Rob's Summary of Weeks Four and Five


Key Concept: HOLISM   

ho·lism n
1.    the view that a whole system of beliefs must be analyzed rather than simply its individual components
2.    the theory of the importance of taking all of somebody’s physical, mental, and social conditions, not just physical symptoms, into account in the treatment of illness

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

Everything that we’ve read and discussed to now: Prodigal sons and daughters, presence and absence (of the female Mother), soma and body, chaos and order, leaving and returning to the Source, belonging to and alienated from; the suffering of King Lear (tragedy and comedy), wild and tame (swans), writing and speaking, speaking and singing, art and culture, Everyday Use and cultural heritage, sanity and insanity, time and history, rationality and enlightenment, language and experience; body and mind, awareness and control, tabula rasa to Aeolian tension to release in action (through song, dance, word; healing and story telling); the self and world, left thumb/right thumb; collective and individual sustainability, development and environment; Power, Freedom, Belonging, Fun; Space, Shape, Time, Motion; sensation, feeling, thought, movement—all  can be understood through the concept of holism.

We related the idea of the Source to Nature, the natural world, a whole and living cosmos. The father in The Prodigal Son can be a metaphor and synecdoche for the Source—of life, health, well-being, wholeness.

Our ecological crisis can be seen as resulting from a split from our source, leading to degradation of the environment.

Key Concept of Holism: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Nature is regenerative. When the parts are operating harmoniously, the result is growth and development. Development must be in harmony with ecology. Balance is not static; it is dynamic.

Discussion: “Deer in Idaho”—traditionally, rural hunting culture uncritically accepts precepts of free use of land, etc. This is an example of Hall’s FORMAL dimension of culture, which is largely unconscious, strongly affected (when violated), slow to change, learned primarily by admonition when tenets are violated, e.g., Fundamentalism in its various forms. Why do we do it this way? Because!  

Key lesson: Don’t let the enormity of the ecological crises prevent us from doing the little things we can to aid in sustainability. Get the facts: be informed and inform people of the TECHNICAL aspects of the situation. Paper or plastic? Neither, I’ve got my own. Ration water now! And so on. Hall’s TECHCNICAL dimension of culture is the easiest vehicle of change because it is conscious, objective, unaffected, and teachable.

Subjectify Nature, make Nature a living presence, a la Stephan Gould: “We cannot win this battle to save species and environment without forging an emotional bond, for we will not fight to save what we do not love.” (Cited from Don’s lecture.)

Also from Don’s lecture/video of Thomas Berry: “a communion of subjects; not a collection of objects.”

Week 5: The Tao of Revolution

The Tao Te-Ching, attributed to Lao T’su.

Key Concept: Yin and Yang.

I Ching, (Book of Changes) antecedent to Lao T’su

Oracle answers basic question in terms of “yes” and “no”, represented by single or broken line: ____ = “yes”= yang;
                    __ __ = “no” = yin.

I Ching is an oracle, common in antiquity, e.g., Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Tarot, Astrology

> prophecy and advice
> collection of linear signs ____ is “yes”; __ __ is “no”
> second line added for greater differentiation: 2 lines become 4.
> third line doubled diagrams into 8 trigrams
> trigrams doubled (above and below) leading to 64 hexagrams
> relates individual and collective social worlds to natural pricipals

Archetypes/Natural Attributes of the 8 Trigrams

K’un—Receptive—devoted, yielding—earth—mother
Chen—Arousing—inciting, movement—thunder—1st son
K’an—Abysmal—dangerous—water—2nd son
Ken—Keeping Still—resting—mountain—3rd son
Sun—Gentle—penetrating—wind, wood—1st daughter
Li—Clinging—light giving—fire—2nd daughter
Tui—Joyous—joyful—lake—3rd daughter

Progression/ Birth Order/Attributes of Sons and Daughters

Sons: 1st) beginning, 2nd) danger, 3rd) completing of movement
Daughters: 1st) gentle penetration, 2nd) clarity, 3rd) adaptability, joyous tranquility

Fate versus Free Will: From simple Yes/No lines, the I Ching as oracle becomes a book of wisdom, deriving from its primary but complex function in answering, “What am I to do?”

Wisdom of the I Ching developed into the Tao Te-Ching (c 500 BC): 81 “lessons”.
There are hundreds of translations of Tao Te Ching. We looked at the first and last lessons translated by Yi-Ping Ong whose aim was to restore the feminine dimension of the tao.

# 1:     The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao.
    The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
    The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth
    While the naming is the origin of the myriad things.
    Therefore, always desireless, you see the mystery
Ever desiring, you see the manifestations.
    These two are the same—
    When they appear they are named differently.

    This sameness is the mystery.
    Mystery within mystery.

# 81:     True words are not fancy.
    Fancy words are not true.
    The good do not debate.
    Debaters are not good.
    The one who really knows is not broadly learned,
    The extensively learned do not really know.
    The sage does not hoard,
    She gives people her surplus.
    Giving her surplus to others she is enriched.

    The way of Heaven is to help and not harm.