Ming the Mechanic:
Many paths, but only one is yours

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Many paths, but only one is yours2002-01-25 13:33
pictureby Flemming Funch

As has happened a number of times before, an NCN member just cancelled her membership, giving as a reason her disagreement with the idea that anybody's truth is equally valid, and that all paths lead to the same place. Now, that is a common misunderstanding. I don't think that is something I've said, or something that is any common NCN belief. But it is occasionally interpreted that way. See, I think that NCN should be an example of a space where any constructive approach is welcome, and where people with all sorts of beliefs can co-exist. A place of creative and constructive diversity. That does NOT, however, mean that any one of you is supposed to agree with everybody, or that you're supposed to believe some kind of mish-mash of everybody else's ideas at the same time, or that you're supposed to believe that everybody else's approaches are equally good and true.

There's a logical mix-up here. We're talking about very different levels of abstraction, and mixing them up.

One thing is to have a space where all sorts of things are allowed.

An entirely different thing is what you personally choose to be involved in, what you believe in, and what you feed your energy to.

Those are not of the same order. One is a framework, a meta-structure, an infra-structure that things can happen in. It is open and general. The other is the actual things that happen. Those things are specific and constrained in their parameters.

Specific activities get carried out when specific people get together and make specific agreements and plans, and they stick to them until they've gotten somewhere. Specific outcomes are accomplished by taking specific step to meet them.

Nothing ever happens in general. Everything happens specifically.

So, NO, it has never been any aim of NCN that everybody should just hang around and be blandly open to everything in the world, and just patting everybody else on the shoulder no matter what kind of silly ideas they have, and then somehow a new civilization emerges from that. There are places and times for that, and, yes, it can make a positive atmosphere that we're open to other people's ideas, and that we're trying to be encouraging in regards to their projects. That's probably a good approach to use when we meet new people in a chat room.

But that's not the real work.

The real work is when you get together with a few people and you actually make something happen. You put your minds to solving a problem, and you get results that you can pass on to others. Or you put some facilities in place that will serve a constructive purpose. Or you help make things happen in any other concerted way.

We're not all going to be doing the same thing. We're not all going to agree on any one approach or project. You need to get together with some people who do agree what the project is, and you need to make it happen. A structure like NCN is there to help you find those people, and to give you a place to work on it, and a place to tell other people about it. But NCN as a whole is not going to tell you what to do, and is not going to judge your project as to whether it is THE right project or not.

NCN is meant to be the equivalent of an eco-system or a planet. The nature of our planet has room for all sorts of different expressions of life. An amazing diversity of life forms exists. There's room for all of them. They might or might not all do well when it actually comes to it, but there's no agency that is going to decide in advance which life forms are allowed and which one's aren't.

Each life form does its best in living and multiplying and doing its thing. And each one is complete and beautiful in its own right. But some of the life forms might turn out to be experiments that don't work so well, and they die out again.

And notice that nature as a whole doesn't seem to have any abstract opinion about that. It doesn't seem to have any favorites, and we don't seem to hear any statements about what the best life form is, or what we're all supposed to be doing.

It seems like we're supposed to do our thing, supposed to do what is in our nature and what we're inspired to do.

A butterfly does its thing. It flutters around, drinks nectar from flowers, pollinates plants, looks pretty and whatever else it does. And the butterfly is very good at being a butterfly.

But should we decide that the butterfly is the best and most beautiful way of being, and therefore we should all be butterflies, and we should all flutter around and make larvae and stuff? No we shouldn't. Because some of us want to be rhinoceroses and wallow in the mud instead. And, really, the whole system only works if we pick a great variety of functions and we each do them well. We need earth worms and bees and flowers and ants and bacteria and whales. We need all of it.

