Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

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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

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 12, 2019

The more time we have with ourselves


The more time we have to define ourselves


And the less we let others define us

 

(Especially unconsciously)
(Doubly especially from advertisers, social media, politics, and etc)

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 5, 2019

It is past time we jettisoned the useless false dichotomy of introversion vs extroversion and just accepted that everybody has a minimum amount of social interaction, failing which, they get really weird.  And everybody has a maximum amount of social interaction, exceeding which, they get really weird.  These levels are different for everyone, for a variety of reasons, and have no moral dimension.

And that is all.

— Radicarian

 

Nice.  To which we can add that these amounts can and do vary throughout our lives.  Sometimes they even vary day by day.  They are also highly context dependent.   And also dependent on whom the interactions are with.

Above all, though, is that last bit.  Dispensing with the basis for stigmatization.  Forgoing the chassis of good/bad.  We can listen, rather than impose.  We can be with someone, rather than interact with caricatures.  Especially valuable since where on the scale at any given time is so mutable – even for people we know well.

Always great to be reminded that gradients are a thing and are normal, and we don’t need to sort things into discrete opposites.  Also a great chance to revisit this post about average heights that illustrates this so well.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 29, 2019

“Ignorant.”  We tend to throw that word around as an insult.  Rather than a simple descriptor of someone’s knowledge (or, more properly, their lack thereof), it is wielded as a club, a disparagement of their character and of a massive failure on their part.

As though they should know.  As though they are bad and wrong for not knowing or understanding it.

And with that we relegate them into a hopeless category that deserves scorn or fixing (or both).

Yet we are all ignorant of a great many things.

And, here’s the crux, not everyone has had the fortune of the experiences, information, and reinforcement that it takes to learn something.  To become aware of something.  To synthesize the myriad of different threads into a rich tapestry of knowledge and understanding.  And going beyond understanding into the realm of groking it.

Even the information on its own is not enough; it can take guidance and the proper context and mindsets, aided (and thus can also be hindered) by others along the way.

The way we learn is that we are shown.  We follow examples.  And when someone makes us aware, and invites us to go deeper, we can learn.*

What matters is to put aside our harsh condemnations and extend that invitation.  When we relate to people as a hopeless “other” then there is no opportunity for exchange.  When we are willing to listen and lead, then new possibilities can open.

It isn’t easy.  It isn’t automatic or guaranteed.  It isn’t likely to be instant.  And it won’t necessarily be fun.  But it can always be a start.

 

* It is also possible that they do know, or are aware, and continue to espouse a limited or severe view.  Again, this may be because they have never been exposed long term to someone who can help expand the view.  Either way, it becomes a different conversation than one of teaching, but a conversation that will still be more productive when coming from a place of invitation and exchange than one of scorn or fixing.