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Symbols, Myth and Meaning by J.J Artemis - HTML preview

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Introduction

Ryokan by Koshi no Sengai (1895-1958), from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf. (1)

The thief left it behind:

the moon

at my window.

-

Ryōkan

In life we are faced with many obstacles; in events and occurrences , most of which simply occur to us and

make us feel that we have no choice in the matter, that the cosmos simply throws obstacles our way , one

after another, but we have no recourse to it. Life is absurd to be certain, but there is a common thread

among everything that occurs in ones perception; the ability to adjust our view of existence. This comes

from understanding that everything occurring in one's life is either; in our control, not within our control or

within our sphere of influence.

If something cannot be controlled, it is not unfair, life was never created to operate in a manner that followed any rules. What one can do when confronted with an event out of our control is to understand this mentally

and cease troubling ourselves over the occurrence, simply see it clearly for what it is.

If something can be controlled or is within our sphere of influence , then it is in our duty to exert what

influence is within our power to attempt at coming to a satisfactory conclusion, with the understanding that it

may not work out as we expect; but then that it would be simply so; if one gives all the effort and attention

that was possible at the time, it could not have gone any other way.

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that

affect you and make you dance like a puppet.” – Marcus Aurelius

Understanding this one operates in a state of natural control, Wu Wei, actionless action. One comes to a

point where one does not operate with Wei, with effort or doing, but optimizes the course of events via the

most effective action, which is to be actionless in response to our initial impression of events . In this

manner one lives life Wei Wu Wei, the inaction committed by understanding on a fundamental level what is

in ones sphere of control and influence. In this state of learned natural mind, comes a beautiful clarity in

perspective, a person stops grasping at every angry notion or anxious worry which grows from the mind into

conscious attention, but simply observes the thoughts and acts on what is in one's control and influence , a

flowing state of Wu Wei, simply doing what one can and observing with conscious understanding everything

else.

Not having power is not the same as being powerless, you still control that which cannot be disturbed,

should you cherish it; your conscious perception: your reaction to the material that is exposed presenting

itself as existence. Through conscious effort we create and thus can destroy what is considered

insurmountable, then it becomes just what is so, and left then is a rational being who figures a way to

transverse what is placed before him, by removing emotions out of the equation and observing the reality

that is before them. Not adding emotions, feelings and preconceived notions of how things should be, one

become more adept at dealing with things how they are, and will do better at putting them to where one

want them to be.

“External thinks are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.” –

Marcus Aurelius

There comes a fear from persons who have their entire life given power to their emotions; those that cling

and claw at any emotion from which they feel is formed their essence. From this comes another problem:

the idea of who you are is also an illusion, one selects moments and inclinations that one was inclined to for

no particular reason at one point and creates a character they feel is who they are, but to do so and to really

believe that is 'you', is simply not true. We only live in the present, the past only viewed as a memory and

the future as a prediction of observed cosmic patterns, you are not a solid unchangeable character, every

moment one experiences spontaneous life and it is from what we choose to do to affect our present, which

is in our domain, that forms who we are.

You must to some extent act on your own, and release yourself from the grasping constraints of your past

and any illusions from which you are acting. Accept your past, don't live in it, accept your thoughts, don't

cling to them, accept your desires, don't see evil from a lack of realizing them, trust yourself and who you

see in your reflection, it is you, in the now, the mind and body as one structure to the environment,

experiencing the void , just so.

The concepts of Ego, ID, Superego, are all concepts that are created from that which is you. To attach

yourself to these concepts is to attach yourself to foolishness, one that attempts to know themselves from

the creation of illusions will only know the illusions.

If the freudian concepts of the mind are used with the understanding that they are not real, but illusions of

the mind; they are harmless, and similar to other illusions useful to a certain degree, but if you attach

yourself to these concepts and make them real in your mind, you are bringing yourself into a state of

confusion and torment. It is nonsensical to think of yourself other than oneness. This being said the very

attempt to clear your mind with your mind is like wiping off blood with blood, it stains the material further,

instead it is simply better to allow what will manifest to manifest, but not to grasp and cling, which is not

possible as these concepts have no truth in reality, but certainly the conflict in attempting to conjure them

will harm you.