But we do need all those life forms to truly do their thing. We don't need some sort of bland mish-mash of all of them. We don't need a butterflyrhinocerosbeeflowerantbacteriawhale that somehow does all of it at the same time, following the perfect plan, with the perfect design. That somehow flutters around and turns the plankton in the sea into garden mulch and that polinates trees and breaks down decomposing animals at the same time. We don't need that. It really works much better to have the great diversity of creatures who all work together in doing all of these things.

So, same thing with NCN. Just because there's room for all sorts doesn't mean that you in particular need to follow all the paths that are present. Just because there are earth worms eating dirt doesn't mean that you have to.

What you need to do is to find YOUR path, if you haven't already found it. Do what you need to do, and find others to do it with. That's the truth for you.

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25 Jan 2002 @ 14:58 by istvan : The way naturally unfolds
"One day a malcontent was sitting under a walnut tree, and his eyes fell on a great pumpkin growing nearby.

"Oh God," said the malcontent, "how foolish you are to give such small nuts to such a big tree and such immense fruit to this tiny vine. Now if pumpkins were growing on this big tree and nuts on this vine, I'd have admired your wisdom.

Just after he said this, a walnut fell down on the man's head and startled him.

"Oh God," he continued, "you are right after all. If the pumpkin had fallen from such a height, I might have been killed. Great is your wisdom and your goodness."  

25 Jan 2002 @ 15:15 by maxtobin : He he he
Spot on Ming, and Zendancer apt and right on too!! Still chuckling about wisdom in a nutshell.  

25 Jan 2002 @ 16:00 by istvan : Thoughts
Ming...i have often thought on the same things. I expected people to find synchronicity with each other, and join working groups on the presented subjects. This has not happened. perhaps people should post their interests more clearly in their bios and be more open to people with the same vibrations. I have tried to contact people an got some abrupt rejections. I can live with this, i am just wonderng how can they.  

25 Jan 2002 @ 17:23 by bushman : As they fall.
Some will fall by the wayside, but if my math is correct, lol, weve lost how many to how many gained? The knich, we all have, either in the NCN or on the outside, me being the average, youve seen my best, you know im not a scholar, booted from high school, yet Ive found a slew of people with my own views, people willing to risk riddicule with our oppinions, fact or no fact it keeps my mind in tone, my soul in touch with others of my heart.
I was amazzed that I was even accepted here in the NCN, I didnt know if I had to compeet, with the caliber of people in here. My first time in here I checked out the members with pics link, I saw the jobs people had thier education ect..., I was quite intimidated, lol.
Well see now? I fit in fine , and I dont feel I have to be equal or intimidated. Thanks Ming, for explaining that since I already knew it from the start, :} Anyplace that has gotten any futher, in changing the world for the better? I think not, the NCN is the model of diversity trying to evolve into all the things we wish for: Synergy - Art - Freedom - Renaissance - New Thinking - Peace - Beauty - Community - Whole Systems - Transformation - Truth - Vision - Dialogue - Humanity - Optimism - Consciousness - Inventions - Love - Sharing - Integrity - Alternatives - Tolerance - Diversity - Emergence - Futurism - Projects - Evolution - Revolution - Unity - Science - Ideas - Creativity - Openness - Sustainability - Nature
Heck its all listed on the log in page :} Thanks again Ming.  

26 Jan 2002 @ 15:59 by sharie : You can't there from here
Many people grow up being indoctrinated by a religion, or a particular scientific perspective, or other set of beliefs that they never question. They're afraid to question it maybe, because then what would they believe in? When they come upon a place that's "anything goes" they tend to think there's something *evil* or *ignorant* about it, so they turn and run away.

How else are we going to find the best way, how else can we create the best of all possible worlds, unless we first consider all our options?

I feel great about the progress that we as individuals, and we as a community are making. I feel great about all I've learned from all of you. Thank you from the depths of my soul.  

27 Jan 2002 @ 08:43 by gyrfalcon : Speed.
Yes, they all reach the same place eventually. It's just that some get their faster! But who is to judge and dictate which one is faster or better?  

