Tao of the 21st Century, The management of Chaos

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Hello Folks

 About 25 years ago I got fixated by the meaning of Time. Quantum Physics was looking at the foundations of the Grand Unified Theory and nothing really explained to my satisfaction exactly how this could be interpreted in human terms. In 1982 there was an experiment based on speculations that time didn't move in just one direction, the EPR experiment showed a particle's trajectory could be affected when its anti particle was affected even though the distance between the two could be infinite. It has been revelations such as these that have demonstrated that our concept of time and the reality of time were distinct and different. We have been living a lie.

God is playing pool in dimensions we can't measure.

Of course when Y2K awareness popped up it occurred to me that this was a significant event in the understanding of change and the movement of time and the human reaction to such a change. Those that have looked at Quantum Physics would be well aware that the discipline has been compared to Taoist thought back in the days of Niels Bohr (SP?). A few books have even been written showing the parallels so comparing Taoist thought to the structure of the universe is nothing new. What is new is the publishing of a book Wen Twu, Understanding the Mysteries by Thomas Cleary. There are a few folks on the forum that actually have the book, remarkable in that you will find very few references to it on the net. And if folks have tried to search for material on the net will know there is lots of information about almost anything. Several others on the forum are also Tao types and maybe interested in my observations of the Tao and the 21st Century.  This is for you and others that will lend their minds to understanding. You will pardon any errors on my part as I am still but a student of the Tao and the universal order, there is much to learn.

I would like to leave this forward with a quote from a Senate witness.


October 13, 1999 Testimony of Dr. Howard A. Rubin

"The dispersion and propagation mechanisms for Year 2000-like
       disruptions are unknown while we have spent thousands of years
       mapping the physical geography of the Earth and spent hundred of
       years mapping and now modeling its weather/ atmospheric systems, the
       "cyberlayer" is uncharted. In this, the Network Age, a nation's borders
       are no longer physical and its dominant interactions are not controlled or
       bounded by geography. we do not know what the new cybergeography
       looks like."

I like to look at Taoist thought as Chaos Management.

Brian Henderson

Tao of the 21st Century

What does Taoism and the 21st Century have to do with each other? Well that is what this document and others to come hope to answer.

The Tao is incredibly old, starting with Fu Hsi "in the depths of antiquity". He is credited with the development of Chinese culture before recorded history. The first recorded personality associated with Taoism is Huang Ti in 2700 (BC). This is not a History lesson though just giving an impression of the scale of time that Taoist thought has been around.

This is not to say that the influence of The Tao is not felt today. The influence is massive, Tai chi, acupuncture, martial arts, binary system (which computers are based on), psychology, physics, politics plus two books that are among the widest read on the planet, The Tao Te Ching and the I Ching (Book of Changes).

Of particular interest to the 21Century (Y2K) and my motivation for doing this is the syncronistic awareness of Y2K and receiving a book for Xmas 97 Wen Tsu.

 Amazon.com: A Glance: Wen-Tzu : Understanding the Mysteries (Shambhala Dragon Editions) by Lao-Tzu, Thomas Cleary (Translator), Lao Tzu Paperback - 184 pages Reprint edition (October 1992)

Thomas Cleary describes this book as the combined efforts of the adepts of Lao Tzu "furthering" "his" teachings. Wen Tzu seems to describe Chinese culture in a earlier dynasty and may be looked at as a history book describing the errors of man, society and governments in following a correct path even though it was written well before the birth of Christ. So while reading this book it doesn't come as much of a suprise that the errors in past times are repeated in this day and age. Some things change some remain the same.

Some may suggest that Taoism is a religion, and that maybe the case but that wasn't the original intent of the authors of Ancient texts associated with the origins. Wen Tzu was written in the latter part of the era of Lao Tzu' s influence before it was corrupted with sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well maybe not rock and roll. Taoist thoughts has its basis in the universal order.  This is where Y2K comes in.

Chapter 6 P. 8

Those who serve life adapt to changes as they act. Changes arise from the times, those who know the times do not behave in fixed ways.


