What a brilliant post, I was coming to the end of a terrible (New Years) day with my 2 year old son being very ill in and out of hospital, feeling tired and ill myself and bickering with my wife, and reading this has made me feel much more positive about life and poker- thanks for sharing your thoughts
yeah, nice post....the best thing about imho it is that you mention a clear difference between what really makes people happy (improving their lives) and the antisocial in poker, trying to extract the most value (money)out of your opponents.
That is a capitalistic attitude and it is destroying society like all kind of gambling, because it is only redistributing money without creating any value for a society.
It might be different if you are sitting with friends at home playing for little money and recreational fun.
i do not like the attitude to compare poker with live in general. a game is always too limited for all the opportunities you have in real live.
if you are really interested in philosophy read the book of a thinker who interests you, but not any kind of a poker book.
For many years, I would not consider myself to be any religion, other than maybe agnostic. However, after reading and listening to the Tao Te Ching many times, I now consider myself a Taoist. I would estimate I have listened to the Jody Whitely youtube reading in the last post (which is my favorite translation and imo wonderfully narrated) somewhere over 200 times in the last two years. I've found it is the perfect complement to playing poker or hiking in nature, and also that constant reminding of invaluable lessons is a positive thing.
I suppose I can't fault anyone for listening to the video and thinking something like "wtf is this ancient Eastern gibberish read by this random hippie chick" because I might have thought something similar at other points of my life. But in my opinion, the Tao is the greatest writing humanity has produced, and is magnificently beautiful in terms of prose/poetry and literary merit, from a practical "advice to be the best person you can be" truth and wisdom standpoint, and from a profound, nature of our existence perspective.
Last edited by crashwhips; 07-06-2014 at 11:16 AM.
I've written down sections of the Tao I feel are most wise and helpful. I've bolded the excerpts that are my favorites. If anyone has any questions about what I think any of the below means, or of any of the rest of the Tao for that matter, feel free to ask my opinion. I feel like I have a fairly solid understanding of most of the Tao, even the more abstract, existential parts which I deliberately left out because of their esoteric nature.
The Best of the Tao Te Ching
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
Sages succeed without focusing on success. Their work is done and forgotten, this is why it lasts forever.
Pure and selfless action causes everything to settle into place.
Too many words bring about failure. Sit quietly, keep to the void within.
The secret to the sages' longevity is that they do not exist for themselves. The sages put themselves last and end up first, disregard themselves yet survive. Is this not due to their selflessness? Serve the needs of others, and your own prosperity is ensured.
Live in accordance with the ways of nature, give with kindness, speak with integrity, manage capably, and move with proper timing to choose just the right moment.
Holding a cup and overfilling it cannot be as good as stopping short. Gold and jade can fill up a room and bring insecurity.
Puff yourself up with pride and arrogance, and no one can save you from disaster. When work is done, fame can follow. Withdraw yourself, this is the way of heaven.
In achieving relaxation, can you become as a newborn infant?
The race and the hunt make one crazed in the mind. Chasing after things that are difficult to obtain causes one to do damage.
Favor and disgrace make one fearful. Why would favor and disgrace make one fearful? Seeking favor is degrading. Once one has obtained favor, one becomes afraid of losing it.
The reason you have misfortune is because you have a self. Man's true self is eternal, yet we think, "I am this body and will soon die."
Tao continues on and on endlessly, returning back to the nothingness. You cannot know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life. Be serene, persist, and gradually come alive.
Become totally empty, let your heart be at peace. All things are active. Watch them leave, only to return again.
Those who cannot trust, others have no trust in them.
It is most important to see simplicity, present plainly, cast off selfishness, and temper desires.
Goodness and evil, how much do they differ? Must I fear what others fear? Should I fear scarcity when there is abundance? Should I fear darkness, when there is light everywhere?
The flexible will endure unbroken, bend and remain straight, be low and be filled, be tired and become refreshed.
Have little, and recieve. Have too much, and become confused.
The sage doesn't display himself, and so can be seen clearly. He does not praise himself, and so has merit. He does not boast about himself, and so is remembered. He has no goal in mind, so everything he does succeeds. He does not compete, so no one can compete with him.
Those who follow the way become one with the way. Those who follow goodness become one with goodness. Those who follow loss become one with loss. Those who are with the Tao, the Tao is pleased to have them. Those who are with goodness, goodness is glad to have them.
If you stand on tiptoe, you cannot stand firmly. If your strides are too long, you cannot walk far.
Showing off does not reveal enlightenment. Boasting will not produce accomplishment. Those who praise themselves have no merit. Those who brag about themselves will not last long.
There was something formless and perfect before the creation of heaven and earth. Silent, alone, and unchanging. Endlessly circulating. It can be regarded as the mother of the world. I do not know its name, so I call it Tao. Forced to describe it, I say it is vast, circulating, receding, and returning. Therefore the Tao is great. Heaven is great. The earth is great. People are great. These are the four great things, and people are one of them.
Stillness is the master of unrest. To be restless is to lose one's mastery.
Travel without leaving a trace, speak without seeing faults. Trade without keeping accounts. Doors without locks cannot be opened, and knots without rope cannot be untied. Be wise and save others impartially, abandoning no one. Use what you have, and waste nothing.
The good man is the bad man's teacher. The bad man is the good man's burden. If the teacher is not respected, and the student is not loved, confusion will arise.
Know the white, keep to the black, and be an example for the world. Know the splendor, while holding on to humility.
The one who grasps, will lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. What need is there for extremes, excess, or arrogance? Know when to stop to avoid danger.
Those who understand others have knowledge. Those who understand themselves have wisdom. Those who overcome others have strength. Those who overcome themselves have power. Those who are content with what they have are wealthy. Those who can hold on to the center will endure. Those who die, but do not perish, will live forever.
Music and food will cause travelers to stop. The Tao spoken out of the mouth is bland and without flavor. Look for it, and there is nothing to see. Listen for it, and there is nothing to hear. Use it, and it will not be exhausted.
If one wants to shrink something, one should deliberately let it expand. If one wants to weaken something, one must first let it grow strong. If one wants to discard something, one must first welcome it. If one wants to take something, one must first give it.
The highest good is unaware of its goodness. Lower good holds on to virtue, therefore it has no virtue. The highest good takes no planned action and sets no goals. Lower good schemes and seeks its own end. The highest kindness serves without knowing the outcome.
Impeccable adherence to rules and rituals conceals an agenda, and when it is not responded to, will pull others with the use of force. Therefore, when the Tao is lost, there is goodness. When goodness is lost, there is kindness. When kindness is lost, there is righteousness. When righteousness is lost, there are rules and rituals. Those who serve ritual are a thin shell of loyalty and sincerity, and the beginning of chaos.
The great person looks for the substance and not the shell. Looks for the fruit and not the peel. Values what is within, and discards what is without.
True nobility is rooted in humility. The ultimate honor is no honor.
The higher scholar hears of the Tao and begins diligent practice. The average scholar hears of the Tao, keeps some, and loses some. The fool hears of the Tao and roars with laughter. Without this laughter, it would not be the Tao.
Appear to lose, so you can win. Appear to win, and you will lose.
The violent will not die a natural death.
What is more important to you, you or your repuatation? Which do you cherish most, yourself, or what you own? What is more trouble to you, what you gain, or what you lose? Excessive attachment is expensive. Excessive accumulation leads to heavy loss. Knowing contentment, one cannot be disgraced. Knowing when to stop, one avoids peril.
Stillness and tranquility set the world in order.
There is nothing so unfortunate as always wanting more. There is no greater disaster than discontentment.
Approach the world constantly practicing non-interference. One who interferes is not fit to take on the world.
Those who are good, she treats with kindness. Those who are not good, she treats them with kindness, because kindness is the nature of her being.
Why is this so? Because they cling to their lives, and practice extremes.
Why is this so? Because he dwells in a place where death cannot enter.
The Tao gives birth to all things, spontaneous, perfect, and free.
Interfere in affairs, and life is beyond hope.
Use the light, return to clarity, leave disaster for the self. This is the practice of the eternal.
The great way is smooth and straight, yet others prefer more devious paths. This is why the courts are corrupt. Officials wear fine clothes, carry sharp swords, overfill on food and drink, and amass excessive wealth. This is as thieves after a robbery. This is not with the Tao.
See others as yourself, see other families as your family, see other communities as your community, see other countries as your country, see the world as your world.
Excessive vigor brings misfortune. An overactive mind is said to be aggressive. Things forced to grow, will soon wither.
Those who know, do not speak. Those who speak, do not know.
When there are too many rules, the people go without. When the people have devious plans, the outcomes become strange. The more laws that are posted, the more outlaws there are.
Bad fortune is what good fortune stands on. Good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.
Who knows where this will all end. There is no determined outcome. What is right can become strange. Goodness can become evil. People have been confused for a very long time. Therefore, the sage is right without being judgemental. Honest without being penetrating. Straightforward, without abandoning mercy. Enlightened, without being shiny.
Nothing is better than restraint and moderation.
Approach the world with the Tao, and evil will have no power. The forces of good and evil will cease to battle each other. They will merge, and return to the Tao.
