Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Silver Lake Trip

Karen, April, Michael and I all went to Silver Lake.  We rented cabins on the lake on Sunday night and Monday night.  It rained Sunday and Monday morning.  We put the boat out on the lake on Monday and Tuesday.  We returned home on Tuesday afternoon.  

Silver Lake is 60 mile north of Vancouver.  It is part of the Toutle river drainage area.  It is on the road to Mt. Saint Helens National Monument.  

I spent most of the weekend reading my Kindle books on Logic.    

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Art, Symbolism, and Creative Interpretations: The Tarot

I first purchased and used Tarot decks in 1979.  I studied numerous books on the subject of the Tarot.  I purchased numerous decks over the decades.  First, I enjoyed the variety of artwork and symbolism in the 78 cards in the different decks from different centuries.  Second, the creator of each deck brings some new insights into the overall structure and meanings for the cards in the deck.  Third, I enjoyed "reading" and creatively interpreting the symbols and images in these small art objects in the context of my own life and questions.  

I even made, in 2011, some very incomplete notes in hypertext documents on the Tarot.

My method over the years is to ask a question or reflect on my current consciousness and situation in my life.  Then, I randomly pull from 3 to 5 cards from the deck.  I try to interpret, reflect upon, and consider the meaning of each card.  I may use The Voyager Tarot book to refresh or expand my understanding or memories.  Then, I arrange the cards in some order to "tell a story."  I do this once a day, at night; then, in the morning, reconsider the meanings and relevance of that 3-5 card reading in my life.  I only look at cards right side up; although, I do sometimes reverse the meaning of the cards depending upon the story I create.  

I enjoy using the Voyager Tarot deck the most.  

This photomontage deck was designed by James Wanless, Ph.D.  The photographic collage artwork was created by Ken Knutson.  It was first published in 1984, and then in 1991 and 2008. 

The Voyager Tarot: Way of the Great Oracle Book.  By James Wanless, 1989.  Book and Deck







Saturday, June 12, 2021

Summer Activities: Reading, Gardening, Celebrations, Travel

Every month, I browse, fast read, or read ten to twenty books, and carefully read or study two or three books on the following subjects: the history of ideas, intellectual history, zeitgeist studies, philosophy of history, biographies.  

Intellectual History - My hypertext notebook

This month, for example: 

Whitehead, Alfred North.  Science and the Modern World, 1926.  

Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, 4 Volumes.  Philip P. Wiener, Editor in Chief.  New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1968, 1973.  For example, Volume 1: 677 pages, Contains: Abstraction in the Formation of Concepts to Design Argument.  An outstanding resource for under $70.00 for the four volume paperback set.  VSCL. 


I am retired, so I am like a college student again.  I use libraries and bookstores to acquire new and used  titles, and reread books books in my home library.  I read articles on the Internet and this counts for six books.  

Currently, I am reading books and articles related to the history of thinking about time, processes, the meaning of the future, process theology, ecology, feelings of duration, Whitehead, Hartshorn, Cobb.

Process Philosophy

Getting ready for Summer Solstice Celebrations, and busy with gardening at home.  Our California weather permitted vegetable gardening all year, with "summer veggies" from May to October.  The Solstice (June 21st) is one kind of a "Mid-Summer" celebration of maximum Sun during the day, fertility, productivity of agriculture, gratitude for blessings from the Earth, exuberance, zest ...

Our Summer 2021 travel adventures include a trip to cabins and boating on Silver Lake, Fourth of July fun, a wedding in Spokane, river boat trips, Olympic National Park (Forks, La Push), and mid-summer visits to the Pacific Coast.  Canada is still closed due to pandemic flu rules, so our trip to British Columbia (300 miles north) will wait till later.  