In confrontation with conflict

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

It is the small moments that determines how the world interacts with you. If one day you come home to find

a precious item stolen, how would you react?

Initially; Anger, Fear and Confusion would be the normal human reactions, and why should one suppress

themselves on what occurs spontaneously?

It is from these natural inclinations that one considers the event in terms of reality, this is where you could

consider the spheres of control that are available to you; rather than harming yourself with the human ability

to magnify negative emotions. It would be best to consider that the thief committed an action which they

thought justified stealing your property. It is more likely that they are misled beings warped by illogical

ideology and absent in thought of virtue, such persons are to be pitied rather than to be vilified. In

approaching this event you would be best to consider;

What is in my control: my reaction; my actions to what I can influence and control

What is not in my control: my initial feelings, the event, anything I cannot influence the result of

Even if you maximize your attempt to “best” a situation, nothing is guaranteed, the universe was never

explicitly created for the triumph of virtuous beings, this is a never ending game.

It's all good and easy to preach this type of mindset, showing how anything else simply causes the being

who engages in the action unnecessary pain and confusion, that being said humans are creatures of habit.

It is with this gift that one who reflects and engages in this stoic inspired worldview on practicality will

experience a great change in their mental functioning and to a degree who they are as beings. It can be

recommended for persons to take some time everyday, as a habit, perhaps during a time something is done

for certain ; after a lunch meal. To reflect and meditate on your day, and ability to optimally engage with

events . Eventually such reflections will be ingrained into your being and a soothing mindless concentration

will ensue.

Viewing practical existence

People often distinguish themselves from others in strong contrasts, either being introverts or extroverts,

persons who are inclined towards individualism and those inclined for a harmonious community which

speaks as one. What should perhaps be considered that the optimal way of existence is somewhere

between both poles. In living ones life in a community we should live as individuals who understand the

benefit that we enjoy from being a part of society, thus placing the value of the individual at a high regard, but with a similar view for attempting our best at bettering humanity, as it is from our collaborative actions that

anything of significance is achieved societally.

Everything I have said deals quite nicely with how to deal with our perceptions but how does one

confront an obstacle/enemy with the stoic inspired philosophy?

The answer as I see it is to simply live your life following what moral convictions you have obtained using

logic and reasoning to avoid biases, and in acting with humanity over ideology as a framework of desired

outcomes, to simply live. The opposition that you wish to contend with will confront you, and what is left is

to understand what you can influence and what is out of your control, and to exert maximum effort in that

which is in your domain, and leave the rest to the wind for you have no quarrel with it.

Perspective should be used in contact with any event in life. It helps to stop looking at events in isolation

and remember that the event is simply that and to address what is in our control. It helps to context and

remove the importance of the micro in light of the macro and allows us to see rationally what steps might be

taken for an optimal outcome. The most harm one can do is try to change things that are not under our

control or influence.

Using perception to overcome your initial emotion can help you see the opportunity in any obstacle, even a

loss can be used as a moment to learn and gather from defeat, but this can only come if you look

objectively with a recognition of all your possible choices in any situation.

The real enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing the opportunity in obstacles. What must

come is decisive action after removing emotions, and initial inclinations on events. One must play most

thoughtfully with what little cards she is dealt. If we value the goal more than the obstacle, then all that is left is action.

In the most tremendous of tasks, the success comes from attacking with full intensity what is in the present

and confrontable. In doing this one leads themselves to over time attacking the full problem in a manner that

is most effective.Unachievable; if the sight is not set to the micro , understanding that is how one will

overcome the macro. Bad things will happen, not everything will succeed, but nothing can stop us from

trying. Problems are a chance for us to do our best, no matter how much one tries some things may not

come to pass, but we have a chance to give every ounce of human energy to its fulfillment.

