One of my enduring memories of the marvelously '60's ish Oregon Country Fair outside of Eugene is a banner strung high between two trees that simply said, "Yes…Yes…Yes." (though the fair does have some dos and don'ts)
When I saw it, I thought…Yes.
There's so much in that one word. Everything, really. What more could we want if we have Yes? It's the negative side of life that is so disenchanting.
Nobody likes to be told "No!" Not children, not anybody. We're Yes seeking creatures who long for affirmation, positivity, acceptance.
This is a big part of the reason why Taoism holds so much appeal for me, now that I've left behind most of the no-no-no's that divided life into distinct Good's and Bad's during my religious Radha Soami Satsang Beas phase.
Now I resonate with the Taoist approach to ethics described in Hans-Georg Moeller's "Daoism Explained."
Daoists try to prevent the necessity of morality in the first place. If people learn to follow the Way (dao) and the "own course" (ziran), then morality will not be required because everything will be just naturally fine. From a Daoist point of view, morality is the virtue of latecomers.
As discussed in my previous post, Taoism unites rather than divides. It embraces the entire wheel of creation: the empty hub is inseparable from the radiating spokes.
Religions, however, seek a transcendent ideal that always seems to be just around the corner, never here and now.
Salvation, enlightenment, redemption, forgiveness – you've got to believe that they're coming. Just have faith, obey the dictates, and stifle your natural impulses. You're fallen, a sinner, a sheep following the Shepherd. Don't turn to the right or left. Keep to the straight and narrow.
Which means a lot of no's. Every religion has them. And they're supposed to apply to everybody. Sheep don't get to choose their own path.
By contrast, Moeller says about Daoists:
They were not so much concerned with profound thoughts and deep meanings – they were rather experts in how to avoid these philosophical pitfalls. And they did not aim at transcending the limits of time and space or of language and thought, but were much more willing to cultivate an attitude that allowed for a perfect affirmation and appreciation of all that lives and dies, of all that is said and thought.
I'd have my convertible Mini Cooper S by now if I had gotten a dollar every time a fellow devotee said to me during my Radha Soami Satsang Beas days, "Brian, you think too much."
I'd generally think (hey, what else could I do?) "And you give advice too much." But instead I'd reply, "Yes, you're probably right."
From your point of view. From your perspective as one spoke on the wheel of life, which is going to be different from that of every other spokesperson. Including me.
I could say "Yes" to that bit of advice. I could also say "Yes" to my love of thinking.
Daoist philosophy, as I hoped to show, generally affirms the world of "presence" (you), that is, all the "ten thousand things<' life and death, even action and speech. The nonpresence (wu) in the midst of presence – the emptiness that is neither dead nor alive and neither acts nor speaks – does not expose any "relativity" of the present.
Daoist emptiness and nonpresence do not diminish but rather confirm the authenticity of the present…A core element of Daoist philosophy is the affirmation of the full authenticity of all there is.
"Nobody likes to be told "No!" Not children, not anybody."
But nobody likes SAYING it more than small children!
Posted by: dave | September 26, 2007 at 04:50 AM
Yes, I remember when I was about three learning for the first time how to say 'No!' What thrilling power I felt! I used to say it just for the kick. It did rub off. Nowadays I prefer yes but it doesn't give the boundaries or framework that some people like to work within.
What stuck in my mind regarding young 12 year old Manjit's write-in a short while back was that his Dad would not allow his Mum to see Gurinder when he visited. Why would one person dominate another so? Although Dad may have felt he had good reason, freedom of movement and worship and women's rights in a place like London mean that young Manjit's mum has every right to drive, get a lift or hop on a bus or train to get to there. Supression is not a remedy.
Posted by: Catherine | September 26, 2007 at 05:13 AM
Hum, then there are those of us that never really learned to say no nearly enough.
Growing up around a lot of Catholic priests and nuns in Catholic school really didn't encourage it if you know what I mean. Questioning, saying no, etc. were big no no's.
Posted by: Bob | September 26, 2007 at 06:13 AM
The interesting thing about life is that everything may be right were it needs to be. The duality of no's and yes's creates friction and in that friction is the opportunity for consciousness to advance. (For some folks: some like it right were they are at and that is called religion and the atheists are as religious as the religious folks.)
Kind of like a lapidary machine. Put an dirty ugly rock in the lapidary machine let it run a couple of days and out comes a beautiful polished rock. The substance inside the machine helps to create a friction between the rocks and it polishes the rock. This is only an analogy but it works for me.
The harsher the environment is the most opportunities for soul development. Souls appear to develop much faster here on earth than on a plane or dimension that is less harsh. (I.e. some call astral worlds) I should say that in a harsh environment like earth that we only have more opportunities to develop our soul.
Some, indeed most humans think they have already discovered the mysteries of life so their development is pretty much at a standstill. This is often called paradigm paralysis. It is easiest to see in politics, religion, and most of all in atheism.
If you don’t believe that we have a soul that survives death read the small book entitled, "no living person could have known" and try to explain away the results from those 11 stories. Few will read this book as their paradigm is set in concrete. (I.e. they already know) This is where the research needs to be done. The how's and why's and meaning's of paradigms and how a paradigm can turn into paradigm paralysis.
Back to my original point. YES is good but so is NO. A relative world is mandatory for a world, as we know it. Without some level of duality or relativity we would only have pure awareness. Pure awareness may be a good definition of what most call god.