Pulling Onions by Mike Garofalo

Friday, June 11, 2021

Tao Te Ching 44 Dao De Jing

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 44

"Or fame or life,
Which do you hold more dear?
Or life or wealth,
To which would you adhere?
Keep life and lose those other things;
Keep them and lose your life:--which brings
Sorrow and pain more near?
Thus we may see,
Who cleaves to fame Rejects what is more great;
Who loves large stores
Gives up the richer state.
Who is content Needs fear no shame.
Who knows to stop Incurs no blame.
From danger free Long live shall he."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 44 

"Fame or self: which is more important?
Your possessions or your person: which is worth more to you?
Gain or loss: which is worse?
Therefore, to be obsessed with "things" is a great waste,
The more you gain, the greater your loss.
Being content with what you have been given, You can avoid disgrace.
Knowing when to stop, You will avoid danger.
That way you can live a long and happy life."
-  Translated by John R. Mabry, Chapter 44 

"Which means more to you,
You or your renown?
Which brings more to you,
You or what you own?
And which would cost you more
If it were gone?
The niggard pays,
The miser loses.
The least ashamed of men
Goes back if he chooses:
He knows both ways,
He starts again."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 44 

"Fame or one's own self, which matters to one most?
One's own self or things bought, which should count most?
In the getting or the losing, which is worse?
Hence he who grudges expense pays dearest in the end;
He who has hoarded most will suffer the heaviest loss.
Be content with what you have and are, and no one can despoil you;
Who stops in time nothing can harm.
He is forever safe and secure."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 44 

-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 44

ming yu shen shu qin?
shen yu huo shu duo?
de yu wang shu bing?
shih bu shen ai bi da fei.  
duo cang bi hou wang.
gu zu bu ru.  
zhi zhi bu dai.
ke yi chang jiu.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 44 
"Which is neared to you, your name or your person?
Which is more precious, your person or your wealth?
Which is the greater evil, to gain or to lose?
Great devotion requires great sacrifice.
Great wealth implies great loss.
He who is content can never be ruined.
He who stands still will never meet danger.
These are the people who endure."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 44

"Which is more dear to you, your character or your body?
Which do you treasure more, your body or your wealth?
Which makes you more unhappy, to gain or to lose?
But we must sacrifice much to gain true love.
We must suffer great loss to obtain much treasure,
To know contentment is to fear no shame.
To know how to stop is to avoid destruction.
Thus doing, we shall long endure."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 44  

"¿Qué es más íntimo a nuestra naturaleza,
la fama o el propio cuerpo?
¿Qué es más apreciable, la salud o la riqueza?
¿Qué nos duele más,
ganar una cosa o perder la otra?
Quien se apega a las cosas, mas sufre por ellas.
Quien acumula muchas cosas, mas peligra de perderlas.
Quien se contenta con lo justo nunca es agraviado.
Quien sabe medirse no sufre peligros
y vivirá largamente."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 44

"Which is nearer you,
Your name or yourself?
Which is more to you,
Your person or your pelf?
And is your loss or gain
The more malicious elf?
Extreme love's price
Must be paid with sacrifice.
Hoarding to excess
Brings ruin its its place,
Who knows he has enough
Never knows disgrace,
Who knows when to stop
Danger will efface,
And long can endure,
Evermore secure."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 44 

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage includes a Google Translate option menu for reading the entire webpage in many other languages.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching [246 CE Wang Bi version] includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms (concordance) for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, links, research leads, translator sources, and other resources for that Chapter.  

     A Top Tier online free resource for English and Spanish readers, researchers, Daoist devotees, scholars, students, fans and fellow travelers on the Way. 


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Wednesday, June 09, 2021


" "Exuberance" derived from the Latin exuberanceex, "out of," + uberare, "to be fruitful, to be abundant"― is as its core a concept of fertility.  Exuberance in nature is defined by lush, profuse, riotous growth; it is an overflowing, opulent, and copious abundance.  ... In our time, "exuberance" usually denotes a mood or temperament of joyfulness, ebullience, and high spirits, a state of overflowing energy and delight.  It is more energetic than joy and enthusiasm but less intense, although of longer duration, than ecstasy.  The origins of the concept of exuberance in the cyclic fertility of nature, now largely forgotten, remain critical to understanding it as a primitive life force vital to survival."
-  Kay Redfield Jamison, M.D.  Exuberance: The Passion for Life

"The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things.  They bequeathed to us one of most beautiful words in our language― the word 'enthusiasm'― en theos― a god within.  The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring.  Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it."
-  Louis Pasteur

Jamison, Kay Redfield, M.D.  Exuberance: The Passion for Life.  Vintage, 2005.  Detailed notes, index, 416 pages.  ISBN: 9780375701481.  VSCL.  

