Friday, August 27, 2010

Thinking about Making Curried Vegetables and Other Stuff

I think for me, the stages of encountering "the new" follow along these lines: 1) euphoria; 2) terror; and 3) mundanity. Sometimes #'s 1 and 2 switch places. I've slid past the terror at the realization of my aloneness and freedom in the universe, and now am on to thinking, "well, maybe I could make some curried vegetables this weekend." Somehow, this is progress has been very similar to one summed up by Douglas Adams:
It said: "The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.

"For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?"

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, chapter 35.

Despite my official agnosticism and adherence to no specific religion or philosophy, I do find a lot of wisdom out there to draw from. Taoism, in its most philosophical form, is very useful to me. It has been mischaracterized as "go with the flow" but I believe a more accurate description of the Taoist way is "learning to surf the flow." Logs that go with the flow of a river get caught up on rocks; kayakers endeavor not to do the same.

Other philosophical streams I draw from include Stoicism, Existentialism, Soto Zen and ethical studies. I view the texts and thoughts available to me from the subject areas not as maps for going forward; instead they are like those like those guides showing me how to recognize different species of trees or birds, as I pick my own path forward.

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