yeloson: (Default)
Between reading Chuang-tzu, rereading Lao-tzu, and finally getting back into I-Ching, I've started distilling some useful notes.

"Effortless Action"

Wu-wei/non-action, etc.   First useful note - this is the end goal, mastery.  It is not the starting point of the work, but the end point.   If you have a goal, you must put in effort and work, until you reach the point of mastery where you can do the most with the least - "effortlessness".

Utilize Inherent Nature
Everything has inherent nature - basically, what it naturally inclines towards.   Utilizing the nature of things means you don't have to work using your own energy, you can let nature take it's course.  (note, understanding nature entails observation and science). 

Focus on the essential
"Sages ignore their senses & look to their stomachs" - cut out the superfluous and focus on the part that actually "feeds" you.

Not too much, not too little
Doing too little rots away ability, doing too much uses up too much energy.  Do such that you still have some (energy) left over, so you can build a reserve.

Develop skillfulness
Skillfulness is doing more with less effort, mastering subtlety, efficiency. 

Non-contest, what is easy with what is easy
There's a story about a butcher who carves perfectly and never wears out his knives because he never "chops" the meat, he finds the spaces between the meat and tendon and separates what is already easy to separate.  He's not contesting with the meat, he does what is easy, and then when he comes to a difficult place, he slows down to find the easiest path through the complicated section.

Together, these 5 things produce the ability to create the necessary effects with the minimal amount of energy or work - "non-action" as the ultimate example.
yeloson: (Default)
So, aside from several of my friends working on this game, it's going to be a social game about historical China, and women, being awesome.

Matriarchy Kickstarter

Please support and signal boost!
yeloson: (pic#459019)
The things you come across when looking up martial arts stuff on Youtube:



I love how you can see dude is kicking with pain throughout that whole sequence.
yeloson: (Default)
Finally got to watch the copy a homey hooked me up with (took a few months to get my DVD drive working again... long story).

Was it entertaining? Yes. Was it epic? Yes. Still, I think there were some scenes that could have done with less of (10 minutes of burning ships? I get the point already) and some scenes I wanted to see more of (badass women soldiers? Training scenes? Hell yeah). The fighting was pretty brutal, though, at a point, repetitious (and this is me, I like good fight scenes).

It seems more like it's intended as a "movie experience" than a story. Which is... kinda, eh, given what I've seen John Woo do in normal 90-120 minute movies. Still, it didn't feel bad for a 4 hour movie. I liked how the story didn't actually focus on Liu Bei, which is pretty typical for Romance of the 3 Kingdoms retellings.

The CG and few over-the-top stunts didn't fit too well for me. I feel like they should have gone with less high-tech stunts for a lot of stuff so they could pour more effort into the ones they did use. Stunt-wise, because so much of it appeared gritty, the few uberstunts didn't fit the mood they had. It's like if it got notched a little more realistic OR a little more wuxia I could have accepted it.

Still, a fun watch, and makes me excited to go back and read Ro3K stuff some more.

Toisan

Feb. 18th, 2010 08:30 am
yeloson: (southside)
A neat photo essay on Toisan. Though the pictures are cool, I wish there was more writing about them.

For instance, the fortified housing towers in the 9th picture? An evolution of the classic village watchtower to protect against bandits and warlords. As one of the poorer regions, Toisan villages were often left to their own in dealing with the anarchy of the times, and so, had to set up their own means of protection.

The emigrants sent back a lot of money to build schools, factories, and even a railroad. When the cultural revolution hit, a lot of these things were destroyed or dismantled and the people who built them painted as petty-boogie oppressors. So much for reunited the worker with the fruits of their labor.

I hope some linguists are doing studies in Toisanese - I heard that it has words that actually have found no translation in Cantonese or Mandarin, which would be pretty interesting to check out. Aside from Toisan, it's a scattered language, across the globe, spoken mostly by older folks in Chinatowns well pushed out by Cantonese, and now, Mandarin.
yeloson: (Default)
What is the I-Ching?

It's an ancient Chinese book written down based on an old system of divination/fortunetelling. It's often translated as "The Book of Changes" and is one of the major texts which shaped many of the practices under the umbrella of Taoism.

Aside from the fortunetelling aspect, it's filled with philosophy and metaphysics, though the part I'm most interested in is that it also has tons of analysis on human relations, power dynamics, and common situations and methods of working with them.

Most of the modern translations you will find in Western countries will either deal with just the fortunetelling aspect (usually in the new age, astrology, feng shui section) or else in a science section, since the divination method is based on possibly the earliest known form of binary number systems.

Yin and Yang is not what you think )

Lines & Four Phases )

Trigrams, Heaven, Humanity, Earth )

So, then the I-Ching takes it further, and puts on a 3rd line, so you have stuff likn, Yang, Yang, Yin as a "trigram". At this point, you have 3 lines, each being either in a Yang or Yin state.

Here's where things get interesting.

The bottom line represents Earth. Concrete conditions. Limitations of the situation. The middle line represents Humanity - relationships, the social structure, morale, psychology - the human element. The top line represents Heaven- fate, luck, morality, spirituality.

Together, the different combinations are named after elemental concepts- "Thunder", "Lake", "Fire", "Wind" etc. and each represents a full concept of a situation.

So for example: Thunder is Yang, Yin, Yin. It's considered to be a place of sudden change. The bottom line is yang, which means two things - that yang/active energy is just entering the situation (traveling upwards) and that the earthly conditions are changing in a way that will redefined both the human relations and the wisdom/morality systems. Or, you could say that neither will be able to do anything to stop the change in concrete conditions- an earthquake for example.

The opposite, Wind, is Yin, Yang, Yang. Here, the Yin (flexible) element is just entering itno concrete conditions, and both the human element and the moral element are aligned in being active- this gives us Wind- gentle change.

All the 8 trigrams can be understood through this kind of thinking, and actually is the beginning of being able to do more than simply repeat the correlations in books, but rather decode the images and philosophy on it's own terms.

Hexagrams and where we get REALLY COMPLICATED )
Anyway, I'm hoping the local taoist group that did the presentation on Saturday does more classes in English so I an get more from it all.

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