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07 December 2005 @ 06:43 pm
Tao of the Day  
those who push their views most heavily upon others,
soon find that fewer people will agree with them

- Lao Tzu (Merlin Stone).

I know this is right within my experience.

I wish it had as much weight and momentum as my desire to tyrannically demand separation of church and state; equal rights for sex, race, religion and orientation; worthy educational opportunities and public transit for all (and therefore more taxes); income tax instead of sales tax (thanks to kfrye's excellent explanation of how it unfairly taxes the poor); ethical treatment of animals, people and the environment in business practices...

Everytime I've resolved a Tao vs. Modern USA paradox, I find a new one. Is it possible to be a Taoist and a political activist? One could argue that the existing political climate is the natural flow of things. A fallen boulder, on the other hand, can divert an entire river. And either that's how we got here, or that's how we get out of here. Maybe both?

I know from experience that the inner turmoil I feel as I engage in politics would go away if I pulled myself out of the loop. Ignorance is bliss. Dangerous too, though. Saw a bumper sticker, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Heh.

Welp, it's official. I'm tired of hearing myself talk. Must find new entertainment to engage sick girl's extra brain cycles. O:>
Deirdreevillinn on December 8th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
Having put a little thought into the way some Buddhist tenets fit into a modern urban life style, I think I understand what you are getting at.

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, but I do think that to get them to co-exist within you is the epitome of exercising some of those very tenets.

The concepts relating to "being in the moment" or finding certain kinds of centeredness or quietness within our selves can seem like they clear out the notion of political activism. I think it can be hard to be "in the moment" when you are feeling firey and intense, but just think of how ideal it would be to be truly centered and calm and ultimately focused on those issues you need to tend to.

I think a similar thing goes for "pushing your views". Gaining information, sorting it out in your head, articulating it and sharing it don't need to equate "pushing it". There can be a very accepting and worldly way of approaching that process that is both better for you, as an individual, and better for those around you to gain information and absorb it in a more independant way.

I have the feeling absolutely NONE of what I just wrote makes any sense. It makes perfect sense in my head, but it is mostly sort of abstract stuff that I can barely get my fingers on.
Darkmanedarkmane on December 8th, 2005 03:25 am (UTC)
Here's a puzzle then:

Take a 3 by 3 grid and the periodic table, choose 9 elements to fill the grid such that across and down each row and column makes a word. The longer the words, the better. Don't use the 3 letter elements, or duplicate elements or words.
Sarah: swordsarmonster on December 8th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)
Tao of Sarmonster:

Sometimes you just give 'em enough rope to hang themselves & let them learn the hard way.
Lawstlawst on December 8th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC)
As I said before, seperation of church and state isn't about completely severing it from how society functions as a whole. It's to keep the government from running the churches and visa versa. Religious people of all kinds will be in the government and their decisions will be affected by the values of their religion. So long as those decisions don't affect the freedoms of all to practice then it's ok. This is where things get sticky. To ask them to NOT base decisions on their values at all means asking them to be hipocritical. Going overbord in the other direction isn't the answer either. IMHO that's where you tend to be tyrannical. Equal rights for religion doesn't mean stifling religion in the name of fairness and the drive to not offend anyone.
vaxhacker on December 8th, 2005 06:54 am (UTC)
Kburgunder on December 9th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC)
Wow, this response really pissed me off. I wish I knew you better. I don't appreciate the accusation that I want to stifle religions. This is incorrect. Perhaps I miscommunicated something or said something to cause this belief.

Religious values that are legislated inherently affect another faith's right to practice. If anti-choice laws are put into place, that's forcing everyone to abide by a religious mandate to protect a few cells as human life. Sure, Pagans can still go out and say their prayers in the way they want to and hold their ceremonies, but if they want to get an abortion, a religious mandate will be stopping them from doing something which is not specifically prohibited in many Pagan sects.

The separation of church and state protects religions, it does not stifle religions.

Maybe a better example is prayer in schools. Religious legislation is introduced and passed that requires children to pray in school, but allows non practicers to sit through it in silence. How is this not offensive, alienating and oppressive to the kids who are from religions other than the prayer leader's or with different gods to address or who don't believe in anyone to pray to at all? I have no problem with a Christian prayer group and a Pagan prayer group and a Satanic prayer group all meeting before school to pray. I have no interest in stifling their beliefs. I have a serious problem with them doing so ("Jesus Christ, Our Lord, please hear our prayers...") in a secular class room payed for with my tax dollars. Don't you? It is offensive, and it is passive aggressive intolerant behaviour.

