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Episode Forty-nine Transcript

Chapter seven of Daodejing talks about how the sage puts herself last. We explore why our system and culture makes this so difficult to do in a genuine way.

David: Welcome to Gu Dao Jin Xing, Walking the Timeless Way, a podcast that digs deeply into the ancient text of Daodejing to uncover its timeless wisdom them and discuss how to apply it to today's chaotic world. I'm David Wang, executive coach. I'm joined by my co host, Ian Felton, practicing psychotherapist. Good morning, Ian.

Morning, David.

How are you?

It's just a beautiful time of year up here right now. We're getting the nice, cool mornings, and it's maybe staying in the 70s during the day. And so for me, it's quite a lovely, lovely stretch of days and hopefully a few more on the way. How about you?

That's great to hear. Yes, I know before it gets cold to enjoy the autumn season. It's really wonderful. I have a lot of good memories of Minneapolis right now in Florida today. It's nice and sunny. And last night was the harvest moon. Also, traditionally it's Chinese mid autumn festival.

Yeah. So there was a big celebration I could watch over. WeChat symbolically attain, and I bought some moon cakes from online. And so we celebrated in a small way.

Well, that sounds nice. I've had the moon cakes from Costco before. Are those worth getting? Do you like those?

That's one of our favorites over the years. And this year, we decided to get another style of moon cake because in different parts of China, just like cuisine, they're different kinds. The one we typically get from Costco is the Cantonese one. It's sweet. It has the egg yolk in it. Right. Is that the one you typically get?

Yeah, I've had the ones with the yolk. And what I've found it really is about the quality of how the yolk is preserved within the cake. Because if it's dry, that is not a good moon cake.

Yeah, I love those. The ones we get this year is actually the style from the area where I was born and grew up near Jiangsu Province. So it's called Su Shi, like the Su Style.

What makes it that style?

Less sweet and also with all kinds of like a sesame and other nuts in it.

Yeah, sounds good.

Yeah. (my wife) Ya Ting bought it this year because it just reminds of our childhood.

It sounds lovely.

Yeah. So it's nice at this time of the year with the moon and hopefully in your area with the beautiful, spectacular foliage.


David: Great. So let's get started on today's session. We are back again to Daodejing, chapter seven. And this chapter mainly continues with the previous chapters talking about Tao and heaven and earth and also the human embodiment of Heaven and Earth and Dao--Sheng Ren (圣人). So why don't we start by reading the original text? Would you mind just reading the Chinese in Chinese chapter seven?

Ian: I'd love to give it a shot.


tiān cháng dì jiǔ,
tiān dì suǒ yǐ néng cháng qiě jiǔ?
yǐ qí bú zì shēng,gù néng cháng shēng。
shì yǐ shèng rén hòu qí shēn ér shēn xiān。
wài qí shēn ér shēn cún。
fēi yǐ qí wú sī yé,gù néng chéng qí sī。


David: That's perfect. So let me share with our listeners one of the versions of the translations.


The Dao of heaven is eternal, and the earth is long enduring.

Why are they long enduring?

They do not live for themselves, thus they are present for all beings.

The master puts herself last and finds herself in the place of authority.

She detaches herself from all things, therefore she is united with all things.

She gives no thought of self. She is perfectly fulfilled.

David: What do you think?

Ian: Well, I think definitely the last line about when you put yourself last, how that contributes to fulfillment. I don't want to jump too far ahead, and obviously we want to talk about the other things, but for me, it's just it makes perfect sense because the times when usually when we feel the most anxiety or self consciousness, it's like we're really worried about ourselves. And so just by being concerned about other things and not worrying about ourselves, that automatically leads to fulfillment. But that's a tough thing to do just because of how our nervous system works and how we're wired and really how our culture continues to promote people. Just focus on your identity, focus on shaping your personality, focus on being well liked, focus on just all these concerns that make people focus so much on themselves and not really too much on others. So I think it's sage wisdom.

David: That's a good point. When I read that line, the first reaction I had was, oh, this is really kind of like against the grains of our culture. Our culture from very early on encourages us to get ahead. I think getting ahead is the most important thing, instead of putting yourself last. Right? Shen hou (身后) as opposed to getting ahead of everybody. But the interesting thing is the culture of belief is that we get fulfilled or maybe self actualized through being successful and getting ahead.