The Tao describes "The Way" a path that flows with the changes in life.

Chapter 72 P. 62

The original production of The Way has a beginning. It begins in weakness and develops in strength, begins in slightness and develops into greatness. A gigantic tree begins as a sprout, a huge building starts at the bottom. This is the Way of Nature.

The Tao deals with changes in life. The Way is the flow. Change is promised in life, to think that we can develop a stable society without recognizing change is futile. Change is based on momentum of things which reflects the passage of time.  We now have developed a JIT (Just in Time) society in western culture influenced by media, industry, business and what seems to be our personal lives. Cell phones, beepers, Email, faxes now are demanding our attention more than the ability to keep up with the day to day problems let alone weeks, months or even years.

Chapter 136 P. 133

A clear and calm social order is characterized by harmony and tranquility, plainness and simplicity, serenity and freedom from agitation.

HHHHmmmmmm Sounds like our day and age? I think not. JIT mentality has contributed to a change in our culture and in people. It is MHO that concentrating on the immediate without looking at the long term is contributing to alot of problems in this day and age. The Y2K effect is one such example. In the rush for the evolution of economic benefits the passage of time was neglected.

Chapter 160 P. 160 -161

Those who know where laws come from adapt them to the times, those who do not know the source of ways to order may follow them but eventually wind up with chaos.

Is this a blindness in mental ability or possibly a general consensus in society that "we live in the present" like some kind of sixties mantra? Why should such an obvious error be neglected for so long? Well this is not an answer to those questions because they are in the past. This is a look into what can be done to adapt to changes rather than being effected by them.

Chapter 53 P. 50

The Way is to preserve what you already have, not to seek what you haven't got. If you seek what you haven't got, then what you have is lost, if you go along with what you have, then what you want will come.

This is not to say The Way is not progressive but suggests that there is an evolution in change. A purpose that is not readily apparent at any given time but in the "timescape" a pattern of meaning develops. This has been described by Jung with his sychronistic principles. Islands of meaning in apparent randomness. The trick is to recognize the times and react. As the old adage goes "timing is everything".

Chapter 83 P 71

Sages adapt to the changes of the times, taking appropriate measures on seeing how things form.
Different ages have different concerns, when times change, customs change. Laws are set up in consideration of the age, works are undertaken according to the time.

And as another old adage goes "the time is now". Well it might not be now but the age we live in has experienced something that no other era has, our ability to manipulate information has surpass our ability to manage it. The consequence of this is Y2K.  We can look at this like putting a jet engine on a biplane. Something's got to give. The IT structure has not has disciplined practices and as such no structure that is universal. I am aware of surveying as a profession but do not survey myself. Land surveying is a highly disciplined process that demands accuracy. The principles underlying it are from Egypt when the Nile flooded and the birth of geometry.

Well just as there is a geometry in space, there is one in time. Evolution is the best known example but timescape has been seen in cosmology (black holes), quantum physics (EPR experiment) and mathematics (Chaos theory). And of course Einstein's Relativity shows the yin and yang of space and time. But what is time? Time is change. What motivates change? Glad you asked.

Chapter 36 P. 37

That which creates creation is not created, that which evolves evolution does not evolve.

The Tao is the order of structure. Beyond what we can measure is something we are beginning to understand. It is on the horizon of our understanding, shown by the recent developments mentioned above. Math above all has shown that there is discipline in the universal structure. And Chaos theory has shown there is inherent order in random events. The picture unfolds.

Chapter 75  P.67

For wise people, good humor and serenity are life, perfect virtue and traveling the Way are destiny. So life can be carried out only after meeting destiny, while destiny can be understood only when the time comes. There must be such an age before there are such people.

That inherent order is your destiny. Fate is the choice of your own path. The actions that one makes in the past react with the future. Even events one would never connect are sympathetic over time.

Will the 21st Century demonstrate chaotic events due to an over load in a fragile system? The Economic structure alone is getting stressed, not to mention health, education, families and culture. Could it be to much information flow going through to little mental pipe?