What is wisdom?

Wisdom is something one constantly strives towards. A property of wisdom that has practical

use to us, is the general stoic foundation of practical virtues;

The first virtue is Prudence or practical wisdom; a knowledge of things that are good , bad or

neither. The ability to use reason in directing oneself.

The second virtue is Fortitude or courage; the ability to act and keep true to one's moral

foundations, to greet conflict with harmony.

The third virtue is Justice; in Justice one recognizes the being who has the potential for

transcendance, to treat others in recognition of their sentiance.

The fourth virtue is Temperance; this is actionless action, to have a clear and rational

understanding of the world to such an extent, that one does or does not do actions in recognition

of the totality of wisdom that one possesses.

The fifth virtue is Faith; Faith is understanding that with our limited ability to understand

everything, we construct imaginations from which we believe we can understand the world, but

that the cosmos is a beautiful pattern of spontaneous action with bursts of repetition. To this one

should construct a reality that aligns with al comprehensible truths, in order to prevent the harm

caused by one who attempts to disconnect from the cosmos.

I must confess my hesitation on including a basic col ection of virtues in my modern

interpretation of stoic inspired thought, there are many philosophers who have spent their lives

either working on the perfection of such systems to whom I do injustice, and to further

importance, most people do not care about, or wil remember any of the

aforementioned.Nevertheless I have opted to include it as perhaps it may bring some person

value in recol ection, or serve as a reminder for further investigations.

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What is evil?

“I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a

nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of

the divine.” - Marcus Aurelius

Evil points to someone who has the ability to act but does so lacking the characteristics of virtue. It is in my observance that most persons do not do evil on purpose. They have some information from which they

believe their moral code is correct, and honest, and from this commit what we consider Evil acts.

Some persons do act with Evil intents, these people are not lacking in wisdom but choose to ignore it in

choice of harming themselves, and other human beings, though this rarely occurs. So how do we confront

persons who we consider to be Evil. To be lacking in virtue, or correct logical conclusions on existence?

The way is to understand Yin and Yang.

This is the Yin-yang symbol or Taijitu ( 太極圖 ), with black representing yin and white representing yang. It is a symbol that reflects the inescapably intertwined duality of all things in nature, a common theme in Taoism. (2)

This is the philosophy of unity, we cannot be simply good without evil and evil without any good. In fact

anyone who wishes to do the greatest evils must incorporate the good to achieve this outcome, and just as,

those who wish to do the greatest good must incorporate the evil; the Jungian inspired shadow. The point

being that when one approaches another who we perceive to be evil, it should be understood that they are

acting, probably, in what they consider to be good faith, and to approach the other with attitude of 'honor

among thieves' , to communicate your standards of virtue and understand that to the other; we are just as

evil for not following in their path. To make what concessions are possible with this understanding.

Failing to convince the enemy one can simply do what one can, maintain virtue and truth to oneself, and not

break one's convictions regardless of the repercussions.

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Purpose and Action

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can

accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The

impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” - Marcus Aurelius

‘What is your purpose?’ is something which is throttled onto children by parents who don't have

any idea what it is they are aiming towards. This cal to the absurdity of existence is not real y a

question but a topic of discussion. The human is not a cause and effect, a being is not

something which sets about on a journey to a single destination from which it’s game over. We

are beings who operate with limited knowledge, limited vision and limited understanding of the

cosmos, one could almost consider it a miracle we are able to do anything considering the

human method of arriving at an unknown destination.

The reality is we don't have any clue whatsoever where we are going and what we wish to achieve. When we

take 3 steps forward the fog clears, it's clear as the sky we should have gone left instead of right. The result not being to not take a step recognizing the infinite, but to take a step and expect to be wrong, to know

that we can't know everything, but we can adjust our position; take a look around and head a direction that

seems to be the right way to go, but to do so living in the present, for that is all there is and if you can't

enjoy the journey to where you believe you wish to head toward. Then perhaps consider if the destination is

worth attending, if the game is worth the candle.

