What it means

tentative started this, and shutdown the thread before it had a chance to try and develop, perhaps he was correct.


thirst, in his honest linear fashion makes physical observations about what water does, and is empirically sound in his observations. Stunningly western thought, not that he was at all off base, but as Americans have a nasty tendency towards doing, we only see what is right in front of us, one foot away.

Tao as counter-intuitive. No. As liquidangel so precisely pointed out, water assumes the lowest position, it does not seek to stride hills and mountains, wasting energy on amibitions. Water exceeds at depth, but is empty. Not empty as in void, empty as in lacking want and desire.

Water is embodied in everything, it is the core of all processes natural and necessary. It is without exception, necessary to all life, and representative of what life can be: at depth, flowing, seemless, endless, powerful, and pure. All this, bereft of lordship or dominion.

Watercourse way making means to be guided intuitively, from the empty depth of your person, and using the internal energy, not wasted on want or desire, to follow the seemless flow of life.

One expressing life as yang, may well take on the virtue of water that carves mountains, and continents, and refuses to be stopped … by natural force, not imposed force. One expressing life as yin may take on the virtue of water that effortlessly moves from place to place, by bending and settling, awaiting opportunities to make the next move, so the path remains unbroken, effortlessly flowing.

A balanced individual will know whether to apply a yin virtue or a yang virtue to the moment of process at hand, and no effort will be needed. Then fall back to centered balance, and continue the path.

Counter-intuitive? Not at all. Counter-forced will based on mechanistic modern human perception? Definitely.

Tao. Watercourse. wu wei and wu li, and nothing more is needed.

I can’t argue with what you say or mean, but it sounds like settling. which is perhaps what we should do. I also see a lack of challenges and lessons. for growth.

Water doesn’t just flow serenely, it crashes, it breaks, it rolls across the earth causing catastrophic changes. It pummels bodies of water and land as a hammer on wood. It nourishes and kills, I have yet to see truly serene water exccept for a just chemically treated pool that had all the life killed that was in it.

If presenting a water theory should not the opposite side of water be presented too?

Read more carefully lady Kriswest, I included both “sides”, or as I prefer to word it, virtues of water.

Yin, bending water, waiting opportunist, laying languidly.

Yang, crushing force, swell, rush, that which destroys and clears away for new beginnings.

Tao is not to settle. Watercourse means that in balance, the virtues of Yin and Yang will be intuitively applied to the path, not as a force of will, but as an effect of living within the continuing process.

Growth is gradient, and as an expectation, fails. As an inherent attribute of balanced living, a foregone conclusion.

I reread and you are right.

question: how is it expected for the average person to learn and uphold this? I agree with it, yet, the pragmatic side says we have sheep that will continue to track towards counterproductive methods and beliefs.

My energy and emotions and bonds with the world around me hardly encourage a following of that so perhaps I should include the loner sheep as well. so then If I were to try to follow, would compromise of beliefs be possible or would it excise that which I follow now.

Three things:

“Except for the sons and daughters of the stars of heaven, it will take a thousand lifetimes to reach enlightenment.”

“A life of a hundred years, if lived in blindness, is a tragedy. An enlightened life, that lasts for but one day, is a triumph.”

I cannot tell the lady what her “natural” path may be. You may already be within the process, and not yet aware. You may be aware of a direction, but aloof of the process. You may be a goddess playing coy because you have always been living way.

It is for you to know, not me, lady Kriswest.

Mast (and tent, I guess).

I think the Tao is crap - always have. Antithetical to everything I believe in. I do not think that is a reason to lock or delete a thread. Just a personal view.

But I have always been fascinated with waterclocks. Tried to figure out how to build one. Looked online for instructions and never found them. I think the idea of a waterclock means something to me. I don’t know what it is.

Maybe someone here can suggest a connection, a psychological one, between some meaning the waterclock might have to me - the true metaphor that it might be - and this taoist idea.

Sometimes you find out that what you think is crap, isn’t crap. It’s just a matter of finding the way to find the way.

I just have this suspicion that there might be a connection. Don’t know.


If you don’t implicitly state why you feel this opposition to Taoist thought, it’s rather difficult to explore whether your entity is antithetical to the premise, or if you are just unaware of how your life process fits the ideology.

Am I wrong?