“Anomalies need to be investigated. Maybe only 2% are validated but they can be the driving force for paradigm shifts.” Marcelo Tuzzi
A paradigm shift is a very rare phenomenon and almost always comes from someone outside the existing paradigm.
Posted by: william | September 26, 2007 at 03:38 PM
Getting away from the philosophical for a moment - no's definitely have their place - we need them in order to establish healthy boundaries in our lives.
In other words, I believe that we each feel more whole or complete when we can freely say yes or no in a given situation.
Posted by: Bob | September 26, 2007 at 03:59 PM
"yes is good but no is also good" dr hora
Posted by: william | September 26, 2007 at 04:40 PM
Are you William V. Van Fleet of http://homorationalis.com?
Robert Paul Howard
Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | September 27, 2007 at 11:57 AM
no robert paul howard that is not me but thanks for the link. will read his words and will get back to you. I almost always enjoy reading others writings on the mysteries of life.
Posted by: william | September 27, 2007 at 03:09 PM
"Homo rationalis" his emphasis is on developing the human race (been there done that), which will occur as humans advance in their level of consciousness.
My interest and research has been into the mysteries of life and the underlying reality of appearances.
He appears to be an atheist that wants humankind to do good and improve their lot in life but I suspect failing to ask where he thinks that inner need to do good comes from. I suspect but don’t know that he believes this need to improve and do good is part of the evolutionary process. Another atheist that thinks rational thinking will set us free.
Spend some time on the Internet and see how rational atheists become if you challenge some of their core beliefs. Atheists beliefs and religious beliefs are two sides of the same coin called our beliefs are thee beliefs. I believe it is their inner doubts that make them respond this way not their certainties.
When I see some people on this blog and others responding in a very hostile way for some of my posts I suspect it is their doubts not their certainties that bring out their hostile remarks.
Seek deeply and he will find that we are more than what appearances reveal.
He appears to be still judging by appearances, which many enlightened and awakened masters have warned us not to do.
I have sent this person an email and it may be interesting to see how he responds.
Thanks for the link.
Posted by: william | September 27, 2007 at 06:04 PM
Good post William.
The yes and no are both nessesary requisits.
It is good to try to balance that for oneself,not so easy at times,but very interesting also.
Yes No,Yin Yang.
Yes maybe that makes the beauty of our soul that we are mangled and hurt etc...to become shiny....maybe....
It could be true.
But where did we come from, weren't we whole already in the beginning(?)...
The question always stays unanswered..but who cares..
Just stay balancing is a very good point
yes or no?
Posted by: Sita | September 28, 2007 at 02:46 AM
"But where did we come from, weren't we whole already in the beginning(?)...
The question always stays unanswered..but who cares.."
interesting comments. are we always whole? depends on the operational definition of whole I suspect.
we may be whole but we are unaware of our true identity nor do we have the vitality or intelligence of this oneness that most call god.
if we were not unaware and did not lack the vitality and intelligence of this oneness there would be no universe or life as we know it.
oneness become twoness by our unawareness.
as gunnels would say "all of creation is relative".
Posted by: william | September 28, 2007 at 04:20 PM
I just ran across the comments above about my contributions. I believe that there was not sufficient understanding of what I am saying, and I certainly would welcome effort at dialogue and increased understanding. Superficially scanning what I have written in the free book downloadable from HomoRationalis.com will not give an adequate understanding. The chapter "Introduction" gives an idea, and so does looking at the TOC. But what I am saying takes thinking outside the box. There is no magic, pseudoscience, "blind faith," or things hard to believe in the book, but there are very important conclusions that can be arrived at to help us survive on this planet and get to a time when we stop doing these things that produce so much pain, suffering, disability, and early death. That may never happen, but if it does, it will only be by virtue of our understanding what is necessary.
In a few sentences like this, I can only hope to stimulate your interest in seeing if there is something worthwhile in the effort.
Bill Van Fleet
Posted by: Bill Van Fleet (William V Van Fleet) | October 21, 2007 at 08:06 PM
["Homo rationalis" his emphasis is on developing the human race (been there done that), which will occur as humans advance in their level of consciousness. ]
This is not what I believe or write about.
[My interest and research has been into the mysteries of life and the underlying reality of appearances.]
Are you referring to the sciences?
[He appears to be an atheist that wants humankind to do good and improve their lot in life but I suspect failing to ask where he thinks that inner need to do good comes from.]
That is clearly spelled out in the chapter on Ethics.
[I suspect but don’t know that he believes this need to improve and do good is part of the evolutionary process.]
That depends on what you mean by evolutionary process. But I specifically say that the third exponential change is not a genetic one but a psychosocial one.
[Another atheist that thinks rational thinking will set us free.]
Sad to see how one can get stereotyped and dismissed. There is no substitute for reading the book. I do believe, however, that we have achieved enormous capabilities (unfortunately for both good and bad) through our development of the rules of logic and the rules of evidence. I don't speak of "setting us free," whatever that means. I talk about stopping making mistakes that cause most of our human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death. But we have to know how to do it, and we get our most reliable knowledge through the skillful use of those rules of logic and rules of evidence. But something more is needed than those rules (with their outcomes of science and technology), and my book is addressing that.
Bill Van Fleet
Posted by: Bill Van Fleet (William V. Van Fleet) | October 23, 2007 at 08:58 PM