The culture doesn't give us other options. That success is purely defined in ways that are aligned with the economic system. And so it's all based around wealth and status. And obviously the more status you have, the more wealth you can have. And so they're intertwined. It's the same thing. No one's given another option. It's like even if you just said to your high school guidance counselor. Probably I don't know if people still do that or not. It's been a long time since I was in school. But I'm just imagining explicitly or implicitly if someone who had a lot of potential to succeed in normal terms said. You know what. I just want to have a simple life and take care of the people in my area. And I don't really care about doing anything other than just living simply and caring for others. Most people would say they didn't live up to their potential.

Yeah, it's interesting you're mentioning the guidance counselors. I had an opportunity to work with some of them in some of my work. I remember a couple of years ago, the US. Universities, the admissions offices published white papers in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. That paper focuses on I remember the title is called Turning the Tides. Basically in the high school arena, in order to get into the top universities, there's this red race and people compete based on the number of AP courses they take, the kind of the extracurricular activities they do. Just very achievement driven and it's becoming out of balance. It's unhealthy. So the Harvard Graduate School of Education actually had an initiative. That initiative aims at promoting what you just said like caring and well-being so really the initiative is called Making Caring Comment. So those trends then the leader of the project wanted to really make an impact in the real world so they know how much of an influence that admission officers in different universities, especially the top, the Ivy Leagues and other ones have. So they kind of partner to publish this paper. So I observed with curiosity whether that truly change people's behavior in terms of what high school students need to do to get prepared for colleges. I think it's still because of the strong cultural forces still there may be here and there awareness and progress, but overall I would say still it is the same as you described.

Yeah, it doesn't sound like that balance was achieved and also the sincerity. We talk about the stage not doing things in a contrived way and of course it sounds like this type of caring, it's not sincere caring. It's like how do I make myself look like I care so I get into the best university.

Yeah, I wouldn't say that that's the original thought of the initiative itself, but I worry about that in itself becomes carrying more common in itself become a virtual then everybody knows that now the admissions officers care more about caring, so they start to appear caring, which goes back to chapter two of Daodejing in terms of beauty and ugliness and good and evil.

Yeah, because fundamentally whatever system is in place that directs people, that's the thing that if it doesn't change every action that's done within it is still going to be aligned with the values of that system. As long as we have this broader achievement status, wealth based system that says implicitly and explicitly your goal, if you can, should be to achieve the most and make the most wealth that you possibly can. If then you say and to do that you have to be really selfless. One, it's a total contradiction and two, as long as the system itself still has different values and virtues, of course people are only going to do it in a game, as a game where, okay, this is the hoop that I have to jump through to get all of the status and wealth that I'm looking for. So it's not necessarily going to change anything unless we fundamentally change the structure of society and society's values. So that's ultimately what the leadership would have to do. The whole system would have to lead differently. And as long as it's not doing that, then why would you expect high school kids to do a better job of it than what the system is doing?

Let me try to understand a little bit more about this system. As a human society, it seems like whenever we have a problem, we come up with a solution or a system, right? And then very soon we see that system produces, let's say, unintended consequences. It's kind of against the original kind of intent, the problem we are trying to solve. Yeah, so that sounds like a very interesting circle. So without a system, what else can be in place if we broaden our options and possibilities?

Well, it's taking away things, not adding to them. That, in essence, is the message of Laozi, which is that there is a natural flow of things, there's a natural way of being in the human heart, but it's the things that have been created that have corrupted the human heart. So it's not about adding a system, let's take away the toxins, that's take away the poisons. And that's the thing that's not going to happen. So, for example, when you value difficult to obtain goods than robbers appear. So when you say there's this chunk of metal called gold, there's these gems called diamonds, there's these houses that are selling for $200 million, there's these cars that will cost you a million dollars and it's impossible to get them unless you have a huge amount of wealth. And you really also can't get a huge amount of wealth unless you have status, because people with status are the ones that have the wealth and they're not even going to talk to someone unless you have status. So if you're just working a nine to five job, people with wealth are not going to talk to you. So as long as those are the things that are driving this whole system, that's what pollutes people's hearts, that's what pollutes people's minds. And now you've created chaos. Latzo said this very clearly and then he also talked about the status part. He said essentially there shouldn't be status. So Laozi could see very early on in human civilization that arbitrarily defining things as having great wealth or great value and arbitrarily bestowing status on people. That creates chaos. And I think you can see the vast majority of chaos that we see in the world. It points back some way or another to this, that if we remove those toxins from our society, people would live a lot simpler, their hearts would not be as corrupt and society would be there would be a lot more harmony in society.

