Wandering Daoist

I recently, belatedly, joined the Free Software Foundation and found this community soon after. I wouldn’t describe myself as a traditional activist, though I was in my 20’s. Academically my background is philosophy, personally I try to cultivate a daoist sense of harmony and wuwei (not resisting nature). Politically I’m a democratic socialist with a strong libertarian undercurrent, which is another way of saying I’m still exploring. In an ideal world there would be no borders, property, military or law. We would live and let live. Human nature makes this exceptionally difficult, if not impossible. But I still dream of freedom. I’ve lived in MA since 1970 and have always dreamed of moving to NH or Vermont.

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Hello and welcome

They sure inculcate socialism in state schools nowadays, takes forever to divest oneself afterward of the notions.

I’m with you there for no military or laws (voluntary rules and agreements being altogether something else), and I’ve had enough national borders and all the BS that creates, however I’ve not found a way for us being social creatures w/o also supporting the mutual notion of private property. I could give an endless list of examples.

But I welcome a Taoist, explorer and traveler.

Welcome to the community!

I forgot to add the influence of black metal, primarily the (early) Ulver and Agalloch branch. The idea of nature’s revenge strikes me as not only correct but just.

Thank you! It’s funny, I realized after submitting that description that I wasn’t being terribly clear. All of this is very new to me. My studies were in metaphysics and 19th c. thought, but (to my shame) I never paid much attention to political implications beyond vaguely feeling like some of Marx’s critiques were right. However, I had (and still have) no good alternative to offer, let alone a solution, so it laid dormant until recently. I’m thankful for discovering this group. I know enough to know my knowledge is limited, so I love being able to listen to those who can see things I can’t. Whether I initially agree is usually of little interest to me. I prefer to try to understand first.

As I read though various posts I find something resonating within me. I long for simplicity and could do without government as we know it, which is simply the logical outcome of the system in the first place. I’m fascinated by communities where people try to live in a different way and can’t imagine how difficult it must be to try to do that in the current context. I am also listening to the critique of technology in a new way, which, as someone who works in tech, is not easy. I suppose ultimately I am drawn to the idea of freedom. I hate being controlled and hate the fact that I am part of a system in which I have control over other free beings. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but until this morning I had never read Kaczynski’s 2008 critique of anarchoprimitivism. It was much better than I was expecting, due, in part, to his much improved style, but mostly by taking the time to listen to someone it would be far easier to ignore culturally.

All that is to say thank you for welcoming me. I appreciate being able to learn. In the piece K. quotes Nietzsche’s observation that the most common lies are the ones we tell ourselves. As a lifelong student of his I appreciated that, and look forward to shaking off some intellectual cobwebs.

I love the Tao Te Ching and property as a concept helps with human nature and interaction.

I agree. My idealism tends to run away from me. I mean only in the sense that we ultimately own nothing in nature.

I also really appreciate the Dao and Wu Wei. I see ‘democratic socialism’ as passivity in regards to that. In my opinion, Anarchy is for riding the waves as they come. I do not think humans are incapable of doing far better than government in creating harmony.

Though black metal doesn’t take up much of my listening pleasure I also appreciate the cocept that nature reclaims it’s self and want to share some artwork if I can figure out how … that I did for a friend’s band Ya The Veo, both I think you will appreciate !

I can’t seem to upload - anyhow they are on Bandcamp if you are curious &

Welcome from another nooB !

Or maybe better put -
I believe free, individual, thinking humans who innately yearn for human connection are a far better source of harmony creation than a governing body/ Majority Rule

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Thank you, I’ll definitely check them out! The democratic socialist label is just a loose way of saying where I’m coming from, as we all start somewhere. I know as much about political theory as I do quantum mechanics–enough to know I’d be a fool to pretend I did…I studiously avoided it my whole life as a part of philosophy that was boring. I’ve always hated rules, so the political system was as uninteresting and (seemingly) unchangeable to me as the rules in my home as a teen. Best (I thought at the time) to avoid both as much as possible and pretend to agree when forced.