27 Jan 2002 @ 13:54 by mmmark : Our Common Path Is The One That Matters

1 Feb 2002 @ 06:51 by shawa : Not that it matters...
...but I want to put in a comment - and say Thank you, Ming - I like the way your mind works.
I´m still finding my way around here - doing a lot of thinking to clear my head about what I want, and what I may be able to give, and to whom - and this article made my day. Thanks again. See ya around (smile)  

1 Feb 2002 @ 17:16 by tdeane : Following Moonshadow Today
Moonshadow said something meaningful to me earlier, and I guess I haven't broken the connection yet, because I seem to be following her around and seeing the same things. You're my "hero" Ming, in all that you do, especially in all the beautiful, unifying thoughts you express in what you write. Spiritual Hugs and Much Love!  

2 Feb 2002 @ 03:02 by ming : Gee
Well, I'm really delighted to have wonderful people like you fluttering around with me in here in the garden.  

4 Feb 2002 @ 03:04 by maxtobin : Fluttering around the Garden
Getting very warm and fuzzy now . Blessed brother ming! Yes it is a garden thank you I wondered why I felt so at home, it is clearer and dearer all the time. Sacred space for moving forward and growing inward in deed as well as thought, isn't it wonderful to just let go and let!  

4 Feb 2002 @ 16:59 by scotty : Thanks dear Ming for your thoughts
and many thanks to you too dearest Bushman for expressing so well the things that I feel but didn't know how to put into words..  

5 Feb 2002 @ 02:20 by jazzolog : Are All My Relatives Equal?
"4 Feb 2002 @ 21:16 by ming : To agree or not to agree
Note, very importantly, that lack of agreement does not in any way have to imply hostility or antagonism or conflict. That's just a human misunderstanding, based on the erroneous idea that only one thing can be true at a time. Contrary to that, lots of things can be true at the same time, and lots of things can happen at the same time. This is a Parallel Universe - everything is happening in parallel. As opposed to a Serial Universe - where you would need to wait for one thing to happen before the next could exist. I can have cocoa and you can have tea. No problem."

My wife is like a computer, in that she carries with her at all times a History Feature. She can remind me that on April 3rd of 1986, I made a statement that today clearly I have contradicted. There was a sudden snowfall that year, school was cancelled, and that is how we happened to have the discussion pertinent to today. A vase of daffodils was on the table. I don't seem to have this feature, nor am I sure that I am a model that could upgrade without a total overhaul. Fortunately for you Ming, the quotation that appears serially before this remark seems not to clash with the body of your thought that has formulated this topic. Sometimes when I sit at the computer, watching a small hourglass---even on broadband---it appears that one screen follows another. But it is possible and often delightful to have many windows going at once~~~to click a link here and then one there, until one has a whole collection of window shopping with which to form an opinion or argument. I got taken into a "hot tub" chatroom a couple years ago by a friend who had 3 conversations going on at once, besides trying to teach me how the place worked. I nearly went crazy. Coming from the training of the generation that I did, the way the computer works is an ongoing, wonderful reeducation. Consistency is a hobgoblin, yet one does not yearn for a mind so open that one's brain falls out. Nor do I, anyway, reach for a multidimension in which I have many identities available, depending on the channel I switch on (pun intended). At odds with myself and my history, never sure of how well my maintenance will carry me forward, or if the network is slow today, or how close to the end of my warranty I am---lo---another human appears on the horizon with a "differing" opinion. Today it looks like Little John across the brook, and I am Robin Hood. Maybe if I walk in his shoes---or whatever those guys had on---for a mile we won't have to bash each other with these staves and get knocked on the noggin. Perhaps I am not alone in finding that outlook the most difficult thing in the world to do...at a time like that. Something about the sight of him...or that comment he just made...lights a fuse, and I become a kid at the fireworks fascinated with my own explosion. How will I go off this time? Testing the edge of conflict with my thumb. Loving that feeling of adrenalin starting to caress my circuitry. And weeping, now as I write, for the pain in this world that I cause. Richard  