David: Very interesting. What you're saying reminds me of some of the executive coaching work I've been doing in the corporate world. A lot of companies are trying to make changes or achieve some kind of a desired progress. What I see typically doing is that kind of progress, that kind of change gets translated into something into the value system. Basically the leaders through communication will tend to prioritize or emphasize something telling people now innovation is something we valued or now customer focus is something we value. And so that kind of communication sets the tone. So the expectation is people will follow that and on top of that, maybe they do some change of the HR system through either training and development or compensation benefits. So to further incentivize people toward that behavior. What I see over the years, which is very interesting, is there is a little bit I mean I can't say it's all failure. It does maybe in the short term sometimes you have to look at the time horizon. In the short term there is this alignment of behavior to what is being desired but then later all kinds of complications start to merge. It's almost like there are forces that sabotage the original scheme or plan. So the question I'm asking you is in the society are fundamental? I think there is at least there's some kind of agreement or conventional agreement. Let's say that society needs to make progress. For example, for Chinese government to be legitimate and to be supported there needs to be a promotion of, let's say Chinese dreams or the renewal of Chinese influence in the world for this country. The politicians, let's say on the democratic side need to say we need to preserve democracy. So all these seems to indicate to the masses or everyone that kind of what is being valued. What do you see? Should we do that or should we just let it to what extent we need to do this kind of pace setting or prioritization or valuing or to what? You know, should we go to another extreme, just let everybody to determine it without any kind of a common standard or do you see what I mean? Like the society and the nature what distinguishes human beings is that what is believed to be human agency and what is believed to be the society needs to be progress. That's kind of ingrained in most people's thinking and thinking aloud with you. Is it a matter of balance or is it like we need to shift to another model which is let every individuals or nations determine according to their own culture and the value system.

So I'm pretty sure, based upon what Laozi described as an ideal situation for humans, that civilization in all of its pretty much modern forms is directly at odds with Taoist thought, Laozi's thought and probably Zhungzi's thought too because all of them rejected the imperial court, right? Like they all rejected that as anything to be taken seriously at all. And so it's like trying to say how do we get water to stay in this vase that has all these holes drilled in it? You can try a million different ways but as long as the nature of that vase is to have all these holes in it, it's comical it's absurd.

What do you mean by the holes in the vase? What is that metaphor? Let's say with the human beings or human society?

Ian: You can't fix something that's just fundamentally never going to work.

David: What is never going to work in this?

The type of civilization that people keep trying to create over and over again throughout time. People keep trying to do these things using because you were talking about the people at the top sending out messages and like the kind of carrot and the stick for people and all that still was about controlling people under the subscription to a corporation, whatever. So fundamentally, all that is based upon the structure of status, where there's the people deciding and then the people being controlled. And that's what civilization has always been about. I mean, when you go back to earliest civilizations, that post agricultural, where religion plays a big role, where the state plays a big role, it's always about an elite group of people at the top trying to control all the people at the bottom. And with the end result of maintaining the power structure that the people at the top have created, generally what happens is that that continues to get more and more out of balance until it topples over. So whether we look at African civilizations, Mayan, Aztec civilizations, European civilizations, I mean, it doesn't matter which civilization you look at. It's that same pattern over and over and over again of a civilization gets structured, status gets created, where there's a small number of people at the top who get all of the highest status and a disproportionate number of resources. And generally, the bigger that the disparity is between the people at the top and the people at the bottom, we sign that that civilization is probably on its way out, like it's going to collapse somehow. And that has happened over and over and over again throughout time. It's never not happened. And Laozi was pretty clear in saying why that happens. He was just like, yeah, there's too much wealth inequality, there's too much disparity and status. You have people who have everything and then all these people who have nothing. And he said that's how you create a sickness in society that's out of balance. But the thing is, every civilization has done that. There's never been a civilization to not create these huge separations in status between whether it's a religious based one, where you have the high priests and priestesses at the top, or whether it's economic, where you have the people at the highest level of industry, what we would call like an oligarchy. I mean, that's essentially people who control the companies with a lot of either natural resources or technology or whatever it is. But that's always been the case. And then it collapses. And so fundamentally, we keep building these, we keep doing these same models of civilization, and it keeps resulting in the same end result, which is that civilizations rise, they collapse, they fall, and another one comes up and takes its place. So to some extent I think we do have to look at well then that's just Dao at work. But the problem with that is that there are still people who live on the planet who haven't done that and they exist now just like we do. There's tons of tons, but there's hundreds of indigenous tribes who never participated in creating this type of civilization and they still exist. And even though loggers and mining companies are trying to wipe them out and murder them and push them off their lands just like all civilizations have done, they're still alive. And anything that's living at this point in time on the Earth has succeeded from a biological survival standard. Like those genes can get passed on. The genes of an ant can get passed on in 2022, just like the genes of a human. They're evolutionarily equal because people can become extinct if the ant lives on its ant species that then inherits the Earth. So it is with these civilizations, these hundreds of indigenous tribes that have persisted and existed. It wouldn't surprise me at all if when this global civilization topples that, it's these indigenous people that keep doing just fine because they've never participated in this system, they haven't belonged to this system, and they continue on their way as long as we don't create some giant nuclear fallout around the planet that kills everyone. So that's the naive way that people look at the world. They assume, well, yeah, people just build civilizations. That's what we do. We have to live in these really crazy, absurd civilizations. And it's like, no, there's still hundreds of tribes out there that have never bought into this crazy way of living and they're still here, they're still doing it, they're still doing what they've always done.

