Words Blind

Words Blind

Words can blind you
Make you think the word
is the thing.
Drape what you believe you see
in preconceptions and assumptions.
Shade what you and others experience
with shadows of news bites
catchy phrases
and rhetorical spin.
Or put cloth over your eyes
with fossilized passages
whose meaning
has been lost to time.

Every creature you ever see
just by virtue of existing
is a waking enigma clothed in a mystery
wrapped in a dream.

If someone as simple as a man
is such a thing
how then in the farthest reaches
of our imagination
would we ever expect to figure out
something like the powers that be
that made this place
by blinding ourselves
with words like “God?”

It’s true, a single word
can mean everything to you
or nothing at all
As you so choose.
On one hand, it’s just the word
some people use
for the best thing they can imagine.
On the other hand,
after nine thousand years
it carries
about four train car loads of baggage.

So, what do you call
something so fair minded
that it gives enough quickness to cheetahs
that they can catch some food
while giving enough speed to antelope
that they can run away from trouble.
And is so compassionate
that it makes every single baby beautiful
can forgive mistakes men have rarely forgiven
and offer up chances in life over and over again.
With wisdom so deep
it can watch human hearts
mend and break at the same time
without going bat shit from time to time?

Personally, I’ll not give it a name that blinds
I’m just some dude with a pen
and a couple thoughts now and then
I just ain’t that smart.

Dewey Dirks copyright 2011

Tao— Music and Metaphysics

Here is another excerpt from the Questioning Way adopted for posting here on the blog…..


Between 2500 and 2600 years ago, there lived a man in China who later came to be called Lao Tsu, meaning “old master.” He wrote a book called the Tao Te Ching, about a concept called ‘Tao.” Tao is often translated as “The Way.” In his book, Lao Tsu talked of an all pervasive way of existence and described how to conduct oneself in accordance with this way. An idea similar to the concept of Tao is also expressed in western philosophy. A Greek contemporary of Lao Tsu named Heraclitus spoke of an idea he called “logos.” Logos, as Heraclitus used it, can be translated as “formula.” He maintained that this formula was prevalent in everything and steered all existence. Very little of what Heraclitus had to say has made it to modern times, however, the Tao Te Ching has survived and has been translated many times into many languages. The work of Lao Tsu and later Chinese philosophers form the basis of both a religion and a philosophy called Taoism. For our purposes, we aren’t concerned with religious Taoism. There are aspects of philosophical Taoism that parallel certain aspects of the questioning way, and we will visit these in later chapters. In this chapter, we are concerned only with the concept of Tao itself.
What is Tao? Well, imagine everything that exists, both animate and inanimate. Every animal, plant, bug, mountain, and pebble, every grain of sand, drop of water and ocean, all together, all at once. Imagine the Earth, the moon, all the planets, and every star in every galaxy throughout the universe, as well as the universe itself as a whole. Now imagine this all together, all at once. Think of everything all this does. Every action, every purpose, every manner, every path, every behavior, every thought, everything anything ever does throughout its existence. Imagine that all at once. Now think of everything that exists as individual players in an orchestra. Think of everything anything ever does as notes in a song that the orchestra is playing. Tao is the orchestra and the song all together, all at once. It is all existence as a harmonized whole while simultaneously remaining a collection of trillions of discrete parts and actions. Tao is the who, the what, the why, and the where of all existence. Tao is the notion of the entire universe as a single system- in- action. Tao is an orchestra playing a song.
Taken separately, each player and the notes he makes might be mistaken for random musings. Together, the musicians and their music make something more than the sum of their parts. Together, they make something tangible in itself. At the same time, for the song to be what it is, each separate player, and the music he plays is necessary. Since all that exists continually creates the song by its actions, we can see that it is a process, not a thing. Although the fact that the players and the song exist and continually play are constants, the music itself is never static and finished, but instead is always in motion, changing, and evolving.  It is a work forever in the making. We all are rather like an immense group of musicians playing music while dancing to the melody. Tao is us doing what we do day after day.
Think of the song. Some hear it, but most players concentrate only on the part of the song that they’re playing. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the whole symphony because you have to pay too much attention to what you’re doing. Like the music we play, sometimes it’s hard to apprehend Tao. Like the music we play, it is often easier to concentrate and understand everyday matters than it is to see ourselves as part of a larger way of life, part of a giant system composed of trillions of parts.

