Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Verse 24

If you stand on tiptoe, you cannot stand firmly.

If you take long steps, you cannot walk far.

Showing off does not reveal enlightenment.

Boasting will not produce accomplishment.

He who is self-righteous is not respected

He who brags will not endure.

All these ways of acting are loathsome, distasteful.

They are unnecessary excesses.

They are like a pain in the stomach,

a tumor in the body

when walking the path of the Tao,

this is the very stuff that must be

uprooted, thrown out, and left behind.


The 24th verse is about living without excess, Lao-tzu advises us to pull and discard our excess weeds. These weeds are ego-driven desires of self-importance. Our desire to feel important and our desires to brag and be boastful of our accomplishments are allowing our ego to drive us instead of the all giving Tao. It is this desire which keeps us away from walking the path of the Tao. The Tao teaches us that inner approval is healthy, but it is these mind frames of thinking you are better than anyone else which is destructive. These desires for self-importance are like a cancer on our souls. Our ego is our greatest enemy on our journey to discover the Way.

The verse starts with an analogy of standing on our tip toes. I believe this represents us trying to be greater than we are. If we try to fill ourselves with self-importance we will not be able to stand firmly. Lao-tzu’s advice is to stop trying to be what we are not, and instead live as we are. We should be humble in our daily affairs, and be content with who we are at all times. Everyday we should show gratitude for everything we have, and everything we are. Showing daily gratitude centers us and keeps us on the path of the Way. Practice focusing on what you have, and not what you want, then show gratitude for everything the Tao has given you. In the part about taking long steps; I think this advises us to live in the moment and not try so hard to get were going. Instead of focusing on our end goal we should be humble and enjoy the process.

The next part of this verse is advising us to not brag or be boastful. Showing off does not show enlightenment. Bragging about our accomplishments only make us look like fools. In the second verse of the Tao Te Ching it says “when the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever,” or in the ninth verse it says “retire when the work is done; this is the way to heaven.” These are all examples of working without bragging or taking credit for your hard work. It is nice to be acknowledged, but this should not be our primary goal. I see my faults in this part of the verse. I have written posts on my frustration with my writing career progress. I want to have five thousand visitors a day, and in my mind this would be an accomplishment worthy of bragging. In my mind I need to be successful immediately, or I am disappointed. I am standing on my tip toes and taking long steps. I need to just sit back and allow my writing career to happen.

I am most interested in the line “He who is self-righteous is not respected.” The definition of self-righteous is “a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.” This is an interesting line in that the Tao condemns being holier than thou in our religious affairs. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism do not send its followers out on missionary trips to spread the word. They do not pretend to be superior to others who believe differently. This is why you have never seen an inquisition in these faiths. The Tao does not judge you based on if you believe in the Way or not. It will still provide you with everything you need. I think this lesson is far different from some other religions out there, which is why I have found a spiritual home in this religion.

Instead of letting our ego drive us with the desire to boast, or only work for the accolades of a good job, we should instead be grateful for everything the Tao has given us. The Tao does not seek acknowledgement for all it does for us. The Tao does not come to us saying “look what I have done for you, now what will you do for me.” This is a lesson the Tao tries to teach us by example. We should not see ourselves as important or special for the gifts the Tao has given us. We should appreciate her, and her unselfish giving. The Tao teaches us to be a giver rather than a taker, we should be providing for others and ask nothing in return. The Tao always exists in a state of unlimited giving, and teaches us to do the same. If we are able to mimic this sense of gratitude and giving we will be closer to walking the path of the Way.

“By returning to radical humility and seeing the greatness within everyone you’ve than cleared your life of excessive self-importance…and this is the way of the Tao.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I can remember as a child getting excited when it snowed. I would play outside building snow forts, constructing massive snowmen, and going sledding on any hill I could find. The kids in the neighborhood would have snow ball fights so the forts we built came in handy. I also remember playing pick-up games of football and it always made it more fun playing in the snow. The cold didn’t bother me then like it does now, because I was being so active. I loved when it snowed so much they had to cancel school. Those were the good old days before I wised up to the shityness winter brings. I had no concept about the horrors of driving to and from work. I am in a consistent panic worrying about the next time I need to drive. It causes all my other MI symptoms to flair up and I easily enter into a psychosis. The drive in this morning was horrible and I am freaking out about having to drive home. To me driving in this weather is playing Russian roulette with a car. I worry each time I head out to drive that this moment may just be my last.