David: That's a very insightful observation. I wonder why human beings keep on repeating this way of building and rebuilding civilizations. Is it just a matter of they don't know other options? So talking about human agency here, so if we're talking about the ultimate freedom, then logically speaking, they should be able to see all the choices and they are evaluating. But ironically, they're just like repeating the same pattern. Is it because of the structure of their mind in their psyche that crave for order and the coherence and control that kind of lead them to making the same choice of building and rebuilding civilization?

Yeah, I mean, there's the people who they want to be that person with all the wealth and power within the current system. There's always people who get attracted then to oh yeah, I want to be Obama, I want to be whoever I want to be someone with a billion dollars. And the system encourages that. And so people get taught that very young age, as soon as they're learning, they're already learning about money, they're already learning about whatever they see. I don't even know what it's like to be a little kid these days where from the time that you're born, you're interacting with the Internet. I mean, I'm concerned that these people, they're not going to have any sense of existence outside of what I would call the garbage dump of the Internet. It's so much useless knowledge, which Laozi also talks about knowledge and how poisonous knowledge is to human existence in society, too. And I think he could see it even thousands of years ago, how that affects the human mind, and certainly had no clue about what was going to happen with the Internet and the Metaverse. I mean, people's minds are going to be turned to mush very early on, without a doubt. And I don't know that they're going to have any sense of anything outside of the system.

I see. So that is part of the either we call it socialization process or education. Right. Education plays a role in that.

Socialization and education, definitely it's how people are socialized and so that's just what they think it means to be a human. It's like, no, this is one way of being socialized.

Right. Why does this you know, I can imagine not everyone maybe there are few people who are able to see through this. I was always wondering, the people who see through this never become a mainstream force. How do you explain that? They are the ones who, based on our discussion, who potentially may point human race towards something, toward other choices that are available to us. But when you look around, I was wondering why that kind of thoughts or insight cannot be translated into a larger force for turning this tide.

Yeah, because it's at odds with the values of whatever the current civilization is. And so, of course, it's not going to get amplified. If anything, it's going to be tried to be extinguished. So even looking at Jesus, I think Jesus didn't really get popular until a couple of hundred years after he died. And of course, why did it get popular?

David: He was a radical himself. Like he challenged the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and basically Judaism.

Yeah. So the system was never going to popularize Jesus because Jesus was just like, this system is completely awful corrupt. There's nothing spiritual about it at all. And Jesus as a story, as a narrative, didn't get popularized until after the Nicene convention in 323 Ad. When it's the fusion of religion and the state. And the Roman state was just like, hey, this Jesus story, like, people really like it and we would actually be able to control them a lot easier if we just said, like, hey, Christianity is the Roman church now. It's the Roman like the Roman government says, Christianity is what we're doing now. That's our official religion. And of course, at that point, religion and the state just got fused together and the spiritual part of it was destroyed. And what you had left was just a system for controlling people, creating that difference in status. You had the priest at the top and all the lowly people at the bottom. And so now it was no longer a relationship between an individual and God. You had to get your relationship to God by going through the state, through a priest, and there you go. So that's why it doesn't get popularized. It doesn't get popularized until it can be co-opted and turned into something to maintain the status quo.

Then the whole flavor has changed.

It's not what it is anymore. No.

