Categories for Books, films and TV

An Oath of Dogs

We all want to be unique. We cleave to the tiny things that define us as individuals. We rejoice in everything that marks us as beings different from all others, delighting in our free will. I believe that is what allows us to bring wrongdoing into the world.
from Meditations on the Meaning of Evil,
by MW Willams

Source: page 123, An Oath of Dogs, written by Wendy N Wagner

Published on May 12, 2022 at 6:00 by

Waiting (Nourishment)

5. Hsü / Waiting (Nourishment)

above K’AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER
below CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

All beings have need of nourishment from above. But the gift of food comes in its own time, and for this one must wait. This hexagram shows the clouds in the heavens, giving rain to refresh all that grows and to provide mankind with food and drink. The rain will come in its own time. We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it. The idea of waiting is further suggested by the attributes of the two trigrams–strength within, danger in from. Strength in the face of danger does not plunge ahead but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait.

THE JUDGMENT

WAITING. If you are sincere,
You have light and success.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty alone gives that light which leads to success. This leads to the perseverance that brings good fortune and bestows power to cross the great water. One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness and impatience can do nothing. Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. This recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action. For only the man who goes to meet his fate resolutely is equipped to deal with it adequately. Then he will be able to cross the great water–that is to say, he will be capable of making the necessary decision and of surmounting the danger.

THE IMAGE

Clouds rise up to heaven:
The image of WAITING.
Thus the superior man eats and drinks,
Is joyous and of good cheer.

When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign that it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until after the rain falls. It is the same in life when destiny is at work. We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe. We should quietly fortify the body with food and drink and the mind with gladness and good cheer. Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready.

Published on May 11, 2022 at 6:00 by

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Second Coming written by William Butler Yeats in 1919

Published on April 28, 2022 at 6:00 by

81. Telling it true

True words aren’t charming,
charming words aren’t true.
Good people aren’t contentious,
contentious people aren’t good.
People who know aren’t learned,
learned people don’t know.

Wise souls don’t hoard;
the more they do for others the more they have,
the more they give the richer they are.
The Way of heaven profits without destroying.
Doing without outdoing
is the Way of the wise.

The next little country might be so close
the people could hear cocks crowing
and dogs barking there,
but they’d get old and die
without ever having been there.

Source: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on April 7, 2022 at 6:00 by

17. Acting simply

True leaders
are hardly known to their followers.
Next after them are the leaders
the people know and admire;
after them, those they fear;
after them, those they despise.

To give no trust
is to get no trust.

When the work’s done right,
with no fuss or boasting,
ordinary people say,
Oh, we did it.1

1 This invisible leader, who gets things done in such a way that people think they did it all themselves, isn’t one who manipulates others from behind the scenes; just the opposite. Again, it’s a matter of “doing without doing”: uncompetitive, unworried, trustful accomplishment, power that is not force. An example or analogy might be a very good teacher, or the truest voice in a group of singers.

Source: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on March 31, 2022 at 6:00 by

Rejection

Yesterday i walked back from the supermarket to home. Some talking to friends, standing in the door opening of a house, asked me a question. I don’t even remember what he said. I replied something, along the line that it made no sense what he was saying. It was a quick reply. At the same time i wondred why he asked me that. I wasn’t part of the conversation, i was simply walking by. While i was walking away they started laughing. I looked back. It hurt me a bit. I felt like they were sharing some secret. Back home i thought about what i was asked. Then i thought sex. Of course.

I cried while i saw this video. It spoke to me while i was watching it for the first time. I do feel rejected. I am still looking for something worthwhile to say. Something which will resonate. I hope i can find it.

The second time i cried today was while reading this book Ultimate Questions. I went back and tried to find the piece which caused these emotions with me, but couldn’t find it. So i photographed another part. It is about being alone, communicate with others, feeling desperate when you do not communicate with anybody. Mostly.

Published on March 29, 2022 at 6:00 by

Ultimate Questions

Yesterday i went to the library. I did do a search through the catalogue with the words time and philosophy.

I got three books: The Dark Forest written by Cixin Liu, De tijd bestaat niet (Time doesn’t exist) written by Roland Breeur, Ultieme Vragen (Ultimate Questions) by Bryan Magee.

I started reading the book by Bryan Magee. A small philosophy of life and death. I only read the first chapter about time and space. Some parts are simple, but the end results are puzzling for sure. I do enjoy reading it.

