December 2, 2010
November 9, 2010
November 4, 2010
|Vase with 12 sunflowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
November 3, 2010
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Well, it appears to me that not all people thinking like this way. For years I happened to be the one in the trouble water and many of my friends - a few of them had friendship with me for decades - faded away from my life. The darkness that overwhelmed me was intense and long term, I understand many of them were just out of patience. So I let it go. But a few of them were really close to me and I used to devoted lot of emotion and energy to them. So it hurts.
Nevertheless I still believe what I believed - real friends would willing to share everything, light or dark, happiness and bitterness. However, when I shared this idea with some people, I was told that I required too much.
People say if you found that everybody is having problem with you, the problem is usually yours. But I don't think this saying can explain my case. I refused to think it was my problem for losing friendships, because I never ever tried to put my personal trouble to my friends' shoulders. All I did "wrong" was expecting some comfort or mental support, which I totally deserved. But of course, my expectation went in vain.
October 31, 2010
October 22, 2010
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October 21, 2010
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October 19, 2010
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Mist of metaphysics seems to be a serious philosophical work. This post together with the previous one are both quotes only from the introduction part of the over 400 page book. I am profoundly impressed by his independent thinking style and the depth in humanity he probes in his book.
"If there is anything real but totally unrelated to any of our subjective desire, it is DEATH. "
"Maybe, all the mysteries of life lie in our attitude towards death. "
"Man not only
About the motive of life:
"To make the mortal life immortal is "motive of transcendence"; to satisfy oneself as much as possible during the mortal lifespan is "motive of reality (mundaneness?)". Whereas the motive of reality is more fundamental to our life, it is the motive of transcendence that decides our choice of life. "
"What really counts for our life? How can we live a fulfilled meaningful life? Should we focus on our reality, or work hard for our next immortal life? Man often wonder back forth, pondering in confusion. ...As long as we are not forced to choose, I think any choices are valid. ... to be a good housewife is not necessarily easier than to be a head of a country; a value of beggar's life is not necessarily less than a of a president. The key factor is: whether the decision is made by yourself; to what extent you have accomplished your choice. The freedom of choice is a virtual measurement of the value of life."
About Chinese philosophy:
."..the nature of Chinese classical philosophy doesn't lie in the fact of its pursuing of "Tao", but its "dictatorship" to Chinese people's thoughts, its tendency of putting the value of transcendence as a only standard for real life and imposing this value to everyone. If there have been two counter forces - the value of transcendence and value of reality (mundaneness?) existed in the history of western culture, there has never been a counter force existed in Chinese history." (I cannot agree more!)
"Desire for possession is human nature, like foods, inevitable and unchangeable, regardless of good or evil. Morality cannot judge such desire. We often describe the ambition of Macbeth as "evil", but the power of this tragedy is beyond such judgement. ...(political) Power is desire for possession, thought and affection are also desire for possession. Because we acknowledge such nature, we set restrictions in all realms to control our desire. Democracy, freedom of speech, free choices between personal relationships, these are all set for restrict our desire for possession, set for restrict political, philosophical and emotional monism. Again, without restriction, everyone will become dictator. It's nothing to do with morality. ...
"If an emperor is the dictator of politics, metaphysics is the dictator of thoughts. The nature of these two are the same, they are driven by the desire for possession, desire for control and domination. "
About Chinese intellectuals:
"One of characters of Chinese culture was provoking human desire for power as much as possible. "The path to become intellects" was almost the only way to reach this goal. ...The worst tragedy of Chinese ancient intellects was that they didn't use intellectual means - the one that differs from political means ( I suppose "intellectual means" means "knowledge") to conquer (society). That's why not only they (Chinese intellects) did not conquer people, but they were also assimilated into emperors' political power. Thus they lost the value of being intellects and became subsidiary part of emperors' political power . Lack of independent pursuits, lack the spirit of doubt and criticism, possessing little of conscience toward society and people, these, are the primary characteristic traits of Chinese ancient intellects. From this perspective, we can say, that during thousands years history of Chinese feudalism, there were no such a social class of independent intellects ever existed, nor a social class of vendor/merchants, there were only two classes: rulers and the ruled... Those who singing, writing and painting, seemingly courteous intellects were virtually ruled slaves: narrow minded, blindly obedient and weak. ...Chinese ancient culture is utilitarianist. It is not abstract, not mysterious, but its despotism cannot be paralleled. "
(I cannot agree more!!!!!!!!!!!!)