Springtime Exhuberance 

Mid-Summer Celebrations   Neo-Pagan Rituals on Summer Solstice, June 21st

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Diversity and Unity

"For the Eastern mystic, all things and events perceived by the senses are interrelated, connected and are but different aspects or manifestations of the same ultimate reality.  Our tendency to divide the perceived world into individual and separate things and to experience ourselves as isolated egos in this world is seen as an illusion which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentally.  It is called avidya, or ignorance, in Buddhist philosophy and is seen as the sate of a disturbed mind which has to be overcome.

'When the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced, but when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears.'

Although the various schools of Eastern mysticism differ in many details, they all emphasize the basic unity of the universe which is the central feature of their teachings.  The highest aim for their followers - whether they are Hindus, Buddhists or Taoists - is to become aware of the unity and mutual interdependence of all things, to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality.  The emergence of this awareness - known as 'enlightenment'- is not only an intellectual act but is an experience which involves the whole person and is religious in its ultimate nature.  For this reason, most Eastern philosophies are essentially religious philosophies."
-  Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 25th Anniversary Edition, p. 24  

   In my experience, life is rightly characterized as diverse, complicated, varied, rich in multiplicity, saturated with the 'ten thousand things.'  Personally, I find little need to seek or to find or to have the "experience of unity."  This state of "unification," when actualized, is in most cases rather fleeting.  It may be profound, but no more so that the beauty of complexity and the fascinating reality of diversity.  I do not find the experience of the multiplicity of things distressing, disturbing, or disheartening.  

Just because all of the eggs today are in one basket does not make the colored basket more real or more interesting or more valuable than the eggs.  

Ignoring the facticity of the complexity of the natural and mental realms seems to me a more serious ignorance, not very sensible, and ultimately unwise.  I long ago gave up on any quest for "enlightenment" (in Hindu or Buddhist terms) and prefer the ordinary state of mind grounded in a world that is not simple, not one, not unified, complex, and rich in details.  To claim that our normal experience of complexity and variety is an "illusion" or "ignorance (avidya) seems to me a form of incorrect judgment.  

No doubt, trying to simplify one's life has its benefits, reducing sensory overload can reduce stress, and not becoming overly infatuated with novelty can be helpful; but, pushing on this strange path towards the "enlightenment" or "realization" of a pure and uncluttered "Unity" can produce its own distressing and disturbing predicaments for a person.  

Many philosophers, ancient and modern, have made a sharp distinction between appearances and Reality, the many and the One, the phenomena and the Noumena, and multiplicity and Unity.  For me, it is muddled thinking to call all of our experiences "just fleeting illusions" and fabricate a true realm of being outside of our personal and social and practical experiences.  Indeed, we can't "see" in any ordinary sense of "see," the cells, molecules, atoms, and the subatomic particles that constitute the objects of our macro-cosmic world; but, this in no way means the multiplicity of objects in our ordinary environment are in any way "illusions."  The meaning of "objects" is much more complicated, varied in linguistic usage, and functional in many practical contexts.  Again, complexity is closer to the truth.  

"I, who make no other profession, find in myself such infinite depth and variety, that what I have learned bears no other fruit than to make me realize how much I still have to learn.  To my weakness, so often perceived, I owe my inclination to coolness in my opinions and any hatred for that aggressiveness and quarrelsome arrogance that believes and trust wholly in itself, a mortal enemy of discipline and truth."
- Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," 1588

Our selves are, to Montaigne, "wavelike and varying" - ondoyant et divers

Complexity and Diversity 

Nature Mysticism:  Resources, Quotes, Notes

Gardening and Mysticism

Green Way Research Subject Index

Monday, June 07, 2021

Thinking like Alfred North Whitehead

 Some Principles of Alfred North Whitehead's Thinking

1. Question the assumptions of your community, your society, your religion, your science, your educational institutions, especially those that are rarely mentioned.
2. Question the dominant media, asking who controls it and what they want you to think.
3. Recognize that a serious answer to any important question brings into view lots of other questions.
4. When people appeal to mystery, consider that it may be mystification.  Push critical thought as far as you can.
5.  Recognize that the wider range of influences on an event or person that you consider, the better you understand that event or person.
6.  Recognize that the broader you consideration of the context and of the likely consequences of your action, the better chance that you will make the right choice.
7.  Realize that all your ideas and values are influenced by your particular situation, but refuse to conclude that for this reason they can be dismissed as merely "relative."
8.  Recognize that there may be no actions that are completely harmless, but do not let that prevent you for acting decisively.
9.  Understand that compassion is the most basic aspect of our experience, and seek to liberate and extend your compassion to all with which you come in contact.
10. Deepen you commitments to your own immediate communities, but always remember that other communities make similar demands on their members.  Let you ultimate commitment be all-inclusive."
-  By John B. Cobb, Jr., What would Whitehead Think?   

Process Philosophy

How to Live a Good Life: Advice From Wise Persons

Alfred North Whitehead

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Rivers of Change

 "We need to learn to see our physical form as a river.  Our body is not a static thing─it changes all the time.  It is very important to see our physical form as something impermanent, as a river that is constantly changing.  Every cell in our body is a drop of water in that river.  Birth and death are happening continuously, in every moment of our daily lives.  We must live every moment with death and life present at the same time.  Both death and life are happening at every instant in the river of our physical body.  We should train ourselves in this vision of impermanence." 
-  Thich Nhat Hanh, You Are Here, 2001, p. 27

In many ways Changes, cycles of birth and death, being a living-moving-acting being ... is what creates endurance, persistence, homeostasis, staying alive.  When Change stops, then we die.  Impermanence is indicative of being alive, existing, being real. 

Process Philosophy

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Can You Explain Your Reasoning?

 "Rationality is not just a matter of having some reasons for what one does, but of aligning one's beliefs, actions, and evaluations effectively with the best or strongest available reasons.  It pivots on doing that which, everything considered, one is "well advised" to do.  The matter of giving or following the course of intelligent and responsible advice is the crux of rationality.  There is nothing complex or arcane about the sorts of considerations that determine good and cogent reasons in this regard.  It is a matter of the sort of things that conduce to one's real advantage, to one's best interests.  This is a matter of furthering the full and rewarding life, preeminently involving the sort of things that make us happier and/or better persons in what relates to our benefit and the benefit of those who do and should matter for us (our family, community, and fellows at large, and the advancement of our individual and communal values.)  Practical rationality thus calls for appropriate resolutions intelligently arrived at and sensibly implemented.  It is geared to the sensible pursuit of appropriate ends.  The idea of optimization, of seeking for the best among visibly available alternatives, lies at the very core of rationality."
-  Nicholas Rescher, A System of Pragmatic Idealism, Volume I  1992, p.9

The Thinker's Way to Solve Problems

Have I accepted the problem?
What do I know about the problem?
How can I define the problem?
What are the alternatives?
What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of each alternative?
What is the solution?
How well is the solution working?

-  John Chaffee, The Thinker's Way: 8 Steps to a Richer Life,  1998

How to Live a Good Life: Advice From Wise Persons

Friday, June 04, 2021

Dao De Jing 43 Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 43

"The softest of stuff in the world
Penetrates quickly the hardest;
Insubstantial, it enters
Where no room is.
By this I know the benefit
Of something done by quiet being;
In all the world but few can know
Accomplishment apart from work,
Instruction when no words are used."
-  Translated by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 43  

"As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone,
So to yield with life solves the insoluble:
To yield, I have learned, is to come back again.
But this unworded lesson,
This easy example,
Is lost upon men."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 43  

"That which offers no resistance,
overcomes the hardest substances.
That which offers no resistance
can enter where there is no space.
Few in the world can comprehend
the teaching without words,
or understand the value of non-action."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 43   

天下之至柔, 馳騁天下之至堅. 
無為之益, 天下希及之. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching Chapter 43 

t'ien hsia chih chih jou, ch'ih ch'êng t'ien hsia chih chih chien.
wu yu ju wu chien.
wu shih yi chih wu wei chih yu yi.
pu yen chih chiao.
wu wei chih yi, t'ien hsia hsi chi chih.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 43  

"The softest substance of the world
Goes through the hardest.
That-which-is-without-form penetrates that-which-has-no-crevice;
Through this I know the benefit of taking no action.
The teaching without words
And the benefit of taking no action
Are without compare in the universe."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 43  

"The softest thing in the world can overcome the hardest.
The shapeless can penetrate the seamless.
Thus I know the value of not acting.
Few understand the wordless teaching of non-action."
-  Translated by Ned Ludd, Chapter 43    

"The world’s weakest drives the world’s strongest.
The indiscernible penetrates where there are no crevices.
From this I perceive the advantage of non-action.
Few indeed in the world realize the instruction of the silence, or the benefits of inaction."
-  Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 43 

"Lo más blando del mundo
vence a lo más duro.
La nada penetra donde no hay resquicio.
Por esto conozco la utilidad del no-interferir.
Pocas cosas bajo el cielo son tan instructivas como las lecciones del silencio,
o tan beneficiosas como los frutos del no-interferir.
Pocos en el mundo llegan a comprenderlo."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 43

"The non-existent can enter into the impenetrable.
By this I know that non-action is useful.
Teaching without words, utility without action-
Few in the world have come to this."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 43

"What is of all things most yielding
Can overwhelm that which is of all things most hard.
Being substanceless it can enter even where is no space;
That is how I know the value of action that is actionless.
But that there can be teaching without words,
Value in action that is actionless,
Few indeed can understand."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 43  

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage includes a Google Translate option menu for reading the entire webpage in many other languages.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching [246 CE Wang Bi version] includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms (concordance) for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, links, research leads, translator sources, and other resources for that Chapter.  

     A Top Tier online free resource for English and Spanish readers, researchers, Daoist devotees, scholars, students, fans and fellow travelers on the Way. 


Thursday, June 03, 2021

Swinging Arms Qigong Exercises

Swinging Arms Qigong Exercises

A hypertext notebook by Michael Garofalo

"Swinging Warm Up:  Stand with your feet comfortably apart, knees softly flexed. Relax your arms at the shoulders. Gently swing from side to side. In swinging to one side, your knees will bend deeper; on reaching the side as far as you can twist, your knees should straighten again, but not to a locked position. While swinging, swing your arms loosely so that one arm swings behind, tapping the opposite hip while the other arm swings up and across the body, tapping the opposite shoulder. So in swinging to the right side, the right arm swings behind and the left arm swings up and across.  Now repeat the swing to the opposite side, remembering to bend and straighten the knees. This will generate energy and help it to flow throughout the body. The light taps are to stimulate meridian points."
-  Linda DonohueQigong Energy Exercises 


"Swinging arms, or ba bi, works on the principle that swinging the arms stimulates the Qi channels in the shoulder joint joints, arms and hands; the increased flow of Qi in the arms spreads to the rest of the body, producing a generally beneficial effect, but being particularly good for heart trouble, nervous disorders and certain types of cancer. In addition, the arms become loose and free, helping to make our Aikido more relaxed and effective. Essani incorporates these ideas and practices into his Aikido system, insisting that his Aikido is also a means of promoting and maintaining a healthy mind and body."
- Nick Waites, Aikido, Iron Balls, and Elbow Power, 2008

"One exercise that is gaining popularity for patients with type 2 diabetes is arm swing exercise. One study showed that doing arm swing exercises lowers blood glucose levels. Arm swing exercises are modeled after tai chi movements. They are sometimes called tai chi arm swing exercises. These are traditional Chinese arm exercises. The effect of arm swing exercises on type 2 diabetes is twofold. First, the exercises lower blood sugar levels. Second, they increase the activity of insulin receptor cells. For diabetic patients who can withstand more activity, tai chi classes showed improvement in blood pressure, fasting blood glucose levels, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). Another study showed that balance and diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, of the feet improved in elderly patients with diabetes who participated in tai chi exercises."
- Arm Swing Exercises for Type 2 Diabetics

"Dynamic stretching is a technique gaining in popularity due to recent studies which show that traditional static stretching techniques do little to increase flexibility or reduce injury when performed before a workout. In fact, many studies show that static stretches actually have a detrimental effect on explosive movements and strength output. There are two types of flexibility receptors, a static receptor, which measures magnitude and a dynamic receptor, which measure speed and magnitude. As one would expect, dynamic activities that require movement, such as running , jumping, or kicking use the dynamic receptor to limit flexibility. Therefore, a dynamic stretch that stresses the dynamic receptor is more beneficial when preparing for a warm-up when performing a dynamic activity. Dynamic stretching also includes constant motion throughout the warm-up, which maintains the core body temperature, whereas static stretching can see a drop in temperature of several degrees. Another benefit of dynamic stretching is that it prepares the muscles and joints in a more specific manner since the body is going through motions it will likely repeat in the workout. It also helps the nervous system and motor ability since dynamic motions do more to develop those areas than static stretches. It is important to note that although many studies show the lack of benefit of static stretching before a workout, there is still much data to support the benefits of static stretching after a workout. Dynamic stretching works by the practitioner gently propelling their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to note the practitioner should not use jerky, forced movements to try to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury. In general the practitioner wants to move the muscle into stretches in a similar way to how they’re going to move them in a workout. For example a martial arts practitioner who wants to stretch a hamstring for a kick may swing a straight leg forward to gradually increase the height they can obtain. Doing light kicks, with little explosive acceleration, while gradually increasing height, could also be considered a dynamic stretch."
- Dynamic Stretching

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Wisdom Within Our Flesh

"The human body is not an instrument to be used, but a realm of one's being to be experienced, explored, enriched and, thereby, educated."
-  Thomas Hanna

"There is deep wisdom within our very flesh,  if we can only come to our senses and feel it."
 -  Elizabeth A. Behnke

"He who feels it, knows it more."-  Bob Marley  

 "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski

'The Heavenly Level is the function of feeling."
-  Cheng Man-ch'ing

"No matter how closely we look, it is difficult to find a mental act that can take place without the support of some physical function."
-  Moshe Feldenkrais  

"I would have touched it like a child
But knew my finger could but have touched
Cold stone and water.   I grew wild,
Even accusing heaven because
It had set down among its laws:
Nothing that we love over-much
Is ponderable to our touch."
-  W. B. Yeats  

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The Horrors of War

A repost from May 30, 2016:

Today is an American holiday called 'Memorial Day.'  It is a day to remember American soldiers who were injured or died in wars of the past.  I take some time to think about and grieve for all the the men and women lost in the horrors of war, both good soldiers and civilians.  Yes, sometimes fighting in wars is necessary in self-defense; but, still an evil and not to be glorified.  

Really, though, a "holiday?" Something is amiss here; something is disrespectful.  Most Americans party, celebrate, treat it as a three day weekend to kick off summertime fun.  

"In my opinion, there never was a good war, or a bad peace.  What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of living might mankind had acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of public utility."
- Benjamin Franklin, 1783

Even the god Krishna tried to convince Arjuna (a professional soldier) in the Bhavagad Gita that fighting and killing, even his relatives, was a duty and a necessity.  The Bible and Koran tell of how "God" slaughters people, and how murder is acceptable to punish "sinners" and non-believers.  Fervent religious people are often quite pleased with killing other people.  Ruthless dictators and misguided politicians manipulate and force people into killing and dying for the Fatherland by inflaming patriotic, xenophobic, ethnic and racist emotions.  The carnage that results is horrific - revolting and beyond comprehension.  

Scores of millions of people have died in the many useless, stupid, tragic, horrible, cruel, and crushing wars of the past. Most of the men that started or fought in these destructive rampages were merely conscripts and pawns in the hands of nations or dogmas or greed or dictators or petty warlords.  There were a few heroes, and many evil macho men, and mostly just extremely scared people crying and screaming as the bombs exploded and bullets whizzed by and their loved ones and friends were torn apart and murdered.  

So, let us instead remember on this Memorial Day to celebrate the real joy that everyone felt when we heard "The War Has Ended" and people could live again in peace.  Let us remember the millions of civilians slaughtered by soldiers marching under ten different flags.

I recommend that we adopt an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to Limit the War Making Powers of the U.S. Government. 

I served in the United States Air Force from 1969-1973.  I served because the United States of America forced men of my age, through "The Draft," to serve in the Vietnam War.  Penalties, social ostracism, employment restrictions, and imprisonment were imposed on young men if they did not "serve their country" in the military.  I had been indoctrinated in my youth in Catholic Schools to hate communists, and have few moral reservations about killing atheistic communists.  Again, sadly, we were merely pawns in the hands of nations or dogmas or ideology or religions or greed or dictators or petty warlords.  Was killing our "enemies" in Vietnam justifiable on the grounds that doing so was crucial and vital to our national self-defense? - hardly!    

When I hear women and men talking these days about how we need to fight and kill those cruel Islamist ISIL brutes in the Middle East, and that President Obama is not "tough" enough, and these same warmongering people never gave one single hour of their life in being a soldier and/or seeing and smelling the carnage of battle, it makes me want to vomit.  

In the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980's over one million soldiers and civilians lost their lives, and countless more were injured or maimed, towns were destroyed ... Shites and Sunnis and Jihadhis fighting each other.  They are still fighting today in 2016 in the Middle East.  Likewise, we have our own real threat from "terror" from all the bozo angry Americans with boxes of guns in their homes - over 11,000 Americans are murdered every year in the USA.   

Peace and Memorials to Peace, Less Thinking about War "Heroes"  

Beware of worshiping flags, signs, emblems, and symbols.  We, and every other  nation, including our "enemies," indoctrinates its ruled population to stand up and show worshipful reverence to their own nation's flags and favored religious symbols and fallen soldiers and heroes.  On Memorial Day the graves of dead soldiers in America are decorated with U.S. flags, and the Christian cross, and gunfire salutes to them for loyally following orders.  But, remember, the map is not the territory.   

Be very wary of demagogues that want to 'Make America Great.'  I am quite satisfied with making America decent, making steady improvements, being respectful of one another, and enjoying peace.  

I recommend that we adopt an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to Limit the War Making Powers of the U.S. Government.  

"I confess I am a little cynical on some topics, and when a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of
its hands and the purity of its heart."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1847

I am sure the Germans cried over their brave Nazi soldiers who died in battle, and so too did the Japanese honor their brave soldiers of World War II. And, along the way of glory, these brave warriors, from many nations, including America, just laid waste to scores of cities and over 60 million people died.  

Before you get too nostalgic and weepy this Memorial Day about our military "heroes," our brave fighting men, our courageous American soldiers ... please recall just a few of the cruel acts they did to earn such glorious distinctions, to wit:

"On March 9, 1945, United States military warplanes launched a bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo over the course of the next 48 hours. Almost 16 square miles in and around the Japanese capital were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed in the worst single firestorm in recorded history."  


The United States military, during Operation Rolling Thunder, killed over 90,000 civilians in North Vietnam from 1965-1968.  Listen to a "heroic" professional U.S. soldier tell of "silencing" the Hanoi defenses to rescue one downed pilot, and the "business" of war.  

On February 14, 1945, the United States and Royal Air Force military planes dropped 3,900 tons of bombs on the city of Dresden in Germany, and killed over 25,000 civilians.

The United States military dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and killed over 129,000 civilians.  

The United States military killed over 550,000 civilians in North and South Vietnam from bombing, artillery attacks, machine guns, napham, and heavy weapons attacks.

 And, recently, we made a "mistake" about Iraq having any weapons
of mass destruction and for having anything to do with 9/11 in New York.
American military soldiers killed over 120,000 Iraqi noncombatant civilians.  

Heroes?  Artillery men, air bombers and gunners, snipers, infantry men, tank gunners ...

Only crying on Memorial Day.

Yes, the horrors of war and the intense survival necessities of battle for the conscripted soldiers is nearly unfathomable.  

"The worst barbarity of war is that if forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being."
-  Ellen Key, War, Peace, and the Future, 1916

Only crying on Memorial Day.
      Not a "holiday."

Memorial Day:
Sorrow, Guilt, Shame, Revulsion, Loss
Mixed Feelings, Regrets, Sadness
Paradoxes, Dilemmas, Ambiguity

Nevertheless, I, like others, do mourn our dead soldiers.
I cry along with their grieving families.

In Memory of Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Quintana
Semper Fidelis

Monday, May 31, 2021

Relearning the Chen Taijiquan Form

Week 1 - Week 4, May 1 - May 31, 2021

Working on Movements 1 - 6.  These movements are repeated many times in the long version, 74 Movements, of the Chen Taijiquan Lao Jia Yi Lu, First Form.  

