February 14, 2014
"The sea does not reject the rivers that flow into it from the east; this is great perfection."

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

5:17pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVy17NJlM4
  
Filed under: taoism tao chuang+tzu quote 
February 14, 2014
"Chu Po Yu had lived for sixty years and he changed at sixty. He had never questioned that he was right, but he came to change his views and saw that from the beginning he had been wrong. Now it was not possible to know whether what he had been saying for fifty-nine years was right or wrong. All forms of life are born, yet it is not possible to see their source. They all go forth, but it is not easy to see by which gate. People all respect what they understand as knowledge, but they do not understand what their knowledge does not understand and so gain understanding. So isn’t this simply great confusion? Well, well! There is no way out of that. This comes from saying definitely this, definitely that, doesn’t it?"

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

February 14, 2014
"A fish trap is used to catch fish, but once the fish have been taken, the trap is forgotten. The rabbit trap is used to snare rabbits, but once the rabbit is captured, the trap is ignored. Words are used to express concepts, but once you have grasped the concepts, the words are forgotten. I would like to find someone who has forgotten the words so I could debate with such a person!’"

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

December 9, 2013
"But in the first place, be not hurried away by the rapidity of the appearance, but say, Appearances, wait for me a little; let me see who you are, and what you are about; let me put you to the test. And then do not allow the appearance to lead you on and draw lively pictures of the things, which will follow; for if you do, it will carry you off wherever it pleases. But rather bring in to oppose it some other beautiful and noble appearance, and cast out this base appearance. And if you are accustomed to be exercised in this way, you will see what shoulders, what sinews, what strength you have. But now it is only trifling words, and nothing more."

— Epictetus

10:20pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVy10kbmOk
Filed under: epictetus Stoics 
December 9, 2013
"See, that’s not true, Mae. It’s not true. I know I’m successful if I sell chandeliers. If people order them, then I make them, and they pay me money for them. If they have something to say afterward, they can call me or write me. I mean, all this stuff you’re involved in, it’s all gossip. It’s people talking about each other behind their backs. That’s the vast majority of this social media, all these reviews, all these comments. Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication. And besides that, it’s fucking dorky."

The Circle, Dave Eggers

December 9, 2013
"It’s not that I’m not social. I’m social enough. But the tools you guys create actually manufacture unnaturally extreme social needs. No one needs the level of contact you’re purveying. It improves nothing. It’s not nourishing. It’s like snack food. You know how they engineer this food? They scientifically determine precisely how much salt and fat they need to include to keep you eating. You’re not hungry, you don’t need the food, it does nothing for you, but you keep eating these empty calories. This is what you’re pushing. Same thing. Endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent."

The Circle, Dave Eggers

December 9, 2013
"Right. Then it orders new stuff whenever you’re getting low. It’s brilliant.”
“You think this is okay?” Mercer said. “You know how they framed it for me? It’s the usual utopian vision. This time they were saying it’ll reduce waste. If stores know what their customers want, then they don’t overproduce, don’t overship, don’t have to throw stuff away when it’s not bought. I mean, like everything else you guys are pushing, it sounds perfect, sounds progressive, but it carries with it more control, more central tracking of everything we do.”
“Mercer, the Circle is a group of people like me. Are you saying that somehow we’re all in a room somewhere, watching you, planning world domination?”
“No. First of all, I know it’s all people like you. And that’s what’s so scary. Individually you don’t know what you’re doing collectively. But secondly, don’t presume the benevolence of your leaders. For years there was this happy time when those controlling the major internet conduits were actually decent enough people. Or at least they weren’t predatory and vengeful. But I always worried, what if someone was willing to use this power to punish those who challenged them?"

— The Circle, Dave Eggers

December 9, 2013
"And so what? You don’t want Charmin to know how much of their toilet paper you’re using? Is Charmin oppressing you in some significant way?” “No, Mae, it’s different. That would be easier to understand. Here, though, there are no oppressors. No one’s forcing you to do this. You willingly tie yourself to these leashes. And you willingly become utterly socially autistic. You no longer pick up on basic human communication clues. You’re at a table with three humans, all of whom are looking at you and trying to talk to you, and you’re staring at a screen, searching for strangers in Dubai."

The Circle, Dave Eggers

November 25, 2013
"Most of us dread the deadening of the body and will do anything to avoid it. About the deadening of the soul, however, we don’t care one iota. Even in the case of the soul, we regard a man as pitiable if he is deficient in thinking or learning. We pity the mentally retarded, and students with learning difficulties. But if somebody’s sense of shame and respect are dead, we will actually call this determination."

