I acquired this volume of apparently self-published essays (which I recommend to fellow Tao-seekers and persons interested in Chinese cultural studies) almost two years ago, but it only just recently jumped off my shelf, after my return from Wudang Pilgrimage IV (吴朝圣四). In it Dr. Li hangs many of his arguments on an anthropological distinction between primary and secondary society (echoing the pre-heaven and post-heaven Taoist concepts). In an essay called "The South and The North," in a subsection "Social Power and Talented Culture are Separate," he writes (in a somewhat Aristotelian way):
Industry is near the military side, while education and academics are near the basic human nature side. ... Universities and academic institutions are places where human talents are concentrated. ... Military power is measurable and material stuff is measurable but human nature is not measurable.
Now I understand why I may be happier, in a Taoist way, in an academic institution (even though doing essentially the same things, managing proposals) than I was in a high-tech firm that did network security R&D for the DoD. I became frustrated at the over-emphasis on metrics and processes, at the expense of human nature, that seemed unrelated to the actual good we might have been accomplishing. To articulate this at this pivotal moment in the annual cycle seems significant to me. Tao manifests itself in my life in the most surprising ways.
Ah, now to that haircut....