Monday, April 23, 2007

A Good Read

Carly sent me this link to an excerpt from Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, the new book by Lee Iacocca--a hard-headed businessman's look at the current administration and the state of the nation. From what I read here, and what I saw in a TV interview last night, it's a dose of sanity in a world where it's much needed. A foretaste:

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

Take a look...


carly said...

P: Funny you should make that observation about happiness increasing with enlightenment. I was talking with a younger person recently who is subject to moods, perhaps even at the mercy of them. Sadness to anxiety to feeling good, and back down again to depression. It made me realize how impervious I have been to mood swings in recent years. I'm still subject to mild depression when I am tired and the news or work becomes weary. But nothing like the swings when I was young.

And then I realized my resistance to all that is because now I have a lot more clarity about how life works. I have a system of thought in place of the faith so many rely on. Faith can be shattered, but clarity on the interrelationships of life cannot. Seeing things for what they are, I think, is much more powerful than seeing things through superstitious explanations. Clarity is a bulwark, a rock much moreso than beliefs such as the "Lord is my shepherd (I hope)!".

Now when I hear people say, we have no control over life, or that life is completely beyond our control, I think, 'bull". The system of decifering the world and what to do about it given to me in texts by Lao Tzu changed all that. It pulled together all the loose ends of understanding and moody intuitions about what is wrong out there and what to do about it.

Lao Tzu had a few things to say about being at the mercy of moods (that phrase is actually in the translation from Chinese), which I used. Then he went on to say, "true happiness is being in harmony with what is right." And there is a way to determine what is right. wow. So utterly simple. So utterly plain. So obviously real.

PeterAtLarge said...

Carly, I, too, have noticed that I'm much more even in my moods in recent years. In part, I'm sure, it's the meditation practice. But in part, also, age--and with age, yes, a kind of wisdom. Perhaps the wisdom of increasingly understanding how little I actually know!

Anonymous said...

I believe Lee Iacocca is coming to the UCLA book festival this next weekend,
is it too pathetic to add it's probably sold out?

carly said...

P; I don't think it's how LITTLE you know. I think it's how much more you know than ever before. I've known younger people who are very grounded and even-keeled. They were always wise and older for their age in understanding things. Whereas, the moody ones, like myself, had only the potential for depth, but it was undeveloped still.

With understanding comes the ability to see the tumult in the world as part of a grand design. It's awesome, to use a colloquialism. With that depth, the terrors glance off. And the world becomes a giant idea in the sense of seeing the tranquillity as well. I had the propensity for this state of mind and that's why I responded to Lao Tzu as a teacher. There's a depth to life that most young people are too busy to learn, because they are taking part in society with all it's tumultuous distractions.

We know age affects us in the sense of facing death. I remember when Vonnegut wrote at mid-age, that he felt like he reached the top of a hill and was now beginning to go down the other side. I wonder what he felt as he came closer to the bottom of the other side. It must be peace. And that must be incredibly deep.

carly said...

sorry. Vonnegut wrote he had reached the top of a ROOf. Much funnier.

carly said...

this on the Chinese Government's official website news. It's the opposite of Bush and American views. It's actually incredible.
Monday, April 23, 2007

China's high-ranking officials have called for adopting the wisdom of ancient Taoism to build a harmonious society.

Tao Te Ching, or the Classic of the Way and Virtue, was written by Lao Zi about 2,500 years ago, around the time when Buddha was expounding the Dharma in India and Pythagoras was teaching in Greece.

"It is not only a precious gem in the treasure house of Chinese culture but a common spiritual wealth of the mankind," said China's senior official Jia Qinglin at a congratulatory message to the International Forum on Tao Te Ching, which started Sunday in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

The principle of being modest and peaceful in the book would provide an inspiring reference to China's ongoing construction of a harmonious society, said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Tao Te Ching has influenced the Chinese people generation after generation, as well as people of different countries, races, nationalities and languages, he added.

"Today, in the 21st century, the ancient concepts and views of Tao Te Ching still have important values," said Liu Yandong, vice chairwoman of the CPPCC National Committee.

As one of the important classics of Chinese traditional culture, Tao Te Ching manifests a great profundity of thought contained in pithy remarks.

The book, consisting of only 5,000 characters, is a reflection of the lofty aspiration of the Chinese nation for amiability, happiness and harmony, said Liu.

The forum, jointly sponsored by Chinese Taoism Association and China Religious Culture Communication Association, will be held from April 22 to 27 in Xi'an and Hong Kong.

Involving 300 delegates from 17 countries and regions, it has been the first international forum of its kind that China has organized for the last 50 years.