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Angel's Mind

pocossin

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In November of 2002, Angel commented on chapter 38:

"Last night I was reading chapter 38 and I got quite confusing. I have always thought that, since some ideas from Tao Te Ching are from the I Ching, his view about divination would be very positive. Foreknowledge, that is knowledge though the art of divination is defined as the beginning of stupidity. This is perplexing since Taoism developed from the ancient diviners though I Ching."
http://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/I_Ching_community/messages/92/457.html

Angel's remarks and the responses of Binz, Louise, Candid, Hilary, Brian, and Anita are still valuable, and I would like belatedly to address the perplexity.

Angel is right about the close connection between the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching. Not only is the I Ching the plan of the Tao Te Ching, but also the central topic of the Tao Te Ching is divination. Angel's perplexity arises not from the text but from a state of of mind. The Tao Te Ching is a book on divination that requires a divinational state of mind to understand. Calculation won't hack it.

For example, Angel's quote from chapter 38 begins: "A person of high Li (ritual) acts, Yet finding no response,...." Had Angel been divinationally alert, these few words would have been enough to open the chapter.

Chapter 38 is the first chapter of the second canon of the Tao Te Ching. To a person sensitive to subtle influences, that alone should have suggested a connection to the first chapter of the second canon of the I Ching. Then there is the confirming, portentious word "response". The Image of hexagram 31 says:

"Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him
By his readiness to receive them."

Persons respond to the superior person because of subtle influence of character and not because of action with force and manipulation. [Clearly I am no such superior person.]

Angel is quite mistaken that all foreknowledge is divination. Most isn't. Calculation (science and engineering), not divination, is the sourse of most foreknowledge that we encounter in daily life. This was as true 2500 years ago as it is today. Calculation excels in giving us control of material forces. Machines, bridges, and buildings are predictably reliable because they are based on calculation. By 'foreknowledge' in chapter 38, I believe Lao Tzu was referring to such knowledge by calculation.

People are shaped by the tools they use. Calculative knowledge creates calculating, manipulating, devious, crafty people. The practices in dealing with things comes to be transferred to dealings with persons. Persons come to be viewed as objects to be successfully manipulated through the social forces of rewards, punishments, and slanted information just as atoms in chemistry and metals in engineering are controlled by physical forces. This is the danger in calculative knowledge. One ceases to be a human being and becomes a thing among things. Foreknowledge truly can be the beginning of stupidity.

Tom
 

pedro

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I agree. This is to my mind a complete reversal of what we think that knowledge actually is, yet it is of the utmost importance to realise that we know it all already (although for a number of reasons we choose not to remember - the most important reason being the joy that it is to remember). And by saying we dont (why would we need divination if we did?) we're just making it so.

Therefore placing foretelling in the hands of something other than ourselves, not only prevents us from realising what, objectively, is the future to teach us, but it assures that by our own eagerness to know, we simply cannot see it as it is. Thats also why it is obviously easier to foretell something of others than it is to discern the future of ourselves.

The Yi works in that same way, we cannot ever see past the options we already know, or rather, those we already remembered. Trying to see past that, assures we get lost in the middle of our own expectations and illusions. Thats why when someone cant figure for themselves what the answer meant, I believe there is little point in asking someone else to understand it for us. Eithere we understand it, or there is little that others can do for our own understandment. Although even in that process can we remember something else we forgot.

Therefore, divination, as in "having someone or something else tell us what only we can tell" is indeed a statement of stupidity, a giving up of your own capacity for understandment, a statement of our own ignorance

And from that it stems why so many people quite eagerly take from the answer what they want it to be, instead of what they (deep down already) know it to be. They dont need the answer, they just need to be convinced that what they already hoped to be the answer is indeed true.

And quite frequently, and sadly, it is not.
 
C

candid

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"Thats why when someone cant figure for themselves what the answer meant, I believe there is little point in asking someone else to understand it for us."

Gee, all those years of interpreting for naught? I think that?s pretty short-sighted, Pedro. I myself have received help from others in interpreting when my readings lacked clarity to me. But for that one needs an open and receptive mind, not thinking that only I could understand the meaning of an answer I?ve received. If your assertion was true then even the written commentaries would be of no use. We would use only the lines in the hexagrams, and if we don?t understand we?re just too stupid.

?They dont need the answer, they just need to be convinced that what they already hoped to be the answer is indeed true.?

This assertion is equally short-sighted. There have been as many answers that I had hoped wasn?t true as there?ve been that were. There?ve been as many answers I?ve interpreted for another that was anything but what they had hoped to receive.

Where are you getting this information from?
 

pedro

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Candid, sometimes it looks like it is outter life or persons that bring you understanding, but it never is. We bring the understanding to ourselves, and it cannot be any other way, because ther is no other way. You can provide examples of how you think its otherwise, but you are simply omiting all the instances when you did your best and the other person simply didnt get what you thought was plain and simple.

