Daoism and Development

I just started reading the Dao De Jing again after beginning a class on integrating the wisdom of Chinese medicine and Daoism into your daily life. The last time I read was in university at least 7 years ago.

While reading it last night, the first stanza of Section 3 really caught my attention and got me thinking:

“Do not glorify the achievers
So the people will not squabble
Do not treasure goods that are hard to obtain
So the people will not become thieves
Do not show the desired things
So their hearts will not be confused”

This really feels like advice to rulers and those in power. It’s an exhortation to prevent ambition, greed, and desire, (potentially) negative outcomes for any society or group of people. And yet, when I look around at developed and developing countries, the system of capitalism and the myth of infinite growth are designed exactly to reinforce these negative qualities.

In China, it’s pretty easy to see that ambition, greed, and desire are at the root of the country’s deepest problems: extreme and pervasive corruption, poor quality and unsafe consumer products, the growing wealth gap, increasing disparities and inequalities, and confusion as people come to grips with what development has done to their culture and society.

What’s so disappointing (and this not only true for China) is that not only our economic systems are built to reinforce all those values that make us miserable, but also how much our political systems have become part of this delusion, too. Those who are powerful became so as result of ambition, greed, and desire and thus have every reason to make sure these values propagate for as long as possible, if not indefinitely.

Disclaimer: I’m know that I’m not the first to think of this or point it out and make no claim as to its originality.

Latest for BJC: Nietzschean Gang-Beating In Chongqing Illustrates The Futility Of Resisting Relocate-And-Demolish Edicts

Surely, beatings of any kind are not a laughing matter.  However, given the frequency and subsequent jadedness, highbrow silliness may be the best response:

Perhaps the yelling in the background is a cry of existential angst at a futile and heretofore meaningless life.

That every step has led to this exact moment. That even if fought and won, the tide of Fate would inevitably lead back to this very moment: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more.”* Oh, would the Heavens open and strike down these untermensch enforcing their slave morality!

Read the rest:

Nietzschean Gang-Beating In Chongqing Illustrates The Futility Of Resisting Relocate-And-Demolish Edicts

Wild Web Dec 15, 2012

My weekly tech segment.  This week, Mark Griffiths and I discuss Bitcoins, what they’re for, and if they have a future.

Stream here

iPad 4 and the Break Down of Decision-Making at Apple

iPad mini and the new new iPad. Two products that came to fruition without the blessing of the all mighty Steve Jobs. From what we can tell, the last Apple device to be anointed was the iPhone 5 with its slightly longer screen. It’s hard to argue that it wasn’t a smart move: competing product lines all feature 4 inch screens, whereas the iPhone was visibly smaller.

The iPad mini seems smart as well given the recent success of the kindle fire and amazing sales of the nexus 7.

But why in the world did Apple just announce a new iPad? Granted, the updated hardware is in fact minimal: A6X processor, lightning connector, no changes to screen or body. One could see this as a release of the new iPad S, with similar incremental upgrades as the iPhone 3GS and 4GS. However, those followed the yearly release schedule we’ve all become familiar with. With the the latest new iPad, it’s only <strong>seven months</strong> since the last iteration of the Apple tablet.

I have to wonder if this doesn’t signal a breakdown in the decision making process or perhaps high level disagreements in Apple leadership. Certainly, they had already planned for the Lightning connector for the iPhone 5 and one can assume that the tech was there when the new iPad was released (although perhaps not ready). Another possibility is this is a way to convince people to keep buying iPads off the shelf with iOS6, with all the complaints recently about maps and wifi.

I can’t help but think that if Steve was still around, we would see strict adherence to release schedules and damn the complaints.

Apple does need to be careful. Humans have a tendency to turn on their gods and those that represent them. And when they do, it can be quite vicious.

Authority Week

This was written by my dear Friend, Timothy Gutmann, way back in January when the Google v China ruckus began. I’ve only now had a blog/time to post this. Enjoy.

Authority Week

The Relevant Universe, Asia Asian Affairs Bureau, (Which Is Really More of a Credenza, It’s Late Qing Dynasty, Clean Lines, Stylish Yet Very Functional)

BEIJING AND SAN FRANCISCO. Rumors of Internet search giant Google’s departure from the Chinese market have sparked protest from Chinese netizens and innovation from China’s increasingly high-profile pro-government online community. Beijing based TangTech has announced plans to launch a search engine called Guoguo (国国), a “wholesome, patriotic alternative to certain Western brands” said Xi Rong, its developer.

(more…)

The slow dance music

I’ve been listening to a lot of dubstep recently. First aided by a radio station which is pretty cool, but they mostly feature DJs (who are good, no maligning there) who play the same tracks in different mixes.

After some research, using my newly acquired Internet superpower, I found a very special show featuring not only dubstep but also some really amazing and cutting edge electronic music.

But, as per usual, it is a little hard to find those who share my interest, at least in person.

And, of course, there aren’t many shows here in Beijing. Even if there were, it would be rough getting my girlfriend to come with me.

First Things

This is the first among many.

High expectations weakened Obama, don’t let that happen here.

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