My right shoulder and arm are injured, and this interferes a little with Taijiquan practice.  

Reviewing, relearning, renewal of practicing the Chen 18 Taijiquan form of Grandmaster Chen Zenglei.

Chen's Taichi for Health and Wellness.  By Grandmaster Chen Zenglei.  White Bench Publications, Toronto, Canada, 2010, 94 pages.  Warmup exercises, and detailed instructions with some photographs for the Chen 18 Short Form.  Jack Yan is a collaborator.  I like this book quite a bit.  $24.00 in 2/2021. VSCL.  

Chen Taijiquan Short 18 Form of Grandmaster Chen Zenglei.  By Michael P. Garofalo.  Bibliography, links, resources, notes, quotes.  

Chen Style Taijiquan Short 18 Form.  Performance by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.  UTube, color, 3:38 Minutes, 2007. 

The Chen Style Taijiquan for Life Enhancement.  Written by Chen Zhenglei and translated by Xu Hailing.  Zhongzhou Classic Publishing House, Zhengzhou, China, 2002.  Text in English and Chinese.  ISBN: 7534821819.  149 pages.  "Describes the principles of Chen style for life enhancement, basic training, Taiji Skills for Preserving Energy and the 18 Forms of the Chen Style. Many photos of Chen Zhenglei doing Exercises and forms. Chen Zhenglei is one of the top Chen stylists in China. Paperback, 149 pages, 5 1/2' by 8'. -  Wayfarer Publications   "It covers the content of the health exercise silk reeling video, and is a useful reference,  giving more detail, especially on theory."  This is a very expensive out of print book, not worth $150.00.  I purchased back in 2004 for $25.00.  VSCL   

Essence of Traditional Chen Style 18 Posture Short Form.  Instructional DVD by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  Color, 87 Minutes.  Capital District Tai Chi and Kung Fu Association of New York, 1997.  "Cheng Zheng Lei (the 19th generation of the Chen Family) created this form from the old style of Chen first and second routines.  It includes "silk reeling," fa jin (releasing energy), and balance.  This short form is a good introduction for beginners or for those with little Chen style experience."  "A good introductory Chen form that includes silk reeling and fajing movements as well as other characteristics of the Chen first and second routines. Chen Zhenglei, one of today's top Chen stylists, created the form. There is a demonstration of the entire form followed by step-by-step teaching in slow motion with 2-4 views, from the front, back and side. There are front and back demonstrations of each segment (5 to 7 moves each.)  At the end of the teaching there are demonstrations, front and back. There are also excerpts from other Chen forms." - Wayfarer Publications.  CDTKA.  VSCL.  I use a Cboy V-Zon portable DVD player and this DVD works fine because of the way it is organized.     


Chen Style Taijiquan
Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's Short 18 Movements Tai Chi Hand Form, 2001
List of 18 Movements


1.     Beginning Posture of Taiji    (Taiji Chu Shi

2.     Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds the Mortar   (Jin Gang Dao Dui

3.     Lazily Tying One's Coat   (Lan Zha Yi)   

4.     Six Sealing and Four Closing   (Liu Feng Si Bi)    

5.     Single Whip   (Dan Bian)  

6.     White Crane Spreads Its Wings   (Bai E Liang Chi

7.     Walk Diagonally   (Xie Xing)    

8.     Brush Knee   (Lou Xi

9.     Stepping to Both Sides   (Ao Bu)    

10.   Cover Hands and Strike with Fist   (Yan Shou Gong Quan)    

11.   High Pat on the Horse   (Gao Tan Ma)   

12.   Kick with the Left Heel    (Zuo Deng Yi Gen

13.   Jade Maiden Working Her Loom   (Yu Nu Chuan Suo)    

14.   Cloud Hands   (Yun Shou)     

15.   Turn Body with Double Lotus Kick    (Zhuan Shen Shuang Bai Lian

16.   Cannon Fist Over the Head   (Dan Tou Pao)    

17.   Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds the Mortar   (Jin Gang Dao Dui)    

18.   Closing Posture of Taiji   (Taiji Shou Shi)      


List of Movements in Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's Short 18 Form  (1 Page, PDF)  English Only