What of the candle when the game becomes too painful to play? To this why should death be something to

be feared, rather than simply a moment in your life, a moment in your existence as a pattern of

happenstance which played before your growing into the human body, and that spontaneous pattern which

you are a part of, that will continue after death. One should marvel at the whole spontaneous happening

rather than to view existence as miserable and without control, from our sentiance the universe is

experienced.

If one rejects the observations of beauty in the cosmos than to them there is still nothing to fear, why worry

about death if it only appears after you are gone? Why worry about a god when there are 500 others waiting

in earnest to judge your misdeeds. Indeed, there are many excuses made by persons who refuse to give up

fear and view death with a terrible dread.

“Remember that the door is open. Don’t be more cowardly than children, but just as they say, when the

game is no longer fun for them, ‘I won’t play any more,’ you too, when things seem that way to you, say, ‘I

won’t play any more,’ and leave, but if you remain, don’t complain.” (Discourses I.24.20)

If life is simply too painful to exist, if one cannot possibly bear their burden, then what shame is there in

simply letting go, in fact to do so with one's friends and family is a beautiful experience to the individual. The possibility of always leaving the room if the smoke is too much to bear, is something that cannot be taken

from human beings. We have the ability to suffer and endure, but with this we also have the choice to suffer

and endure. This is a courageous decision made, and if one cannot go further, then they will go on another

way.

Our perception and natural inclination

Most humans do not do evil knowingly, we are born limited beings, we have the ability to perceive certain

things, using our body to interact with the world around us, but what we don't have is the ability to see that

which we cannot sense. If one acknowledges that humans utilize mechanisms such as telescopes or audio

devices to magnify the senses, or technology to view radio waves which are invisible to the human; it is easy

to concede that we can’t absolutely know everything and due to our limited perception, it is difficult to know

what we don't know.

In nature to the reality for a human to not absolutely comprehend everything, as we don’t have complete

information, in some sense or another faith is utilized by all. We have faith that our perception of reality is

correct. The scientists don't actually deny this, but argue that the faith made from information utilizing

scientific methods, to know as much as we can about the natural world, is superior to faith made on

unfounded assumptions.

This is true, a follower of most religious faiths has no direct connection to an omniscient being, and given

that there are hundreds of religions with similar texts, all claiming to be the true deity one must worship.

The absolute rejection of logic required to fall into blind faith requires much devotion and reflection indeed.

Perhaps we should allow our minds, which have in the popular modern times been stolen by one side or the

other, to have a moment to consider why it is we place such rigidity in our understanding of the cosmos. The

very words and expressions that are utilized by humans are simply logical abstractions, but what guarantee

is there that this logic operates 2 galaxies over? The way we form words and numbers, the methods we

utilize to divide the universe have been very useful to us. They have helped to: innovate, think logically and with extreme abstraction, but they have also taken something from us, that is the understanding of the unity

that the cosmos embodies, and in this unity is a real practical beauty if one takes a moment to look for it.

Events occur with a spontaneous nature, from the mutations that formed the replicator from which evolved

life itself, to the billions of asteroids travelling through the galaxy with no purpose in mind. To this

spontaneous nature there is also a steady pattern of the cosmos, a repetition that occurs; from the orbit of

the earth to the concentration of gravity, some occurrences seem to have repetition to them. In fact from

these small repetitions is formed much of scientific knowledge of the cosmos.

To claim DHARMA: a doctrine which is has an indisputable claim to reality, is to turn away from nature, the

undivided universe in which one can simply see the transcendence of the individual; to place humanity over

ideology, and turn to human constructed ideals and moral structures, which in my observation of humans

will never be the same. As discussed people are usually not misled on purpose. What then occurs is that

these people who operate behind a collective, pick up the mask of the collective ideology and place the

individual in chains. Fr