Thursday, April 24, 2008

For your consideration:


There is a thing, formless yet complete.
Before heaven and earth it existed.
Without sound, without substance, it stands alone and unchanging.
It is all-pervading and unfailing.
One may think of it as the mother of all beneath Heaven.
We do not know its name, but we call it Tao.

Deep and still, it seems to have existed forever.

-Lao Tzu


See more on philosophical Taoism and on pan(en)theism generally.

13 comments:

FedUp said...

Beautiful! Poetry!

I really like the unassuming-ness of it. I may not be able to espouse such an idea as my very own but I look on in admiration and consider it's virtues in deep contemplation.

Like I said before, I really like Eastern Thought. It's much more appealing to me.

FedUp said...

I've clicked around on those links you provided and I'm in love! I like the way Richard Dawkin's describes it as Sexed up Atheism. http://www.pantheism.net/atheism.htm

I maybe on my way to being a eastern scientific pantheist. If this is your view then you may have a convert.

Orthoprax said...

Once skeptics get past the deny, decry and revile stage of their disbelief and realize that a non-belief explains nothing and offers nothing (which is actually a stage not all of them ever pass) then something along the lines of Pantheism is a common step.

But I actually do not believe what Dawkins would call "sexed-up atheism." What I believe is not just a matter of revering the natural world, but also accepts some concepts that are otherwise not scientific and unmeasurable. I've recently become rather interested in the ideas of Emerson and other transcendentalists.

But yes, the key that differentiates me from the more common theist is the degree of anthropomorphism.

Rabban Gamliel said...

FedUp what was said in the quote that goes against Judaism?

FedUp said...

Does that mean that you believe in a supervising, prayer answering God? I won't comment on your answer but I'm interested to know.

In regards to the permanent state of skeptics and strict atheism, I've always known intuitively that this is just a stage I'm in and I would eventually move on to focusing on building instead of focusing on tearing down. There is a certain sick joy and lack of commitment in a full blown skeptic view. Picture the scene in Office Space when they destroy the printer. But I'll willingly admit that this shouldn't be the main use of our mental energies. I view this as a sort of mourning and as therapeutic. I've lost religion and I'm rather hateful of it. I'm disgusted that I believed the things that I did and I don't want to ever brainwash myself or allow myself to be brainwashed by others. But now I'm beginning to think positively though I never want to give up reason and rationality. It turns out Pantheism is exactly what I had in mind.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"It turns out Pantheism is exactly what I had in mind."

Fine then you have come closer to Kabbala.

Orthoprax said...

Fed,

"Does that mean that you believe in a supervising, prayer answering God?"

No. It means I believe we are not accidents, that God is 'good', that objective morality exists, that we have free will, etc. These are things which scientific pantheism is silent about.

dbs said...

Wow,
Lao Tzu defines 'sohu va'vohu'!

tikkunger said...

"No. It means I believe we are not accidents, that God is 'good', that objective morality exists, that we have free will, etc."

Well said!

alex said...

dbs sort of beat me to it, but...

"We do not know its name, but we call it Tao."

Tao? as in Tao-hu v'bao hu?

alex said...

FWIW, a certain Lao Tzu website states: "There are dozens of translations of the Tao te Ching, many of them radically different from one another."

Orthoprax said...

Alex,

Feel free to compare:

http://tiny.cc/sz2kM

Daganev said...

"Like I said before, I really like Eastern Thought. It's much more appealing to me."

Damn, its the 60s all over again!

Go to India, learn tao and budhism, become a panthiest, have a mystical experience about herring, learn kabalah, find out what you believed was in Judaism all along, come back home.

The circle of life...

As the Japanese lady at the sushi restruarnt told me: "An Israeli goes to the dali lama and says teach me, and the dali lama says, 'Why ask for silver when you allready have gold?'"