Right. There's a powerful parallel throughout in Chinese history. Confused. This idea started as a more independent, more reflective kind of way of living. But after the Qing Empire, the Han Dynasty started to cherry pick some kind of ideology to support its own system and then confucianism a lot of the ideas because it's powerful, because Confusions talked about Benevolence, and the first Ching Emperor was very cruel. So among the people, people are looking for some kind of virtues and kindness. So just like Jesus idea, it got very popular. But then the rulers kind of jump onto the bandwagon of something that has the whole heart support, and they embrace that as something like, I wouldn't say state religion, but it's definitely an officially supported thinking process. Then they institutionalize the entrance examination. Everybody needs to read the text. But then the whole spirit got lost. Isn't that similar to what happened to the Christian Church?

Yeah, without a doubt. Again, as soon as something becomes contrived, you've lost it.

Now what to do? It seems like it's pretty pessimistic in terms of how human beings deal with those things. They have the intelligence or the wisdom to realize these very deep reality, at least through Jesus or Confucius or Socrates. But the irony is for that thing to get broader, for everybody to receive, to be at scale, it turns around and becomes something false. So I find that is very ironical and interesting phenomenon.

Yes. And it would be pessimistic, except for the fact that, again, there are still people who have rejected that way of living and have stayed true to what I believe is probably most the closest to a Taoist way of living, just eschewing status, wealth, hoarding, and just living simply in nature with each other. People do that. People have done that. They have avoided becoming part of these corrupt civilizations, and now it's a global, what I would call global civilization of corruption, where most countries around the world now are part of it and all contributing to it and all subscribe to those values. So it would be pessimistic, except for the fact that even though it's far less than 1% of the population, there's people still proving now you actually don't have to live this way. You actually don't have to destroy the entire planet and kill millions of creatures unnecessarily each year and destroy forests and mountains and streams and rivers just so that you can keep this insane machine going. They're still alive, they're still out there doing their thing.

Yeah, when you're talking about that I can think of a lot of the throughout history historical figures like Saint Francis who chose to live a voluntary poverty and abandon his merchant father. A lot of the Christian mystics who are on the margin of the overall Christian kingdom, not part of the hierarchy and of course later some of them were made into sense. So that's another interesting merge of using the mainstream. I think that's happening all the time sometimes let's say taking China, for example. I think in recently I picked up a lot of the discussions regarding the virtues and morals the government tried to promote, for example, trying to be more hardworking and frugal during my time when I was young all these things are considered to be really lofty. It's something that we are as a person we're aim at. What gets complicated is nowadays people I see two phenomenal. One is people still recognize those things as good but at the same time they resist the government of promoting it because they are afraid they exploit it and while the others it's similar to a lot of the acquisition of the leftist group in this country talking about climate change. I do think that a lot of people they live a very extravagant lifestyle, planes and big houses but then they talk about the climate crisis. So that kind of hypocrisy. I think people see through nowadays. That's why people are torn between the virtue itself which is a good thing. Just naturally it's a good thing but at the same time once you start to talk about it and embody it you are afraid that you're being ripped off by those people who talk to talk but not really walk to talk.

Ian: Yeah, and for good reason because it happens all the time. When you have someone who's an industrialist like Bill Gates or someone who wants to lecture everybody else he just seems so out of touch with his whole existence. And same thing with the celebrities who it seems like they want to lecture people so much but live the most privileged extravagant lifestyles as anyone. You don't even have to see through it because it's so just obviously arrogant and hypocritical. Yeah. I think people have lost faith in institutions and celebrities and all these things for a good reason because it's obvious. It's very obvious.

Yeah. If we lose face but still we somehow need it. How do you reconcile that tension?

Well, people recognize...

If you lose faith because you are skeptical you don't want to be brainwashed by an outside force. Right. But also as a human being we have a need for living a life regardless of who says it, it seems like it's part of a human nature to create. Something like meaningful for us. So those two things seem to be at odds with each other because the moment I tell you, say, you are a politician, I tell you what I valued, then you turn around and make what I valued into some kind of persuasion techniques and hook me to help you achieve your self agenda.

Yeah. And so yeah, losing that faith, how do people reconcile it? We can see how people reconcile it. And it's not too pretty. Look at the opioid deaths that are occurring in this country and the rate that they're happening. That's how people reconcile it. They go to drugs, die, drink too much, smoke, vape, get distracted with it's, football season. That's how people reconcile it.

When you say reconcile it, you mean like but that sounds to me like escaping from it.