"Against the Sceptics", Discourses, Epictetus

8:42pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVy-PLbkL
  
Filed under: epictetus discourses 
November 1, 2013
"You will hear many men saying: “After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties.” And what guarantee, pray, have you that your life will last longer? Who will suffer your course to be just as you plan it? Are you not ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnant of life, and to set apart for wisdom only that time which cannot be devoted to any business? How late it is to begin to live just when we must cease to live! What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained!"

On the Shortness of Life, Seneca

4:29pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVyzBHrNd
  
Filed under: seneca stoics 
October 5, 2013
"Cook Ting was butchering an ox for Lord Wen Hui. Every movement of his hand, every shrug of his shoulder, every step of his feet, every thrust of his knee, every sound of the sundering flesh and the swoosh of the descending knife, were all in perfect accord, like the Mulberry Grove Dance or the rhythm of the Ching-shou.15 ‘Ah, how excellent!’ said Lord Wen Hui. ‘How has your skill become so superb?’ Cook Ting put down his knife and said, ‘What your servant loves best is the Tao, which is better than any art. When I started to cut up oxen, what I saw was just a complete ox. After three years, I had learnt not to see the ox as whole. Now I practise with my mind, not with my eyes. I ignore my sense and follow my spirit. I see the natural lines and my knife slides through the great hollows, follows the great cavities, using that which is already there to my advantage. Thus, I miss the great sinews and even more so, the great bones. A good cook changes his knife annually, because he slices. An ordinary cook has to change his knife every month, because he hacks. Now this knife of mine I have been using for nineteen years, and it has cut thousands of oxen. However, its blade is as sharp as if it had just been sharpened. Between the joints there are spaces, and the blade of a knife has no real thickness. If you put what has no thickness into spaces such as these, there is plenty of room, certainly enough for the knife to work through. However, when I come to a difficult part and can see that it will be difficult, I take care and pay due regard. I look carefully and I move with caution. Then, very gently, I move the knife until there is a parting and the flesh falls apart like a lump of earth falling to the ground. I stand with the knife in my hand looking around and then, with an air of satisfaction, I wipe the knife and put it away.’ ‘Splendid!’ said Lord Wen Hui. ‘I have heard what cook Ting has to say and from his words I have learned how to live life fully.’"

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

6:37pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVywrUdAl
Filed under: chuang+tzu 
October 5, 2013
"Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt that I was a butterfly, flitting around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang Tzu. Then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang Tzu again. But I could not tell, had I been Chuang Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I was now Chuang Tzu? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang Tzu and a butterfly! We call this the transformation of things."

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

6:36pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVywrU8gF
Filed under: chuang+tzu 
October 5, 2013
"‘How do I know that the love of life is not a delusion? Or that the fear of death is not like a young person running away from home and unable to find his way back? The Lady Li Chi was the daughter of a border warden, Ai. When the state of Chin captured her, she wept until she had drenched her robes; then she came to the King’s palace, shared the King’s bed, ate his food, and repented of her tears. How do I know whether the dead now repent for their former clinging to life? ‘Come the morning, those who dream of the drunken feast may weep and moan; when the morning comes, those who dream of weeping and moaning go hunting in the fields. When they dream, they don’t know it is a dream. Indeed, in their dreams they may think they are interpreting dreams, only when they awake do they know it was a dream. Eventually there comes the day of reckoning and awakening, and then we shall know that it was all a great dream. Only fools think that they are now awake and that they really know what is going on, playing the prince and then playing the servant. What fools! The Master and you are both living in a dream. When I say a dream, I am also dreaming. This very saying is a deception. If after ten thousand years we could once meet a truly great sage, one who understands, it would seem as if it had only been a morning."

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

6:35pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVywrTyn8
Filed under: chuang+tzu 
October 5, 2013
"When ‘this’ and ‘that’ do not stand against each other, this is called the pivot of the Tao. This pivot provides the centre of the circle, which is without end, for it can react equally to that which is and to that which is not. This is why it is best to shed light on such issues. To use a finger to show that a finger is not a finger, is not really as good as using something that is not a finger to show that a finger is not a finger; to use a horse to show a horse is not a horse is not as good as using something other than a horse to show that a horse is not a horse. Heaven and Earth are as one as a finger is, and all of creation is as one as a horse is."

— The Book of Chuang Tzu

6:33pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z5MwVywrTQqJ
Filed under: chuang+tzu 
August 2, 2013
"Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called “On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual,” points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent orderand plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others. The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature. It’s a magnificent idea — an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended."

The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers