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Thread: Universal History and the Possibility of a Utopia.

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    Universal History and the Possibility of a Utopia.

    Inspired by: Maps of Time by David Christian.

    To question the benefits of a fundamental approach to the study of history, is to essentially pose a question of insight and certainty. It is not merely about a holistic view, but more about if a holistic view is even possible within history. Is it possible to encapsulate the whole of eternity into a defining moment and still remain tangibly accurate? Is the macro and micro interrelated and interchangeable? And most of all, what kind of answers does a big approach provide that are beneficial? Would it, possibly, solve the nature of the human phenomenon? Can the way history is viewed contribute towards a Utopian world?

    Science, the pioneer of the empirical method, is at its core very fundamental; for millennia it searches for a total explanation for the question of why and how. History too, in order to hold any sense of credibility, must adapt a scientific process, so it is inevitable that the fundamental nature of defining truths has rubbed off on the study of history. The search for full illumination, the unveiling of a masterful design, is the core propellant in our documentation of history. The hope remains that in revealing the mystery of the human nature through a historical view, some reconciliation would be possible for the current world paradigm. The hope remains that a Utopian society can be resolved. One could almost say that all detailed closed-space studies of history are subconsciously constructed as a piece of a bigger puzzle. For science itself is a manner of viewing history, branched into separate yet connected approaches.

    In fair consideration, the core criticism for a total view of history is that it would be a generalisation that would be contradicted by certain small-scale studies. Where there are so many historical contradictions and paradoxes, a full view is implausible. Yet the argument stands that for the true historian, there are no contradictions, only undiscovered patterns. That the true historian is more than a simple documenter of events, but also a sociologist. A study of cause and effect is a necessary proponent of historical documentation, so it is understandable that sociology and history work hand in hand. David Christian, for instance, is insistent that history is not merely documentation, but that it also holds a message. Weather the message is that humanity is ultimately violent or peaceful is the cause for discovery. This is perhaps the primary intent of a big approach to the study. Seeing as the past is thought to be a definition of forming who we are and where we stand today, it was unavoidable that some underlying meaning is not only sought, but also, necessary.

    It is an issue of contribution to one’s identity. If the history of a town contributes towards their personal identity, it is only rationally intrinsic to formulate a historical world identity. The opposing argument has been that it is naïve to think that a positive historical identity would have any effect upon the individual, and what is worse, that history seems to present a negative human identity. So, inevitably this becomes an issue of unified vs. separatist. Collective vs. segregated. If history holds any markedly poignant message it is that differences are the primary cause of conflict. Unification has always been the resolution. This intensifies the responsibility of the historian to think in unified terms. Perhaps the aim of seeing the big picture is to cause a revolution in the ways in which history is viewed and taught.

    Which leaves the question, would it help improve anything? This is the debate that has perhaps captured historians at this period in time. The conclusion of which, if it transpires, will hold immense changes. With the technological freedom of communication, the internationalist view has sprung the world with a reckoning force. Ideas of a collective human identity have become an imminent reality. A shift in paradigm has taken place following the ability of one person to speak to another across the world. As such, historians are now being affected by the paradigm-shift, and it is arguably the cause for emphasis on the big picture. It seems that a holistic view would in itself be the actual cause for improvement.

    At this point, perhaps it is useful to substantiate how much a government and society is affected by history. On the power and benefit of unification. The nature of the debate calls for an embarkation into the human psyche. The efficiency of the map that historians create determines the effectiveness of the journey. Just as a bad road-map would detrimentally influence the safe passage of traffic, so too does mutant ideas of history affect the sanctity of a nation. A world-view of history is akin to seeing the forest for the trees. If one but looks, for instance, at the example provided by the period of the silk roads, where an influential interchange of commodity as well as ideas took place, it is also noticed that political fragmentation severely impacted the exchange of resources.

