- “We see three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and has tasted it. The expression on each man’s face shows his individual reaction Since the painting is allegorical, we are to understand that these are no ordinary vinegar tasters, but are instead representatives of ‘Three Teachings’ of China, and that the vinegar they are sampling represents the Essence of Life. The three masters are K’ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse, author of the oldest existing book of Taoism. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression, but the third man is smiling.” Pg. 2-3.
- “The more force, the more trouble.” Pg.4
- “…Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, leaning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is happiness.” Pg. 5
- “…working in harmony with life’s circumstances Taoist understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive.” Pg. 6
- “…definition of wisdom…” Pg. 9
- “The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed.” Pg. 10
- “P’u is composed of two separate…” pg. 11
- “…’things in their natural state’…” pg. 11
- “…is able to accomplish what he does because he is simpleminded.” Pg. 12
- “…simple-minded does not necessarily mean stupid.” Pg. 12
- “It’s rather significant that the Taoist ideal is that of the still, calm, reflecting ‘mirror-mind’…” pg. 12
- “’How would it be,’ said Pooh slowly, ‘if, as soon as we’re out of sight of this Pit, we try to find it again?’” pg. 13
- “’Well,’ said Pooh, ’we keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we’d be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren’t looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really.’” Pg. 13
- Green star page 14.
- “…Eeyore Attitude gets in the way of things like wisdom and happiness, and pretty much prevents any sort of real Accomplishment in life:…” pg. 16
- “After all, what is it about Pooh that makes him so lovable?” pg. 17
- Green star page 18.
- “Pooh can’t describe the Uncarved Block to us in words; he just is it.” Pg. 19
- “When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun.” Pg. 20
- “‘Pooh hasn’t much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right.’” pg. 21
- “’The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise’” pg. 24
- “He is restricted by his own learning.” Pg. 24
- “…that Taoism, the way of the Whole Man, the True Man, the Spirit Man…” pg. 25
- “Rather than learn from Taoist teachers and from direct experience, he learns intellectually and indirectly from books.” Pg. 25
- “…writing pompous and pretentious papers that no one else can understand, rather than working for the enlightenment of others.” Pg. 26
- “…Knowledge and Experience do not necessarily speak the same language.” Pg. 29
- “Living, growing things are beyond them, it seems.” Pg. 31
- “They provide a lot of information. It’s just that there is Something More, and that Something More is what life is really all about.” Pg. 31
- “As in Rabbit’s case, it has to change its opinions later on because of what it didn’t see when it was forming them.” Pg. 37
- “When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.” Pg. 41
- “There’s nothing wrong with not being able to whistle, especially if you’re a fish. But there can be lots of things wrong with blindly trying to do what you aren’t designed for.” Pg. 43
- “…recognize What’s There. If you face the fact that you have weak muscles, say, then you can do the right things and eventually become strong. But if you ignore What’s There and try to lift someone’s car out of a ditch, what sort of condition will you be in after a while?” pg. 43
- “’One disease, long life; no disease, short life.’ In other words, those who know what’s wrong with them and take care of themselves accordingly will tend to live a lot longer than those who consider themselves perfectly healthy and neglect their weaknesses.” Pg. 48
- “That’s the trouble with Tiggers, you know: they can do everything. Very unhealthy.” Pg. 48
- “We don’t need to play Abstract Philosopher, asking unnecessary questions and coming up with meaningless answers. What we need to do is recognize Inner Nature and work with Things As They Are.” Pg. 50
- “’Things Are As They Are.’”pg. 56
- “No two people are the same, either. Everything has its own Inner Nature.” Pg. 57
- “…because people have Brain, and Brain can be fooled. Inner Nature, when relied on, cannot be fooled.” Pg. 57
- “But, rather than be carried along by circumstances and manipulated by those who can see the weaknesses and behavior tendencies that we ignore, we can work with our own characteristics and be in control of our own lives.” Pg. 57
- “So rather than work against ourselves, all we need to do in many cases is to point our weaknesses or unpleasant tendencies in a different direction than we have been.” Pg. 59
- “The Wise are Who They Are. They work with what they’ve got and do what they can do.” Pg. 64
- “The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.” Pg. 65
- “Wu Wei means ‘without doing, causing, or making.’” Pg. 68
- “…Wu Wei means no going against the nature of things; no clever tampering; no Monkeying Around.” Pg. 68
- Green star pg. 68
- “When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort.” Pg. 69
- “’Toa does not do, but nothing is not done’”. Pg. 70
- “’It means that Tao doesn’t force or interfere with things, but lets them work in their own way, to produce results naturally.’” pg. 70
- “’In Chinese, the principle would be Wei Wu Wei-‘Do Without Doing’.” Pg. 70
- “Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit round holes, but not square holes.” Pg. 75
- “Try doing something with a tense mind. The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard-one that thinks too much.” Pg. 77
