These are some meetings with an old man who lived high atop a mountain in a remote Eastern forest. He had lived a long life, and throughout his long life he had had much time to reflect.

One day a disciple made the long journey to the top of this mountain. Catching his breath in the thin air at the top of the mountain, he gathered his thoughts to pose the question he had pondered on his journey to the place he stood, but he found himself unable to formulate his question in words. As he began to utter his garbled question, the wise man spoke thusly:

"My friend, I know you have a good question and have thought hard about it, for you do not possess the words to describe what you wonder. And I know you are on the right path because of this."

The disciple responded. "Yes, sir. But how do I know that there don't exist words to phrase this question? Perhaps it's not a great thought, and I just don't have the capacity to ask it because of other limitations."

"Yes, but you do not let your words limit your thoughts, and that is what is important. Asking questions shows you can vocalize what you don't already know, but not being able to ask questions shows that you are thinking beyond the capacity of your language. And when you do that, any question you have must be genuine; and any genuine question is a good question."
"Even if I cannot know the answer to it?"
"Some of the best questions have no answers."

The old man decided one day to travel with a youth to the base of the mountain and into the forest below. He arrived finally in the cool forest and looked back up the mountain from which he had come. He uttered to the youth by his side, "Sometimes, after much effort, you realize you are far from where you want to be."

One morning as the old man was having tea with an acquaintance from his youth, his acquaintance asked him a question. "Friend, I have traveled far and long to sit with you here today. I would like to ask you a question."
The old man looked up from the warm tea he held near his face as the friend spoke.
"I would like to know what it is in life I should seek."
"What is it you want?"
"Many things. I want a high salary, a beautiful wife, and a mansion."
"Why do you want these things if you don't need them?" The old man asked.
After a pause, the friend responded, "I want them so that I will not want them anymore"
"So what you want is to not want. You can have what you want if you stop wanting it right now."

(Unfrequently asked questions about this page which should be addressed):

  • "What the heck is this?"
    S: It's supposed to be something a bit like some of the philosophical/social texts in China and Japan from ancient to Medieval times. The whole point is that you know it's coming from me, so this approach is somewhat moot anyways. But a subtheme, albeit invented, should hopefully make it slightly more intriguing and interesting. I'm obviously not going to have it come from a caricature of some corrupt political figure or an ant (actually, hmm... ), but I am assuming you're coming into here with a critical mind, and I'd expect nothing less.
  • "But I don't even think a lot of this is true! It's random hippy garbage."
    S: I haven't even given a whole lot of thought to these things. So far they've all been ad hoc and would probably not hold up to philosophical scrutiny unless updated somewhat. I'm primarily trying to get back into the groove of writing, so this is mostly practice for me and (hopefully introspective) entertainment for you. Honestly.