Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Thought for the day: respect the wisdom of the ancients

"Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there." ~Bruce Lee

I should stop reading the comments on YouTube: therein lies madness.  It should be enough for the users to slate wing chun but, when they give their reasons for believing it to be useless, something finally becomes clear.  They don't understand wing chun.

As the above quote suggests, believing that classical arts or thinking offer nothing of value is a mistake.  Things have changed, but not so much that we can allow ourselves to believe that our predecessors were somehow less cultured, less knowledgeable and less worldly than we are.  Such arrogance will mean that we lose so much accumulated wisdom, judging it to be outmoded or obsolete.

The world is a different place now.  Has the world changed for the better?  Maybe.  Has our world changed in ways that make things worse?  Maybe.  We like to think that the current pace of technological progress is faster than it has ever been.  Is that true?  More importantly, is it a good thing?  Maybe.  Is it a bad thing? Maybe.  If you're questioning my responses, you should watch the story of the Chinese farmer.

Again, Alan Watts represents a system of thought which came into being centuries before his birth.  I look at how busy our lives have become, how little time we spend with those we love, how technologies which were meant to promote communication have instead isolated us, and I wonder what the ancients would make of the assertion that we are more cultured, intelligent and civilised.

I see a growing interest in Buddhism here in the UK.  People who have turned away from our native religious traditions have turned towards ancient belief systems from elsewhere.  For what are they searching?  A sense that there is something more, something bigger, than our seemingly limited existence?  Some kind of moral code for a world where the old rules are no longer observed?  A feeling of calm to counter the stress and anxiety of the modern age?

Wing chun represents the old world.  To accept that it is still relevant is to accept that we haven't changed so much, and some would rather not accept such a notion.  It is better for them to believe that something of lesser value was created in the past, and has been made redundant by modern innovation.

Personally, I have found much of value in the thoughts of those who were here before me.

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