Friday, May 29, 2009

Contemplating the Tao ...

A friend the other day Twittered: "i used to fancy myself a bit of a Taoist. this might explain why I have difficulty coming up with tweets." (dwmdc), in one of those strange synchronicities, I'd been thinking about the Tao myself recently.

At one time I too fancied myself a bit of a Taoist, but took a sharp turn towards the Vedas and the Gita, some diversions into the I Ching via Carl Jung, swerved back to Christian mysticism but seem to be settling into a comfortable sloping into Buddhism ... but still ... still Lao Tzu his Tao te ching ... the Tao is a fantastic, concise summary of The Way, or, as my favorite Beatle, George Harrison rephrased it (Chapter 47):

Without going out of my door,
I can know all things on earth
without looking out of my window,
I can know the ways of heaven.

The farther one travels
the less one knows
the less one really knows.

(Inner Light)

Here's a section, Chapter 17, that I've been thinking about lately (from my battered, dogeared, marked up Penguin translation by D.C. Lau):

The best of all rulers is but a shadowy presence to his subjects.
Next comes the ruler they love and praise;
Next comes one they fear;
Next comes one with whom they take liberties.
When there is not enough faith, there is lack of good faith.
Hesitant, he does not utter words lightly.
When his task is accomplished and his work done
The People all say, "It happened to us naturally."

Two more translations (available online):

Translation by S. Mitchell:

When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!"

Alternate translation (J. Legge):

In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that there
were (their rulers). In the next age they loved them and praised
them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them.
Thus it was that when faith (in the Tao) was deficient (in the rulers)
a want of faith in them ensued (in the people).

How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by
their reticence) the importance which they set upon their words!
Their work was done and their undertakings were successful, while the
people all said, 'We are as we are, of ourselves!'

Monday, May 25, 2009

Presentation for Department of Botany, NMNH, Smithsonian

Later today (Tuesday, May 26), myself and the Smithsonian Libraries' Biodiversity Heritage Library team (plus SIL Botany Librarian, Robin Everly) will give an overview and demo of the BHL project to the Department of Botany.

Here's my overview: The Botanical Origins of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic. Department of Botany: National Museum of Natural History. May 26, 2009. Washington, DC.

Memorial Day Parade

Along Penn. Ave.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Big Withdrawl or Bailout Delivery?

Walking past the Bank of America on Penn. Ave. the other day, the sidewalk traffic was stopped to let an armored car pull up an the sidewalk and to the bank.

Don't know if someone was making a withdrawl or maybe is was some BoA bailout money coming in!