Separation of Church and State means that a priest tells you not to have an abortion and you go to a perochial, private school if you want to spend part of your morning in contemplative, community prayer, while the government stays out legislating religious beliefs - be they putting religious values into law or writing laws about how one can and cannot practice their religion. If the door opens from one side, it's open on both sides.
Lawstlawst on December 10th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC)
I agree that school led prayer is not a good thing. However banning that has also led to banning the pledge of alligence as well as the banning of kids praying or meeting for religious at all in school. That is going too far. Personally, no, I don't find it offensive or worth the fight. I have more important things to worry about in the school system other than whether or not my kids will be hurt by school prayer. What I find offensive is that school systems have to put up money to fight this one way or another on lawsuits that use up already strained resources...a waste of MY tax dollars and a waste of money that could be spent on MY kids education rather than on lawyers and court fees.

The seperation of church and state needs to be carefully balanced with freedom of religion. Pushing for private business to not use the word Christmas or to quibble over whether or not a business calls it a Holiday or Christmas tree or play Christmas music, is going too far. A close friend of mine has faced the last one too many times this year with customers throwing hissy fits about Christmas music being played at Borders because those customers seem to think "Jesus" is a dirty word. Yet they have caved into the pressure and stopped playing it only to face pressure in the other direction.

I also agree that religion should not mandate whether or not I be able to have control over my reproductive system. To pass laws that are based on religious mandate is, again, going to far, which is why I have faith that Roe vrs. Wade will not be over turned. However I do think it's necessary to keep the issue very much alive and kicking for everyone to remember. As a mother I don't necessarily think kids should have permission to get an abortion but that the parents should know about it. Sorry, my house, my insurance policy, my kid undergoing an operation that could possibly kill them. As a parent it is my right to know what's happening to my child whether or not the kid likes it. Nor do I believe the government has a right to say who I can marry (or how many). I also don't think they should tell me I can't kill myself if I'm terminal and don't want to be in pain any more. For that matter I don't want them touching my rifle either.

What I said was that you cannot expect a person to leave their religion at the door when they make decisions for the people as a whole because that's where much of most people's value system comes from. Asking a person to not think about their religion in making decisions is the same as asking them to disregard their core values. This seems to be what you are driving for. Maybe I did misunderstand you.

And yes, you are correct, it means the state cannot regulate the church and the church cannot run the government. They are to remain seperate entities. But, it is still a fact that this country and it's laws were founded on religious values, Christian ones. Most still ARE based on those core values. However the way this country works is that it is a democracy, and, as such, the laws created will be determined by majority vote. The majority in this country being Christian. It ALSO means that the private citizens, religious, or political organization cannot use the law to tell another private business or person how they can conduct themselves when running their lives/businesses when it comes to religion such as sueing them over the use of religious wording/images/music. What the AFA is doing is helping support businesses who are getting sued by people who are offended by any referance to religion used by the businesses. While that may be seen as encouraging businesses to use those things, it's actually helping businesses fight lawsuits that shouldn't be happening in the first place because they are a blatant violation of the seperation of church and state. No, I don't support the AFA or like what they represent, except on this one issue.

You're fed up with the AFA for pushing one way, while they, and groups like them, are fed up with the push from the other direction. Everyone else is simply fed up.
bitterfun on December 8th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
"Is it possible to be a Taoist and a political activist?"

I find that question fairly ironic considering a fair portion of Taoist culture was wiped off the face of the planet by the Communist indoctrination of China. Weren't there Taoists on both Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Tse-Tung sides?

Personally I believe you can simplify the matter even further. It is the individual that participates in political activism not Taoism. Why should one person not be allowed to express themselves in a way they see fit? The question a Taoist person should be asking is 'why do i feel i need to express myself in this fashion or for this cause'. All political causes are self serving. Even environmentalism and humanitarianism are utilized to solicit a particular responce from voters/contributers/media.

But then of course you know that my bent on Taoism isn't necessarily the happy-go-lucky '365 Tao' Deng Ming-Dao would have you believe.
bitterfun on December 8th, 2005 09:05 am (UTC)
oh yeah, apparently there's a 'Tao of Republicanism' that is fairtly interesting.

Kburgunder on December 9th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
why do i feel i need to express myself in this fashion or for this cause

Thank you. This is so what I needed. Will definitely be thinking about that a lot.

You missed a brilliant art walk! We hit a bunch of places in Pioneer Square and went to a gallery down by the stadiums that was just amazing (and the art was more affordable, too).
black_cassandra on December 18th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
I feel your confusion...I reassure myself that if the existing political climate is the natural flow of things then because activists exist at all, we must be a necessary part of the situation. So if we give up then the natural balance will fall apart.