"As human evolves, the individual consciousness wakens, the potential of individuals develops, everyone has his/her own power and thoughts, so the battle of rulers and the ruled finally point to one aim: no one can rule others, the ultimate life goal is each person's self governing, self achievement. "
"Confucius was the most successful ruler of Chinese society. His thoughts dominated Chinese people's mind for over 2 thousands years, until now. Further more, his thoughts has been instilled inside Chinese people's blood. "
"The lesson from Cultural Revolution is: 1. for China, the worst historical falling back is the reviving of feudalist ideology; 2, the cause of the endless misery of Chinese people is not exterior, but interior - inside every single Chinese him/herself." (I cannot agree more!)
"We (Chinese people) have to confront, that this "evergreen" despotism, dictatorship, idolatry are all made by Chinese people's own hands. We cannot put the responsibility of the poverty and ignorance of Chinese people to a few dictators, nor to Confucius or Mencius, but the choice of every single Chinese - it is Chinese people who chose emperorship. ..." (!!!)
"The concept of God and deified science both derived from the same human psyche: we will be saved."
"... human is the best tool to produce fallacy..."
October 14, 2010
"All knowledge of mankind is process of questions and answers. The history of thought is the history of questions."
September 22, 2010
August 14, 2010
Image by xdanger via Flickr
"Mom, stop pretending to know something you don't!"
In my art classes most students are Chinese Americans. They are influenced by 2 quite different cultures - Chinese tradition from their parents and American culture from schools, or anywhere else outside of their families. However, by my observation they are 90% Americanized, while their parents - who are mostly the first generation immigrants - are mostly still very conservative in terms of Chinese heritage.
The parents of one of my students in painting class seemed to be one of the most traditional Chinese couples I have meet in this country (USA). They "love" their daughter, but they could not help to keep pushing her to the "perfection" they aimed for her on everything. They usually stayed in my classes, sometime the mother sometime the father (I let the parents stay if they don't have places to go), watching their daughter's performance even closer than I did.
One day the mother was in class, highly unsatisfied with her daughter's painting, could not help to stand beside daughter and gave her instructions of doing this and that. Of course her daughter was extremely annoyed and kept complaining and fighting back by refusing to follow her mother's "command". "I don't want to do it. If you like, you do it!" She said. To my surprise, the mother grabbed the brush painted couple of small things on the painting. I was seriously worried at the moment that daughter might be just so pissed off and destroy the canvas. But she didn't.
Hearing the daughter saying that so loudly, I was somehow relieved. I saw her acting like a brave girl who was able to be truthful to herself, regardless her selfish and demanding mother. Another time I heard some other students referred this daughter as a little "strange", "easy to get irritated" person, but I believe as long as she could be brave enough to let herself stand up in front of her parents like that, she will be fine.
This is just one small happening but it does tell me that something fundamental about Chinese people is changing. I cannot imagine I say the same thing to my parents when I was 12. And I never heard any of my contemporaries said similar things to their parents at this early age. I am just very pleased to witness such an rebellious action taking place in a traditional Chinese family.
And this happening undoubtedly enhanced my belief in "equality" and "liberty". As soon as we taste them, we cannot live without them.
*The picture is one of illustrations from a Confucian teaching book - the part that teaches how women should behave and serve their parents and husbands, which I have not bothered reading any yet. But the art works were excellent though.
July 7, 2010
July 6, 2010
Agatha Christie said: "One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood."
If we take "love" - love in any form: romantic, family and friendship - as a proof of our life existence, love is certainly the most important aspect of life, because only if we appreciate our existence in the first place, are we able to fulfilled it. The more love we receive, the more meaningful and joyful we feel our life is. That’s’ why we all desperately search for love.
Unfortunately, all love we received from others is not completely secure. We could lose our lovers, friends and family members. Or, even worse, we could try very hard but still could not get others’ love. However, one kind of love we could never lose - if we ever get it – is the love from ourselves: self-esteem. A person with a true self-esteem would feel the most confident, capable and emotional secure in his/her entire life, because self-esteem is unconditional, which means we do not have to worry about losing it.