- Green star pg. 77
- “You don’t have to try very hard to make them work out; you just let them.” Pg. 78
- “Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least they do when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’…” pg. 80
- “At its highest level, Wu Wei is indefinable and practically invisible, because it has become a reflex action. In the words of Chuang-tse, the mind of Wu Wei ‘flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo.’” Pg. 85
- “Using Wu Wei, you go by circumstances and listen to your own intuition.” Pg. 85
- “It’s only strange when you don’t listen.” Pg. 85
- “…’you need to let your mind flow along and reflect what it sees. Then it can respond with the answer.’” Pg. 88
- Green Star pg. 92
- “In order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to Believe.” Pg. 120
- “We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.” Pgs. 120-121
- “The play-it-safe pessimists of the world never accomplish much of anything, because they don’t look clearly and objectively at situations, they don’t recognize or believe in their own abilities, and they won’t stretch those abilities to overcome even the smallest amount of risk.” Pg. 122
- “…Positive Pooh was looking at the situation, seeing what he could do about it, and trying something:…”pg. 123
- “More often than not, the things we need are there already; all we have to do is make us of them.” Pg. 124
- “…Piglet was Trapped by the Flood…” pg. 124
- “…Tz’u, which can be translated as ‘caring’ or ‘compassion’…” pg. 128
- “Knowledge, yes; cleverness, maybe; wisdom, no. A clever mind is not a heart. Knowledge doesn’t really care. Wisdom does.” Pg. 128
“Research is what we do with one another!”
“listen to people next to us=moving out of the classroom into life or into the library”
William Mangrum, 10 December 2013
Discussion with another student, Lily, at Fort Lewis College
- What do you have to let go in order to read Magolda’s book?
I really enjoyed Bill’s take on the phrase “letting go” and his reference to a poet who said something along the lines of when you hold a written work in your hands you must put something down to hold what the author is putting forth
- What do you bring to the text that changes the text?
Letting go is actually a phrase that is used in Kurt’s story and it comes with the implication of being complete. Magolda states on page 121, “Although he made these changes out of necessity, his ability to do so hinged on his trusting himself enough to let go of control and accept the uncertainty that might ensue.” Magolda also explains that you can not be in control of the situation, but you can control the response to the situation. Being complete can be defined by Kurt on page 115, “We weren’t lacking for anything, weren’t needing affirmation, or needing each other to give us something to complete us.” Are you able to let go of beliefs to explore other peoples’ beliefs without losing yourself? Can you be self aware to create a change and become involved with self discovery. I personally think to really capture the point Magolda is trying to make you have to let go of thinking of the idea, oh well I have these qualities so I don’t have to read the book because I won’t get anything from it. You must set aside emotion and become aware of what it means to you or how it effects you to really understand what Magolda is trying to get across. If you bring religion or even lack of sufficient time to really understand the text, then I think you loose the value it has to offer. It is a conflict between author and reader because their are multiple constraints. I would think Magolda would have had to let go of some of her own personal beliefs to reach her audience. Also in comparison, a reader must be able to let go of their beliefs as well. This act creates a mutual understanding between reader and author.
Applying the concepts in class has me sitting here wanting to succeed in the light of evolving my introduction. One of my favorite books is The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It explains the concept in the title. It is basically a rendition of the characters in the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh compared to Taoism. It is the concept that while all the other characters are consumed by their daily life, Pooh just is. It is enlightening and I love that their is an escape of traditional bustling society to the idea of simplicity. There is this philosophy in both Dawn’s story and Kurt’s story. I think that I want to pursue this because of my interest in the book and that I have the same philosophy. The idea of going with the flow, but in a dynamic manner. There is just so much that controls our lives that it is hard to realize that their is only one opinion that matters and that is your own opinion. The book Authoring Your Life and The Tao of Pooh aren’t prescriptions, but are the enlightening pathway to finding your own way to deal with life with concepts of belief and values. I think that I will continue to annotate the two chapter to find similarities and evaluate the similarities of their philosophies. Now that I have grasped a concept I am really excited to write this research paper!
But the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life.– Benjamin Hoff
Marcia Baxter Magolda is an author who has dedicated their life to the development of student learning. Authoring Your Life is the seventh book that she has published and establish the absence of prescription solution to institutional learning or even life. Magolda has interviewed over 30 students to help not only themselves but others understand the importance of internal voice rather than external circumstances.
