinates me, specifically the idea that people of religious affiliation are ‘grouped’ together. People born in America ‘tend’ to be raised Christian while people in China ‘tend’ to be raised in a Buddhist or Taoist fashion. I find it interesting that if my family, who are all Christian, had been born and raised in the Middle East they might have Muslim ideas. If they’d been native to India they’d probably have embrace Hindu philosophies.

 

It’s very interesting to consider how much influence social constructs (laws, religion, invisible geographic boundary lines, customs and tradition) have over our lives, and one must wonder to what extent their lives are actually their own. Do we live the way we do because we want to? Or are we just following the path that has been laid out for us? Even if one is not religious, how can one be sure that they are not still under the influence of ideas that originated in one’s native religion?

 

If one has changed spiritual paths, how can one be sure that they have not carried with them the philosophical seeds of the very ideas they strove to divorce themselves from and that they are not in fact, interpreting their new found spirituality through the lens of their old thinking and behavior?

 

Religion I do believe is a dangerous thing especially taught to children of young ages. Children are so… malleable, so blank and pure and when you consider the bloody histories of many of these religions, I think it is at best irresponsible and at worst completely evil to start uploading all these fucked up thoughts and mental structures into their pristine little minds. Especially if the teacher themselves has not critically examined their own beliefs.

 

And it raises the question, “Even if a child grows up and voluntarily decides NOT to be a part of the religion that raised them, can they ever really separate themselves from the effects of that religion?” They may not go to Church or attend their Wiccan Circles or pray at the Mosque, but do those ideas still influence their decisions?

 

Furthermore, what if one of these children becomes a man of wealth, influence, and power? Would they, completely unknowingly, foist their subtle philosophical principals upon the existing structure? I’ve been thinking about our culture and where our philosophical roots come from. Democracy is essentially mob rule, the majority wins, even if it is not ‘good.’ We take our political system from the Greeks and Romans, whereby those that were allowed to vote, debated on the issues of the time and cast their vote.

 

The result was supposed to be enacting decisions that were to be for the good of the community. But not everybody was ‘allowed’ to vote. Presumably only people capable of actually weighing the issues were allowed to vote, unlike today where anybody can vote; intelligent or not. This I think is one of the fundamental problems in our form of Democratic politics.

 

Now that was our basic political structure (ish). But the founding Fathers recognized another, very powerful social construct that if allowed, would graft itself to our political and legal system: Religion. To me it is quite clear that the FF (Founding Fathers) did everything they could to take religion OUT of the legalities and politics. Which is why there is the separation of church and state and why our initial political documents make no reference to a specific ‘god’ but rather use the purposely vague term, ‘Creator.’

 

Perhaps it was inevitable that Christianity as our basic spiritual framework would enmesh with our Democratic political framework. Consider this: Christianity very much contains an Us vs. Them mentality, that is to say, “Spiritual Power is on OUR side, so WE are right and YOU are wrong. If you are not with us, you are against us, and this is morally acceptable because our God can beat up your God.”

 

In Democratic voting you have all kinds of people who think many different ways. You think this way, and I think this way, and he thinks the other way and we’re all going to discuss it and try to come to an agreement about what should be done and this will be decided by voting for what we think is the best course of action. Sounds very civil, though it may not be effective if people’s votes can be ‘bought.’

 

But if you take Christianity’s Us vs. Them mentality along with their Power is on OUR side and you combine it with the Democratic system of voting, I think you would inevitably get a system that, even without religion’ devolves into “the Political Power (majority) is on OUR side, you are wrong, WE are right and this is Legally acceptable because under the rules of our particular political game, our party can beat up your party, and if you are not with US you are against us.”

 

Scary to think that even without the religion that we’re still operating under its influences. And remember the individual that acts as a catalyst for these ideas wouldn’t even be aware of what they were doing. They would have no clue that combining ideas is a lot like chemistry and that some should not be combined, lest they have terrible results.

 

What if the simple truth of people, the real low down on mass population, is that most people are generally unfit and not intelligent enough to act in a leadership capacity? If this is true, and it seems to be, then our entire political system is completely flawed, even without considering the underlying theocratic influences.

 

If we accept as true that most individuals are not capable of leading a nation (well and responsibly) does that statement imply an inverse concept? That it is possible for one man or a small group of individuals to lead a nation well and responsibly?

 

I think this is exactly true. What if a monarchy was really the best thing we had going for us, until religion grafted itself to the system? One man (and his advisors) ruled over things and made decisions, which if we accept that most people are not capable of weighing in on these decisions would really be the best thing. Free from political infighting a small group of presumably intelligent individuals (or at least intelligent enough to acquire power) would be led by one individual and when they made decisions there would be nothing to ‘get in the way.”

 

And maybe that’s what we need. Our cultural progress stagnates from Us vs. Them politics and essentially, ‘we get in our own way.’ If we paved the way for a handful of individuals to make clear decisions that could enact without opposition and jumping through hoops, we’d at least start moving in ‘some’ direction. Whether that direction if good or bad, we’d get there quickly and if it is good we allow it, and if it is bad I trust that the people would revolt and that Civil War would serve the necessary purpose of setting our governing back on track and would serve as a precedent for the future.

 

Future Kings and Queens (in my hypothetical monarchy) would think about making decisions and remember the Civil War of 2013 and think twice before attempting anything underhanded like taking our weapons. Because they’ll remember that the last time that was tried, the country nearly tore itself apart and it’s really hard to maintain power in a country that doesn’t exist. Therefore, it would be best NOT to destroy the thing you are trying to dominate.

 

The very idea of a monarchy scares Americans, because we think that one small group of rulers cannot be trusted and even less so one man. But in Greek philosophy there arises the idea of a Philosopher King. IF, and I admit it is a big if, one could put a Philosopher King on the throne, then everything will be fine as the leader would be a wise learned philosopher and would be intelligent and wise enough to know what to do and would theoretically be evolved enough as an individual to be above such petty things as the pursuit of wealth and political power.

 

The problem is in finding and installing such a Philosopher King. A Philosopher King by his very definition is enlightened and evolved and would presumably value the integrity of his spirit above the acquisition of power. He would be intelligent enough to know that power corrupts and that absolute power (which is what we’d want to give him) corrupts absolutely. Therefore he’d be wary of even the idea that he should be followed or allowed to wield such power.

 

In short, it would turn out that the right man for the job would be the very man that we can’t get to accept the position!

 

This individual would however possess a sense of honor and compassion towards his fellow man, such that the only way to make him take the throne (once we’ve found him) would be if there was no other alternative; that is, if the people were in such dire need enlightened guidance that our Philosopher King would be spiritually duty bound to accept the call against his intellectual Will.

 

And even then, because of his own fear of power, he would by nature establish means of checking himself and holding himself accountable. He would lead while adamantly asserting up and down that he ought not to be leading. And this would be to the peoples benefit as there would be someone in charge with the power to make things happen that would only make happen that which is good for the people and when nothing needed to be done, he would do just that: NOTHING!

 

Power should only be entrusted to one who is not looking for it, does not want it, would not use it, is actually afraid of personal corruption but if he absolutely had to, he would use power to be of mass benefit and then stop and go back to not using it.

 

Of course this raises the question of, “If the Philosopher King would not willingly take the throne, who should be the one to declare that such and such is the right man, and who should be the one to appoint him?

 

This leads to the idea that government and people must evolve together. One cannot have an enlightened ruler without having an enlightened society that would voluntarily and intelligently choose to put him there. The people may not be as evolved as the Philosopher King, but they would at least have to be enlightened enough to know that they needed one, and enlightened enough to recognize him when they saw him, yet not be enlightened enough to simply save themselves. For the PK would only accept the position if there was no other way and the enlightened society would have to be in incredibly dire straits that they (for some reason) could not (or did not) prevent using their own enlightened intelligence.

 

There we see an insight that gives us pause to ask a great question: IS government corrupt because it is government? Is it corrupt because the people are unenlightened and unevolved and put the government there in the first place? Did the people create their own monster that they now cannot control? And if the people did create their own monster, is it too late to rectify these mistakes, or is the beast to powerful to be tamed and controlled; must it in the end simply be put down?

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Fear, Government, Leadership, philosophy, Politics, Society, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tao Te Ching Chapter 2

Everyone recognizes beauty,

Only because of ugliness,

Everyone recognizes virtue,

Only because of sin.

Life and death are born together,

Difficult and easy,

Long and short,

High and low–

All these exist together.

Sound and silence blend as one,

Before and after are mutual in sequence.

The Sage acts without effort,

And teaches without talking.

All things flourish around him,

And he does not refuse anyone of them.

He gives, but not to receive,

He works, but not for reward,

He completes, but not for results.

He does nothing for himself in this passing world,

So nothing he does ever passes.

Keep it together

The second chapter of the Tao Te Ching clearly conveys to us a basic fundamental principle of the Universe: Everything is what it is, only in relation to something else. Hot is only hot when it can be compared to something cold. High is only high when in contrast to an object that is lower. There can be no THIS without THAT, and THAT does not exist without THIS. Like two sides of the same coin, they ‘go with’ each other. In a coin you have heads AND tails. There is no heads then tails afterwards; they both exist at the same time as a part of the same unit and they cannot be split apart without ruining the whole heads/tails system. And further more when an event happens, the mere happening of an event inexorably implies its exact opposite. Flipping a coin and getting heads up by necessity of the design implies that you also got tails down.