P. 174 Chapter 173
So it is that when people are pressed by difficulties, then they seek means of coping with them, it is because of their troubles that they take precautions. In each case they use their knowledge to get rid of what they consider harmful and take to what they consider advantageous.
Fixed precedents are not to be followed slavishly, tools and machinery should not remain old-fashioned. That is why the laws of kings of yore had changes, so it is said, "Terms can be named, but not as permanently fixed definitions"

 IMHO we have to take some time as a society to look at the meaning of stability and change. The effects of Y2K may indicate that the only stability is the ability to adapt to change. Yet the public has been told that the status quo will be preserved, any change in the publics perception will have critical effects in the modern day systems we rely on. Our Society can't handle a change in perception to anticipate change over a few days? This is a weakness and the leaders that be are promoting the continuation of things as they stand. This is not the way nature works.

If there is a continuation of the Tao of the 21st Century it will be about how we may deal with the change in society.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 16, 1999


Wen Tzu is a brilliant gem of a book. Many a time I've pondered the elegant simplicity of a paragraph or chapter and reflected upon how it comments upon our times and ways.

I firmly believe that humanity must, if we are to survive, must begin to embody in our actions, thoughts, ways, conventions, & will the precepts of Taoism, either covertly or overtly, or consciously or unconsciously. [if one can speak of precepts and Taoism - which I doubt ;-)]

y2k affords us the example of our leaders, elected, bureaucratic, business, and religious, the example of these people working not for the harmony and well-being of all, but instead catering to vested interests, caring little for the common person.

We know what doesn't work.

Indeed, it is darkest just before the dawn. & the Senate Oct 13th testimony points to increasing darkness for _all_ of us. Out of profound darkness emerges light. A grand lesson is being played out. A lesson illuminating the hollowness of our civilized, political, corporate, & spiritual cultures. A lesson pointing to other ways, more harmonious.

Will our leaders in the post y2k world learn? Will each of _us learn? Are we mature enough to live our convictions that we wish to live in harmony with all that is? Will we look back at our ecological rapine, our entrancement with money, power, our mechanically enhanced abilities to manipulate create without regard to consequence, our spiritual meanness and have a good laugh as we shake our heads over the childish ways of our former selves?

Do we have a choice but to try and rise to the demands of the situation?

"This incarnation doesn't work. Throw away the keys!" - guru to Jack Flanders in "The Fourth Tower of Inverness"

"Humanity exhibits one over-reaching fault - a deep paranoia over the rest of humanity." paraphrased from Arthur Koestler

thanks Brian


-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), October 16, 1999.

"What is new is the publishing of a book Wen Twu, Understanding the Mysteries by Thomas Cleary."

Wen Twu? I don't tink its twu at all.


-- Man From Uncle 1999 (mfu1999@hotmail.com), October 16, 1999.


Thanks for this thread. I believe survival in Y2K will be about coping with change. I hope we come to understand change theory and chaos theory before we kill life on the planet.

If we don't change may make rulers of the ants and spiderss.

-- Leslie (***@***.net), October 16, 1999.

"the leaders that be are promoting the continuation of things as they stand."

I agree.

It was said at the time when most Y2K'ers were activating in 1998 that Y2K was going to change what is normal. Life will never return to or be what normal is at this time.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), October 16, 1999.

Mitch wrote

"Wen Tzu is a brilliant gem of a book. Many a time I've pondered the elegant simplicity of a paragraph or chapter and reflected upon how it comments upon our times and ways."

It is a remarkable book and mine is now showing signs of falling apart :o) time for another copy. Good response, thanks alot!


Ah yes the spice of humor at the expence of my poor proof reading, sometimes it amazes me I bother to spell my name right *VBG*


Alot of it is up to the individual, as we aren't ants each of us has to contribute to understanding our place in life, at some point maybe there will be the one hundredth "ant" that will push the momentum over to the truth. Nature rules.


