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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bending Over...To Plug In

   I couldn't help but feel pathetic as I failed to plug in this laptop's power chord into a wall outlet. Tucked behind the futon I now sit on, that outlet was hard to get required me to 1) put the laptop and its chord down, 2) pick up the power chord after it fell off the table, and 3) struggle desperately to connect the male part of the plug to the outlet. Why is this worth mentioning? I personally thought that there's a generic  life lesson to be learned from these three points. I admit that it seems like I constantly look for these life lessons in any and every instance.  And thus far, I haven't found any negative effect from searching (and then relating.)
Jokes on you
 First lesson: putting the laptop and its chord down. That is, put technology down. I found that it was necessary to put down what my arms were carrying in order to find something small. This could be translated into many things in order to be a life lesson. Putting down, or rather, emptying ourselves in order to be capable of being filled up. Just this past Sunday, I heard in new definition for humility within the homily. "Humility" did not entail being the doormat of the world, rather, it was the concept of emptying one's self in order to be able to fully receive Jesus. (I did say I thought in generic, all encompassing mode:) So is Jesus interchangeable with other religious concepts? No, absolutely not. However, this redefined humility is a shared belief among other faiths. Maybe not under the term "humility," but still, the idea remains. Because Taoism is centered around "the way," I thought that this faith could be used as a point of reference in order to make a more generic life lesson out of "putting down the laptop." Taoism, I have found, also favors emptiness. I'd go as far as to say that less is more in Taoism because the constant state of emptying seems to be a threaded theme throughout the Tao Te Ching, the holy book of Taoism. "It is empty yet not depleted." (TTC 5:6.) Because Taoism gives us another point of view on this idea of emptying, whether it be for the sake of embodying Christ or being able to follow the way ever more closely, I can now make a more generic life lesson, or rather, a more general reflection.
    Tying back into my first point of putting down the technology and its baggage it brings. I'd make the argument that technology is the fore frontal distraction/occupation of most people's time. Whether it be for better or worse, technology occupies the average schmo's time.You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a 40-50 year old guy staring down at his iPhone4. So an immediate benefit of putting down the technology would be that grown men wouldn't walk into people. Throw in loss of social skills terminated (as soon as the cultural emphasis on technology as the only means of communication has subsided.) But on a more life lesson level, what is to be gained from putting down the technology from time to time is a gain in dignity. I feel cheap to know that a screen has me so invested that I can't seem to function without it. The computer will run with or without us. Yea, sure, we need to turn it on, but once that sucker's up and running, we are sitting there, cranking out the power by pedaling. We, however, seem to be at the mercy of the computer/tv/cellphone. And like I pointed out, yes, there are all the social stats and communication reasons for us to stop using technology as a life source, but still, we could make significant progress along the path without our heads down, staring at the cellphone, or our eyes glazed, glued to the television, or our ears muffed by headphones.

to be continued

Getting Back Into the Mix

Spittle bugs
I have taken an extended break from this blogging business. Part of the reason for such a delay in coming back is due to the courses I'm taking. I had a lot thrown at me from two of my biggest influences: Comparative Religions and a philosophy class. And there was a lot of concrete, generic information being thrown at me from the philosophical arena while I was learning some mind blowing Eastern Asia religions (Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.) While I am digesting and reflecting what I have learned, I am able to produce some sort of reflection that can generally draw a line that connects some broadly shared concepts.
The driving factor to actually hop back into blogging came just about a half an hour ago while I lay with my drool on my chin, sitting in a dentist chair. I usually enjoy getting my teeth cleaned, but this was the first time I encountered some mental and physical dilemmas. The obvious physical issue was the drooling. I felt a little demoralized as I sat, incapable of controlling my dribble. I couldn't really find the right amount of stretch my jaw needed to have to please my hygienist. So instead of frequently interrupting her work in order to wipe my spittle, I turned inward. Ah, the great indoors of the mind. And I must admit, rather than practice a new meditation technique (which I tend to do when I have a free second,) I thought of ze blog. So there is no actual religious or philosophical affiliation in this specific post, but I do want to encourage my growing audience to comment. The reason I make such a request is that in signing back in, I have realized in a few of the comments, how quick I am to press publish, and then later discover, or be told that I have made a mistake. (I am referring to my Qigong mistype.) So my perfect dreamworld would be if I was questioned on definitions, references, and parallels that I loosely draw between philosophy and religion.
I hope to have a few reflections on Aristotle mixed in with the Asian religions I have really enjoyed thus far. I particularly liked the contrasts between Confucianism and Taoism, both of which (with Buddhism) play as significant influences in Chinese (among others) culture.
Read on,
Pass on the URL,