Friday, August 27, 2010

Introduction to Eastern Philosophies

When I started studying martial arts in 1994, I had no concept of Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Feng Shui or Yoga. As I went through the study of Korean arts of taekwondo, hapkido and others, many of the ideas were suggested through the techniques we were taught. Then, I was introduced to a couple texts involving Zen, Taoism and Confucianism. I read the texts and then studied the concepts that were introduced to me. I began study of Japanese language and Japanese style martial arts (e.g. shorin ryu karate, bojistu, & samurai) in order to gain a stronger impression of these ideas. In comparison, from my study of Latin-based languages (e.g. Spanish and French), I have found that Eastern cultures view language and the world in markedly distinct ways than the American or even any of the Western cultures.

I am only a student of these philosophies and martial arts, but have gained a strong appreciation as well as advanced level of training, whereby I have become a teacher in some of these arts.

Logic of the Tao (or no-think/no-mind) and Buddhist mindful thinking (one mind)...

I have found the logic of Taoism in its simplistic manner can be complex and far reaching. The logic of Taoism is based upon ideas and concepts presented in the environment and common things we see and hear. The logic follows the basic laws of physics.

1) That for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
2) That for everything in motion, it will stay in motion.

Through observation of nature, how things are done, and the reactions to them, one begins to comprehend the ideas. The symbolism and attachment to nature presents a natural course of the physical world and our lives. Also through attachment, we find suffering because suffering is bound to our clinging to a perception of or desire for a particular reality.

Everything we do, see, hear, and say has a great impact on how we perceive the world and how people will, in turn, perceive us. (That is the essence of Buddhist ideas of karma). The Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching suggests that the elimination of unneeded elements and getting to the root of matters and concepts reveals the true reality and the truth of them to yourself as well as to those around you. We can see how each of these ideas contrast each other, but they also complement each other. They also complement the Western religious doctrines of Jesus as well as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto Him). Each of these are based in the fundamental idea of peace within ourselves and that peace can be achieved through discipline and prayer or meditation.

For the Tao and Buddhist, the approach to the ideas is simple and complex in the same way. This approach leads to different ways of thinking about our environment, our senses, and how we live them. For everything is connected to each other, and a natural equilibrium is the essence of the teaching (without deprivation or extravagance). To know good or pleasure, you must understand what is bad and unpleasant. Through the struggles, we find accomplishment. Through pain, we can truly comprehend joy. Our destiny and path is what we make of it. It is not the end, but the means to attain the end that become important. The Eastern philosophies suggest that one should not focus upon what is or is not because we can not control those things outside of us. We can however focus upon the present and now and thus relieve our attachments.

As Enigma sings in the song "Push the Limits", "Open your heart and push the limits". When you "open your heart" to the world, you will feel your connection to the world and be able to learn from that connection and from the world. When you "push the limits", you push the mind to believe that you can succeed in whatever you are doing. Yet, from a Tao or Buddhist perspective, one would not push the limits as we simply should release the limits as those limits are abstract attachments that we cling. Open your heart to the lessons and meditations here and allow the limits of your mind to expand beyond your current understanding, not only at face value, but meditate of the internal concepts. Breathe well, release and comprehend the relationships, the ideas, and the suggestions presented, and you may achieve peace or enlightenment.

Remember that the greatest skill comes without effort or thought.

A plant does not know how to grow, but instead just grows. ~Alan Watts


Monday, August 16, 2010

Social Media - Reputation and Defamation

For years people grew up in schools where we had to verify what we claim and we have to use our own work. If we do use other people's work, we have to cite that work instead of trying to pass off that work as one's own. When building content and material for websites and social media, we have to recognize intellectual property of others if we mean to reference them. There is more than an academic interest here, but this is a mutual trade of information. As well, referencing another source (through links or otherwise) will increase the reliability of your work as well as increase channels from which people might come to your work. In this way, prudence and faithful references can help you in addition to others.

You contribution to social media sites and web forums should always remain positive and creative. Warren Buffet has stated that it "...takes 20 years to build a reputation but only a five minutes to ruin it..." If you diligently pursue quality and positive material, your reputation will be grounded in quality and respect among peers as well as the general audience. If you conduct negativity, flames, or rants online, one will injure the reputation.

In addition, people should be careful about defamation of character as there are laws protection people from this type of behavior. Defamation is generally regarded as a making knowingly false claims about someone or causing unjustified injury or harm towards someone (e.g. causing someone to lose a job over an personal argument).

Professor Mack of Iowa State University further suggests that content on your web sites is your responsibility (even if you didn't write the material) as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 when you are an Internet Content Provider (ICP). Thus, if one allows for discussion comments, you will want to watch for defamation and libel on your site, and in your online discussions on social media.

Always consider the idea that regardless of privacy settings or attempt to delete something, once you click post or send, there is a path for that information to the public. So be smart about what you post either in blogs, status updates, or otherwise.

With that said, I ask that people hold themselves to quality standards when discussing these ideas. If you have a problem with something that is stated or posted on my sites, please feel free to contact me and I will address the issue. For the most part, I hope to facilitate a good discussion rather than have to fend off ridiculous claims.