This consistent flow of anxiety and panic always comes in mid-November or after the first snow fall. I worry and I worry until I work myself up in a tisi. My mind is consistently bombarded with images of injury, or death. What fucks me up the most is the ice; this is the invisible killer. You cannot see it but you know it is there waiting for you to make a mistake and when you do BAM! Your dead thank you for playing. It rained this morning and has now turned to snow, this means that the water on the roads will turn into ice. I really just want to bring a cot to work and stay here until Friday. If I were to do this then I would only need to drive in this crap two times a week. I am not necessarily worried about me (although I am) I am more worried about the crazy drivers who think they are invincible. They drive with no cares in the world because they think their four wheel drive will save them from death. Agh I am just sitting here counting down the minutes until I have to drive again.

In the end winter is evil, and is Mother Nature’s way of trying to eradicate us. I think she was really mad when we created fire and housing so we didn’t freeze to death. I do not know why I still choose to live in Minnesota, considering how much I despise winter. I just want it to be over and in reality it is just starting. YUK

After my post yesterday on fallibilism; I started to contemplate on animal’s capability to make logical decisions, and compared them humans. I didn’t dwell on this theory until I received a comment from Her stance behind humans ability to make logical decisions and the philosophical doctrine of fallibilism; was any logic or reasoning by humans is fallible. She credits reason, memory, and emotion as examples for why humans are unable to obtain absolute truth. This comment brought my earlier theory to the forefront of my mind. My conclusion was animals have superior logic and reasoning skills. Animals possess these superior skills, because they do not make their decisions based off memory, emotion, and perceived objective and subjective facts.

 When lions are confronted by a pack of hyenas trying to steal their kill, they do not retreat based off the emotion of fear; this is likewise for the hyenas decision. The lions/hyenas are able to break down the situation, and make their decision based on logic. If they choose to retreat it is not due to emotions, it is their ability to know they are outnumbered. They understand the statistical odds of their survival, even if they are not aware of their capacity to break down complicated math formulas. If food is scarce and hunger kicks in, they are able to adjust their logic based on the probability of starvation if they do not stand and fight. These decisions are based off a finely tuned trial and error turned into instinct which is passed on to each generation, creating perfect logic.

 If we look at human beings fondness of war, death, and destruction; we discover humans are incapable of passing down our trial and error lessons. The sad part is we have history books reminding us of the futile efforts of such behavior, yet we are unable to learn from past mistakes. Ignoring these lessons from our past, is a result of emotions such as; greed, pride, anger, intolerance, and hate. Logically Hitler had to know the genocide of the Jews; because he was denied into art school didn’t make any sense. He had to know there was truly no difference between him and the ones he aimed to eliminate. Logically he had to know there was no way Germany had a realistic chance at taking over the world. To Hitler all these things were logical. The decisions he made were based off emotion which he rationalized into logic.

 Birds, fish, and various mammals do not migrate out of need; they do so out of necessity. Geese don’t migrate south for the winter because they feel like it. Geese know they will not survive the winter if they felt like sticking around. They make the logical choice and fly south. Salmon do not have an urge to swim to the same location every year to mate and lay their eggs; they do so to continue their species. Humpback whales do not migrate to Alaska because they want to visit; they go there so they can eat. You get the idea.

 Humans on the other hand choose to stick around in places which prove to be destructive to them. If we look at all the impoverished, war consumed, starving people in third world countries. Logically they must know their chances of survival are not great, yet they stick around. I understand some may feel they do not have a choice to leave, but realistically there is always a choice. If our ancestors migrated to greener pastures so can these people.

I am sure if I were to do conduct studies of animals; I would find fallibility in their instinctual logic. The examples I gave clearly show; animals think in a more logical manner than humans. I would love to engage in some philosophical discussions on this topic.