Right. That's how it gets reconciled because they recognize like, oh, this whole thing is a joke. This whole system is a joke and it is rigged against me. And yet I don't have any other options, so I have to participate in it. And so reconciling it then becomes using any number of ways to numb out, to distract

David: Or light flat. That's another example of quiet quitting. That's another in the corporate world, it's called quiet quitting.

Ian: Yeah. Or become a workaholic, be like, oh, I'm actually going to double down. And rather than resign or give up, I'm just going to work myself to death. Not necessarily change anything, but it's a way of distracting and

David: not really thinking about these hard issues. Right. I don't have to face okay,

Ian: Exactly, you don't have to face it. I'm actually going to be an even better citizen, which just means being compliant, not putting up any resistance and just doing what you're told, but do it twice as hard as everybody else.

Yeah, I can see a lot of that around me. So are there a better way? So we see, like, people try to escape and not being part of it right. And see through the absurdity of things and people who are doubling down. These are the patterns. Are there other ways you think to cope with this tension that I try to articulate?

Yeah. I mean. There's a thousand really unhealthy ways and I think I've tried all of them probably a few times. But I think just ultimately still trying to live the values of the thing that I think Laozi said and Zhuangzi and not just them. But other people who have seen just what a disaster structuring society this way it generally is for most people. You at least at the minimum, try to speak honestly about it. So I think writers who write honestly about it, who don't just willfully blind themselves because it benefits them and call it for what it is. If you're born into this system, it's really hard to not contribute to it, to be part of it. Because again

Yeah, sometimes even unconsciously. Right. The writer may think that he or she has a clear his or her own conscience when the thoughts are putting towards in a social setting. Sometimes I was wondering whether unconsciously it can be turned into something unintended or has its own social implications.

Yeah. Tell me more what you mean by that.

How can you distinguish a person who say oh, I'm just speaking. My true belief in itself is problematic because how do you know that your thoughts are true?

You don't. Exactly.

So acknowledging that, I think gives that person a lot of the credibility because without acknowledging it, the other people may see that person itself as not credible.

Yeah. I think this is the biggest problem is that most people believe that all of their conditioning is the truth. And it's like getting to that point where you realize, oh, my brain is actually the dumpster of all of the lies and crap that came before me that got passed down to me and it's full of gunk.

Yeah. But ironically, people don't put that disclaimer before they state their opinion how many times? Right. And there are people who put that disclaimer but they know how to play the game. So they just put this disclaimer in order to better protect their own opinion. Again, there are two kinds of people. One kind who just tell the people what they believe they truly think without being aware and put that disclaimer. And there are people who are skillful enough in politics who put that disclaimer and appear to be humble and open-minded, but they are not truly. They are. Their whole purpose is still trying to manipulate people into their way and their aspiration. That's what I see. One is sophisticated, so called sophisticated and skillful. The other is just very blunt.

Yes. "In my humble opinion," that's a way. Okay. In my humble opinion which is also the one that I believe is right.

Yeah. How do you make all these people these people seem to master the art of disarming others but at the end of the day, you can not know for sure. I'm putting the word "not for sure" because I have to give some people the benefit of doubt. But you can bet that some of the people, they just say it because they know it's a technique to disarm other people but they are still pursuing their selfish interest. I think those people exist.

Yeah. They're trying to inoculate people from seeing how arrogant they actually are.

Yeah. And only God knows because there's no other individuals right now with our technology to know what's truly going on in that person.

Ian: I know we're running out of time or even why we're here. What it means to be a human. We still don't know fundamentally the nature of existence. We fundamentally don't know the nature of reality. We continually question the nature of reality and keep finding we don't know the answers. We don't know any of these things. And what most civilizations have done has replaced that curiosity, that awe, that love that can arise when we recognize that we're all in this state of not knowing. And we've replaced it with concrete things status, wealth, certainty, schedules, time. That is the problem. That is what has killed the magic of living. And I know that through experience. So, I'm not saying that I know a way, but I do know what it looks like to replace all of those magical things of existing with certainty, which has killed all of that.

David: That's a great point. I know we're at the top of the hour and our conversation gets a little bit away from the chapter, but still using this chapter as really as a springboard for our discussion today, I think we haven't found the answers. But through our own experience and genuine discussion, I think we touch upon some of the things we experience. And I hope that our listener can relate to some of these points and let's continue this discussion and continue this journey of discovery. The timeless walk, in essence, continuous discovery, I believe.

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