In think my life process doesn’t fit the ideology. I like waste, I am profligate with want, I desire more desire. I admire imposed force. I do not wish to bend and settle - it’s not that I think myself incapable of these - I do not want them. I love effort. Waste is good. It is almost as if I wish to be counter-intuitive.

So why do I want a waterclock? The measure of time itself by a serene, effortless, undeniable force (gravity - the very thing that keeps me on the planet)?

Fair enough.

You are a thoughtful person, have you asked yourself, internally, why you promote these things? Have you thought through the “why” of faust desires? What advantage do they represent?

P.S. I am no match in this arena for tentative, so the tough questions you can lean to him, he’ll be more help.

No one can tell you why you want a waterclock. You are admittedly driven by want, so what is the root premise of the desire?

Stage one, always: learning to look at one’s self, the internal processes, with crushing, brutal honesty … now do this every moment of every day for the rest of your existence.

Mast - I’m not sure if I am truly reflective about this. I think it’s what I am. I have that problem with much “eastern” thought in general - that element of it, and western mysticism as well. The supression of desire.

I also think, in a contradistinction, I think, that the only religion that seems authentic - and I use that word (authentic) in a more or less “Zen” sense - is mysticism - religious thinking insofar as it contains mysticism. Jesus was a better christian than most chritians. St Francis, too. St Bernard. William Law.

I think my biggest objection is that this kind of thinking moves us away from all discernment, from making distinctions, from surveying all the options, from making informed choices. But tent has accused me, in a statement I made that is at the core of my beliefs, of being close to a taoist. Even as I stated that I want to go up the hill and not down. Perhaps I should have explored that more with him at the time. Hopefully, he shows up here.

I think that the waterclock is a meaningful metaphor to me. I just don’t know the meaning. It’s like looking at a tarot card and feeling a vibe. I am just not very good at understanding vibes.

I greatly admire your honesty faustest.

Inward reflection, and this is my honesty, is difficult for the western male: It approaches that “New Age” bullshit feel, you have to look at, and accept and understand the inherency of weaknesses and flaws, you have to lean in on a value system that you are naturally just used to accepting blindly and being objective about the fact it may not serve you as well as you would like in complacency. This is part that sucks, and most often we as males find most difficult to tolerate, i.e. “Oh shit, I’m not the ubermensch”.

No one, in my opinion, is forcing you to look. Especially not tentative nor I. It is expressly a personal choice. Choose to, or choose not to, just that simple.

On the metaphor, that again is a personal expression. You will either choose to explore the root of it, or not. Obviously you are estute enough to realise that no one else can define an internal metaphor for you.

You and I most certainly agree on religion. It is a farce to any logically minded individual. Yes, Y’Shua was the original, and a mystic, and no Christian in the modern definition approaches him.

Give him time. He was unnecessarily shat upon by some who think that belittling anything they don’t understand is the right way to deal with unknowables. He’ll approach when the sincerity is in place.

Your statement here, is again, typically understood as a Western thought line. No, I am not criticizing you, I am just stating, it is very common and moreso understandable. The processes of eastern thought are like the people they come from; obtuse, abstract, elusive, and provocative … usually all at once. Wholly intended I might add.

This is rather cheap and dirty, but will nonetheless make the point:

Ask a Western minded individual, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

  1. That’s just fucking stupid.
  2. What the fuck do I care, I have two hands?
  3. Only a dumbass would ask a question that has no answer.
  4. Here, let me clap my one hand upside your head and show you.

All justifiably understandable responses from a Western logic person. The immediate response, most likely of a logic based mind rooted in concretism and physicality, is to try to conjure an image of one hand making a sound like clapping, without the presence of the second to create the counter surface we all know is necessary to complete the process impact>air displacement>auditory stimuli.

To the eastern mind, where you can certainly understand aculturation and it’s place in this scenario, it is not the object of the question, but the question itself that bears the importance: it becomes a single point of focus for the mind. Here the training begins to allow the practitioner to exercise the mind in an entirely different function of “seeing itself”.

This can only be achieved by obfuscating reality temporarily and focusing the mind on what it does best: abstract extrapolation.

It is natural you wouldn’t find it comfortable, you have been aculturated that all is concrete.

Hi faust,

This is a common reaction to the seeming ‘inscrutable’ language of Tao Te Ching. “The Tao that can be named is not Tao” ??? What the hell does that mean? It is much easier to dismiss than it is to understand.