However, self-esteem doesn't come to us with life itself. Many people do not have it, or many people have to work very hard to get it. This difference, by psychological studies also my own observation, is mostly caused by our different childhood.
If all love we received from others are insecure, one type of love from others is different - the love from parents. The love from parents has the same nature as self-love – unconditional. Because of this nature of "unconditional", it is secure, so we don’t have to worry about losing it. Whoever have happy childhood, receive this unconditional love from their parents (or whoever raise them), would gain self-esteem easily from the beginning of their life. And because (it seems) that things we learned earlier in our life would usually stay firmer with us in our later life, these people (who received unconditional love from parents) would naturally hold their self-esteem during their entire life. And on other hand, those who do not receive such kind love during their childhood would have issues with self-esteem during their entire life. Some might eventually learned, some might not.
This is how I feel about Agatha Christie’s a few words which tells a universal truth of life.
Of course there are still exceptions, because life is complicated. Even those who have happy childhood might have to face challenge of their confidence under some specially circumstances, or, those who have unhappy childhood or even no childhood at all could end up knowing the best about how to love themselves. However, generally speaking, a happy childhood is a solid foundation of our self-esteem - the most important ingredient of our personal life happiness.
July 3, 2010
July 2, 2010
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I can never really enjoy any fantasy stories (maybe I will try harder in future). The reason is simple, the true life stories are far more fascinating than any stories made by human's imaginations.When we write stories, we are often concern about their "genuineness", because we don't want our stories look "fake", but reality doesn't work like this way - it only follows whatever happens. And the result is often beyond our understanding and our imagination.
That's why reality often looks fake; that's why when many people disbelieve some very simple clear truth, it only shows how limited our imagination is, how poor our understanding is.
That's why for me, life itself is the best fantasy work ever created.
July 1, 2010
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During my years' of CFS, I had an experience: whenever I had to mention my health condition, many people simply didn't believe it; whenever I mentioned to children, they accepted it without hesitation. Later I realized, the reason those people didn't believe me was simply because what I said did not apply to their own life experience, and for those children, simply because inside their blank mind they could not find any existent experience to against my assertion.
So I realized, that personal life experience can be "friend" of our reasoning, also can be "enemy", depend how we use it. If we use it as one of sources for our understanding of human nature, a rich life experience can certainly make our thoughts richer, makes us more open-minded; but if we use it as a the ONLY source for our "reasoning", it will certainly limit our vision, make us narrow minded.
Or, should I say, personal life experience without the guide of reason can only limit our thought; only with the guide of reason, it can go beyond personal, becomes knowledge and leads us to open mind, to wisdom.
June 30, 2010
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"Liberty consists in being able to do anything that does not harm others"
June 27, 2010
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"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
June 26, 2010
June 24, 2010
June 2, 2010
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When religion is taken as metaphor, it represents inspiration – imagination and hope. By this way, religion creates love and courage; when religion is taken as “truth”, it represents ignorance - closed minds and biased reasoning. As consequence, it creates hatred and eventually, disasters.
May 31, 2010
This statement just jumped into my mind:
Believe in yourself until you are proven wrong.
I understand this statement in aspects:
1, honesty: you are truthful to yourself;
2, capability of reasoning. You need a functioning rational mind to reach the reasonable assumptions based on observations;
3, objective: this is the natural outcome of the rational mind --- a rational mind would guarantee the recognition and admission of your own mistakes.
If we take the tolerance on different types of foods as ONE OF measurements of our physical health, the tolerance on different cultures and ideas could also be one of measurements of mental health.
May 15, 2010
May 7, 2010
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Lu Xun, a writer who lived in early of last century, criticized Chinese traditional culture in a way like nobody else. He was almost the only one I consider as a true individual thinker during modern Chinese history. He was called "Nietzsche in China".
In one of his articles he mocked about someone who tried to write a book about chinese history:
(These are not the original words but what i remembered)
Why do we need to write a BOOK about Chinese history? that's a waste. 2 sentences will do it: the eras that everybody were enslaved happily, and the eras that everybody desperately wanted to be slave but couldn't.
I think this explained how difficult for the democracy to be prevailed China.
April 30, 2010
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We might have an impression that Chinese people somehow seem to be more materialist than people from other countries. I myself is (still) a Chinese, but I don't deny this fact. It does match my own observation.
However, if people think this materialism has something to do with communism (as I often heard from media, especially conservatives’ propaganda), I would disagree. I believe lots of Chinese people's "passion" for money has nothing (or little) to do with communism, but EVERYTHING (or mostly) to do with Chinese cultural tradition.
Here is what I think. Two of most influential Chinese classical philosophies - Confucianism and Taoism, which dominated Chinese ideology for over 2 thousands years (maybe 3 thousands. Taoism's origin could be much earlier than Lao Zhi's life - the author of Tao De Jing) - both focused on practical issues: Taoism is about individual happiness and Confucianism is about social stability. There is no concept of "God", "divinity" (Monotheism) and "pursuing truth" (science) in Chinese culture. Even later on China had Buddhism come from India, it still focused on personal happiness and quickly made it merged with Taoism and developed some Chinese style Buddist sects, such as Zen.
Certainly both Taoism and Confucianism did not teach people to be greedy, but one important thing that both of these ideas contain is: there is no need to question or looking for anything other than the issues about practical life.
Taoism can be taken in a very positive way, such as obeying our nature, making harmony with our life, but I believe only minority people through Chinese history took it this way (mostly artists and poets), most Chinese people understand Taoism simply as a somatic regimen - they over care about their physical life form, even in a selfish way.
That's why when China opened the door to the world during 80s of last century (I believe that was the second time. The first time was 1980, opium war, China's door was "kicked" open. ), these ancient ideas just could not wait to embrace capitalism, made many people's materialism which had been half covered by traditional morality finally "unleashed".
This is why even though China is under communist government, it could still make such a seemingly "anti-communist" economic system – capitalist markets. And making money to be rich is almost the only life goal to many Chinese people.
About Communism, not only it did not encourage materialism, but also it encouraged a "puritanical" life style. During 50s, China experienced a very anti-materialism social movement - almost everyone lived in very poor material condition but zealous mental enthusiasm (similar middle age Europe) . Of course, needless to mention, it did more harm than good. Chinese people lived in very poor condition until 1980s.
So again, by my opinion, it (materialism) is not communism's fault. It is some seemingly charming cultural heritage's fault. Or, even deeper than that: the nature of greed, which exists in all human being.
April 28, 2010
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I come to this country for individualism. It’s been almost 15 years. Now, I have to say, yes, there is much more room for individualists than in China, but, still not as much as I expected, especially now in teenagers' groups.
Parents in this country worry so much more about kids' "fit in" than kids' interest or curiosity about knowledge and skills. And the tragedies of young kids' being hurt are getting serious (even bully to death). It’s terrible! I have to say, those bullies remind me Red Guards during Cultural Revolution in China.
It seems to me, that both capitalism and communism do not guarantee the good nature of human, and both of them do not bring evil spirit to human either. What really produces man-made disasters from time to time, I believe is the fear of being alone. That's what Eric Fromm pointed out in his book "escape from freedom" longtime ago. He thought that most people didn't know how to enjoy freedom, didn't know how to be responsible to their freedom, instead, they escaped from it, because freedom brought them loneliness. And to avoid loneliness, people could do anything, even killing, because as long as they did in group actions, they would feel “happiness” of feeling “belong”.
I am more and more convinced that Eric Fromm told some universal truth here. And collectivism is always dangerous, no matter it is from communism, or capitalism.
April 18, 2010
Just learned that a 15 year-old Phoebe Prince was bullied to death. Sad!
March 23, 2010
March 14, 2010
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It seems to me that lots of people confused "negative attitude" with "talking about negative things". They simply consider them as one thing, which means if you mentions anything bad, you are just a negative person. Also they seems to believe that one can be positive just by ignoring bad things, instead of facing them. But the truth is: positive attitude is built on the fact that first, we could facing negative things; second, we are capable to take them in a light way. Only a weak mind need good things all the time to make it feel good; and only those who can take negative things positively can be count as positive people.
Well, it's a simply truth. I know.
March 13, 2010
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Have no talent or intelligence, know nothing more than textbooks. They can easily make living because they can be very conveniently put in some specific "fields" in modern society - a giant machine that has been dehumanized by specializing, such as engineers, technicians, programmers, even professors. As matter of fact, they function just fine except one profession: medical doctors, where they dangerously do more harm than good.
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This video below shows exactly what I would imagine for a Paradise. It is black and white, but I see so many colors inside.