Although I’m a product of the system I was educated in I’ve always been drawn to the critics along the way, for which I’m thankful. When it comes to thought I move slowly, if for no other reason than I have proven I’m perfectly capable of deceiving myself, which, by definition, can’t be seen at the time. The overall arc, though, has definitely led me in this direction, and it’s fascinating to see the names that are popping up as I research, thinkers that I have always loved, but never heard. As a teacher I could have explained various ideas and movements in an abstract way, but the truth behind their ideas hadn’t broken through in a personal way. I can only say it’s starting to, and it’s nice to take these ideas seriously for the first time. (The fact that I haven’t until now is mostly personal, depression has a way of stopping most things, especially when you pretend you’re fine. Notwithstanding, change is hard, as the system does everything it can to enmesh you inextricably in it.)

I had never even heard of voluntaryism until now, which is sad given the fact I not only grew up near Concord and studied 17th c. theology (e.g. groups like the Levellers) but was fascinated with the Transcendentalists and especially Emerson, whose essays got me through some of the darkest times in my life. But at the time I couldn’t truly hear.

Discovering Daoism was key. At the time I was in grad school and was a protestant Christian. I remember thinking the Laozi and Zhuangzi were curious but little more. Over the next couple years, however, I continued moving not only to the furthest edges of what any conservative would call Christian theology but to leaving it altogether. Now these are two of the most important texts to me. The question to myself as I read them now is more pointed than ever: am I really willing to live like this? My mind says yes, so the challenge is to make it reality each day, which we all know is the hardest part. But the idea of leading by letting things be is exactly right. And I agree with you in terms of having a government, I just never considered it until now and literally have no idea what an alternative looks like. Your phrase “harmony creation” is perfect.

All that is to say, while I have many critiques of the system [edit: i.e. its existence] I’m thankful for the voices who were still trying to reach me within it, and have no regrets. I just started reading Charles Lane’s “A Voluntary Political Government” and am excited to return to those I should have listened to in the first place.

Hey Insolubilia. I am a fresh mover to the Shire and I plan on organizing a weekly Taoist service once a week here. I’ll likely kick it off next weekend (June 20 or 21) and hope you can make it out.

Any suggestions for a discussion topic? What Taoist principals have been useful for you?

I think I may begin the first service on the topic of emptiness, but I’m not overlyl-committed to discussing this subject, so if anyone has another topic we can explore instead then I’d rather follow that discourse.

Hi Calvin! That’s an interesting idea. What do you have in mind in terms of the service itself? I imagine people from both the philosophical and religious sides would want to check it out.

I’m not an expert by any means and can’t read ancient Chinese, so I’m at the mercy of translations of the Laozi (Dao de jing) and Zhuangzi (Chuang tzu). I spend most of my time in those texts but am interested in the whole range of daoist thought.

Emptiness is certainly a fascinating topic given the later influence of buddhism on Chinese thought, though daoism seems to approach it differently.

Personally, wuwei is a central concept at which I’m terrible, but getting better. I am too much the wildcat and too little the yak:

Zhuangzi replied, Have you never seen a wildcat or a weasel? Crouching low, they watch for something to approach. They leap east and die in the net. Then there is the yak, big as the clouds hanging from the sky. It is large but it cannot catch mice. Now you have a large tree and regret that it is of no use. Why no plant it in the wild? You might wander about and do nothing by its side or sleep in its shade. An ace will not put an end to its existence; nothing can harm it. What is there to be distressed about its being useless?

And grats on the move, I’m jealous!

I imagine the service as a ~30 lecture on a topic and then an equal or greater interactive discourse with the participants.

Wei wu wei will be a topic down the road.

It seems like you’ve harmonized with your own nature, nothing wrong with that. Come on out for a service sometime, I will update here with more details as they manifest.

Definitely keep me posted when it happens, thanks!