Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 14, 2020

“The thing is, meaning is not absolute.  It does not reside inside the artwork to be unlocked or decoded and revealed.  Meaning is something that happens between you and the work.  It’s different for you than it is for anyone else, and it’s always shifting, changing, depending on who you are and where you are, and what’s happening around you.

The artist does not own the meaning.  And neither do the experts or authorities who present it to you.  They are voices in the room, often very good and compelling ones, but ultimately you determine the meaning for yourself and only for yourself. “

Sarah Urist Green from The Art Assignment

 

(Love love love this quote, so much great stuff is buried within!  For starters its a great reminder on how we interact with art and that we are, indeed, interacting with it.  It may seem, at first, like we’re only passive observers but it is quite the opposite — there is a lot going on.  It is almost an ongoing dialogue, and the meaning we create is very much our own that may both include and be irrespective of that of the artist’s.

Even greater however is that we can replace “art,” “artist,” and “artwork” with “events,” “the world,” or “our life” in order to delve into the quote even deeper and explore its implications, inspirations, and liberations in whole new ways.  What layers can we uncover in doing so?  What dialogues that we thought we had long ago settled upon can we re-engage with?  What new futures might we write?

So much to unpack, both in the quote and inside of our created meanings.  Very well said.)

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 7, 2020

Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a threat against your body and a threat against your identity.

To your brain, and your calculating self, they are the same, and it will fight back equally hard against either of them.

Thing is, only one of them is actually fatal.

The other is a chance for a glorious transformation, stepping forward into a new light that you, and your authentic self, will love much more.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 31, 2019

You are whole and complete

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You always have been

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And you always will be

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You may not experience it

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And you may sometimes take actions that don’t reflect it

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But it doesn’t change the truth of who and what you are

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There are just barriers to your experiencing it

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Welcome to the New Year

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Whole and Complete

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 17, 2019

It is always good to remember that apologies

(True, authentic apologies)

Are not automatic means to an end.

*

We cannot simply put a quarter

Into the “apology/forgiveness machine

And expect that all is forgotten,

And we go back to doing whatever it is

We want to do.

*

Real apologies take courage,

They take vulnerability,

And they come from a place

Of ownership and responsibility.

*

We are OFFERING an apology,

That may or may not be ACCEPTED.

And even if it IS

That doesn’t mean

That there won’t be any CONSEQUENCES.

*

To truly apologize

We offer the apology,

And then take

(Yes, take!)

WHATEVER WE GET.

*

We acknowledge the impact

That our actions have had,

Whether intentional or not,

And we make no demands.

*

We ask for forgiveness.

And we take what we get.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 10, 2019

Avoid basing your identity on beliefs or things

Instead, base it on values or intentions

 

(As we walk around in life, each of us a conglomeration of identities, some chosen, mostly not, and often forgetting that we were are the sole and final authors of our identities, there are a lot of good pointers and reminders on how to best put our identities together.  The one above is nice and succinct.  Beliefs rarely are eternally solid and often call us towards attachment, clinging tightly no matter what and no matter the detrimental outcomes.  Values and intentions, however, beget multiple ways of being that call us powerfully into action that fulfill us while remaining adaptable, open to shift and always aiming towards our central, authentic, selves.)

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 3, 2019

There was a funny thing that kept happening.  We* would ask Sifu a question about some move in the Tai Chi form, usually a move somewhere near the end of the form, and he would say, “Well, go back to your Wu Ji.”

Now, Wu Ji is the first move in the form.  It’s not even really a move – you stand in it.  Translated literally, it means something like “Empty” or “Nothing” stance, though the more proper meaning is “Harmonious” stance, with the idea of bringing your body and body tension together in evenness and harmony, like a circle.  It’s the starting position.

Which is why we would usually protest.  “No Sifu, I meant this move here…” and we would demonstrate.  “I know,” he would reply, “But go to Wu Ji.”

Despite our frustration, it does (Of course it does!  He was Sifu!) make sense.  If you don’t have your Wu Ji, you can’t “have” anything – your moves are all deficient** in some way.  We are thinking and asking to tweak something on this one particular move when really a) the problem doesn’t start there b) we apparently don’t even fully grasp the depth of the problem c) tweaking that move won’t really fix the issue and d) if we can adjust our Wu Ji, then we won’t need to fix the problem because the problem goes away.  Moreover, it doesn’t just go away, it e) creates a whole bunch of positive outcomes everywhere, in every single move we do.

It is a great way to express the concept of returning to the primordial.  Whether martial arts moves or societal systems, whether cultural or our own personal views and realities, or our own identities and who we see ourselves and others to be, it’s hard to poke and prod something so deep and at the end of a long chain and have it be all that impactful.  At best we can struggle and strain and maybe keep it (or our Tai Chi structure) from collapsing.  But the issues remain, and often compound on each other.  But when we get something fundamental and come from first principles, from the primordial, and adjust our Wu Ji so that we begin from a place of proper connection and intent, then massive shifts are possible.  Everything sings, compounds harmoniously, and we come to those places of strength with ease, naturally.

All wrapped up in a simple small phrase.  Thank you Sifu.

 

* While it would happen to all of us it seemed to happen to Steve the most… so much so that it has become our affectionate running joke now (and a way for us to remember and honour Sifu)

** Not bad, or wrong, but just missing something.  Something to discover, get, incorporate, and grow.

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 19, 2019

When it comes to willpower, I assert we’ve gotten a bit wonky in our relation to it.

Not that I don’t think willpower plays a role in life, or that it exists; I do, on both counts.  It’s more that, in our considerations and judgements, we have overvalued it.  Whether we disparage ourselves or deride others for failures in life – or the opposite, exalting our inner fire or wistfully admiring it in another – we have ascribed to it an outsized role without looking at everything that underpins it.

Because we tend to view willpower as this magical, inherent, and ingrained thing that makes some people great and others not so great.  Yet there are many things ordinarily hidden from our view (unless we bring mindfulness to it) that underpin this thing we call willpower.  There is a great gaggle of context that plays a role, both in developing willpower (for it is something that can be cultivated) as well as supporting it in the moment.

And support is the key word.  It’s about being supported, by others, who can model, and teach, and train this self-capacity.  Even more so, it’s about fallback.  About being able to and having a fallback should and when things go awry.  It’s about having the wherewithal to actually GO for it, do it, all while being secure in what will happen if it doesn’t work out.  That people will be there.  That resources will be there.  That the system will be there.  That it won’t be fatal, either spiritually, subsistence-ly, or literally.

Heck, just being in a good place means we have the energy and brainpower to be able to engage our will.  Being stressed, tired, or having to constantly deal with fires all sap our vitality and nerve.

When we have a net to fall into, we are much more willing to take that leap, walk that tightrope, and do that thing.  It bolsters us.  And that’s great!  And before we laud or denigrate it’d be best if we acknowledge that whole picture.  The self-made person is kinda true, but it’s not necessarily the only or whole truth.*  There’s more to it, and it can be much more of the deciding factor than some great natural force residing within.

When we encompass and grow this whole picture, willpower – for ourselves and for us all – can flourish.

 

* And there are plenty of non-self-made people too, who have made it through luck or birth or etc