So in life good and bad go together. Just as it is pointless to think of one side of the coin and ignore the other, so too is it useless and just frustrating to think of only good without recognizing that the bad goes with it. What is bad draws its pejorative implications by being contrasted with that which we all agree is good. And things and events we call good find themselves hidden with that which we call bad.

The Sage.

Here Lao-Tzu seems to go off on a bit of a tangent and mentions the Sage. The Sage is an idea that Lao-Tzu will talk about many more times in the Tao Te Ching, and in fact one of the many ways the Tao Te Ching may be interpreted is as a guide to becoming a Sage. It is here in chapter 2 that we are told of the Sages attributes.

“The Sage acts without effort.”

It is clear from this that the Sage is one who lets simplicity and quick direct action guide his daily life. No effort. This does not mean laziness, but rather that the Sage does what he does so well, that he makes it look easy, and when he is observed doing it, we can’t quite be sure exactly how he does it, so easily does he accomplish his task. His success is rooted in both the Sages simple approach to his task and the simplicity of the tasks he would choose to complete. The Sage is not one to choose a big complicated thing to do. In Taoism if it can’t be done simply it shouldn’t be done at all. Of course that’s not to say it can’t be done, it very well can, but that if you actually carry out a huge, complicated ordeal then it will only be a matter of time before it fails, due to its own complicated nature. The Sage is one who is wise enough to know when things are too big and complicated, and disciplined enough to refrain from taking them on to begin with.

“The Sage teaches without talking.”

The Sage is a man of priceless wisdom, wisdom that stems from the simplicity of his daily life. Therefore one can learn from the Sage in the same manner as the Sage learned from nature: Observe, watch him live. The Sage is one who leads by example and if one observes his daily life and is inclined to think about what they see, then they will most certainly find that everything the Sage does is for a reason and usually that reason finds itself in some kind of a common sense approach to things that others view as complicated and sometimes impossible.

“All things flourish around him and he does not refuse any one of them.”

Openness and a very accepting nature are the trademarks of the Sage. By being compassionate and genuinely interested in those around him, he is welcomed wherever he goes. Things come his way, some things good, some bad, but regardless he accepts them all. He accepts good things with respect and humility and allows bad events to unfold as they would without resisting them. When the bad events pass as they invariably do, he moves on.

“He gives, but not to receive, He works, but not for reward, He completes, but not for results. He does nothing for himself in this passing world, so nothing he does ever passes.”

Humility is what the Sage excels in and it is with a humble heart that the Sage completes his daily task. Selfless in the nature, the man of character, the Sage does nothing for himself. Everything he does is for others, after all for the Sage, Tao provides all he needs. What more can he ask? Is there anything he could ask of people or of himself that Tao has not already taken care of?

 

Back to Chapter 1

On to Chapter 3

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Spirituality, Tao Te Ching, Taoism | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day 12/6/11

“Not only will you die, but the sun will eventually burn out, thus destroying any legacy that you left behind, and any “point” that there was to your life whatsoever. “

Don’t get so worked up about ‘meaning’ in your life. There is no meaning beyond personal meaning. The things you do won’t matter in the long run. A ‘great’ man may change some laws, or invent some cure, and his legend and the usefulness of what he did may last for 1000 years, but there will come a day when no one remembers him, or when the thing he did is no longer needed, or when the sun goes dim and everything ends. The only purpose I can see life having is character development and spiritual development and only on the basis that life continues after the body dies.

I figure it this way, either one of a few things happens. A: You go to a place to be for eternity, Heaven, Hell, The Summer Land, Valhalla and what not. B: Reincarnation. C: Nothing happens. Or D: Something entirely different happens.

If A happens then what you do in life and who your are is important and you should live by the rules of your cultures particular religion. If B happens then your character definitely matters as how your character and spirit evolves in this life will determine what you become in the next. If C happens then it doesn matter anyway and you should do whatever the hell you want. If D happens then I’d like to think that your mind and character are i,mportant as they are the only things that could possibly go with you.

Money can’t go, no cars and clothes. Skills, personality, spiritual wisdom, and memories are about the only thing I can see surviving ‘death’ as we currently understand it. Therefore, no matter what happens in life, the development of my character, mental/ emotional/ intuitive faculties, and the cultivation of my Will must be paramout.

Categories: Character Development, philosophy, Spirituality | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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