Zeno’s Circle

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Legend has it that a student once asked Zeno: “Teacher, your knowledge is many times more than ours. The question you answered is correct, but why are you so humble? ”

Zeno drew one small and one big circle on the blackboard and said: “Our knowledge is like a circle. Inside the circle are things you know about, and outside the circle are things you don’t know. The area of the big circle is my knowledge, the area of the small circle is your knowledge, so my knowledge is more than yours.

But outside these two circles are things you and I don’t know. The circumference of the big circle is larger than that of the small circle so that I may have more knowledge, but I also realize that there is still more I do not know. This is why I am humble. ”

Socrates said, “All I know is that I know nothing.”He implies that the more people know, the more they understand their ignorance. Even the largest circles still cannot compare with the blank space outside. The more knowledge they accumulate, the more aware they become. Space is infinite even though the circles are big. So the more knowledgeable people are, the more they know that they do not know enough.

Image result for Zeno of greek
Zeno of Elea is from http://www.massline.org/PhilosDog/Z/Zeno.htm.

 

In another word, a person with a large circle knows a lot but also knows there are still things they don’t know, so they have to be humble. A person with a small circle knows only a little, so they think the whole world is in their hands.

Note:

Zeno of Elea was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Magna Graecia and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. Aristotle called him the inventor of dialectic. He is best known for his paradoxes, which Bertrand Russell has described as “immeasurably subtle and profound.”

Zeno of Elea – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_of_Elea

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 50

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出生入死。生之徒,十有三;死之徒,十有三;人之生,動之死地,十有三。
夫何故?以其生,生之厚。
蓋聞善攝生者,陸行不遇兕虎,入軍不被甲兵;兕無所投其角,虎無所措其爪,兵
無所容其刃。
夫何故?以其無死地。
We go from birth to death.
Three out of ten follow life.
Three out of ten follow death.
People who rush from birth to death
Are also three out of ten.

Why is that so?
Because they want to make too much of life.
I have heard that the one who knows how to live
Can wander through the land
Without encountering the rhinoceros or the tiger.
He passes the battlefield
Without being struck by weapons.
In him, the rhinoceros finds no opening for its horn.
The tiger finds no opening for its claws.
The soldiers find no opening for their blades.

Why is that so?
Death has no place in him.
(Translation by Stefan Stenudd.)

People first born out of the world eventually died and buried on the ground. Three- tenths of those who belong to longevity; three-tenths belong to short-lived people; some could have lived longer, but they made their way to death, also making them three-tenths. Why is this so? Because they overdid everything (such as overcaring, over struggling, over rushing, overindulging…).

There is the remaining one-tenth of people who are good at protecting their lives and who live naturally. It is said they walk on land without encountering vicious rhinos and tigers, and they can not be harmed by weapons during the war. The rhinoceros does not appear to back them into a corner, the tiger is nowhere to claw at them, and the weapons have no space to attack with their blades. Why is this so? Because these people follow nature, appreciate life, and accept death when their time has come.

 

Image result for image of Lao Tzu
Image from Artnet.

 

This content reminds me the story of Lao Tzu and His Friend (an article I posted on my blog before-http://loveneverending.com/lao-tzu-and-his-friend/). Here, his friend commented on him, saying “When it was suitable to come into the world, the Master came at the right time. When it was suitable to depart the world, the Master left naturally. If one can calmly wait for the right moment and go with the natural flow, sadness and joy cannot enter the heart. The ancients would call that being released by the Emperor from hanging upside down.” No wonder the legend says that Lao Tzu lived up to one hundred and sixty years old.

Looking Up

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I’ve been feeling stressed and like nothing is going my way because my job at Home Health Marketing was getting nowhere. I used to have at least 12 patients a month, and now I didn’t even have a quarter of those numbers. Some months, I had no patients at all. I was trying to look for another job, and my friend suggested auditioning as an extra instead of for parts. As an actor, we can go months with no auditions, so I tried to go online to find jobs as an extra, but there was nothing either. I feel like God was testing my patience and my endurance.

No matter where I looked, I felt that I was in a box with nowhere to go. No matter how hard I pushed against the walls or try to break them, they were solid, and I couldn’t move them. I only hurt my hands trying to do so. In the end, I just sat down with tears on my face. I’ve never felt so hopeless or helpless. I wanted to shout, but I didn’t even have the voice for it. I wanted to cry, and I still couldn’t speak, but tears started pouring. I just wanted a job. I didn’t ask for much, so why was it so hard?