    The first evidence to negate a Utopian view to be a naïve one is the nature of the universe itself: ever changing, expanding, and as some theorise, due to begin imploding. With ideas such as these, the implication is that societies also are ever changing: moving from disruption into unity, then, perhaps back to conflict. Ironically, history as thus far documented all too keenly reveals that this change is the only overwhelming constant. From galaxies to geological cycles to the birth and death of an organism. Even societies transferring from barbarianism into a peaceful nation, such as the Tibetans. Or the Indus Valley civilization once reputed to be rich in their innocuous wisdom now amounting to a corrupted and scavenging race in comparison to their past.

    The idea of random change has infiltrated much of the sciences and modes of thought – so much as to entertain the notion of the primordial soup: the creation of life is often philosophically and scientifically indulged as an accident. This is a colossal contradiction for a life-form whose very intelligence relies on and is defined by pattern recognition. It is irrational to assume that wherefore there are patterns that dictate every other action, the very birth of this order would itself be an accident. Thankfully, with the emergence of quantum physics formed a powerful advocator of inert order within the big picture. And most of modern biology is concerned with discovering the hitherto undiscovered underlying patterns.

    What remains profoundly captivating here is that history is not merely a study of economic or social change or of conquest and globalisation, but markedly a study of ideas being born and destroyed. With the industrial revolution arrived an idea now known as modernism – which lead to which, is still debatable. Perhaps it was a slow building idea that gave fruition to what we now call modernism, and the idea allowed for the discovery of machinery. The point, however, is that at the turn of the revolution occurred an expotential leap in population, the cause of which continues to baffle historians. Ecological research regarding population growth has come to conclusions that the level of population as well as species is directly proportionate to availability of habitat space. That after an equilibrium number is established, this number will remain constant irrespective of the introduction of new species or the extinction of pre-existing ones. Which leads one to ponder what form of new space was created by the industrial revolution to affect the equilibrium so sporadically.

    This form of interlinking has proven itself empirically sound. It is an exchanging of ideas, of seeing the big picture. The question must be asked, what is history for? Upon what motive does one procure a detail of their past? And the obvious answer is, to provide a meaningful system of existence – to substantiate that there is most definitely an evolution and a purpose that is transpiring. In this case, it is interesting that the failure of the industrial revolution to provide a Utopia, that the birth of post-modernism, coincides with the period in time when we are finally ready to see history as a whole. Kicking and screaming perhaps, but we are at a point where we are looking at the big-bang - almost juxtaposing it with the industrial revolution, in order to see a principal truth. Besides, universal history has always been synonymous with mythology – it simply wasn’t an aspect of science, until now. Notwithstanding that the idea of world history arose alongside cosmology and evolutionary biology, perhaps it is the debate of revolution vs. evolution that has prompted us to consider the nature of a Utopia. Because after all, what are we evolving towards?

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    Speaking of the interrelation of the macro and the micro, the first disapproval stems along the lines of how there is far too much variation on local levels that get omitted when deriving a total outlook. The Agrean Era stands as a good example of this, but paradoxically the evidence that lead to current conclusions about that era were scattered on different globes, and it was collaborated in order to get a full picture. Besides, the core of ecology and biology demonstrates that all conflict and flourishing of species is strictly resources related. Psychology is strongly influenced by Abraham Maslow’s explanation that humans are driven by needs and are not inherently evil. Physics also agrees by procuring its second law of thermodynamics. Entropy. It is the quest for resources, the abundance or lack of them, that is the cause of equilibrium, conflict or dissemination. History also seems to have reached this conclusion. This would not have been possible to see if one did not stand back to look.

    To understand that this is an issue of resources holds several layers of meaning for historians such as David Christian who contemplate the possibility of a Utopian society. The industrial revolution took place because the introduction of machinery placed the peasants in severe danger of losing their long held resources. And though historians have looked at history quite frequently through the lens of consumption and economic decisions, it would seem they were not too far off the mark. Except to say, the pessimism that has entranced several historians comes from their conclusion that there is no true abundance of resources, and that they are depleted time and time again. This, however, should not fail to provoke the historian to shift their angle onto the opposite side of how consumption is viewed and consider anew.

    Though the rise of inequality is directly linked to economic differences, what is synonymous is the possibility of resolving these differences. The big picture makes it abundantly clear that we are not inherently a greedy species. As much as standing back to view a forest reveals the easiest path through it, so too do we begin to ask the right questions in historical study when interchanging the micro and the macro. The big picture in itself will not provide all the answers, as much as the localized picture, by itself, would be fragmented. One should have respect both for the details as well as the broad strokes. When the two are juxtaposed, an insightful clarity is gained.

    In this case, the historian begins to ask, what sort of situations have lead to the resolving of differences? He or she begins to explore this avenue. Since he is the chooser of the lens through which he views history, this very choice is a prominent responsibility. And through discovering the several situations that resolve differences, he begins to uncover a fundamental pattern. The very discovery of this pattern will bear its effects on the identity of the society. This, it seems, is David Christian’s purpose in enthusiastically opting for the importance of world history.

    Fundamental patterns are proliferate. Take phi for instance: the underlying geometry encountered frequently throughout biology and even in the construction of galaxies. DNA is another example. Agriculture arose in numerous places seemingly independently. Everything affects everything else. The environment is dynamic, and at face-value there seems to be no order, yet continuous exploration has eventually lead to a core formula. Science would have succumbed were this not the case. The final question, then, is that given the disparity between developed and undeveloped countries, how can a reconciliation be initiated?

    Historians have on the most part concluded that if anything can be seen from ethno-archeology, it is that people do not always act to better adapt to their environment or to cooperate. On the other hand, a sense of abundance was created by tribes and societies of the past who made the act of sharing and gift-giving an essential part of their lifestyle. There is as much evidence that shows humanity’s compassionate awareness for the environment as there is of environmental degradation. These forms of mixed-messages make it easy to resort to resignation.

    Historians have a long-standing favour for small-scale investigations because they believe the human phenomenon is only revealed in the details, so they consider vast generalizations to be unsophisticated. On afterthought, this is the truly naïve view, for their choice of scale is still biased by that which they choose to focus upon. Some facets are usually underplayed, and other aspects often overemphasised. The nature of falsification affects both small-scales and larger scales equally, and it is often the case that the errors in the conclusions become obvious when you cease to be biased towards a choice of scale. It is proven time and time again, that bias is indeed the enemy of clarity.

    How one would reconcile the bias of nations with opposing interests depends entirely on the map of reality that rules humanity. It is inevitably an exploration of balance and imbalance. It is an issue of contingency. For instance, seeing as at the time of the industrial revolution, Asia also contained the technology to effect the discovery of machinery, why did they fail to do it? Much like sedentism and over-population lead to agriculture, one can logically allude that there was no necessity presented to create the situation for such a discovery. In the same context, it is the necessity now that would lead to a resolution.

    Yet every positive improvement has had its detriment. Bigger populations have included more diseases. With modernity came the clearing away of peasants. The signs so far indicate a cycle of reciprocity leading to entropy. A recharging followed by a diffusion. Knowing this, it seems unfathomable that there can be co-existence without aggressive enforcement of some kind or other. But certainly, a Utopian world of abundant resources and peaceful co-existence is possible. It has eventuated many times within history, though as spectacularly short-lasting as it is glorious. In our current scenario also a sense of progress is witnessed. And when we hold the totality of history within our scope, from the creation of the universe until now, we witness nothing but abundance. And the thought occurs, if the recurring element that is necessary for peaceful co-existence is the quantity of resources, we are surely within a Utopia. Perhaps recognition is all that is necessary.

    As much as the master who submits to the servant becomes autocratic, such would be the effect of the environment upon the mind. And Science, in false hypothesis, assumes and continues to experiment with such an illusiory conditioning. Drawing dangerous conclusions at that, expressing with firm and obnoxious regard that we are but slaves to our environment. Reactionary instruments. The objective approach would be the willingness to expose the nature of this oppression, or at the very least, to test the potential of the mind in manifesting its will. In this light, one derives definite principles on the spirit of man, as well as a pronounced disclosure on the character of the individual within a Utopian society. Abraham Maslow's purport on the Self-Actualised person is a remarkable example.

    Self-Actualisation is synonymous with Utopia. At this point, it is important to delve to the crux of the matter - it is impossible to have a Utopia without the recognition of Spirit. Of the mystery of "peak experiences", for lack of a better term. Ultimately, Utopia is an idea, therefore this is entirely an issue of the human psyche. The abundance of resources, or the subjection to entropy, is wholly a mindstate. This is a natural course of reasoning, a substantiate hypothesis that is empirically verifiable: the mind creates the matter. If the mind is a closed-space, then your thoughts and your personal reality are subject to entropy. So, your mind has to be an open-space - exuberant, generous, inclusive and expansive. That's the difference between heaven and hell. Unity in diversity and creative abundance are the flairs of a Utopian society. This mentality needs foremost to be individually established - and this would effectually, naturally, translate into society and government. The revolution is within.

    There is no political agenda here, that would be to thoroughly miss the point.

    I am convinced purely because I am aware of my own nature - and I cannot see a single reason why the spirit of any other man is any different....

    "Each and every one of us, knows each other explicitly and intently because we all share the same phenomenon of loneliness."

    "Thats all?"

    Smiles as the thunderbolt strikes. "Yes."

    "In the Age when life on earth was full no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the trees and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realising that they were "doing their duty." They loved each other and did not know this was "love of neighbour." They decieved no one yet did not know they were "men to be trusted." They were reliable and did not know that this was "good faith." They lived freely together giving and taking and did not know they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history."
    - Chang Tzu.

    By: Vajra-Avalon.

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    What history ? The one controlled by the Skull and Bones ?

    Book Excerpt from a New York Times Journalist: The Legend of Skull and Bones

    Skull and Bones has also taken steps to control the American media. Two of its members founded the law firm that represents the New York Times. Plans for both Time and Newsweek magazines were hatched in the Skull and Bones tomb. The society has controlled publishing houses such as Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. In the 1880s, Skull and Bones created the American Historical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Economic Association so that the society could ensure that history would be written under its terms and promote its objectives. The society then installed its own members as the presidents of these associations.
    Last edited by NewWorldOrder; 09-19-2005 at 02:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    Some Quotations From A Book: "One Common Faith"

    After reading the above I was moved to include here some interesting remarks thatr readers might enjoy:

    Consumer culture, today’s inheritor by default of materialism’s gospel of human betterment, is unembarrassed by the ephemeral nature of the goals that inspire it. For the small minority of people who can afford them, the benefits it offers are immediate, and the rationale unapologetic. Emboldened by the breakdown of traditional morality, the advance of the new creed is essentially no more than the triumph of animal impulse, as instinctive and blind as appetite, released at long last from the restraints of supernatural sanctions. Its most obvious casualty has been language. Tendencies once universally castigated as moral failings mutate into necessities of social progress. Selfishness becomes a prized commercial resource; falsehood reinvents itself as public information; perversions of various kinds unabashedly claim the status of civil rights. Under appropriate euphemisms, greed, lust, indolence, pride—even violence—acquire not merely broad acceptance but social and economic value. Ironically, as words have been drained of meaning, so have the very material comforts and acquisitions for which truth has been casually sacrificed.

    Clearly, materialism’s error has lain not in the laudable effort to improve the conditions of life, but in the narrowness of mind and unjustified self-confidence that have defined its mission. The importance both of material prosperity and of the scientific and technological advances necessary to its achievement is a theme that runs through the writings of many a modern thinker now. As was inevitable from the outset, however, arbitrary efforts to disengage such physical and material well-being from humanity’s spiritual and moral development have ended by forfeiting the allegiance of the very populations whose interests a materialistic culture purports to serve. “Witness how the world is being afflicted with a fresh calamity every day”, Bahá’u’lláh, a 19th century Prophet warned. “Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled practitioners are regarded with favour, and are accorded full freedom to act.”

    “In addition to disillusionment with the promises of materialism, a force of change undermining the misconceptions about reality that humanity brought into the twenty-first century is global integration. At the simplest level, it takes the form of advances in communication technologies that open broad avenues of interaction among the planet’s diverse populations. Along with facilitating interpersonal and intersocial exchanges, general access to information has the effect of transmuting the cumulative learning of the ages, until recently the preserve of privileged elites, into the patrimony of the entire human family, without distinction of nation, race or culture. With all the gross inequities that global integration perpetuates—indeed intensifies—no informed observer can fail to acknowledge the stimulus to reflection about reality that such changes have produced. With reflection has come a questioning of all established authority, no longer merely that of religion and morality, but also of government, academia, commerce, the media and, increasingly, scientific opinion.

    Apart from technological factors, unification of the planet is exerting other, even more direct effects on thought. It would be impossible to exaggerate, for example, the transformative impact on global consciousness that has resulted from mass travel on an international scale. Greater still have been the consequences of the enormous migrations that the world has witnessed during the century and a half since the Báb declared His mission. Millions of refugees fleeing from persecution have swept like tidal waves back and forth across the European, African and Asiatic continents, particularly. Amid the suffering such turmoil has caused, one perceives the progressive integration of the world’s races and cultures as the citizenry of a single global homeland. As a result, people of every background have been exposed to the cultures and norms of others about whom their forefathers knew little or nothing, exciting a search for meaning that cannot be evaded.

    Through shared discoveries and shared travails, peoples of diverse cultures are brought face to face with the common humanity lying just beneath the surface of imagined differences of identity. Whether stubbornly opposed in some societies or welcomed elsewhere as a release from meaningless and suffocating limitations, the sense that the earth’s inhabitants are indeed “the leaves of one tree” is slowly becoming the standard by which humanity’s collective efforts are now judged.

    Loss of faith in the certainties of materialism and the progressive globalizing of human experience reinforce one another in the longing they inspire for understanding about the purpose of existence. Basic values are challenged; parochial attachments are surrendered; once unthinkable demands are accepted. It is this universal upheaval for which the scriptures of past religions employed the imagery of “the Day of Resurrection”: “The shout hath been raised, and the people have come forth from their graves, and arising, are gazing around them.” Beneath all of the dislocation and suffering, the process is essentially a spiritual one: “The breeze of the All-Merciful hath wafted, and the souls have been quickened in the tombs of their bodies.”
    “Throughout history, the primary agents of spiritual development have…”
    Throughout history, the primary agents of spiritual development have been the great religions. For the majority of the earth’s people, the scriptures of each of these systems of belief have served as “the City of God”, a source of a knowledge that totally embraces consciousness, one so compelling as to endow the sincere with “a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind”.

    A vast literature, to which all religious cultures have contributed, records the experience of transcendence reported by generations of seekers. Down the millennia, the lives of those who responded to intimations of the Divine have inspired breathtaking achievements in music, architecture, and the other arts, endlessly replicating the soul’s experience for millions of their fellow believers. No other force in existence has been able to elicit from people comparable qualities of heroism, self-sacrifice and self-discipline. At the social level, the resulting moral principles have repeatedly translated themselves into universal codes of law, regulating and elevating human relationships. Viewed in perspective, the major religions emerge as the primary driving forces of the civilizing process. To argue otherwise is surely to ignore the evidence of history.

    Why, then, does this immensely rich heritage not serve as the central stage for today’s reawakening of spiritual quest? On the periphery, earnest attempts are being made to reformulate the teachings that gave rise to the respective faiths, in the hope of imbuing them with new appeal, but the greater part of the search for meaning is diffused, individualistic and incoherent in character. The scriptures have not changed; the moral principles they contain have lost none of their validity. No one who sincerely poses questions to Heaven, if he persists, will fail to detect an answering voice in the Psalms or in the Upanishads. Anyone with some intimation of the Reality that transcends this material one will be touched to the heart by the words in which Jesus or Buddha speaks so intimately of it. The Qur’án’s apocalyptic visions continue to provide compelling assurance to its readers that the realization of justice is central to the Divine purpose. Nor, in their essential features, do the lives of heroes and saints seem any less meaningful than they did when those lives were lived centuries ago. For many religious people, therefore, the most painful aspect of the current crisis of civilization is that the search for truth has not turned with confidence into religion’s familiar avenues.

    The problem is, of course, twofold....more on this another time. (From "One Common Faith," Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Baha'i World Centre, 2005.
    Last edited by Ron Price; 10-20-2005 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Left out the title
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53

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    What I find as fundemental in a very transpersonal level is the principle of the Warrior Code. I think you may relate that I intuitively knew about the Warrior Code before I read it in any book, or heard about it from any person. It's something so very intrinsic that I felt, though on a vague level at the time, during times of introspection. It's similar to how it is said, "the virtues are what they are. No one will say that cowardice is a virue, or that hypocricy is a virtue." It is very intrinsic. I say you may relate because several people are of the opinion that humans are born with a clean slate (or genetic predisposition) - and the rest of their growth boils down to instrumental conditioning. From personal experience, I find this far from true. I am reminded of a revealing moment in the film "K-Pax" where the psychologist asks the patient (who insists he is an extraterrestrial), "Hmm.. so, if there are no rules on your planet, then how do you know the difference between right and wrong?"

    To which the "visitor" replies as if it's the most obvious thing imaginable, "Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong." But by god don't we argue about it - if for no other reason but to convince ourselves otherwise when we make a wrong choice. I find this to be fundemental. We all know the difference - it's making the choice that's difficult, we sometimes turn into cowards when it comes to that.

    "The 97th Aphorism in the Codes I was taught," I said, "is in the form of a riddle: "What is invisible but more beautiful than diamonds?" "And the answer?" inquired Labienus. "That which is silent but deafens thunder." The men regarded one another. "And what is that?" asked Labienus. "The same," said I, "as that which depresses no scale but is weightier than gold." "And what is that?" asked Labienus. "Honor," I said.
    Vagabonds of Gor, Book 24, Page 305.

    Which brings us back to the Warrior Code. I trust you are with me so far. The Warrior code works on the principle of a universal "knowing" of the difference between right and wrong - but more to the point, on the stregnth required to make the right choice. That, in essense, is all the code really is about. Courage to do the right thing. Courage to die for what you stand for, if it comes down to it. This is what defines a Warrior. There is an insightful truth I am reminded of: It takes far more courage to face an enemy within than it does to face a foe on the outside. The greater Warrior is the one who fights his inner demons. When you conquer what is within you, you naturally conquer what surrounds you.
    A few years ago, I read Don Juan, the Yaqui Shaman, speak of a method of self-Mastery. To quote:

    There are four steps to learning the Warrior Code:
    1. Ruthlessness.
    2. Cunning.
    3. Patience.
    4. Sweetness.

    Ruthlessness should not be harshness. Cunning should not be cruelty. Patience should not be negligence. Sweetness should not be foolishness. These four steps have to be practiced and perfected until they are so smooth they are unnoticable.

    Ample introspection into those four steps (as well as the cautions) were incredibly revealing for me. Simply put, these four keys - or steps - exist as weapons against our self-delusions. For example, one must be ruthless with their sense of romanticism, because often it is mixed with a mass of half-lies. Romanticism on its own can be effective, but sometimes it can cause more harm than good. Often, when people make the wrong choices, they romanticise their reasons for the choice to fool themselves into feeling satisfied. This is where ruthlessness is necessary - alongside the other steps. So, in effect, one could say that the four steps of the warrior code exist to patiently wade through every lie we ever told ourselves when we made a wrong choice in our lives. And perhaps it was these lies that first created our "demons".

    Which inevitably leads me to mention a pivotal component in self-Mastery for a warrior, even a man. I brought this up once before, but not in connection to this fuller context. I first found this analogy in the Introduction to Thomas Cleary's translation of the Art of War. I'll quote:


    According to an old story, a lord of ancient China once asked his physician, a member of a family of healers, which of them was the most skilled in the art.

    The physician, whose reputation was such that his name became synonymous with medical science in China, replied, "My eldest brother sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, so his name does not get out of the house.

    "My elder brother cures sickness when it is still extremely minute, so his name does not get out of the neighborhood.

    "As for me, I puncture veins, prescribe potions, and massage skin, so from time to time my name gets out and is heard among the lords."

    Among the tales of ancient China, none captures more beautifully than this the essence of The Art of War, the premiere classic of the science of strategy in conflict. A Ming dynasty critic writes of this little tale of the physician: "What is essential for leaders, generals, and ministers in running countries and governing armies is no more than this."

    The healing arts and the martial arts may be a world apart in ordinary usage, but they are parallel in several senses: in recognizing, as the story says, that the less needed the better; in the sense that both involve strategy in dealing with disharmony; and in the sense that in both knowledge of the problem is key to the solution.

    As in the story of the ancient healers, in Sun Tzu's philosophy the peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict altogether unnecessary: "To overcome others' armies without fighting is the best of skills." And like the story of the healers, Sun Tzu explains there are all grades of martial arts: The superior militarist foils enemies' plots; next best is to ruin their alliances; next after that is to attack their armed forces; worst is to besiege their cities.

    Just as the eldest brother in the story was unknown because of his acumen and the middle brother was hardly known because of his alacrity, Sun Tzu also affirms that in ancient times those known as skilled warriors won when victory was still easy, so the victories of skilled warriors were not known for cunning or rewarded for bravery.

    This ideal strategy whereby one could win without fighting, accomplish the most by doing the least, bears the characteristic stamp of Taoism, the ancient tradition of knowledge that fostered both the healing arts and the martial arts in China. The Tao-te Ching, or The Way and Its Power, applies the same strategy to society that Sun Tzu attributes to warriors of ancient times:
    Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. The most difficult things in the world must be done while they are still easy, the greatest things in the world must be done while they are still small. For this reason sages never do what is great, and this is why they can achieve that greatness.


    The warrior is the same. The most famous generals we know of are cited throughout history for the great battles they fought and won, with incredible skill. Yet the greatest generals are the ones who, with such refinement of their art, prevented the battle from ever taking place. And because of this, we will rarely hear of them.
    But the real insight comes in applying this to the warrior's inner battle. Self-Mastery and its refinement really begins to take meaning here. It is this principle that leads to the saying,
    "While the sword is in its sheath it's doing its work. When the sword is drawn, it has already failed."

    A little introspection begins to make it very clear that the very meaning of the word warrior is transient in any manner that it is used. After all, when we take these principles and apply it into a personal lifestyle, the nature of the warrior undoubtably follows. It is this very applicability that makes it work. So, to return to the point, the Mastery of war essentially lies in preventing it. Any other alternative is a lesser kind. This makes sense, yes?

    There is an aspect of refinement and introspection here that leads, without doubt, to one end: into becoming a better man. And the exhuberant clarity of it begins to dawn, that the Warrior Code we all seem to have as our genetic makeup, is nothing more but the integrity of the Gods being reflected in our being.

  6. #6
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Most of history is fake, the rattles of dry bones and nothing else at the core.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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