There is no supression of desire in Taoist thought, at least in the Augustinian sense of “man struggling with his sinful ways”. In Taoist understanding there is no “original sin” We are creatures of all capacities. We are, what we are. There is no guilt of being. There is only Way-making. In contradistinction, those raised in western cultures learn quickly that they must find all of their sinful ways and struggle mightily against them. This concept spills over into every part of our lives, and many continue to seek out and “conquer” everything about them their whole lives.

As Mas so carefully pointed out, the very first step is to look inwardly and see ourselves as we really are, accept that, and begin being instead of being as. I sense that you have already done that, and that was my ‘accusation’. It is in seeing and accepting yourself as you are that you gain the freedom to discern, make distinctions, survey all the options, and make informed choices. Way-making supports instead of supressing us. Instead of poring over the operators manual desperately seeking some way to obtain salvation, we write our own personal manual, daily, experience by experience. I think you do that, and language aside, have this bedrock understanding.

I find your fascination with the water clock delightful. You are the water, faust. Flowing effortlessly but with intent and determination, driving the mechanical universe. You’re not just feeling a vibe, you ARE the vibe…

Mas, Thanks for the new start. I just wasn’t interested in another dreaming butterfly thread. I may be falling into old age bitchiness or maybe it’s just the heat. Yeah, that’s it. it’s the heat. :wink:

Not at all. The one thing that destroys sincerity and direction is immaturity and blatant willful crassness.

I see no fault in your reaction.

Mast - I think my major problem is of commitment. I studied both western and eastern mysticism years ago, and concluded that it required a complete commitment to be meaningful - and yes - I thought it required an abandonment of traditional western thought. Most influential in this was Aldous Huxley’s “The Perrennial Philosophy”, which I read and re-read, despite that one of his major theses was that, on the level of mysticism, all religions are the same.

I decided to make a commitment to non-religious atheism - mysticism is religious atheism. I have since been accused of worshipping Nietzsche, but I do not. Worshippers do not satirise the object of their worship.

But Huxley’s point that mysticism seeks a psychological state, first and foremost, has been singularly influential to me - I got this point from him before I saw it in Nietzsche - but it is certainly a point of intersection between the two. I must ponder. Thanks for the response. I seldom get one that requires that I think very hard.

I have been acculturated, yes. But I have examined the alternatives in some depth, but from some distance. I had a long “zen” phase, for lack of a better word.


This actually does sound, at least analogously, like something I would say. I will reflect upon this. Thanks.

I will thank Mast again, too, for resurrecting this topic. I would have responded to your original post, tent, but had to think about it - usually I don’t have to think too hard to respond to a post - I just fire away. But this topic has some mileage, at least for me.

a note - I do not back off from my comment that tao is crap. Everything that doesn’t fit in with me is crap. It’s just that crap can become noncrap. It’s all about me. I thought veal was crap for a long time, then it wasn’t. It is again, but the veal stays the same. Reminds me of a zen story in Huxley’s book. Maybe I’ll transcribe it here. Might have some bearing. You guys could tell me better than I could tell you. Isn’t tao, if I remember, but I’ll look it up.

Aborting desire tends to be a “spiritual path” for many persons, as they become submissive-passivists.

I say:
Forget about moral heros. You don’t need to play any roll. Jesus and Buddha didn’t have it better then anyone else. According to glamor these persons reached some sort of higher level, but they were mortal and just like everybody else; it’s just they each chose a different way to view the world then most.

World view isn’t a cure-all.

Don’t be affraid of pain.


That’s what I say to all people spiritually “searching for the answers”.

Dan~ I agree. The problem is that people like things like icons, cults of personality, archetypes. So teachers become more important that what they teach. Look what happened to poor Jesus. Just a guy out there doin’ his thing, and now he’s just another posterboy.

This is a Westernized definition, driven by the inherent fear we are aculturated with, seen as loss of self. Summarily, to coin a “faustinated” term, it’s crap.

Living naturally means to exercise prudence. Most desires are the antithesis of that attribute.

I do what I can to live the watercourse, and as I am more yang, submissiveness, is not my forte` or modus operandi.

Yeah, we’ve got some culture problems.

Wisdom & propriety are probably more suitable english terms, right?


Honestly, all the words should be considered for faustination, because that is all the realistic purpose they serve … fodder.

Call it what you like, choose as you will. Your path.

faust was definitely correct, that which doesn’t serve us well, is sewage. Personally, I place language directly in the midst of that leech bed.

Nietzsche might :smiley: