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Star trek the next generation a perfect example of taoist thought

Everyday Taoist Habits for a Richer Life Simple daily habits that give health, balance, and joy to our everyday lives, by linking us to the larger rhythms of the planet and to the vital bedrock of existence. Introducing the practical wisdom of China's folk culture to modern America.

Taoism and the booby trap in star trek

Reviews of Relax, You're already Home "A heartening, inspiring, timely book on the art of living. Wooldridge, author of Poemcrazy "Raymond Barnett's superb book brings ancient wisdom from the East to the challenge of living well in the West--even in the midst of accelerating change, technological dominance, and overchoice.

In their view, this chapter treating the relationship between Taoism and modern biological science was too technical and esoteric for general readers. But in the meantime, many readers have expressed to me a desire to know more about--just that!

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For all of you who are intrigued by how ancient Chinese Taoism relates to modern Western science--here 'tis the "forbidden chapter"! Delving deeper into Taoism and science You may be curious as to how Taoism relates to science, since science is the underpinning of so much of our modern life in America. If you find these Taoist habits fitting nicely into your life, you may guess that Taoism and science at least are not antagonistic, despite their very different origins.

And you'd be right. In fact, and surprisingly, we'll find that Taoism and science have a lot in common. Although yes, there are differences. As we saw in the first several chapters, the ideas of Tao and Qi are fundamental.

In Taoism, Tao is the pattern of existence, the path that is revealed in the dance between matter and energy. Tao confers the inherent property of each phenomenon in the cosmos.

Raymond Barnett

Okakura describes Tao as "the mood of the universe" in his The Book of Tea. Tao is also the process generating the patterns that we see, the dynamic generating "things as they are.

The Tao of the cosmos permits the evolution of life and is supportive of life, although life is nothing special, simply another aspect of the unfolding of the Tao. When that mathematical description is very precise, the relationships are called Laws.

Physics and chemistry have succeeded in discovering many laws. When the relationships being described are too complex for precise mathematical description, the relationships are called Theories.

Biology has discovered many theories, which are explanations that have been repeatedly subjected to scientific tests without being contradicted. Science also has found that the properties of matter are inherent to matter. That is, the "nature" of reality inheres in that reality's physical properties, rather than being imposed from outside the system.

Moreover, matter and energy are linked, and transform back and forth as described in the Laws of Thermodynamics. And finally, science has discovered that life is founded on the same laws and properties as inanimate reality.

At the deepest level, life emerges from the same physical properties and interactions among atoms and molecules as characterize rocks, water, and fire. We scientists have not yet succeeded in formulating a "unified theory" of all of reality, either in mathematical or descriptive terms. The concept of "the Tao," however, may quite readily be considered an informal, summative designation of the overarching pattern of order and the process of transformation discovered by science.

Scientists do not accept informal formulations not subjected to formal experimental verification, of course, so they cannot admit the Tao into the scientific realm of explanation. Yet it remains true that the Tao is quite consistent with what science has discovered so far about order, pattern, inherent properties, transformative energetic processes, and common properties of life and non-living phenomena. The energetic medium through which the transformative flow of the Tao is expressed is Qi.

The Chinese term Qi can be translated as simply energy, but it has far richer implications, meaning also air, breath, steam, force, strength, and temper.

  • Learn to identify five native trees in your county;
  • How many matches does dad need to start the fire?

This evocative term, in its various shades of suggestion, perfectly mirrors the manifold flow of the Tao, turning now this way, now that, endlessly transforming. By choosing to express the flow of the Tao in energetic terms, Taoism emphasizes the vital, pulsing nature of the Tao.

The manifold aspects of the flow of Qi can be grouped into two grand subsets, the Yin and the Yang. Yin, of course, includes all those energetic states that incorporate the yielding, shady, lunar, earthly, feminine aspects of reality, while Yang includes the aggressive, bright, solar, heavenly, masculine aspects of reality.

Most importantly, these two grand subsets or groupings in the flow of Qi are not opposites, but are rather complementary. Each hyperdimensional "patch" in space-time reality is composed of aggregate combinations of yin and yang in its own unique, balanced combination.

And the interplay of these patches is characterized by incessant transformation of yin elements to yang and vice versa. Qi flows, transformation is the norm. Those wise in the ways of the flow of Qi claim to discern the paths of flow in mountains and rivers and the human body. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture rely on knowledge of Qi pathways in humans to rectify blockages or perturbations in the harmonious flow of Qi.

We find in science a similar emphasis on energetics. The great findings of the Laws of Thermodynamics describe that matter and energy are the two grand states of reality, and that each is constantly transforming into the other The First Law. The specific quantitative parameters of this universal matter-energy interchange have been worked out, reflecting modern science's emphasis on mathematical formulation.

Energy, like Qi's definitions, can exist in many forms, each capable of transforming into the other. Among these states are potential energy, kinetic energy, chemical energy, and nuclear energy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics describes how organized systems such as living creatures need a constant input of energy to maintain their structure in the face of the universal tendency for organization to decay entropy. Biologists have found that the in-flow of energy is critical to organisms and to ecosystems, and have quantified the parameters of this flow into and through the various ecological layers of life.