I propose to research the idea of self acceptance within Chapters 2 (Dawn’s Story) while making reference to Kurt’s story because of his continual struggle with defining his self worth with his tendency to please others (129). I want to explore the idea that self is only found through the process of making a decision and facing the consequences. Every story within the book deals with self acceptance in some way, but I was drawn to Dawn’s story because her mention of the struggle to find a centered sense of self through Taoism. Taoism is undefinable and the only way to understand it is to find it in your own terms. Her desire for spiritual guidance compared to Kurt’s tendencies lay out two different stories that would argue the point that self acceptance is only accomplished through the process of external influence. In every story an individual is faced with choices and once those choices are made they are one step closer to finding self. No one person has just known their sense of self. An individual comes to be through the peer pressure of life experiences and reflection.
In the book Authoring Your Life by Marcia Baxter Magolda, the author outlines the internal and external conflicts that individuals face in order to reveal their own sense of self-authorship. She used research material that involved college students interviews to create an interpretation of what self authorship entailed. Her interview process continued well into the students’ 30s. Throughout the written work the author references to education, life choices, and the partnerships that have lead them to find self authorship.
In my research project I would like to explore how teaching techniques in elementary schools can help alter the foundational scheme of listening to internal voice. In Magolda’s interview, she speaks of autonomy and the external formulas that effect a child’s assumptions of the choices they want to make. By examining two chapters within the book, Chapter 2:Dawn’s Story” and Chapter 4: Kurt’s Story, I would further apply them to teaching techniques that may enforce a stronger foundation to stabilize a child’s reality of self. In philosophy, the question of reality pertaining to different individuals creates their belief of external formulas. By further comparing the stories with a child’s development and their understanding of reality it could create an understanding of what children need to further create an understanding of internal voice when it comes to future endeavors.
I have come to be fascinated with the idea of choices being a concept that must be explored. In Marcia Baxter Magolda’s book entitled Authoring Your Life each student that becomes an adult must make choices that inflict themselves and their exterior. Yet, is it safe to say that to realize we have a self identity we must fail at trying to mimic what society wants us to be? To see our true reflection of self we must see others to compare ourselves to? Do we have to morph ourselves into a glass jar just to find a way out of it? I think that we give our self choices in order to create a journey that fits our needs. Our lifestyles and realities focus on the depths of being egotistical. I commented on how children have to learn the concept of object permanence, but to further this idea Bill commented that he wanted to say a sarcastic remark about college students, but did not continue. This made me think of college students as avoiding the object permanence of choices. To have something hidden away such as choice you never have to make a decision. I have a mentoring job that involves Native American freshman on campus and it has come to my attention that even with the slightest idea of choice they maintain to avoid it. I ask what time do they want to meet and they reply whenever or you choose, what every works for you. Magolda insists that her book does not provide others prescriptions and in that way it gives readers a chance to decipher the intended purpose. It is about searching for self, not just finding a quick fix to uncovering external influences and committing to internal voice.
I have been pondering my proposal and have been stuck in a rut. I have tried to pull myself out of a ditch remarked as an abyss of neutral thought. I am trying to figure out how to manipulate my idea into fitting with the book, but it seems to me that my audience denies my every move. I am going back through the book and still nothing has stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I want to write something unique and thought provoking. For now all I can do is ponder more with myself. I myself am trying to find my internal voice for this project and I have not received enough input to move on with my idea or abandon it completely. I feel as if the longer I ponder about it the further my ideas seem to disappear beyond a fog of confusion. Authoring Your Life is based on internal voice, yet I feel as if others are trying to push their ideas upon me and I am determined to write about something that was originally my idea. Maybe I am being to controlling. I am open to ideas, but I want evolve everything in my own opinion. I will go back to the drawing board reluctantly, but until then please feel free to help me.
By further looking at multiple stories of individuals in Authoring Your Life, I have come to a brilliant idea that would suit my interest. One of the stories that I grew to connect with was that of Kurt’s. I reviewed the chapter and remembered his recollection of a poem that his parents showed him and then I listened to the YouTube video of an interview of Marcia Baxter-Magolda, that our composition professor, Bill, had to emailed to us. Then, I continued listening to the second part of the interview. (These can be listened to by reviewing the links under Authoring Your Life.) In this moment, I decided to pick a theme pertaining to philosophy. A child defines reality as a concept of self because he or she only knows of themselves, while adults define reality as a concept bombarded by external components. I would like to explore their differing realities through “autonomy” and “external formulas,” that lead so many adults into a realm of rediscovering self.
In the search for a topic or theme to focus on, I thought the limitations of this project were not immensely restricting and that this was merely a test of our own self-authorship. I have pondering the idea of arguing that external components were a societal norm pushed on individuals with no self direction, but then a provoking dilemma caught my eye. This idea was not something original or spontaneously enlightening. Then I thought about something that pertains to the book, but interests me. So then I thought about children’s views compared to those of adults, in which children have no development of external components with intentions of only listening to internal components. I think that is far fetched, but I’ll develop the idea further. Marcia Baxter-Magolda outlines the lives of others to enlighten her readers about finding there own authorship and though I am struggling to fixate on a topic I would like to bring this same perspective to my audience.