Archive for Tao

Private Parts

Posted in Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by javedbabar

“Hello Sami, its Alfred from AMP Co. How are you doing over there?”

“What a nice surprise,” said Sami. He said it to be polite, but it wasn’t really. He hadn’t seen or heard from Alfred for three months, ever since the government had declared his 3D printing lab a National Strategic Asset, banned him from opening to the public, and made him a government employee. At the same time, they had repurposed his casual assistant, Sami, to the Transfer Station to run the 3D Unit there, deemed an acceptable public interface for the new technology.

Sami said, “I am doing some good work here. Maybe not pushing the boundaries of science like you are, but I am playing my part in helping humanity. It’s open…”

“Did you say part?”

“Yes, I said part. Why?”

“I need help with a project. Can you come over?”

Last time Sami tried to visit Alfred, he had refused to let him in, and an immediate text had come through, repurposing Sami. He said, “Isn’t your work secret now? I don’t want to get into trouble again.” The Authority knew everything, always adding information to your files. He didn’t want to become a repeat offender. He had heard what happened to them.

“It is secret, but I’ve checked with The Authority. They say you can help me.”

Sami was busy today at the 3D Unit. He had a range of appointments booked to prototype products, print components, and create unusual gifts. His rag picker assistant, Jamz, was still at school, so he couldn’t just leave.

“Look ear!” said Alfred. “You are allowed to be nosy, as long as you don’t mouth off about it. Just come and see, and then give me a hand.”

What is he talking about? Sami wondered. Some kind of private joke? Alfred really is a strange guy.

Sami went over later. Alfred opened the door immediately when Sami arrived. He must have seen him on CCTV. “Come in, come in, my friend.”

Sami saw a selection of artificial body parts scattered around the lab. He understood the puns now. They were pretty tasteless, considering.

Alfred watched his face. “Sorry about that, I was being subliminal.”

A shaven-headed oriental man stepped out of a doorway. Alfred said, “Meet Yojin. I am afraid he doesn’t speak English. He has come here from China after suffering a serious kung fu accident.”

Sami wondered about the “serious kung fu accident.” Guru Baba had once told him about kung fu’s relationship to the power called Tao. It bends like a reed, rather than being stiff like an oak, and has the fluidity of water, the most powerful element, wearing away even stone. Maybe Yojin needed to improve his alignment.

“He was more of a hustler than a fighter. One day he offended a real kung fu master, who removed half his face. He said that was appropriate punishment for half a man. But can you tell that? Take a look. You can’t!”

It was true. Yojin didn’t look at all disfigured. Sami asked, “Has he had plastic surgery?”

Alfred looked very pleased, and said, “Yojin!”

Yojin removed half his face, beneath which was a mass of horrific congealed tissue. His nose, left cheek, left eye, left ear and half his scalp came away with the mask. He stood erect, bravely, still lacking fluidity.

Alfred said, “I scanned him yesterday, did processing overnight, and printed off the replacement tissue using a dollar’s worth of materials this morning. This is the future of cosmetic surgery. What do you think?”

Sami wondered if Yojin was now more himself, or less himself. He looked different on the outside, but had his interior also changed?

Tao Te Ching

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by javedbabar

“This is ridiculous,” said Danny. “Can you please make up your mind which comes first, Tao Ching or Te Ching?”

“Well, that is what we are discussing,” said Sophie. “It could be either.”

“Isn’t the name of the work Tao Te Ching? It has eighty-one chapters in a particular order, so why don’t we stick with that?”

The rest of the production crew looked at each other in general agreement, but also at Danny, annoyed. He didn’t know how to endear himself to people. Sophie was much better at that.

She said, “Because there is a school of thought that the first thirty seven chapters, Tao Ching, and the next forty four chapters, Te Ching, were reversed in the original text. The original may work better for dramatic purposes. I want to hear everyone’s thoughts on this before scheduling the show.”

Tao Te Ching had been an unpopular choice from the beginning. It lacked the narrative structure of previous productions such as Osiris, Beowulf or Gilgamesh. It was a mystical work full of contradictions.

Sophie envisioned the show as an experiential rather than narrative production, and had in truth, forced it upon them. The QARY project was her baby. It was she who had initiated the conversion of the old quarry into a venue for multimedia productions. She would call the shots.

Danny persisted in being difficult. He said, “Look, it’s easy to do. I know how to do it. We are trying to create the essential, unfathomable process of the universe. Something dreamy and mysterious, strange and illuminating. It’s the feeling you get when you’re stoned. All we have to do is re-create that.”

The production crew sniggered and ribbed each other. Sophie wanted to smile but kept a straight face. “Thank you for that, Danny. Why don’t you bring a joint for everyone to the next meeting? One, two, three…ten, eleven, twelve. That’s twelve joints, okay?”

Danny said, “Okay,” weakly, and Sophie forgot all about it.

At the next meeting, Danny looked pleased with himself. He opened a golden silk pouch embroidered with a dragon, and produced twelve joints. Everyone cheered.

Sophie had given up smoking four years ago but still indulged in herbs. Once everyone had a joint in hand, she said, “First I will recap, and then let’s brainstorm.”

She reminded them that Tao Te Ching is filled with short deliberate statements and intentional contradictions. Memorable phrases are delivered, and readers forced to create their own reconciliations of the supposed contradictions.

Poets, painters, warriors and gardeners had used it as a source of inspiration for millennia. It had political advice for kings, and practical wisdom for regular people. It had a long textual history and a limitless variety of interpretations. What could the production team glean from the work? They examined a few phrases together.

“The Tao that can be told, is not the Eternal Tao.”

“Darkness within darkness, the gateway to all understanding.”

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.”

“The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Danny. “I am not doing this production.”

Sophie smiled and said, “You have a choice to make Danny. There is doing by doing, which is effective work; there is doing by not doing, which means avoiding mistakes; there is not doing by doing, which means correcting errors. There is also not doing by not doing, which is unemployment. Which do you prefer?”