September 1st, 2007

free will, choices, Oracle, truth

the light side of the force: Buddho-taoism

x-posted to taoism  where there's good discussion and buddhists  here.

light. water. clarity. these are the signs of the light side of force that fight the dark side of the force; the way. there doesn't seem to be anything inherently or absolutely wrong with darkness, bareness, or obfuscation, but it does seem that those who ally with it do so at the expense of others, and do so fully aware that it benefits themself (exclusively or unequally) yet unaware or inconsiderate of the eventuality.

balance. moderation. harmony. these are the states of the light side of the force. we -- and i include myself as i attempt those states -- we seek the benefit of all by being aware of the oneness paradox: the benefit of self yet (being unaware, at least directly, of the) benefits for everyone. equality is a byproduct of this paradox. essentially our goal is, to use the arcane term, being friendly -- genuinely compassionate --, and that is a difficult essence to actually live. and our method is, "dare i say it, kindness".

My Experiences

i've played the devil's advocate and i've teetered precariously in the dark side, so i'm reflecting on some subjective observations about the real differences in the lives people live. i'm not merely talking about ideals. it seems that some people become obsessed with something and their goal drifts further down their path. it becomes less satiable. the goal is intrinsic and seems to be right but the thing obsessed over is extrinsic and inherently wrong. as an analogy: walking through clouds of vanity eventually becomes seeking it in futile darkness.

one could argue that some people seek the dark side of the force; that they embrace darkness, and that some social norms unfairly stigmatize extremes. my response to that argument is that a person can still be moderately independent (without playing with words), or can be satisfied by both light and dark (because i'm being extreme by putting up a false dichotomy), but my experience and intuition has led me to the conclusion that there are indeed bad people. their argument, in defense of darkness, would make more sense if bad people only fed off each other's badness at the expense of the dark forces, but they insidiously confuse us, taint our water, and darken our rooms.

bad people attempt to manipulate the way by knowing it, therefore their goal is insatiable and eventually the person will, unaware of the end, forfeit their self over to the pursuit and become a fanatical something. eventually, they become nothing -- by the word we call "oblivion".  in contrast, good people also loose their self but they become one ... everything that is and is known to eventually "be not and know not."

Evangelism & Linguistic Problems

some so-called "good people" make it a goal to convert people to something that they believe is the "light side of the force", i find that goal selfish and therefore wrong. good people know the way and therefore do nothing for it because the way cannot be known and nothing can be done in its behalf. here is where language does seem to fail for my ability to convey what it means to do the right thing. our language (and thinking) is, however, capable of distinguishing and categorizing differences and, although i find the dichotomy that i argue for here flawed, it conveys the right thing by saying the wrong thing. this is my best effort to communicate goodness.

so how can i say some things are not absolutely or inherently wrong but some people are indeed bad? because we determine the difference. from this selfish or independent or extreme perspective, the way does not seem fatalistic. even though there is only the way, it is not the only way.

A Realistic Ideal

my argument might be flawed in the abstract but some things in our world seem inconsistent with our ideals. goodness, as an ideal, is not, from my observations, unrealistic ... but it is difficult.  some right or humbly righteous goals lead to goodness:

  • it is right to be around good people (Sangha, Right Speech & Action)
  • it is right to reflect on our goodness (Right Concentration & Mindfulness)
  • it is right to care about people's well-being (compassion, Right Livelihood & Effort)
  • it is right to care for ourselves (Right Intention)
  • it is right to be good (Right View)
This is basically my view, and it is has become clearer after being tainted and confused by the dark side. i call it Buddho-taoism1.

1. I did not realize until a day later that this idea had begun to form in a post from a year and a half earlier.  It was also featured in stupid_free (as an example of stupid posts)