These thoughts consumed my energy, like acid dissolving at whatever I was hanging onto. Eventually, I decided to give up. I put my head down for a while. All of a sudden, I saw a light on the ground. I looked up, and sure enough, above me, there was no ceiling. The box was open all along. It looked like someone was coming down with a rope to get me out of there. I felt like I was lifted out of it. With that light, I gained strength.

I decided that I would visit a doctor as part of my job. When I went in, the receptionist told me that she had sent me a patient a few days ago. I didn’t know that because my office hadn’t told me. Suddenly I was filled with energy, and I had a smile on my way out of the doctor’s office. While I was driving, I got a phone call from my acting agent. Her voice was full of excitement. She said that I got a callback. I thought, “That was a miracle, how could I get a callback so fast when I had only auditioned an hour ago?” She said that this was even better – this was for a movie I had submitted a tape for. I was more than excited; I was exuberant. It was so difficult to get callbacks for movie productions because they would try to get the best people from all over the country. I stopped my car and opened my sunroof, looking up at the blue sky. I told myself, “Get out of the box. Stay out of the box.”

Look up, and the box will not constrain you.

As long as I’m outside of it, the walls of the box can’t cave in on me. Yes, I can look up, and I will be lifted there. I will gain my freedom and my hope. I will achieve anything.

As I finished writing this article, all of a sudden I was reminded of a quote from the author of the novel The Moon and Sixpence, explaining the title of his book: “If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don’t look up, and so miss the moon.”

Through the title of the book, the author, W. Somerset Maugham, transforms the words “dream” and “reality” into the image of the moon. Yes, indeed, if we do not look up, we will miss the moon – our dream which may one day be realized.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 49

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聖人無常心,以百姓心為心。
善者,吾善之;不善者,吾亦善之;
德善。信者,吾信之;不信者,吾亦信之;德信。
聖人在天下,歙歙為天下渾其心,百姓皆注其耳目,聖人皆孩之。
The Sage has no decided opinions and feelings,
But regards the people’s opinions and feelings as his own.

The good ones I declare good;
The bad ones I also declare good.
That is the goodness of Virtue.
The honest ones I believe;
The liars I also believe;
That is the faith of Virtue.

The Sage dwells in the world peacefully, harmoniously.
The people of the world are brought into a community of heart,
And the Sage regards them all as his own children.
(Translation by Lin Yutang )

Image result for image of harmony

The image ifs from Gurmeet.Net

 

What should rulers do? Lao Tzu gives a clear idea here. It seems simple, but it is not easy to carry out.

Rulers are leaders with power, and power corrupts them. The more power they possess, the more corrupt they become. The power of the ancient emperors is beyond our imagination. They have the power to kill, extort, and do whatever they want. Finding noncorrupted rulers are rare. As a result, Lao Tzu wrote this article on the vigilance of the power of rulers. Whoever gains the support of the people will prosper, and whoever loses their support will perish.

A Good Deed is Not Hard to Do

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As an Asian, I know that we have a habit of giving cash as a wedding or birthday gift. I am no exception. I prefer to give some money because I do not have time to buy a gift from a shop. I also know that whatever presents I pick may not necessarily be what they like.

I have done the cash as a gift thing for many years now. So for my son-in-law’s birthday, I did the same, of course. Rushing out of freeway, I went in the bank a couple of minutes before closing time. I told the cashier that I needed two brand new one hundred bills as a gift.

I saw him take out two hundred dollar bills and lay them on the table. Suddenly, I heard the noise from the counting machine, and he took out a stack of bills. It was a lot, maybe over hundred of them. I was surprised and worried that he mistakenly thought I withdrew a lot. Softly, I reminded him that all I needed were two, but he just smiled at me and examined this stack of hundred dollar bills. He looked at each, and after a moment I could tell that he was picking the best and newest ones. Finally, he pulled two bills, looking satisfied.

Image result for brand new hundred dollar bill
The image is fromEmpire Rolling Papers.

Standing there, I was amazed by his action. It was just two bills, but he went the extra mile to find me the best ones from the stack. What a warm feeling he gave me. He may never know this, but his attitude has inspired me to do the same for the others. That is, to treat others from the heart and always go an extra mile to help them.

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