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Notes on video lecture:
The Concept of Reversion
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
dukkha, paradoxical, extreme, metaphor, craving, edge, prominent, time, strategy, observed, sad, society, nothing, Heaven, paradoxical, virtue, depressed, back, Daodejing, dyads, Zhou, impermanence, opposites, pessimistic, tense, conscious, positive, ironic, weakness
the concept of reversion, or turning         
from the Daodejing
4th century BC
chapter 9
"To hold the vessel upright in order to fill it is not as good as to stop in         ."
"If you make your blade too keen, it will not hold its         ."
"When gold and jade fill the hall, none hold on to them."
"To be haughty when wealth and honor come your way is to bring disaster upon yourself."
"To withdraw when the work is done is the Way of             ."
tilting vessel
the vessel was for wine in the          dynasty
had a round base
self-emptying: if you poured water in it to the top, it would tip over and empty itself out
being used as a                 
anything taken too far is going to lead to the oppose
don't follow something too far
reversion, or turning back
anything taken too far turns into its opposite
presented in the                    as a metaphysical principle of the universe
chapter 40
"Turning back is how the Way moves. Weakness is how the Way operates. The world and all its creatures arise from what is there. What is there arises from what is not there."
concept of something comes out of                and then turns back to nothing again
a metaphysical cycle of the universe
the prototypical                   
dark/light, male/female
when the colors reach their ultimate level, they have their opposite in them
the seed of the other is in the original
high turns into low, low turns into high
the pictorial representation of the principle of reversion
anything that reaches its               , turns into its opposite
it's odd that this symbol is viewed today as a positive symbol of spirituality
it's painted on surfboards and people get it tattooed to their butt
it's not a                  concept for the authors of the Daodejing
this cycle of reversion is bad
it's something we want to get out of
similar to Buddhist concept
trapped in a cycle of                and we don't get what we want
therefore we experience             
suffering and                         
nothing lasts
strength does not remain strength, it always turns into weakness
symbolizes human being chasing supposedly positive values but never getting them because as soon as they get them they turn into the opposite
it's a very negative,                        view of life
if you pursue happiness, you will become       
if you pursue strength, you will become weak
what we need to do is stop pursuing
the              effects of effort
pursuing something is something the worst                 
actively pursuing some goal can often lead to the opposite effect
the effects of where                    effect causes you to get the opposite of what you want
e.g. if someone tells you to not think of a white bear, you immediately think of a white bear
trying to be happy can make you                   
trying to be relaxed can make you           
trying to suppress a thought usually makes the thought more                   
in studies, telling people when they put that, no matter what they do, don't overshoot the hole, will overshoot the hole more often
hold a pendulum but don't move it along a certain axis, this is often what they ended up doing
Viktor Frankl
                       intention therapy
for patients who can't fall asleep, an effective therapy is to try to stay awake
the Daodejing has this insight
the conscious pursuit of a particular goal is the worse way to reach that goal
especially things that you have to experience spontaneously
consciously trying to pursue them can actually prevent you from attaining them
if you are pursuing some moral              as a conscious goal, you are often going to end up with the vice
escaping this cycle
aim for the thing we don't want
people tend to want strength instead of weakness
Laozi: The Way goals are the lower part of these dichotomies, e.g.                 
if you observe the Dao, it's dark, you can't seem to see it
it's weak, it doesn't see to have any power
the Dao takes no credit
you don't see the Dao
and yet everything follows the Dao
it's a ruler that runs the universe but can't be observed
the upper part of the            is what people want, these are what humans value: male, light, strong, hard
the Dao is dark, weak, invisible, but it's how you get things done
everything follows the Dao
a principle that runs the universe but can't be                 
we should value weakness, darkness, the lower part of the dyads
the                        aspect is that if you embrace the lower part of the dyad, you end up getting both
embrace weakness means embrace the thing that                views as weakness

Spelling Corrections:


Ideas and Concepts:

The modern meaning of the Daodejing's concept of yin-yang, via this morning's Ancient Chinese Philosophy class:

"While many people understand the symbol of yin-yang to mean that contrary forces are complementary, a careful study of the Daodejing reveals a more cautionary message contained in this symbol, one best described by the modern psychological concept called the ironic effects of effort.

The gist of what the concept of yin-yang communicates is that when you pursue something in life, the seed of the opposite of what you are pursuing is contained in your pursuit.

For instance, trying to be happy can make you depressed, trying to be relaxed can make you tense, trying to fall in love can make you unattractive, trying to be liked can make you unlikable, and trying to suppress a thought almost always leads to that thought being more prominent.

When you see the yin-yang symbol, remember, especially those things in life which need to be experienced spontaneously such as happiness, love, and friendship, the conscious pursuit of a particular goal is often the worse way to achieve that goal."
How to reconcile our language with our commitment to de facto human rights, a reflection on the metaphors we use, via this morning's Ancient Chinese Philosophy class:

"While the processor was describing Laozi's philosophy of the Dao, he showed a slide of common linguistic dyads that not only the ancient Chinese culture had as core diametrically opposed concepts with which they understood and valued their world, but which I think is common to all human societies, or as the professor put it, 'Common dyads are male/female, light/dark, strong/weak, hard/soft, where the upper part of the dyad is what people want, these are what humans value:male, light, strong, hard.'

The unspoken converse of this statement is that what is less desirable and less valued are what is at the bottom of each dyad, e.g. female, dark, weak, soft.

And if we examine the metaphors that we use in our language and the paradigms that we share as a culture, these are strewn with these concepts which reiterate and confirm, consciously and subconsciously, that things that are male, bright, strong, and hard are good, whereas things that are female, dark, weak, and soft are less good.

If you are brave, you have balls. If you know where you are going, you are on a bright path. If you want to face a challenge, you must be strong. And if you are to teach your children proper ethics, you must be hard.

These metaphors and paradigms may not have been so much of a problem or conflict in our thinking throughout human history until the mid 20th century when humans began to adopt and take seriously the idea the all people are equal, regardless of whether they are male or female, or how bright or dark their skin color is.

And now that most educated and cultivated people will admit when asked explicitly, that males and females indeed enjoy equal rights in our societies and therefore should be treated equally in all ways, and that a person with dark skin enjoys the same rights in our societies and should be treated equally in all ways as people with bright skin, what are we to do with our language which so often and in so many subtle ways, communicates the opposite?"
The Definition of Religion
Mind/Body Dualism and Cognitive Control
Deontology, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Ethics
Wu-Wei, Dao, Tien and De
The Shang Dynasty (1554-1045 BC)
The Beginnings of Written Chinese History
Eastern Holistic Thinking and the Paradox of Virtue
The Golden Age of the Western Zhou (1046–771 BCE)
Philosophical and Conceptual Innovations in Zhou Thought
Confucius and the Analects
Confucius: I Transmit, I Do Not Innovate
Confucius' Use of Ritual as a Tool
Confucius' View on Learning vs. The Enlightenment
Confucius and Holistic Education
Confucius and the Art of Self-Cultivation
At Home in Virtue
Non-Coercive Comportment, Virtue, and Charisma of the Zhou
The Transition to Becoming Sincere
The Primitivists in the Analects
Laozi and the Daodejing
Laozi: Stop the Journey and Return Home
Laozi and The Desires of the Eye
Laozi: He Who Speaks Does Not Know
The Concept of Reversion
Laozi on Shutting Down the Prefrontal Cortex
The Guodian Laozi
Mozi and Materialist State Consequentialism
Mozi's Idea of Ideological Unity
Mozi's Doctrine of Impartial Caring
Mozi's Anti-Confucian Chapters
Mozi's Religious Fundamentalism and Organized Activism
The Language Crisis in the Warring States Period
Yang Zhu and Mid-Warring States' Focus on the Body
The Guodian School of Confucianism
Qi and Self-Cultivation