5 Feb 2002 @ 15:33 by ming : Conflicting Thoughts
Richard, maybe the most rewarding things to be presented with is really just those points where we seem to have disagreed with ourselves. When we said one thing at one time, and then obviously disagreed with ourselves by saying or doing something else later. And, heheh, I also have a wife who seems to be quite capable at coming up with the various ways I'm contradicting myself. But I've also noticed that whenever I've tried to use the same kind of trick on a woman, it never works. She will usually have no shame whatsoever about contradicting herself, and she will insist that it isn't self-contradiction at all. After initially being very puzzled about that, I've eventually come to learn a few things from that. Like, something inside might remain completely in its integrity, even while apparently saying different things on the outside. The reverse is not necessarily the case. Staying true to a feeling inside might require breaking some consistencies on the outside. ... Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that we might change our perspective, and instead of thinking that we're being caught in a lie, we might see the opportunity in reconciling several parts of ourselves. We might have said different things at each time, but there's possibly an underlying sense of truth or importance which is consistent from time to time, and which is more important to us than the exact words we say.  

5 Feb 2002 @ 16:01 by jazzolog : Clear and Simple
I guess I like best "the opportunity in reconciling several parts of ourselves." That really speaks to me. Zen urges us to get busy with the unity right away, as soon as it occurs to us. Don't delay! Why try to weave together these frayed strands with trembling fingers in the last hours? A unified being, breathing out of honesty, is helpful in the preparation. To meet my maker? To go out without crying for Mama? Or now, to address these wife questions. (I'm thinking of renaming my Newslog The Doghouse.) By the way, I do not want to get us in big trouble, but you did say something up above about "use the...trick on a woman?" I hesitate to ask if some sort of communication/relationship difference is inherent in that notion. I painstakingly avoided crediting the History Feature to females...but are we wondering something here?  

5 Feb 2002 @ 16:10 by ming : Females
Well, stereotyping is never going to quite be the truth, but sometimes it is helpful to generalize. I've found that women are typically much better than men at dealing with paradox, self-contradiction and imperfect circumstances. A man will often want to tie things up nicely into a logical, ordered thing. Where a woman has often recognized that life just isn't like that. Somehow, biologically, women seem to be from the get-go plugged into the universe in an intuitive way that men have to work much harder at arriving at. ... Anyway, I've learned a lot by getting over my idea that everything has to logically make sense, and in exploring all the stuff that doesn't make sense, but that somehow still is right, I've discovered that ultimately things do actually make sense, but maybe in a different way than expected.  

5 Feb 2002 @ 22:28 by jazzolog : Males

"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." - Homer Simpson  

5 Feb 2002 @ 22:44 by jazzolog : But Seriously, Folks
I congratulate you for putting into print what perhaps many of us wonder---and do a lot of fighting about. The "war of the sexes" can be delightful, as long as a HEALTHY sense of humor is evident. By healthy I mean positive and constructive---and healing after all. I don't know if any of the population of women at NCN are going to want to get in on this, but we could be discussing a lively topic here. It seems to me that if there are differences in the way men and women think and do things, we should be getting closer everyday to determining if such phenomena are physiological or social. Surely there must be studies going on this instant involving neurological tracking and stuff.  

Other stories in
2011-11-08 03:20: Do what you do
2007-11-09 00:55: The ends justify the means
2007-09-19 00:36: Fractal brains
2007-06-06 00:13: Ten incredible things we get for free
2007-03-26 21:12: Ken Wilber stops his brain waves
2007-03-21 14:45: Free Thought the simplicity of life
2007-03-09 23:46: The ends justify the means
2007-01-29 21:44: Free will in a ten-dimensional universe
2007-01-24 20:42: Assuming Somebody Else's Viewpoint
2007-01-16 16:28: Free Will

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