Tao is an important idea for everyone from the average person to physicists and scientists to understand because it brings into sharp focus the idea that everything on earth including man is part of a single biosphere.  Much can be learned about natural systems in general and mans place in the natural system that is earths biosphere when this idea is kept central to our outlook.

Te What?

Here is an excerpt from The Questioning Way adopted for posting here on the blog…….



The Chinese language has a very helpful and insightful word that combines the concepts of individuality, usefulness and purpose.  The word is  “te” (pronounced “dă”). Te is most often translated as “virtue” or “power.” To help understand the connection between virtue, power, and individuality, think of a hawk. The natural behavior such a bird is to soar on thermals, conserving its energy while it hunts for prey with acute eyesight. It does this by means of the way it is made. So, the special virtue, or te, of a hawk is its ability to hunt and lies in its wings, eyes, and claws. Te is the innate, individual power in things that allows them to be the best at what they are best at.
Te appears in two ways— as an aspect of all nature together and as expressed by the unique mixture of abilities we each possess. In the latter context, it’s a very singular attribute that results in the individuality with which we each are born. We gain it without forethought or contriving to attain it. We have it because we are who we are. Likewise, te, as expressed by the world, is intrinsic to its nature. The way of the world follows a certain path only because that’s how things happened to fall into place. These two aspects are simply different faces of the same thing. Te in nature points to the idea that there is life on earth only because part of the virtue of of our little blue planet is that it facilitates life on it to exist.  In other words the virtue of our planet is that it’s good for life as we know it.  It is a common fallacy of western culture to view nature as hostile.  The fact of the matter is if the earth and the universe were really hostile to living creatures none of us would have ever lived in the first place.
Te in each of us is spontaneous and instinctive, without being compulsive or impulsive. Likewise, te is passion and persistence, but never unbalanced zeal or rabid fanaticism. When someone realizes his te, his pattern of action is easily distinguished from impulsive or self-destructive behavior, such as the betting of a habitual gambler or the compulsive nature of consumers when purchasing such things as antibacterial cleaning supplies to sooth our exaggerated fear of germs.
Te means that there is something that each and every one of us will be good at doing. It means that each and every one of us has a potential purpose to life that is built into him or her from birth. It means that until you find te, much of your life will be written as the story of your search for it. Some of us are fortunate to learn what we ought to do with our lives at a very early age. These are the prodigies and those fascinated by a single group of related subjects from early childhood. Others search their whole lives and never really discover what they should be doing. When someone finds their virtue, they are much better able to become someone who can lead a happy, fulfilling life that is beneficial and useful both for himself and the world around him as well. You can begin to look for your own virtue by looking at what in life fascinates you the most. If you haven’t yet discovered your virtue, remember that your mind and body have already been trying to point you in that direction all of your life. Look at what you do each day that you enjoy the most, because invariably, each of us most loves to do whatever it is that they do most naturally. Remember that your virtue can be anything—not just what might lead to a career that will make you the most money. I have a friend who once told me that all that she was good at doing was talking and listening. After discussing it for a while, we decided that the gift of gab was a pretty good virtue to have because it could lead to any number of useful careers, such as a therapist, a bartender, a talk show host, an announcer, an auctioneer, or any other career that involved a great deal of social interaction. Now, some of these careers might lead to a lot of money; others, not so much, but all of them could be very fulfilling for someone who likes to talk. When someone figures out his virtue and points his life in that direction, he is usually so good at doing whatever it is that he is meant to be doing that he can turn it into a living because te is always beneficial to you and the world around you. All the same, remember the point of te in your life is not money, it’s happiness, fulfillment, and usefulness.

Not a book of Poetry

One of the things I’m asked most often about The Questioning Way is whether or not it’s a book of poetry. The answer is no, it has a poem at the beginning of every chapter but most of the book is prose. The poetry used in the book is what I usually show people when they ask about The Questioning Way, because it’s the quickest, and most satisfying way I can think of to briefly tell someone about the views expressed in the book. In a society that has become accustomed to getting information in sound bites on television, and as short bursts of text on venues such as twitter, poetry is becoming one of the most poignant and effective ways express a point of view in a very brief manner. Some people think of cutesy rhymes when someone mentions poetry, but I believe well written poetry is all about conveying ideas about every facet of modern life in a way that not only expresses points of view but the emotions propelling those points of view as well.