4.5

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsAnother important part of the curriculum is a study of behavior, identity, and environment. Why? First of all, because we're looking at a situation where we now more and more realize that we can construct ourselves. We're not a given. We're not a given by our culture. We're not a given by the rules of our family. We're not a given even biologically because we can adapt and we can change and we can create our own identity. Now, this is modeled in a very interesting way in social media. The way that we now create avatars, whether in Second Life, in artificial life domains, or simply through social networking. We can have many selves.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 secondsWe can construct ourselves, and I think the obsession at the moment with selfies is not simply the mirror stage of endlessly reflecting self, but realizing that the self can be adapted, can be evolved, can be reconstructed. So the question of identity is really rather significant. The study of behavior is a part of that, and again, we look at the ways in which we are both empowered and limited by nature and empowered and limited by technology. And this calls for another kind of study, as an artist,about the way that we use behavior relative to the environment and the way that the behavior of the environment, as it were, uses us. So thirdly then is the question of environment.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 secondsHow do we recognize it? How do we measure it? How do we study it? Well, we can look at various levels. The most, perhaps, dramatic level, is the Nano level. That is looking through an electron microscope at matter, and we see as we go down through the levels to the Nano level, then to the Pico level, matter disappears. Matter disappears. Matter is pure energy. This is what relates us to the Tao. This is absolutely what relates us to our understanding of the Tao. That ultimately we are part of nature in an undifferentiated way. We are part of a flow, we are part of an energy field. And we may be light, we may be read through our physicality.

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 secondsBut there's an indeterminacy about what actually we are. So these questions are really important to the artist, and these questions we can help young students to encounter, to navigate, and negotiate. All of this is about the student being empowered to think for herself, for himself rather than to accept models of what constitutes a human being, what constitutes the environment what constitutes society.

What is Behaviour, Identity and Environment?

Matter is pure energy. We are part of a flow, we are part of an energy field. This is what relates us to the Tao. We can construct ourselves. We’re not a given by our culture. we can adapt and we can change and we can create our own identity. The self can be adapted, can be evolved, can be reconstructed, thus we can have many selves.

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This video is from the free online course:

Taoism and Western Culture

DeTao Masters Academy