That is not to say that you cannot help others understand, but merely that they must want to understand in the first place, and as such you are not the determining factor as to whether they understand or not, they are

And if you just consider your own experience, I'm sure you'll realise that every important thing that you learned in your life, you ultimately learned by yourself
 
C

candid

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Pedro, of course we must receive a teaching to understand it. Force feeding doesn't work if the person refuses to open their mouth and chew the food. That's sort of a given. And the person may lack the aptitude to understand, no matter how much they wish to, that's also a given. No-one can understand for us, another given.

Maybe I'm missing your point. But to say we are only capable of learning what we already know, that just makes no sense to me.

My trumpet teacher used to beat me atop the head with his baton and yell "hard-head!" in Italian. I was a natural player; one could say I already had music inside. However I was not a natural music reader, I struggled with it fiercely, and frankly, still was awful at it. But Mr. Cappiello didn't quit. He beat me silly with that damn baton of his, and beat the music sheet in front of me with equal passion. By the end of that year I was playing in Allstate Band and Orchestra at the age of 13, the youngest in the state to pass auditions, in which sight-reading carried high credits. Now, tell me I can't learn what I do not already know.

Maybe I?m still a hard-head, but I?m either not understanding your point, or your point is incorrect. Help me understand which it is.
 
T

tashij

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hey mrs cappiello was my dance teacher.

she had dramatic photos of herself draped like m. grahmn all over her studio.
 
C

candid

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chuckles... cool. What kind of dance?

Maybe they were counsins or something. Mr C wasn't married. The way he whipped that baton around, its no wonder. Then again.. who knows?
 
T

tashij

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Modern as in Martha. ; )

Please, dont wish to derail this fascinating converstaiton, just couldnt help myself.

(she lived across the cornfield.)

As for that baton, I believe that is another thread.
 

hilary

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Candid - I'm impressed. Never yet met anyone who could both play by ear and sight-read: it always seems to be one or the other.

(I like your response to Pedro, too.
)
 
C

candid

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Ohh Hilary, that was past tense. Once I put away the horn and picked up the guitar my lack of discipline and laziness won over my skills to read music. Now I only read chord charts and improvise between the lines.

Thanks!
 
T

tashij

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Foreknowledge as beginning of stupidity.

Tom, your point makes me think of a reading I got from the Yi. I was trying to understand it's 'place' in my life. The context for questioning. One context it gave me was that I could utilize the Yi, and even guard my fortunes with it, and get what I want, but that wouldn't REALLY give me what i want.

Which is everything. ; )

But lately, in a certain situations, the Yi is a few steps ahead of me. Yi answers things that happen before they happen. it's only after the fact, that I get what the Yi was saying.

So who is the wiser here? Certainly not me, i just keep to keep stumbling. It's ok. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I can configure all the possible directions the wreck is going to scatter. Call the shots? I dont think so, but i have a chnace to "let go" in any of the probabilities that will actually occur.

I dunno, is this still eeenglish?

All of this is part of cause-ality, relativity, etc. So how much smarter am i.

Just a little. Or is that conceit.
 
T

tashij

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Is the beginning of stupidity an anti-positive? In the Tao?
 
C

candid

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Smart enough to know that self is a relative thing, and unknowing is ultimate. When you are everything at once you have no way of knowing it. What is to know that isn't samsara
 
C

candid

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I wonder if Hilary might consider building a Samsara Lounge. Then we could all be samsara lounge lizards.
 
T

tashij

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"When you are everything at once, you have no way of knowing it. What is to know that isn't samsara."

Any moment of remembering 'that' we know, or 'what' we know, (as Pedro mentions), is still samsara. It is not the ultimate. IE: we will not stop with that. We will keep persisting in patterns and repititions, we will not cease. Knowledge does not bring closure, it only creates more openings. We will not cease, i dunno, until we have it all. Or dont need to have. When posession is no longer funtional, has no function, one leaves knowledge and enters wisdom.

This being so, I have indeed known the superior man to display "action force and manipulation" (such as mr. capiello's baton) to wheel and deal in samsara. But it wouldnt work unless the subtle aspects had been known first.

The prajnaparamita revealed to help bodhisattva's deal with samsara. "The exquisite being's guide to dealing with stubborn samsara". "It's all the same. **** it."
 
T

tashij

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"The Yi works in that same way, we cannot ever see past the options we already know, or rather, those we already remembered, Trying to see past that, assures we get lost in the middle of our expectations and illusions. That's why when one cant figure for themselves what the answer meant, I believe there is little point in asking someone else to understand it for us."

When DOES one want to hear what one does not already know? When COULD one hear something outside of one's exp? Is this what tragedy and misfortune are all about? An education in sorrow in order to touch something outside of one's expectations or comfort zone? Could joy or happiness do the same? Bring one to touch something outside of one's expectation/ experience?

Who CAN speak to one who can only hear what they can hear? Who CAN speak entirely in another's language, in their own language, within the subplots and unknown assumptions of 'eat and destroy' that propel the person?

If such a thing happened, wouldnt the world tremble?
 

pocossin

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"Maybe I'm missing your point. But to say we are only capable of learning what we already know, that just makes no sense to me."

