Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 28, 2011

Tuesday, 26th April – Wednesday 27th April 2011 – days roll along, and philosophy not my ‘forte’!

Yes, the days have rolled along, and indeed got away from your personal essayist.  Tuesday was a relaxing day at home for this writer  – a short walk at one stage, and a drive for some shopping in the early evening, but for the most, simply an opportunity to catch up on tasks  at home, and prepare for that evening’s radio show  – usually go on air straight from the drive from work, and the city, but none of that on this ‘extra’ public holiday. Susie, who had gone through a weekend of good and bad days, returned up to Bendigo tonight – I was not keen on her doing the drive after dark, but her response was that she prefers to drive at night! Perhaps I felt the same way when I was her age, can’t remember now!  Anyway, she knows her Dad  –  I was just about to finish the radio show just before 8pm, when a brief text message came through –  ‘No need to stress, in Bendigo’

As a part of my ‘temporary’ subscription to the Folio Magazine, I receive a copy of their quarterly magazine, which usually contains previews of new book releases. Pity I can’t get this on a regular basis, as some of the articles are quite good.  There was one of this occasion that was talking about the meanings behind Lao Tzu’s famous work of Chinese philosophy called the ‘Tao Te Ching’ [translated by Arthur Waley as ‘The Way and it’s Power’].    Lao Tzu was apparently the founder of the main rival tradition around  the sixth century BC  to the philosophies of  Confucius.  The writer of the article tells us that modern scholarship has helped us to realise that the stories of Lao Tze have little basis in fact, yet they provide testimony to a rivalry between two major  intellectual  traditions – the Taoists and the Confucians., a rivalry which has been now dated to the mid third century BC. I was hoping that by reading this brief article, I might be able to gain a bit of understanding of those traditions –  it might have been  preferable if I’d just left it before proceeding, beyond the paragraph that stated “Completely beyond the comprehension of human beings who rely exclusively on dualistic, rational knowledge, it can only be comprehended by those adepts who follow a practice of apophatic inner cultivation…..or ‘Taoist yoga” That should have been enough for me, but I tried to read on, but had to agree that after a few quoted verses etc, I was none the wiser – beyond my limited rational comprehension, as warned…………………..let’s go straight to the ‘summary’ by H D Roth.  “To sum up, the compelling advice found in the Tao Te Ching has served as an ideal of cosmic wholeness and self-contextualisation, of withdrawal  from society and of laissez-faire rulership for more than two millennia”.   That makes so much sense!!!  Here’s one example of the teachings of ‘The Way’

From Tao Te Ching, XLVIII

‘Ridding oneself of desires is only one of a number of meditative techniques through which we may directly apprehend the Way in a non-dualistic fashion. The text also advocates limiting thought, feeling and perception to order apophatically to approach the Way:

Learning consists in adding to one’s stock day by day;/  The practice of Tao consists in ‘subtracting day by day,/  Subtracting and yet again subtracting/  Till one has reached inactivity,/  But by this very inactivity/  Everything can be activated’

Perhaps in past days, I might have persevered with this subject, and tried to get some element of understanding, or more realistically, and appreciation of the value of such ‘ideas’ as above!   In my 65th year, I’m not sure that I really want to be bothered appreciating such ‘wisdom’ let alone understand it!!

Wednesday was not a very ‘happy’ day – early morning call from Shirley to advise that Susie [who seemed a little happier when she left last night] was in fact so low this morning, that she accepted the offer of Jodie or Shirley driving up to see her – she’d been unable to attend to her university commitments/placements, and was obviously quite depressed. Anyway, Shirley was going up to see her this afternoon after she finished her roster. And Dad was left to ‘worry’ for the rest of the day. Not surprisingly,   the work place wasn’t very attractive today.  Got back to Sunbury, wondering if I would find Susie had returned, as from the conversation this morning, seemed to be the probable option.  Not there! I decided to get some fresh air and exercise, with an early evening walk –  and it was quite ‘fresh’, becoming both cooler and darker halfway along my journey!  Ran into Brendan Bull [our plumber for most of our time in Sunbury] and his little dog, out for a walk,  at a slightly slower pace and less distance than my efforts tonight.. We chatted briefly – was good to see him up and about, as a few years ago, he had a bad period with prostrate cancer – as he said, ‘still walking and working’!  Ditto!!

Later, was cooking myself  a meal, when Susan and Shirley arrived, in their separate cars.  The latter didn’t stay, while Susie had given up university [hopefully just for the rest of this week – told me she would be going back up next week]. I didn’t press her for too much detail – obviously finds it easier to talk to her mother or sister about current problem. Dad is just here whenever needed!  Anyway, not around long tonight, going over to stay with a friend [in Watergardens  – more night driving!] – tried to persuade her to eat something, but line with her mood over past few weeks, didn’t feel like eating. I would be surprised if she has eaten much at all today!  Not sure if she would be back tonight – to ease my concern,  asked her to let me know if she decided not to return home tonight. Yes, but it might be late!  No problems, as far as I was concerned.  It was late –  in fact, at 1.10am, Susie’s message came through, although for a change, I had managed some sleep beforehand  –  ‘Hey Dad, staying here, sorry for late notice’  [wherever ‘here’ was!!].

On TV tonight, another episode of the great SBS Australian police series ‘East West 101’  –  one review of the current series describes it in this manner:- “A 6-part mini series about the investigations of the Major Crime Squad in Metropolitan Sydney. Zane Malik at 32 is a brilliant detective whose ability to connect with people helps him solve crimes. Ambitious and driven, he has confidence, strength and intelligence. Malik is an Arab and proud of it, a devout Muslim who clashes with his immediate superior, Detective Sergeant Ray Crowley. Both men are haunted by their past failures and the damage inflicted on loved ones. Ironically, they can only overcome the past with help from each other.”.  I enjoy it particularly because of the inter-race relationships, conflicts, and potential  solutions, and because it appears to provide a realistic approach [perhaps over the top at times]  of the involvement of racial tensions in the Australian criminal areas, and the manner in which innocent people on both sides are so easily drawn into situations simply because of their backgrounds,  It was last Wednesday, that saw the  return of this multi-award winning series which this time,  explores the fallout from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through a series of violent crimes committed in Australia. What happened during the war in the opium fields of the Chora Valley in Afghanistan, and the collateral damage to civilians in Tikrit in northern Iraq, comes home to the main streets and malls of Lakemba. The sophisticated robbery of an armoured guard van leaves four dead, including some of the robbers themselves. Meanwhile Malik clashes with new detective on the squad, a former army officer, Neil Travis, in his impassioned pursuit of those who have hurt him and his family.  I generally don’t like watching ‘crime based’ TV shows, but this one I find is different, and despite the over-indulgence of violence, etc, it is a series I make a point of watching.

Don Hany and Susie Porter



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