the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Suzie has Questions and I have Answers

So suzie81speaks has written a post called Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment and I am honored that she asked me personally to respond to it.  It’s a series of questions that I know as a “getting to know you meme”.   I admit that “Community Experiment” had me hoping for something bigger, but I like these questionnaires nevertheless.

I like them because the answers can be thoughtful, and pleasantly revealing; more so than the quizzes you might find on Facebook now, or the ones I remember when I first started out on LiveJournal 10 years ago.

On to the questions:

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

I settled on the title when I was still blogging on the VOX platform.  Giving a blog a name was a new idea to me in 2007.  I was still with the idea that blogging was like a personal diary when I started with LiveJournal in 2002, and I didn’t have a title for that blog until later.

I experimented with different titles– “the world of jaklumen”, “the eccentric world of jaklumen”, “the eclectic world of jaklumen”, and so on.  Blogging was moving away from personal writings to niche interests, but I insisted on writing about whatever caught my whimsy.  Things were a bit looser and freer at VOX– I really didn’t see anyone that was trying to settle on one particular look.  We were actually encouraged to change our headers as we felt like it, although that was about all we could customize from the interface.

A friend (whom I have called my “Sifu-of-sorts”) at that time turned me on to studying the Eastern paths, and I became very interested in the Tao Te Ching and philosophical Taoism.  I decided I wanted to reflect that in my blog title, and settled on “the tao of jaklumen”, which I carried over to WordPress when VOX closed in 2010.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

I reckon I’m pretty bad at giving advice; I’m still trying to figure this all out myself.  But I followed the Zero to Hero course at The Daily Post on WordPress, and I found it very helpful.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

What is THE strangest experience?  Hmm, can’t think of one that I’d call the most strange, but, these sorts of experiences seem to happen in my dreams at night.  Relatively few are ones I’d call cool or inspiring; they tend to be bizarre on average.

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

I can’t think of one.  I’m tired, grumpy, grouchy, hurting… and this answer isn’t coming easily for me.

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

I’m not sure if I’d go– I’ve consumed enough sci-fi that explores all sorts of chaos that could ensue with interfering with the space time continuum.  I figure I’d be even more awkward than Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”.

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

Oh, I don’t know.  I rather like my first name.  I figure it’s much easier to say I want to choose my next nickname.  Jack (or as I spell it, “jak”) is a nickname of my real first name.

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

What kind of B Movie?  If it’s the 1950’s campy invader type, it’d probably be something like “Revenge of the Lab Wererat”.  If it could include late ’70s and ’80s sci-fi and comic book movies, it might be “Song of the Stars”.


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Equilibrium in Yin-Yang review

The unplugged week is over, but I still need time to get things done and prepare for spinal cord stimulator therapy.  Please continue to enjoy these posts (even if you’ve read them before).

To recap and review, I give you two trailers for the film.  The first is more yin (dark) aspect, covering the destructive side of the movie– the destruction of the mother-wife of Preston’s family, and the destructive side of Preston as Tetragrammaton Cleric, First Class.

The second is more yang (light) aspect, covering the rise of John Preston to Champion of the Resistance, and his communications with Jurgen.  It is the official trailer for the U.S. market.

Taijitu, or “diagram of ultimate power”, in classic Taoist representation. The white is Yin while the black is Yang, and the dots indicate their crossing and merging interaction.

As in the Taijitu, there are cross-elements– the more yin-like trailer has yang element, and the more yang-like trailer still has yin.

Where there was destruction and darkness, creation and light fought to break free, and John Preston witnessed that light, sometimes very literally.  But Preston had to fight for this light, and as the Angel of Death, he destroyed agents of darkness.

Note that yin (dark) energy is associated with the feminine and the night, while yang (light) energy is associated with the masculine and the day.  There is a good summary at Wikipedia.  While Kurt Wimmer references Western notions of masculinity and femininity, these Eastern concepts remain, even in the ways he uses white and black colors in the film.

Furthermore, Angus MacFayden (Vice-Counsel Dupont) says in Finding: ‘Equilibrium’ that the story is “almost a Buddhist tale” where good must oppose evil.

Opposition in all things, dear readers.

For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi, chapter 2, version 27, The Book of Mormon)

This is one of the bridges between my LDS faith and philosophical Taoism.  Hence, this blog remains “the tao of jaklumen”.

FINAL POST IN THE SERIES: Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

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A 10-year Blogging Journey: Death, before Life

In my LiveJournal blogging, I never mentioned my “Sifu-of-Sorts”, whom I met online through the Camarilla.  I call him “Sifu-of-Sorts” because he balked to be called a sifu or a sensei, but, he was my Meeting of the Mentor (stage four of the Hero’s Journey, per se Vogler) regardless, and that was the name, “Sifu-of-Sorts”, that he reluctantly approved.

Research Association of Laozi Taoist Culture

In the Mage venue, I was playing a member of The Akashic Brotherhood (which refers to the akashic record in Eastern reckoning).  I had some interest in Eastern paths, so my Sifu-of-Sorts recommended that I read the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching.

I did not get too deep into the Gita, but I read the Tao Te Ching like a man dying of thirst.

Jan. 7th, 2005 — “Still grieving”:

You know, oddly enough, Julie is dealing with the loss pretty well. I haven’t been handling it so well though.

Many tears were shed; I had really wanted this after all. They say it’s good therapy to try again but a part of me is reluctant. The doctor said after four weeks was okay.

I try to keep remembering that the child will come when the time is right; we do have a feeling this next one is very patient. But I still feel so much.

We knew that we would have another child after our daughter.  Both of them made their presence known a long time before they were born, somehow: there was excitement, anticipation, near impatience with our daughter, and more patience and gentle love with our son.