Thankfully the effects of Y2K shouldn't be as bad as the common opinion was last year. But history has shown that what we consider as normal actually is not. We should feel privilaged to live in such times. (Maybe :o) and let me say that you are quite the character, you sure can write some mean script.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 16, 1999.

Thanks Brian,

Changes arise from the times, those who know the times do not behave in fixed ways.

Its another way of saying... expect the unexpected... live it... and you wont get stuck in what you think you know. Shift Happens. Daily.

For me, Y2K represents our past colliding with our percieved future.

I had great hopes last fall, that as a nation, we would choose the path of humanity, as we walked towards this impending danger of our own creation. At this timing, it appears protection of the system and the old way of being, was our leaderships prevailing choice. Greensapn still says, just yesterday... dont rock the economic boat... and certainly DONT change your economic buying patterns... en masse.

He outright says... those of us who over prepare... ARE THE PROBLEM. Completely disowning the choices they made to NOT prepare people... but only the lagging machines. A show of deflected responsibility... IMHO.

As you say above, Brian, our technological creation has run away with our ability to manage it. We genetically alter our food to grow more... developing further dependency for profit creation... and yet we choose to allow half the world to starve. We develop bigger, faster machines and depend upon them to the extent that we loose our ability to connect to the earth around us. Weve lost our ability to care for our collective garden.

We are a world out of balance... out of harmony... out of FLOW with whats important, and so, of course... Y2K is our self- induced re-calibration.

And still... the Powers That Be... choose the system over the people... that make up the system. Sad.

Well clearly reap what we sow.


BTW, Michael Tayor sent these along which are SO true at this timing...

A Hopi elder speaks:

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered.

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the "leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"



There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has a destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.


[We hope!]



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), October 16, 1999.


Ah yes Greenspan and the Tao :o) Funny he is encouraging the banks to be more liquid, at the expense of what? One mans hoarding is anothers prudence.

Native beliefs are fasinating, often they are very close to the pure Taoist beliefs yet they are separated by 10,000 years and an immense ocean. Us white folks really blew it when everything measured, mapped, wieghed and what not was the reality and if you can't measure it, it isn't real. We forgot about meaning.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 16, 1999.


Thanks for this thread. I'm not sure how or why, but my life's journey thus far has led me this kind of thinking. I don't get the chance to read much at all but I've found that often, if I pay attention to signs, I am directed to what I need to know.

Personally, I think we've actually devolved through time. We're too disconnected from what surrounds us.

Diane, thanks for sharing those. The person that sent those to me is a man who has lived an interesting life. We met at a point in time when our careers were both rising and falling - in a creative shop we called "pergatory". Essentially, we both realized how to truly gage "success" in life and he is one of my best friends.

The times are changing and the Hopi call this time, "the Purification." I'm told it is time to "remember" what we had forgotten.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), October 17, 1999.

my high school english teacher once said that he didn't own agun because "the meek would inherit the earth" he was half right. He drove a car, used electricity, ate fast food.. he was not meek. the papuans are meek, the bushmen are meek, the hopi are meek, the aborigines are meek, the amazonians are meek. nobody points missiles at a hopi village.....

-- jeremiah (braponspdetroit@hotmail.com), October 17, 1999.

"My inside, listen to me, the greatest spirit / The teacher is near / Wake up! Wake up! / Run to his feet-- / He is standing close to your head right now / You have slept for millions and millions of years / Why not wake up this morning?" Kabir

-- mar (derigueur2@aol.com), October 17, 1999.


Can you tell me the specifics on where you got the 'banks of the river' quote? I loved it. Of course. Thats why I'm floating downstream and celebrating my new found TB2000 buddies.....

-- Downstreamer (downstream@bigfoot.com), October 17, 1999.

Michael Taylor's friend sent it... so ask him.

I like it because it dovetails with my knowledge of Feng Shui practices and native American teachings.

Plus... common sense just dictates... it's a "whole" lot easier to FLOW downstream... than fight the current upstream. (My river rafting and kayaking days taught me that early lesson).



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), October 17, 1999.

