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"Kung Fu Caine": Philosopher-Hero

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  • Monart Pon
    As a side point on the utopianism thread, I wrote (1/03) about Kung Fu and Caine :
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 6, 2002
      As a side point on the utopianism thread, I wrote (1/03) about "Kung Fu" and
      "Caine":

      <<I loved watching a TV series in the early 70's called "Kung Fu", about a
      Shaolin Buddhist priest, an orphaned son of an American father and a Chinese
      mother, who fled China after killing the emperor's nephew in defence of his
      teacher who was shot by the nephew. Kwai Chang Caine escaped to the American
      West of the late 1800's, pursued in the distance by the emperor's guards and
      bounty hunters. This was the setting. The magic of the show was Caine's
      Shaolin manner and posture as he encountered and encouraged people, in
      each episode, to seek and cherish the sacredness of life. His martial grace
      and power accentuated his equanimity and oneness with the world around him.
      (Have you or anyone else here seen this series? David Carradine was perfect
      for the role.)>>

      Andre Zantonavitch replied (1/04):

      > P.S. Now as to Monart's 'Kung Fu'...does anyone
      > NOT like him?! Cain is a philosopher-hero, all
      > alone, but who still defeats multitudinous bad
      > guys. The only shame here is that someone in
      > Hollywood doesn't do a remake as either a t'v'
      > show or movie.

      Yes, Caine the philosopher-hero, that's what he was: a teacher, a leader, a
      protector, and a simple man of calm intensity; a gentleman of truth, courage,
      and honor; a man in touch and in peace with himself and the world; a poet who
      spoke of harmony, wholeness, integrity, justice, freedom; a martial artist
      who overcomes forces of wickedness and stupidity with his mindful,
      effortlessly graceful Shaolin counter-force. No one who met him remained
      unchanged. He moved people to rise above the circumstance that traps them,
      to regain the vision of life as benevolence, enchantment, and adventure.

      The setting of Kung Fu in the near-mythic Old American West heightened the
      allegorical ambiance of Caine's quest for his roots, for his final at-one-ment
      with the universe.

      There are connections between Kung Fu Caine and starship: a historical one of
      which is the fact that the major actors of the then discontinued original
      Startrek series, including Shatner and Nimoy, each had guest roles on
      different episodes of Kung Fu. They fitted right in. After all, Startrek,
      as was first described by its creator, Gene Roddenberry, is "'Wagontrain'
      to the stars".

      Kung Fu played for three seasons, followed, in the 80's, by two TV movies. In
      the 90's, a sequel series had David Carradine again playing the role of Kwai
      Chang Caine, but this time as the grandson of the first Caine. "Kung Fu: The
      Legend Continues" is now set in modern, urban times. The descendent Caine
      teams up with his detective-son on police cases, while also teaching at his
      kungfu studio home -- not quite the same romantic world as was the original
      series. I was willing to watch only a few episodes, out of respect for the
      original magic. The only resemblance between the two series is Carradine,
      who was in his 50's by then.

      A theatrical remake of Kung Fu would be nearly as engrossing for me to watch
      as would be the Atlas Shrugged movie that's now struggling for realization.

      Do I recommend tracking down re-runs or recordings of Kung Fu? As much as,
      and, in some ways, maybe even more than I would for Startrek.


      Monart
      Starship Aurora <http://www.starshipaurora.com>
      ~ * ~
    • Andre Zantonavitch
      Kung Fu has been so far off my radar screen that I ve forgotten many important points about it. I m curious as to why Nick at Night, USA Network, or
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 6, 2002
        'Kung Fu' has been so far off my radar screen
        that I've forgotten many important points about
        it. I'm curious as to why 'Nick at Night,' USA
        Network, or SOMEBODY hasn't shown it in the past
        10-12 years or so (if memory serves).

        I think the intransigent but serene
        philosopher-hero Cain was a wonderful example of
        successful living in a hostile, cold, indifferent
        environment. As Objectivists, this is OUR world,
        and we clearly must find a way to make peace with
        it, and yet still thrive.

        Many years ago, David Carradine described his
        personal philosophy rather vividly (if
        inarticulately) as being "Deep in." This meant he
        truly committed himself to certain things and
        moments, by putting himself on the INSIDE of the
        phenomenon. Unfortunately, it also resulted in
        many scrapes with the law, and general personal
        immorality at times. ("I wish I lived a little
        better," he understated, after some particularly
        unsavory incident.)

        His quietly world-famous t'v' series always
        reminds me of Bertrand Russell's comment in the
        early 1900s that in his opinion, the Chinese are
        the ONLY naturally philosophical nation on earth.
        The introspection and internal fury of
        Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism/Kung-Fu can be very
        powerful and liberating in my opinion.

        Zanton'


