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Personal growth: Are distractions restricting our progress? June 6, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development Potential.
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In our current environment of almost limitless amounts of both amusements and serious pursuits, some social critics say we are ruining ourselves by choosing an excess of frivolity and illusions.

If true, then perhaps we are not in an ideal personal milieu in which to realize our personal development potential.

And yet, this debate about such choices and their consequences has been going on for many centuries.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius (551-479 BCE) wrote:

“These days, rulers use times of peace to indulge in the pleasures of music and idle amusement. They’re bringing ruin down upon themselves. We bring it all upon ourselves: prosperity and ruin alike.” (1)

If we are able to bring both ruin and prosperity upon ourselves, then how should we proceed?

Mencius answers:

“The T’ai Chia says:
Ruin from Heaven*
We can weather.
Ruin from ourselves
We never survive.”

Or, paradoxically, we must and can deal with what the universe delivers to us, because the events are not within a sphere we can control; but it is much harder to cope with or recover from a path of self-destruction that we willingly choose to embark on.

More concisely, realizing what we can and cannot control and making good choices.

(1) The writings of Mencius, as translated by David Hinton in his book, The Four Chinese Classics, Counterpoint, Berkeley, California, 2013

* Hinton describes Heaven as indicating “Natural process. Or more descriptively, the inevitable unfolding of things in the cosmological process.”

Hinton also notes that, “In a culture that makes no distinction between those realms we call the heart and the mind, Mencius was the great thinker of the heart.”

— Dennis Mellersh


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