On page 17 there is the following text from Macbeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

Macbeth V, 5

Published on March 24, 2022 at 6:00 by

Work on what has been spoiled – Keeping still

18. Ku / Work on what has been spoiled [ Decay ]

above Kên KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN
below Sun THE GENTLE, WIND

The Chinese character ku represents a bowl in whose contents worms are breeding. This means decay. IT is come about because the gentle indifference in the lower trigram has come together with the rigid inertia of the upper, and the result is stagnation. Since this implies guilt, the conditions embody a demand for removal of the cause. Hence the meaning of the hexagram is not simply “what has been spoiled” but “work on what has been spoiled”.
THE JUDGMENT

WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED
Has supreme success.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Before the starting point, three days.
After the starting point, three days.

What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work. IT is not immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, that has caused the state of corruption, but rather the abuse of human freedom. Work toward improving conditions promises well, because it accords the possibilities of the time. We must not recoil from work and danger-symbolized by crossing of the great water-but must take hold energetically. Success depends, however, on proper deliberation. This is expressed by the lines, “Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.” We must first know the cause of corruption before we can do away with them; hence it is necessary to be cautious during the time before the start. Then we must see to it that the new way is safely entered upon, so that a relapse may be avoided; therefore we must pay attention to the time after the start. Decisiveness and energy must take the place of inertia and indifference that have led to decay, in order that the ending may be followed by a new beginning.

THE IMAGE

The wind blows low on the mountain:
The image of DECAY.
Thus the superior man stirs up the people
And strengthens their spirit.

When the wind blow s slow on the mountain, it is thrown back and spoils the vegetation. This contains a challenge to improvement. It is the same with debasing attitudes and fashions; they corrupt human society. His methods likewise must be derived from the two trigrams, but in such a way that their effects unfold in orderly sequence. The superior must first remove stagnation by stirring up public opinion, as the wind stirs up everything, and must strengthen and tranquilize the character of the people, as the mountain gives tranquillity and nourishment to all that grows in its vicinity.

Nine in the second place means:
Setting right what has been spoiled by the mother.
One must not be too persevering.

This refers to mistakes that as a result of weakness have brought about decay – hence the symbol, “what has been spoiled by the mother. ” In setting things right in such a case, a certain gentle consideration is called for. In order not to wound, one should not attempt to proceed too drastically.

52. Kên / Keeping Still, Mountain

above KêN KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN
below KêN KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN

The image of this hexagram is the mountain, the youngest son of heaven and earth. The male principle is at the top because it strives upward by nature; the female principle is below, since the direction of its movement has come to its normal end.
In its application to man, the hexagram turns upon the problem of achieving a quiet heart. It is very difficult to bring quiet to the heart. While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement. Possibly the words of the text embody directions for the practice of yoga.

THE JUDGMENT

KEEPING STILL. Keeping his back still
So that he no longer feels his body.
He goes into his courtyard
And does not see his people.
No blame.

True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward. In this way rest and movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life.
The hexagram signifies the end and the beginning of all movement. The back is named because in the back are located all the nerve fibers that mediate movement. If the movement of these spinal nerves is brought to a standstill, the ego, with its restlessness, disappears as it were. When a man has thus become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed for understanding the great laws of the universe and for acting in harmony with them. Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.

THE IMAGE

Mountains standing close together:
The image of KEEPING STILL.
Thus the superior man
Does not permit his thoughts
To go beyond his situation.

The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart – that is, a man’s thoughts – should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore.

Published on March 23, 2022 at 6:00 by

Noema

A few days ago i came across an article published in Noema. This is a magazine published from Los Angeles, with most, if not all, articles posted online.

In ancient Greek, noēma means “thinking” or the “object of thought.” And that is our intention: to delve deeply into the critical issues transforming the world today, at length and with historical context, in order to illuminate new pathways of thought in a way not possible through the immediacy of daily media.

The article that caught my attention was The Tyranny Of Time. I read it twice, the second time a bit slower than the first time, of course.

One sentence caught my attention:

Capitalism did not create clock time or vice versa, but the scientific and religious division of time into identical units established a useful infrastructure for capitalism to coordinate the exploitation and conversion of bodies, labor and goods into value.

I added Noema into my rss feedly list. I will go through their list of articles, and hopefully read a couple more of them, but that will take a much longer time.

Published on March 22, 2022 at 6:00 by