February 1, 2013

Philosophy: A ticket to the freak show
Illustration + lecture
About ME/CFS


This is a bit of cynical taoism or taoist cynicism for your amusement or instruction.

1. Illustration + lecture

Chuang-Tzu aka Zhuangzi: Click image for background+source

It struck me
George Carlin in one of his interviews, linked below, did take a position that may be both called taoist and cynical - where I use "cynical" in the philosophical sense - and I quote from Wikipedia, minus note numbers:

Cynicism is one of the most striking of all the Hellenistic philosophies. It offered people the possibility of happiness and freedom from suffering in an age of uncertainty. Although there was never an official Cynic doctrine, the fundamental principles of Cynicism can be summarised as follows:

  1. The goal of life is happiness which is to live in agreement with Nature.
  2. Happiness depends on being self-sufficient, and a master of mental attitude.
  3. Self-sufficiency is achieved by living a life of Arete.
  4. The road to arete is to free oneself from any influence such as wealth, fame, or power, which have no value in Nature.
  5. Suffering is caused by false judgments of value, which cause negative emotions and a vicious character.
Thus a Cynic has no property and rejects all conventional values of money, fame, power or reputation. A life lived according to nature requires only the bare necessities required for existence, and one can become free by unshackling oneself from any needs which are the result of convention.
Here is George Carlin explaining - something like - it, late in his life:
I am not recommending this for everyone, but it merits serious consideration.

If you want to know more about Taoism there is a version of Lao Tzu's text on my site, in James Legge's translation, while there is a nice old translation and interpretation by Herbert Giles of Chuang Tzu's text on - and I provide a link to the place on where you can download a fine copy, without the Google logo disgracing every page [1]
This provides a really nice pdf version, in a bit over 22 MB, of a really nice book I have in print, in the second edition, in an also nicely done reprint from 1969 [2].

And whether you agree with Chuang Tzu or not: he is a great writer, also in this English translation.
[1] As I have repeatedly said: I dislike Google, and I dislike especially their digitized books, that seem to me to be a crude and dishonest way to appropriate them, effectively.

[2] For lovers of antiquarian books: I have the Second Edition, Revised, published by Bernhard Quaritch Ltd in London in 1926, reprinted (bound edition, not paperback) by Ch'eng Wen Publishing Co., Taipei 1969.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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