-- It seems paradoxical, but it's true. Socrates makes this argument in the Meno. As I understand this matter, virtue (Greek: arete; Chinese te) consists in acting in accord with original human nature, so virtue can be cultivated, but it cannot be taught (imposed from the outside).

In my opinion Mr. Cappiello's baton did not beat musicalness into you. What really touched you was Mr. Cappiello intensity, dedication to effort, and passion for excellence -- that is, his te. Isn't that true, Candid? You already had the right stuff within you, but you needed to encounter a kindred spirit to bring it out? Mr. Cappiello, let us say, divined your true nature.

Tom
 
C

candid

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Tom,

Yes! Yes, that's very true. Mr. C believed in me and was passionate about it. He took on only four private students, two went to all state. Very selective about who he believed had the right stuff. He brought out the best in me. Also, had he always been strict it wouldn't have worked. He also loved to joke and clown around. But when it was time to play - all business.

Thanks. Pedro too.
 

pedro

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Candid,

Sorry for the prolonged absencem, these are very busy days Im living. As to your disagreement regarding my statements, allow me to say first of all that I wouldnt be trying to teach all of this if I knew it all already: we teach merely what we want to learn.
Second, allow me to clarify that I was not exactly saying you can only learn what you already know. That would still limit what you can, or cannot learn. What I say instead is that all learning has already been done. My point was that there is no learning any more, only rememberance: we know everything already.

And why is that? because we already lived all there is to live, all lives, all experiences, all knowledge was already lived first hand by each and every one of us. There is no separation between us and the source of all knowledge. We graduated already, and are just looking at the photo album.

This seems to run counter to logic, but so do most of life's biggest truths, and certainly most of physics latest discoveries (try figuring the electron that is and is not at the same time). You still can dismiss it as plain BS, unless you remember you already know it.

Now bringing this back to the point of helping others understand their answers, my concern is merely that we cannot refrain from imposing what we think that should be, over the other. Or that we simply fail to understand what the message is and mislead him in a way that is dangerous, because by now this person believes that we know better, no matter we do or not. Ive seen too many cases.

Whenever we try to save others from themselves, we are not doing them a favor. We should make others self sufficient instead, and stop telling them they need us to understand the truth... see where Im getting?

As for your itallian teacher, you can choose to give him the credit for your achievements, and thats fine, I just think you deserve a little more credit yourself. Who did it after all? And since you're into musical examples, tell me, in a musical form of expression where the "soul" is so important, do you really think inspiration can be taught? You can learn the mechanics, the crude manifestations of the spirit, but is that really learning? What about Mozart, for instance, who never learned any mechanics at all and already showed the knowledge... how could he already know?

But does this mean we should not help others understand their answers from the Yi or anything else for that matter? Well, depends on your intentions, and what, if anything, you expect to gain from it. In any case, there is a bigger favor you can do to anyone in advance, and that is realising they already must know, and whatever they seem not to know they must be willing to forget, and since it is their choice, respect that
 
C

candid

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Pedro,

In the spirit in which you wrote, I fully realize what you?re saying. But not until now. Thanks for making it clear for me.

Its hard to avoid worn questions like: Do you mean we know as in our collective self? This knowing you say we have, is that conscious knowing? Can a surgeon operate on a patient before learning how? Do they already know how, and just need to remember?

I?ve been reading of the Dali Lama lineage. Its interesting to me that in each life he must go through the same schools he went through in prior lives. He must relearn all that death has erased from his conscious memory. He (somewhere) already knows all this stuff, but to resume his purpose he must learn it all again. I suppose you could say, well, the knowledge was really awakened in him, he already knew. But what good is that kind of knowing unless its conscious?

So, whether we teach or remind, its new knowledge to the taught, at least on a useable, conscious level.

But in spirit, I hear you.
 

pedro

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Well as I said, if I knew all the answers there would be no point for me to discuss them.

Should you go operate on a patient without a doctors degree? And the Dalai Lama, is he really so forgetfull that he has to keep on repeating his learning?

Here's my take, it is only a matter of what you believe. We chose not to believe, in order to have the chance to remember. Life would be pretty dull if we were all completely perfect. But it is no easy feat to run counter life "as we know it" since it is built tha way: it is meant to be dellusional. So its necessary to convince yourself you do know, and that is what so called learning is all about. Still, its no more of a placebo, meant to convince you of its curing qualities. You could just take an m&m's, if you believed it to cure you

But there is one point to all this. That we stop convincing ouselves of our own ignorance, and for that all effort is of good use. It is better to learn in the conventional sense, when we know this already
 

pocossin

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"Is the beginning of stupidity an anti-positive? In the Tao?"

Tashij, yes, I think so. The seeds of the future are accessible as signs in the present. When we don't attend to these signs, we enter paths of difficulty and later have to use force to escape.

Pedro is right, I think, that -- no matter how alert you are -- it is often difficult to do others serious good because frequently minds are made up first, and then divination is turned to just for confirmation. When decisions have already been made -- the contract has been signed, the divorce finalized, the house sold, down payments made, etc. -- then it's too late for divination. Unavoidable consequences will just have to work themselves out.

Tom
 

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