Tag Archives: Nietzsche

“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 52” by Lao Tzu

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All-under-Heaven have a common Beginning.
This Beginning is the Mother of the world.
Having known the Mother,
We may proceed to know her children.
Having known the children,
We should go back and hold on to the Mother.
In so doing, you will incur no risk
Even though your body be annihilated.

Block all the passages!
Shut all the doors!
And to the end of your days you will not be worn out.
Open the passages!
Multiply your activities!
And to the end of your days you will remain helpless.

To see the small is to have insight.
To hold on to weakness is to be strong.
Use the lights, but return to your insight.
Do not bring calamities upon yourself.
This is the way of cultivating the Changeless.

I love this passage and read it several times today.

The first stanza expresses the interconnectedness between all beings. We are all born from the Earth, we all coexist upon the Earth, and in the end, we will all return to the Earth. It is only our egos which delude us into thinking we are separate. We are not. We are all one, all intrinsically connected, and should keep this in mind when dealing with each other.

The second stanza describes how meditation and contemplation are the paths to happiness, fulfillment, and ultimately, spiritual evolution. We all know that we must seek within if we seek the truth, or connection with the divine. The external is but a distraction. I believe it was Nietzsche who said something to the extent that wisdom comes in one’s stillest hour.

The third stanza sums everything up. Take time to notice and appreciate the small miracles happening around you at all times. Strive for simplicity, and avoid undue complexities that lead to stress and anxiety. Practice compassion, with others and yourself. And most importantly, take time for introspective reflection. Do these things, and happiness will flourish.

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“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 13” by Lao Tzu

TaoTehChing

“Welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise.
Prize calamities as your own body.”

Why should we “welcome disgrace as a pleasant
surprise”?
Because a lowly state is a boon:
Getting it is a pleasant surprise,
And so is losing it!
That is why we should “welcome disgrace as a pleasant
surprise.”

Why should we “prize calamities as our own body”?
Because our body is the very source of our calamities.
If we have no body, what calamities can we have?

Hence, only he who is willing to give his body for the
sake of the world is fit to be entrusted with the world.
Only he who can do it with love is worthy of being the
steward of the world.

So I struggled with this passage and had to read it a couple times. I’m still not sure I fully grasp what Lao Tzu is saying, but here is my interpretation. I think that disgrace and calamity may refer to failure. The old saying goes that there is no shame in failure, there is only shame in not trying. If you try to live a spiritual life and fail, or if you try to be a good steward of the world and fail, at least you attempted and did your best. We have no control over outcomes, only our efforts.

I also could not help thinking about Nietzsche, and how that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Adversity can often motivate us, and overcoming difficulties can sometimes lead to spiritual growth. Suffering can be a path to enlightenment; although, given a choice, I would probably choose the path of less suffering.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. If you have any insights into this passage, please feel free to share them in the comment section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers and blessings.

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Review of “Kill Shakespeare: Issue #10”

KillShakespeare_10It would be impossible to write about this issue without a couple of spoilers, so, in all fairness: SPOILER ALERT!!

A lot of characters die in this issue, since most of it depicts the battle between the rebels and the combined armies of King Richard and Lady Macbeth. But the earlier section has Shakespeare, who is an archetypal man-god, turning his back on those who follow him. There is great dialog between him and Hamlet during this section.

Ham: But what of your children? What do I say to those who believed in thee? That their god lent neither hand nor quill?

Shak: Perhaps it is best to say that Shakespeare is dead… that he never existed.

What is really cool about this exchange is that it hints at the existential philosophies of Sartre and Nietzsche which questioned god’s existence. Personally, I always viewed Hamlet as an existential play. Let’s face it, “To be or not to be” is the ultimate existential question.

In the great battle scene, Falstaff is one of the characters who gets killed, which bummed me out a bit because I really liked him. In fact, I’d say he was my favorite character in the series. As he lay dying, Hamlet kneels beside him and says: “Stubborn clown, you steal my role.” What a great line! The archetypal comedic clown takes the place of the tragic hero and dies upon the stage of war. It’s awesome. As painful as it was for me to see Falstaff die, it was a stroke of genius on the part of the writers.

There are only two more issues left in the series, so I will be finishing and reviewing those in the next week.

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