Learning or Knowing, Which Came First?

"Folks who find the Taoist perspective appealing are probably few and far between..."

I read this in the "About Us" section of this site and found it to be kind of an intriguing statement. I am new to this site; so first of all, I'd like to say "hello!" :D

I've been curious about/trying to study the concepts of Tao since I first read about it in mid-high school (I am 21 now). More recently, over the past several months, my interest in Taoist philosophy has re-emerged. I'm not totally sure why, and may not know for a long time why I feel so close to this way of thinking. I've always known that Taoism is neither extremely popular, nor extremely unpopular... but reading that sentence made me wonder why I do find Taoism appealing...

So, I suppose my question (for anyone who is interested) is: What got you into studying Tao?

:yy: ziggysunshinedust


  • edited December 1969
    Or, which comes first, the chicken of learning, or the egg of knowing? Alas, observation has finally led me to suppose that we actually learn only that which we already know. :? Huh? Does that sound ridiculous, or what? After all, what is education about if not to teach us what we don't yet know. Think of it this way, [chref=10]knowing[/chref] is the foundation upon which [chref=64]learning[/chref] rests. Institutional education is largely wishful thinking on our part. Society force feeds information in the belief that the mind is a [chref=11]vessel[/chref] which can be filled with facts and there upon know. (Of course, school is also a convenient place to house children until they are old enough to join the work force, and to babysit them while their parents are at work.)

    The old saying 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink' applies to education across-the-board. Learning only occurs when the mind is thirsty. Educators, not having a viable bureaucratic method of instilling 'thirst' in us, only give this obvious fact lip service -- at best. Hello? Anybody home? Our tendency to overlook the conspicuous, and futilely press on is awesome. No-thing happens unless we are first 'thirsty', and that brings me back to knowing.

    Knowing is a curious mind asking questions, rather than a 'believing' mind stock piling answers. Questions pull us deep into the mystery. Answers - 'facts' - soon shut the door on [chref=1]the gateway of the manifold secrets[/chref]. Certainly, facts are useful and important, but not at the expense of [chref=32]the uncarved block[/chref]! Institutional education often closes the mind's eye to the larger view - curiosity of the unknown and unknowable. Those [chref=81]who know[/chref] are those who recover from brain washing education (both secular and otherwise). :shock:... Okay, maybe that's hyperbole, but only partly.

    While emphasizing curiosity of the unknowable may sound like a far out view, the practical side of this is very real. Those who ostensibly 'know', the [chref=3]clever[/chref] among us, are the most [chref=16]ignorant[/chref] for they [chref=71]think that they know[/chref]. They? Who are they? They are us! That's right! The emperor is wearing no clothes. We are so consumed with the 'status' of our own needs and fears 'we can't see the forest for the trees', to use another wonderful bit of folk wisdom. The [chref=65]hoodwink[/chref] works!

    Hmm, that sounds a bit negative. Although, on the plus side this is not something that needs changing. Indeed, [chref=29]whoever takes the empire and wishes to do anything to it I see will have no respite. The empire is a sacred vessel and nothing should be done to it. Whoever lays hold of it will ruin it; whoever lays hold of it will lose it.[/chref] Knowing that helps us [chref=21]follow the way and the way only[/chref].... [chref=65]Only then is complete conformity realized[/chref].

    So,... if we knew better, we would do better. If we knew better we would learn better. Can't we teach others? Ha! It is all I can do to [chref=2]practice the teaching that uses no words[/chref] myself, let alone attempting to teach others. Aren't I attempting to teach others through my writings on this site? No! Actually, only those who already 'see what I see' will know what I am attempting to say.

    So why?...
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