The Tao is the secret wonder, the source of all things. It is the joy of the good person, and the refuge of the bad.
Achieve greatness in small things. Manage the many, by focusing on the few. Respond to hatred with kindness. Attempt difficult work through the easiest of tasks. The most difficult jobs in the world must be managed through the simple tasks.
Be too quick to promise, and gather little trust. Because sages see small difficulties, they never encounter large ones.
What is at rest is easy to manage. When it is not yet manifest, it is easy to plan for. When it is still fragile, it is easy to break. Act before there is trouble, manage before there is chaos. A tree big enough to fill a man's embrace, begins as a tiny seedling. A building many stories tall starts as a dirt heap. A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath the feet.
One who forces will fail. One who grasps will lose. Sages do not strain with force, and thus do not fail. They do not grasp, and so do not lose.
People, when managing their projects, often come near to completion, and then fail. If they were as careful at the end as they were at the beginning, there would be no failure.
The great mystery is profound and far reaching. It is the opposite of material things, yet it comes together, to create form.
I have three treasures I protect and hold dear: mercy, patience, and humility. With mercy comes courage. With patience I can endure. With humility I can lead.
Great generals do not declare war. Great warriors are not angry. The best way to win a war is not to fight it in the first place.
There is no greater disaster than having an enemy. When I have an enemy, there is no room for my treasure.
To think you know when you do not is sickness. Only when you become sick of your sickness can you become well.
Those who do not fear change will not be threatened. Those who live without striving fare better than those who value their lives.
Sages act without expecting, achieve without taking credit, and have no desire to show superiority.
One who accepts humiliation is called a master. One who is serene in the midst of misfortune is called a king. True words appear paradoxical.
The Tao has no favorites, it will provide generously, with all the fullness of life.
True words are plain. Eloquent speech is not to be trusted. Good men do not argue. Sages do not accumulate. The more they help others, the more they have. The more they give to others, the more they gain. The Tao of heaven benefits and does no harm. The Tao of the sages helps others, and opposes itself to no one.
I suppose I can't fault anyone for listening to the video and thinking something like "wtf is this ancient Eastern gibberish read by this random hippie chick" because I might have thought something similar at other points of my life.
Hippies don't dye hair in natural colours, do they?
Everything needs it's own unique philosophy, but Tao is pretty coherent with most tasks/games, probably my favorite philosophy alongside Hinduism, I have to draw some lines though with Tao and twist some things, especially when it comes to it's view on women.
Wait, you're confusing me: I thought you're exactly Taoist when it comes to preserving semen and thus the life force
Edit: oops, I shoulda read about tantric practices before making this claim They're common when it comes to raising the spirit as the main objective, but there's a major difference in that neotantra respects and even worships femininity, while Taoism views women as inferior 'energetic food'.
Just looked at the wiki entry on stoicism, they do seem very similar, I might go as far to say they're virtually identical.
Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructieve emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason (logos). A primary aspect of Stoicism involves improving the individual's ethical and moral well-being: "Virtue consists in a will that is in agreement with Nature." This principle also applies to the realm of interpersonal relationships; "to be free from anger, envy, and jealousy," and to accept even slaves as "equals of other men, because all men alike are products of nature."
The Stoic ethic espouses a deterministic perspective; in regard to those who lack Stoic virtue, Cleanthes once opined that the wicked man is "like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes." A Stoic of virtue, by contrast, would amend his will to suit the world and remain, in the words of Epictetus, "sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy," thus positing a "completely autonomous" individual will, and at the same time a universe that is "a rigidly deterministic single whole."
This is basically just saying what a lot of the most important excerpts from the Tao are getting at but phrased in a slightly different way.
I think a lot of eastern religious stuff and "mindfulness" stuff are very similar (ie buddhism, taoism, the bhagavad gita, and the teachings of modern day people like the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh). They pretty much preach at the same exact tenets and advice. Basically, this world is a sacred place and people and other living things being separate beings is just an illusion and everything is connected and unified. We can't know the forces that created it, but surely this creationary power is a divine and beautiful thing.
As a person, rather than focusing on accumulation, accomplishments, and ego boosting, succumbing to addictions, and becoming a slave to the pain/pleasure cycle, one should focus on restraint and moderation, achieve satisfaction from the simple joy of existence and inhabiting the body (ie meditating or being "mindful"). By practicing kindness to all and trying to put the needs of others before yourself, you can improve the world, avoid uncomfortable situations, and be satisfied with yourself as a person. By avoiding negative emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy and greed, you can more easily be content. By being humble, working hard, not seeking accolades, and being process oriented rather than results oriented, you can achieve great things in whatever you dedicate your life to.