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September 4, 2017 at 2:31 am #194346RiddleNoxModerator
My absolute favorite Tao Te Ching verse:
The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In business, be competent.
In action, watch the timing.
No fight: No blame.September 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm #194357ArchmarasParticipant
Can you elaborate please?September 5, 2017 at 6:51 am #194359Kol DrakeModeratorQuote:Water doesn’t have a mind of it’s own and flows where it naturally does and yes it’s easier to go along with it, but sometimes it’s not where you need to be. Waters flood, gravity pulls people to their deaths, just because something is easier does not make it the correct path, and often times it is the wrong path. (E.G.: negative peer pressure) So why should we go with the force wherever it leads? Why trust a force of nature to keep the Jedi way in its best interest?
If you go back and read my earlier post — I used water as an analogy… not a concrete representation of ‘what the Force is’. Given that, I do agree that water can help or kill… just like fire or so many other ‘things’ we encounter in Life. The “Will of the Force” should not be taken too literally. It is a mystical concept, rather than one that can be clearly and logically explained.
How much does — or — should the Force guide every decision a Jedi makes or every aspect of their live? *shrugs* Hard to say. Then again, it is my opinion that the Force should absolutely be ‘checked with’ as a guide for those big decisions we encounter sooner or later.
One has to figure that, for thousands of years — well before Descartes, Newton, and the beginnings of modern science — people believed that all of nature was a single organism and that everything was connected. Responsiveness to signs from the Universe was a normal part of daily life, for everything from passing clouds to passing events was perceived to speak in ways that mattered. Struggling to define the essence of this underlying connectedness, people used words such as God, Atma, essential life force, universal mind. But these words failed to encompass the reality since, by their very nature, words limit and contain — and the nature of this unified connectedness can’t be boxed in or tied down. “The name that can be named is not the eternal name,” said the Tao Te Ching.
In current times, quantum physicists encounter similar difficulties in struggling to define the basic nature of matter. They have found that the boundaries that isolate one thing from another exist only at the most obvious and superficial level; at deeper levels, all things: atoms, molecules, plants, animals, people — participate in a sensitive, dynamic web of information. This interrelatedness is something for which we have an intuitive sense. Even if we have no formal beliefs about a higher power, the concept of being connected to a dynamic force beyond ourselves shows up in an ordinary, everyday phrase: “in the flow.” “Go with the flow,” etc.
When we try to define ‘flow’, it is also tough to nail down. One approach is to study a readily observable aspect of it, which is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did in defining flow as “ an optimal experience; a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity.” In that state, which most often occurs during intense physical activity, we feel strong, alert, and at the peak of our abilities. This is connectedness… be it to an activity or to a moment. In sports, they sometimes refer to this as ‘being in the Zone’. Or, runners who ‘hit the wall and go beyond’ (riding the chemical euphoria intense run training can induce).
Often when people speak of flow, however, they are alluding to it in a larger sense. They are speaking of a connectedness to larger patterns of events and meaning. Flow speaks to being part of something bigger than ourselves. It runs counter to the sense of being out there alone, of ending where our skin ends. Not only does quantum theory substantiate this interconnectedness, so do the findings of the major spiritual traditions.
Western religions point to flow in stressing the need to be in harmony with a larger pattern of meaning and purpose, which they call God, Jehovah, Allah. By surrendering ourselves to this larger pattern, they teach, we come into joy and peace and our needs are taken care of. “The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want,” says the Twenty-third Psalm.
Eastern religions perceive the Universe as a flowing web of consciousness in which everything is connected. By aligning ourselves with underlying patterns, we come into harmony with our environment. “Let your nature blend with the Way and wander in it free from care,” as Zen tells us.
You can take a good handful of philosophy courses and still struggle with the essence of ‘what the flow’ is or isn’t. And, as noted, whether or not it is a good or bad thing.September 5, 2017 at 6:53 am #194360Kol DrakeModeratorQuote:“Nothing will happen to you which is not conformable to the nature of the universe.”
— Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher
The idea of going with the flow finds strongest voice in the Taoist, Buddhist and Stoic traditions. Taoism (or Daoism) is an ancient Chinese philosophy associated with the semi-mythical figure Laozi. Tao is usually translated as “way” or “path,” but it really represents the mysterious, ineffable foundation of all being. The central teaching of Taoism is wu-wei. This, too, is difficult to translate, but it is usually rendered as “non-straining” or “effortless action.”
Perhaps a better definition of wu-wei is: “a state of being in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the ebb and flow of the elemental cycles of the natural world.” (You can run into generic ‘slang’ versions of this concept when you hear someone say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” — or — even lower on the spiritual (and intellectual) scale, “find some tequila.”)
The core idea of Taoism — as well as of Zen Buddhism — is …not forcing or grasping one’s way through life, but instead living life spontaneously, in harmony with the natural order of things. The ancient Stoics followed the similar principle of living in harmony with the “Logos” — roughly, the underlying rational order of the universe.
Okay. So, we should live ‘the good life’ with ‘good thoughts’. What does a morally responsible person do when confronted with prejudice, injustice or hatred? Should one go with the flow, saying “Oh, well, sucks to be you but, that’s life”? What would have happened if the world had gone with the flow when Hitler threatened the annihilation of Western values and civilization? How do the Taoists, Buddhists and Stoics reply to the presence of violence or genocide in the world? Isn’t going with the flow a gigantic and unconscionable cop-out in the face of evil?
Philosophers throughout the ages have given their answer: we should not go to pieces in the face of evil, nor should we emulate the cruelty of our oppressors — we must do what we can to oppose injustice. We see this teaching played out in the great traditions of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. We see it in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, as well as the Buddhist monks of Chinese-occupied Tibet.
But But But aren’t these examples of people who went against the flow?
Yes, in the narrow sense that they acted against the flow of ignorance, tyranny or bigotry. But when the Taoists, Buddhists and Stoics speak of going with the flow, they have in mind the great river of nature and reason, the underlying order of the universe. As Marcus Aurelius put it, “All things are woven together and the common bond is sacred . . . for there is one Universe out of all . . . one substance and one law, one common Reason of all intelligent creatures.”
The sages instruct us to accept that there may be evil in the world, but we don’t have to accept it nor allow it to become part of life. Yes, we do our best to go with the flow — but not with the torrent of injustice.
THAT is where our courses come in (again).
We tend to preach to be ‘One with the Force’ when we are seeking a source of ‘moral knowledge’. Meditating on the Force doesn’t just tell Jedi what’s going on on Cloud City, it gives them moral insight into what they should do. (You can see the parallels with religions, where meditation or prayer gives similar insight.)
So what sort of morality does the Force promote?
The morality of Star Wars, of course. The books and stories placed value on peace, compassion and freedom, and opposes injustice, tyranny and suffering. It generally opposes justifying the ends from the means – how goals are accomplished matters – but not entirely – it’s not pacifist. That’s the ‘book/movie’ morality. It’s part of why most ‘like’ the concept of being a Jedi. Being a ‘good guy/gal’. Doing what is right and helping those we can. It is why nearly all have also read all about Robin Hood and King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and the honorable Samurai, etc.
We seek role models where we can find them. If none pop up in real life; we look for them in other venues.
That is not necessarily a bad thing.
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