Mike wrote

"I don't get the chance to read much at all but I've found that often, if I pay attention to signs, I am directed to what I need to know."

As an avid book nut I believe that one can open a book and be presented with the information that is needed in a persons life. Doesn't mean it will be information the individual expects but what they need.

As far a devolving goes that is hard to judge, the way of evolution is not striaght forward. Sometimes is is one step back to get two steps forward. The remarkable thing about this day and age is the rapid dispersal of information, this cannot be discounted.


Great! "the aborigines are meek, the amazonians are meek. nobody points missiles at a hopi village..... "


As you may know the river is universal in its appeal as a sacred image. I always thought that your name was choosen for the Oil "downstreaming" but maybe not?

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 17, 1999.

I really like the quirky whimsy of the phrase "management of Chaos"! :-) Brian, come talk about this with us at Ed's Humpty Dumpty discussion....I love also the idea that chaos and randomness have a detectable pattern that repeats...read some interesting stuff on that years ago. Brian have you read any Fritjof Capra?

Do like that you've called it as it is....the lie that is....stability is linked to chaos, and fleeting at best. And because the lie has been perpetuated for so long chaos gets a bad rep....systems theory shows over and over that in systems' lives a part of the cycle is the disorder as new systems break forth.

There is nothing stable in the world; uproar's your only music John Keats (1795-1821)

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), October 17, 1999.

Ooops,...forgot. Brian, if you haven't already been there, the Humpty Dumpty discussion is here:


Humpty Dumpty Discussion Forum

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), October 17, 1999.

So how 'bout it Michael Taylor, where'd ya get the Hopi elder quote?

And Brian- I'm a pluralist. The name originally had predominatly oil industry connotations but its evolved as I floated downstream.....

-- Downstreamer (downstream@bigfoot.com), October 17, 1999.

Greetings Fellow Terrans!

Having been exposed to the complex abstractions of science and mathematics, I tend to see an intuitive correlation to some ancient and traditional mystical concepts.

My traditional mystical studies have included many fields of inquiry that range from the sciences to theology. The lenth of and scope of the quest show know boundaries. After 30 years of this, my current maxim is that the premature conclusion is always the incorrect one. It seems not to be a place for the complacent, nor does it portend to offer a haven for the insecure who have not yet cognized the wisdom of insecurity.

I have come to a strong Agnostic frame of reference after many years of looking perusing the accumulations of humanity. The crucibal of experience has also honed and whittled my accumulations, lest it be thought that bookish is the only knowledge aquired.

The black/white, yes/no, on/off, logic of human heritage may have begun to weaken its hold. While such simplicity holds an imperative value for simple survival-based issues and lends itself well to intuitive and instantaneous response, it seems to do little to aid us in understanding things holistically. We stand on a precipice to which the pioneers have gouged a path. My sensabilities tell me that we may have left out a vast spectrum of "in-betweens" in much of our institutional and classical modes of logic. The trailblazing of history's great minds has brought us here. Like the map's of the "flat earth" we find little navigational guidance at the edge. We merely have our own perception to guide us along with the understanding that we are "there". Proceeding, almost as heretics, we face falling off the edge or discovering that there is something beyond the edges of the "flat earth".

Since the mind still plays a crucial part in our interaction and understanding, it may behoove us to adjust our rules and criteria. Fuzzy logic, or at least a logic that allows for more than a binary result, seems to be a new frontier to seriously explore. Rather than heed the dicates of some who say that we should not bother to hone our thinking, we could bring it, somehow, into accord with other aspects of our being. We act, we feel, and we are aware ... we also have the gift/burden of a mind and its currency: thought. I can see no contrast or contradiction between spirit/body/mind, and I am not implying a new age pseudo-mystical holism here.