Great mats of bacteria have developed around these fissures, ancient creatures that can extract energy from this fiery source to support their own life. Elaborate communities have developed around these acres of bacterial mats deep on the ocean's floor, feeding on the bacteria in level after level of energy transformation. Other pockets of chemical energy being harvested by equally ancient creatures--the Archaeans--exist scattered nearer the surface of the planet, in the extreme environments favored by Archaeans such as hot springs and highly saline bodies of water.

The second in-flow of energy supporting life on the planet is of course the sun, our own star. Solar energy rains upon the earth, and fortunately creatures from several domains and kingdoms of life have developed the ability to capture solar radiation and convert it to life-supporting uses--the process of photosynthesis.

Taoism and the booby trap in star trek

Photosynthetic capture of solar energy is widespread over the entire surface of the planet both marine and terrestrialwith consequent levels of transformation of this biological energy flowing through the upper "trophic levels" herbivores, carnivores, decomposers of these ecosystems.

As we saw when considering the Tao above, Qi can thus be considered an informal, summative designation of these various energetic flows and transformations mapped out quantitatively and more precisely by modern science.

  • Thought it was the food;
  • Suddenly I woke up and I was indeed Chuang Tse;
  • What's this all about?

Again like Tao, the term Qi cannot be admitted into customary scientific discourse, but can stand as a surprisingly consonant formulation that incorporates many of the general features of energy flow discovered by science.

Of course, we humans are most interested in our own place on the planet. In the Taoist view, humans are nothing extraordinary.

  • These and other findings make it very clear that the scientific view of the place of humans in the natural world is completely consonant with the Taoist outlook;
  • You may be interested in pursuing this fascinating story in his massive, multi-volume Science and Civilization in China, begun in 1956, or much easier reading!
  • The early Taoists, lacking an appreciation for mathematical models and the systematic use of experiments except perhaps in the alchemy movement , did nonetheless come a surprisingly long way toward certain aspects of modern science by adhering to the cornerstone of that science--careful, objective observation of the natural world;
  • A sigh of contentment will bubble out of you as you see it and hear it;
  • Walk or jog in a park; notice the trees and rocks.

We are simply one of the "ten thousand creatures. This uncompromising refusal to place humans on a pedestal is made clear throughout the Taoist source writings and in the distinctive Taoist approach to life. Consider a small stalk or a great column, a leper or a beauty, things that are great or wicked, perverse, or strong. They are all one in Tao. But does this happen to eels?

If a man lives up in tree, he will tremble with fright. But does this happen to monkeys? Of these three, who knows the right place to live? Mao Chiang and Li Chi are considered beautiful by men. But if fish saw them, they would dive to the bottom of the river.

Relax, You're Already Home: Everyday Taoist Habits for a Richer Life

If birds saw them, they would fly off. If deer saw them, they would run away. Of these four, who recognizes real beauty? But as the description of the world progressed, it became apparent that the creation differed in key respects from its formulation in the Christian religion. Then, most distressing, humans were discovered not to be fundamentally different than the rest of creation. We have no unique stamp of the "image of God" on us. Other creatures think, dream, sing, use language, create and use tools, and honor their dead, scientists have discovered.

We humans did not emerge from a distinct creation event, but rather evolved from other apes, following the same rules in the same manner as every other plant and animal species has evolved from its ancestors. The blood in our veins is salty because our distant ancestors originated in the same primeval oceans as every other descendant of those ancestors.

Our DNA uses the same nucleotides and the same genetic code as bacteria, redwoods, banana slugs, and every other creature on the planet. These and other findings make it very clear that the scientific view of the place of humans in the natural world is completely consonant with the Taoist outlook.

So we see that the fundamental ideas of Tao, Qi, and the place of humans are strikingly similar in Taoism and science. The similarities don't stop there. Let's briefly consider a few more. According to Taoists, the world works in cycles with things returning reverting sooner or later to the beginning point. Returning to the source is the way of star trek the next generation a perfect example of taoist thought, which is the way of nature.

Nitrogen, for example, passes from soil to plants to animals and, through decay, back to soil in a well-studied cycle which is actually two linked cyclical processes, since the element may flow from the atmosphere to the soil, and then back to the atmosphere from the soil, due to the action of microorganisms.

This nitrogen cycle operates relatively smoothly and functions by means of the activity of a host of living creatures from bacteria to carnivores and organic chemical processes.

The early Taoists were well aware of certain aspects of this nitrogen cycle, for we read in the Tao Te Ching that "when the Tao is present in the Universe, the horses haul manure. As noted above in the discussion of Qi, Taoists and many other outlooks in China view reality as being composed of processes and phenomena that can generally be grouped into two great camps, yin and yang. The key point is that yin and yang are not opposed to each other.

Rather, yin and yang are complementary; they balance each other. Indeed, they are both necessary components of the whole, as illustrated in the well-known "yin-yang" model of two interlocking curved shapes. This outlook contrasts with our typical Western outlook, which sees "opposites" as being starkly different, and antagonistic to each other.

Think of our common views of good versus evil, male versus female, love versus hate, black versus white. We biologists often find we can best describe natural processes in terms of two interacting systems, which frequently possess similarities to the yin-yang model. One example is the sympathetic and parasympathetic subsets of the autonomic nervous system studied by neurophysiologists.

Ecologists speak of the evolution of organisms being governed by r-selection or by k-selection, that is, selection for competitive ability surely a yang trait or for productivity clearly a yin trait.

Selection pressures may change, and a k-selected species may transform to an r-selected "strategy," just as Taoists see yin and yang constantly transforming into each other.