Perhaps Boy needed that patience, because he didn’t come right away.

We waited a while.  I wasn’t sure we were ready– we were in that crummy fourplex and things were difficult.  I remember my father coming to visit to help Cimmorene break the news to me that she was pregnant.  “She really needs your support,” he said.

But it wasn’t to be, yet.  My memory is hazy, but I remember Cimmy saying something was wrong, that she was bleeding for some reason.  She rushed to the toilet, and miscarried– and I saw the process in all its ugly, gory horror, blood and all.

This was The Ordeal.  I was devastated.

I blamed myself.  I thought that because I wasn’t supportive enough, that I hadn’t wanted the pregnancy at the time, that I was to blame for her miscarrying.  I cut myself, many times, scoring the inside of my forearm with a razor blade.  I wept.  I brooded and stewed as I often do.

I e-mailed my Sifu-of-Sorts about it.  He was so sanguine, as he often is.  He explained that miscarrying was the body’s natural way of dealing with a faulty pregnancy.  I already knew that was true, but I had an emotional dissonance, as I often do.  I may know something logically, but emotionally– it’s often a different story.

But Boy did come, two years and a few months later.  That, of course, is the subject for a future post.

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress


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I want to hope, too, just in a different way

This is a response to mudlips’s post I want to hope.  I thought about what she had to say over and over as I had met and knew people with similar reactions of sadness and anger over human environmental degradation.  I was writing a comment and realized it was much too long and needed to be in a post of my own.

I was an environmental studies student, and I worked with an environmental educator at city hall. I was a Boy Scout. I have talked with friends that have shared knowledge with me about geology, archeology, anthropology, and how flora and fauna live both in wild and domestic contexts. I am LDS/Mormon, but also consider myself a philosophical Taoist. I suppose I am of the stewardship school as far as the Earth.

I am reluctant to see the Earth overall as nuturing, comforting, although it can be all those things in particular instances. Mostly, I suffer from nerve damage and other health concerns that have me howling and groaning in pain when the temperature drops, the humidity rises, or there is other clashes of weather. I am grateful for the rain when it comes out here– it waters my humble garden and orchard, but it often hurts like hell these days.

I have seen examples that lead me to believe that Mother Nature is impartial, and will slay any wanderer that is not prepared and vigilant. I love technology, yet find some respite in observing nature, and even what view I can get of the cosmos.

I see myself as an Indigo Man– I want to know my place in the universe, and have a sense of that place. My wife calls me a “seeker of truth”; as my soulmate, she knows of my ancient quest to know the song of the stars, and the interconnectedness of all things throughout the senses, and the artistic expressions of such. She remembers my friendship with an old music-loving soul that admired my thoughts, although much of the world knows of him much more than it does of me.

What does that mean in my context here (my blog theme, currently) of the Monomyth?  While I think this mortal existence is beautiful, I still see it as a journey.  I reject Platonic implications that our universe in tangible form is an imperfect copy of concepts and ideas.  Nor do I think that spirit is superior to the body, as some early Christians in the Hellenistic world surmised.  No, I look forward to a day when spirit is fused to body more perfectly, not with blood, but with light.  I look forward to the day…

…till all are one.


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Equilibrium in Yin-Yang review

To recap and review, I give you two trailers for the film.  The first is more yin (dark) aspect, covering the destructive side of the movie– the destruction of the mother-wife of Preston’s family, and the destructive side of Preston as Tetragrammaton Cleric, First Class.

The second is more yang (light) aspect, covering the rise of John Preston to Champion of the Resistance, and his communications with Jurgen.  It is the official trailer for the U.S. market.

Taijitu, or “diagram of ultimate power”, in classic Taoist representation. The white is Yin while the black is Yang, and the dots indicate their crossing and merging interaction.

As in the Taijitu, there are cross-elements– the more yin-like trailer has yang element, and the more yang-like trailer still has yin.

Where there was destruction and darkness, creation and light fought to break free, and John Preston witnessed that light, sometimes very literally.  But Preston had to fight for this light, and as the Angel of Death, he destroyed agents of darkness.

Note that yin (dark) energy is associated with the feminine and the night, while yang (light) energy is associated with the masculine and the day.  There is a good summary at Wikipedia.  While Kurt Wimmer references Western notions of masculinity and femininity, these Eastern concepts remain, even in the ways he uses white and black colors in the film.

Furthermore, Angus MacFayden (Vice-Counsel Dupont) says in Finding: ‘Equilibrium’ that the story is “almost a Buddhist tale” where good must oppose evil.

Opposition in all things, dear readers.

For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi, chapter 2, verse 27, The Book of Mormon)

This is one of the bridges between my LDS faith and philosophical Taoism.  Hence, this blog remains “the tao of jaklumen”.

FINAL POST IN THE SERIES: Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston


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The Te of Piglet

The Te of Piglet
Benjamin Hoff

So this is what I'm reading right now.  Yeah, wow, you might be thinking– jak's reading a book, and not just periodicals.  It's a sequel book to The Tao of Pooh (which I read a few years ago), and written by the same author, of course.  Sometimes I read it to my daughter at bedtime.  Pretty deep compared to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (my wife has been going through the series with her).  I'm rather amazed she listens and asks questions.  They aren't much philosophical in nature; as I don't think I can expect too much of that at her age, but she does ask about what particular words and concepts mean, especially if I throw in an explanation or two.

This is not the only spiritual reading with have with her; we have a family scripture study, using a series of LDS scripture and books (the LDS "Standard Works" and LDS Church History, to be precise) adapted for children.

It's all a pleasure, really.  At some point I should acquire copies of both the Pooh and Piglet books.

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