Philosophically, the only real verification, for me, comes from a direct experience and from personal validation. Too much (can there be too much?) eclecticism can lead to a perspective where healthy skepticism (as opposed to brash, dogmatic debunking) becomes unavoidable. It can dawn on one how words are capable of becoming a protective barrier from harsh external realities, a condom for experience. In the sleep and masks we take for granted in the day-to- day humdrm, our substitution of "about" for what our words relate to alarms, amazes, and amuses me. Taking into consideration the distortions of our sense and the brain-filtered, secondary nature of our experience it seems sensible to applaud the coherency and orderly structure of our common experience. That derserves some applause.

While various techniques portend to make "realizations" of a timeless state and various meta-levels of consciousness attainable, there are some problems with abstracts versus the concrete.

The illusion of time as a straight arrow is very compelling. It is not farfetched, nor is it new. Scientific abstraction, which is akin to a religious or mystical belief system -- one has to believe in those who propose and prove the theories in mathematical terms since these abstractions, like language are not direct. They are merely representations and models in contrast to direct experience.

On the more concrete, experiential, personal, and common level, time as a progression of moments from past towards a future is quite a dillema. I want to set aside my own experiences and verifications aside, as well as any philosophical and mystico-relgious systems aside here. What concerns me is a Universal way of realizing time as an illusion without alienating those of us without scientific math skills/comprehension or a bent towards philosphical gymnastics and mystical questing. Without creating another freeze-dried, dogmatic bag of noodles, is there any way for most of us to experience and verify timelessness or the illusion of time we know appear to experience?

Huge subject! I don't mean to delve to deeply into a subject that deserves much more discourse and inquiry. However, I would like to offer one insight that might be of value towards understanding.

Be warned that this is a generalization. I would prefer to avoid them but, for the sake of brevity, we can let it suffice. It appears that, particularly in the West (those from other cultures could best describe their own experiences), our childhood is filled with seemingly innocuous stories. Most of these stories, as I recall, were told as one form of myth or another. I don't debate the value or function of these stories and ryhmes. Their function and subliminal intent in relation to socialization and the culture's needs are yet another fascinating plate of thought food.

What I recall is that the trite phrase "Once upon a time," (strongly inculcating an "existing" past) seemed to be part and parcel of the storytelling to children. Of course, who can forget, "... and they lived happily ever AFTER." That AFTER could be an re-forcement of a future on the time arrow.

I offer this as a hypothetical smattering. It only attempts to initiate a dialog -- personal or communal -- as to the cause of what appears to be a common experience of existing in a linear progression of events that play out in a logical sequence. That which we call time.

Times seems to be useful in a pragmatic way. Our experience and observation somehow contrast with abstract scientific (and even mystical/relgious/spirtual)modalities. Someone said that "Time is just a way to keep everything from happening at once!" While the humor comes as refreshment, it only exacerbates the problem for those of us who find this enigma inticing. If time were realized as merely an illusion and, possibly, a constricting trap that only serves as a temporally valid function, would the abscence of its tyranny lead to chaos and does everything then HAVE to happen at once?

There are those of you with your own comprehension and personal experiences. I offer this for your inspection, reflection, and response. For those whom I have offended by rambling on ... my apologies for the consumation of your "time" ... :)

... and lots not talk about spelling, etc, okay! LOL!

Novatron - The Wise Fool Who Eludes You With Poems of Paradox

-- Novatron (novator@contemplation.com), October 17, 1999.


Systems therory and where I am at are very similar. Symbiotic relationships at the lowest common denominator. I read Fritjof Capra along time ago and he is not bad. Physicists and other technical types have a hard time with imagery which is the language of the unseen and artist types have a hard time with the technical language of physics. But it is important to keep objectivity and subjectivity within reach of each other so there is a common refferance.

As far as cross posting this on Humpty Dumpty,,,,, I might try it although this forum allows for the broadest look at issues. Next time I do this it will be cross posted.


Do watch out for the turbulance eh? :o)

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 17, 1999.

"Novatron - The Wise Fool Who Eludes You With Poems of Paradox"

Gee Wiz Nova you called that one right, better you saying it than I * VBG*

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 17, 1999.

Brian: Terrific thread. Thanks! And thanks also to Donna for pointing me here from HD.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@great.thread), October 18, 1999.

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