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CONLANG  May 2004, Week 1

CONLANG May 2004, Week 1

Subject:

Re: NATLANG/TRANS/ETC: The Daode Jing (Tao Te Ching) of Laozi (Lao Tzu)

From:

J Y S Czhang <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 4 May 2004 16:11:06 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (95 lines)

In a message dated 2004:05:04 10:03:11 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

>How great if would have been if Lao-Tzu had used a
>logical conceptual language in his time !

--- from various web resources:

_ Pu_ simplicity (Pre-linguistic Purity)

    The Daoist "primitivist" ideal as expressed mainly in the Laozi. It
stands for the result of forgetting ming names and desires  The most "detailed"
translation is D. C. Lau's "nameless uncarved block." This translation captures
Laozi's account of the Daoist contrast theory of language according to which
names or language divides things. When societies adopt names or terms, it does
so in order to instill and regulate desires for one of the pair created by the
name-induced distinction. Thus Daoist forgetting requires forgetting names and
distinctions, but in doing so, frees itself from the socially induced,
unnatural desires that cause strife and unhappiness in society (e.g. status, rare
objects, fame, authority). Thus, "The Nameless uncarved block thus amounts to
freedom from desire." (Daode Jing 37)

    Broad but not total skepticism of this type can support a normative
conclusion – as it does for modern liberalism. The conclusion would be that we
ought not to participate in social structures designed to oppress, mutilate, or
kill those who do not share our way of life. Engaging in coercive activities to
impose a single way of life on people requires a level of confidence that we
have identified the correct comprehensive vision to which we are not entitled. 
The Zhuangzi passages remind us of that we have frequently been wrong in our
classifications and action attitudes toward things.

    Nieh Ch'ueh said, "If you don't know what is profitable or harmful, then
does the Perfect Man likewise know nothing of such things?" Wang Ni replied,
"The Perfect Man is godlike. Though the great swamps blaze, they cannot burn
him; though the great rivers freeze, they cannot chill him; though swift
lightning splits the hills and howling gales shake the sea, they cannot frighten him.
A man like this rides the clouds and mist, straddles the sun and moon, and
wanders beyond the four seas. Even life and death have no effect on him, much
less the rules of profit and loss! . . .The sage leans on the sun and moon,
tucks the universe under his arm, merges himself withthings, leaves the confusion
and muddle as it is, and looks on slaves as exalted. Ordinary men strain and
struggle; the sage is stupid and blockish. He takes part in ten thousand ages
and achieves simplicity in oneness. For him, all the ten thousand things are
what they are, and thus they enfold each other.

    Typically, this kind of text makes its point by asserting a kind of
reversal. Perfection may be the very opposite of what we now take it to be.
Perfection from one perspective may appear as stupidity from another! The perfect
musician may be one who does not play a note(?!).
    The judgments and behavior of a perfect man are just irrelevant,
incomprehensible to us and of no use when we, ordinary people, think about what to do.

    Our lives are bounded and knowledge is unbounded. To use the bounded to
pursue the unbounded is dangerous—stop it and you can be deemed a knowledgeable
person.

---
Hanuman Zhang, _Gomi no sensei_ [Master of junk] <A
HREF="http://www.boheme-magazine.net">=> boheme-magazine.net</A>

    "To live is to scrounge, taking what you can in order to survive. So,
since living is scrounging, the result of our efforts is to amass a pile of
rubbish." ~ ChuangTzu/Zhuangzi, China, 4th Century BCE

    "...So what is life for? Life is for beauty and substance and sound and
colour; and even those are often forbidden by law [socio-cultural conventions].
. .Why not be free and live your own life? Why follow other people's rules
and live to please others?..." ~ Lieh-Tzu/Liezi, Taoist Sage (c. 450- 375 BCE)

    "Taoism in a nutshell: Shit Happens. Roll with the Punches. Hang 10 ~ Go
with the Flow!" ~ anon. California Surfer~Beatnik, c.1950's/1960's

    "[The modern economist] is used to measuring the 'standard
of living' by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the
time that a man who consumes more is 'better off' than a man
who consumes less.
    "A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively
irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-
being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being
with the minimum of consumption." ~ E.F. Schumacher, _Small is Beautiful_

    "Western man not merely blighted in some degree every
culture that he touched, whether 'primitive' or advanced, but he also
robbed his own descendants of countless gifts of art and craftsmanship,
as well as precious knowledge passed on only by word of mouth
that disappeared with the dying languages of dying peoples...." ~ Lewis
Mumford, _The Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine_

    "Anarchism's great project is to dissolve the asymmetry of power. How?
There are thousands of alternatives and there is not only one solution. To
advance 'one' solution would be a doctrine of power, a manifestation of power." ~
Venezuelan University Academic Alfredo Vallota quoted in _El Libertario_

Non scholæ sed vitæ discimus. ("We do not learn for school, but for life.")
~ Seneca

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