July 02, 2007


Caption: This great blue heron practices the crane style.

In his first epistle to the Corinthians, in the famous 13th chapter, St. Paul says "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Speak for yourself, dude. I mean, how much stock can you put in a saying by someone who said "It is better to marry than burn"?

(Note: that was a joke--especially in the event La Cabra reads this.)

I thought of those lines about putting away childish things when I came across this Google video featuring a "lost interview" with Bruce Lee, the idol of my youth and icon of my declining years.

He had just died when I began formally studying martial arts in the summer of 1973, a hobby I've continued off and on ever since. In fact, I remember reading his philosophical articles on the subject in magazines as a kid before he became a superstar.

I still like Bruce and quote him frequently even though I don't kick as high, hard or fast as I used to. Come to think of it I still like the other idols of my youth like Tolkien and Alice Cooper (not necessarily in that order).

Bruce was not just a pretty spinning back kick. He studied philosophy at the University of Washington and throughout his life and his theories of the martial arts and other subjects are still studied. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was particularly influenced by the Taoist tradition.

His ideas of strategy can be applied to areas far removed from martial arts (although they do work pretty well there too).

Here is my favorite quotation from Chairman Bruce, one that has served me well in several difficult situations when I remembered to act on it:

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water…If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

CHINESE LABOR LAW REFORM. This could be interesting, particularly if it is seriously enforced. From the Washington Post:

BEIJING, June 29 -- The Chinese legislature passed a law Friday to provide more protection to the millions of farm youths who leave home and become cheap labor in the factories and construction sites that have mushroomed in China's booming economy.

The Standing Committee of the China People's Congress, in approving the law, presented it as a bulwark against widespread abuses of the often-uneducated migrant workers, such as forced labor, withholding of pay and unwarranted dismissal. The country was alarmed two weeks ago, for example, by the discovery that hundreds of Chinese were forced to work in conditions resembling slavery at dozens of brick kilns in Shanxi province while local Communist Party officials did nothing to stop it.

In reaction, lawmakers at the last minute added a provision to the long-discussed labor code to mandate punishment for officials who are shown to be negligent or corrupt in allowing entrepreneurs to abuse workers. This and the unusual public rollout of the new law seemed designed to show the Chinese public that the central government of President Hu Jintao is determined to crack down on corrupt officials and protect those left behind by the swift economic growth of the past 25 years.

RADIO GA GA. A recent book titled Unleashing Capitalism has been getting lots of attention in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia. The book, which claims to be totally objective and scientific, opposes minimum wage and prevailing wage; supports right to work for less; calls for "tort reform;" wants to cuts public funding for education, infrastructure, and services to pay for business tax cuts; opposes workplace safety and other business regulations; wants to undercut public education with a voucher system; etc.

Again, this is all "science" and anyone who disagrees--say by wanting good coal mine safety legislation--is a "Marxist."

WV Public Broadcasting reporter Scott Finn interviewed WVU's Russell Sobel about the book. Dr. Sobel got a little defensive when questioned about the book's factual and "scientific" claims. Yours truly was also interviewed and expressed a different point of view. Here's what another WV blogger, Raging Red, had to say about the story.



Mary Rayme said...

Sounds like that Unleashing Capitalism was written by the uber conservative Chamber of Commerce.

WV needs better education and better technology, not a reversal in labor laws or more coal mines. Opps, hope that's not TOO blasphemous. ;-)

Keep up the good blog, El.

El Cabrero said...

Hail Mary,
I think it was adapted from the Chamber's Christmas wish list. I believe there is a better way to a better future, one that promotes a high road to a better future for everybody.