        --- Monart Pon <monart@...> wrote:
        > As a side point on the utopianism thread, I
        > wrote (1/03) about "Kung Fu" and
        > "Caine":
        >
        > <<I loved watching a TV series in the early
        > 70's called "Kung Fu", about a
        > Shaolin Buddhist priest, an orphaned son of an
        > American father and a Chinese
        > mother, who fled China after killing the
        > emperor's nephew in defence of his
        > teacher who was shot by the nephew. Kwai Chang
        > Caine escaped to the American
        > West of the late 1800's, pursued in the
        > distance by the emperor's guards and
        > bounty hunters. This was the setting. The magic
        > of the show was Caine's
        > Shaolin manner and posture as he encountered
        > and encouraged people, in
        > each episode, to seek and cherish the
        > sacredness of life. His martial grace
        > and power accentuated his equanimity and
        > oneness with the world around him.
        > (Have you or anyone else here seen this series?
        > David Carradine was perfect
        > for the role.)>>
        >
        > Andre Zantonavitch replied (1/04):
        >
        > > P.S. Now as to Monart's 'Kung Fu'...does
        > anyone
        > > NOT like him?! Cain is a philosopher-hero,
        > all
        > > alone, but who still defeats multitudinous
        > bad
        > > guys. The only shame here is that someone in
        > > Hollywood doesn't do a remake as either a
        > t'v'
        > > show or movie.
        >
        > Yes, Caine the philosopher-hero, that's what he
        > was: a teacher, a leader, a
        > protector, and a simple man of calm intensity;
        > a gentleman of truth, courage,
        > and honor; a man in touch and in peace with
        > himself and the world; a poet who
        > spoke of harmony, wholeness, integrity,
        > justice, freedom; a martial artist
        > who overcomes forces of wickedness and
        > stupidity with his mindful,
        > effortlessly graceful Shaolin counter-force. No
        > one who met him remained
        > unchanged. He moved people to rise above the
        > circumstance that traps them,
        > to regain the vision of life as benevolence,
        > enchantment, and adventure.
        >
        > The setting of Kung Fu in the near-mythic Old
        > American West heightened the
        > allegorical ambiance of Caine's quest for his
        > roots, for his final at-one-ment
        > with the universe.
        >
        > There are connections between Kung Fu Caine and
        > starship: a historical one of
        > which is the fact that the major actors of the
        > then discontinued original
        > Startrek series, including Shatner and Nimoy,
        > each had guest roles on
        > different episodes of Kung Fu. They fitted
        > right in. After all, Startrek,
        > as was first described by its creator, Gene
        > Roddenberry, is "'Wagontrain'
        > to the stars".
        >
        > Kung Fu played for three seasons, followed, in
        > the 80's, by two TV movies. In
        > the 90's, a sequel series had David Carradine
        > again playing the role of Kwai
        > Chang Caine, but this time as the grandson of
        > the first Caine. "Kung Fu: The
        > Legend Continues" is now set in modern, urban
        > times. The descendent Caine
        > teams up with his detective-son on police
        > cases, while also teaching at his
        > kungfu studio home -- not quite the same
        > romantic world as was the original
        > series. I was willing to watch only a few
        > episodes, out of respect for the
        > original magic. The only resemblance between
        > the two series is Carradine,
        > who was in his 50's by then.
        >
        > A theatrical remake of Kung Fu would be nearly
        > as engrossing for me to watch
        > as would be the Atlas Shrugged movie that's now
        > struggling for realization.
        >
        > Do I recommend tracking down re-runs or
        > recordings of Kung Fu? As much as,
        > and, in some ways, maybe even more than I would
        > for Startrek.
        >
        >
        > Monart
        > Starship Aurora <http://www.starshipaurora.com>
        > ~ * ~
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


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      • Dennis May
        ... Let us not forget that it was the great master and student of philosophy Bruce Lee who created the concept for and sold the idea of Kung Fu as a
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 8, 2002
          Monart Pon wrote:

          >Yes, Caine the philosopher-hero, that's what he was: a teacher, a leader, a
          >protector, and a simple man of calm intensity; a gentleman of truth,
          >courage,
          >and honor; a man in touch and in peace with himself and the world; a poet
          >who
          >spoke of harmony, wholeness, integrity, justice, freedom; a martial artist
          >who overcomes forces of wickedness and stupidity with his mindful,
          >effortlessly graceful Shaolin counter-force.

          Let us not forget that it was the great
          master and student of philosophy Bruce
          Lee who created the concept for and sold
          the idea of "Kung Fu" as a television
          series. It was his intention to play
          the role of Caine himself but network
          executives decided American television
          was not ready for a Chinese man to play
          such a leading role. I am certain Lee's
          college major in philosophy helped to
          start the show off on the right foot.

          It may be co-incidence but a friend of
          mine saw Bruce Lee fight in Japan in the
          late sixties. During the same series of
          exhibitions the most impressive show was
          given by a Shaolin priest who had never
          fought in public before. He handily
          defeated a Japanese favorite but was
          disqualified for using moves not traditional
          to the fighting form of the Japanese
          favorite. The Japanese favorite was given
          several blows in mid air which sent him to
          the hospital with multiple broken bones.

          Dennis May



          _________________________________________________________________
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        • zantonavitch
          My understanding is that several historical attempts at objectivist/libertarian utopianism have taken place. There were evidently a few Objectivist communes
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 9, 2002
            My understanding is that several historical attempts at
            objectivist/libertarian utopianism have taken place. There were
            evidently a few Objectivist 'communes' around in the 1960s -- at
            least according to my normally-reliable college professor. Some
            wealthy libertarian in the 1970s also tried to create his own city-
            state in the south Pacific on the unclaimed Minerva reefs (so-named
            by him). But the mighty government of Tonga thwarted it with a single
            small gunship. And libertarians in the 1970s apparently helped
            engineer a coup nearby on the Vanuatu isles -- which was successful,
            but which didn't result in anything like a free state ("Tax-Haven
            Takeover!" screamed the frontpage headline in the old 'Los Angeles
            Herald-Examiner'). And there may even be a few secret Galt's Gulches
            hidden around somewhere.

            All of this is fascinating to me, but I have very little information
            on any of it. Any help here?

            Zan
          • philosopherknight
            Interesting tread here... Kung Fu is a long time fave of mine. I curse my human imperfections, but I am unable to recall whether it was Carradine in an
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 9, 2002
              Interesting tread here... "Kung Fu" is a long time fave of mine.

              I curse my human imperfections, but I am unable to recall whether it
              was Carradine in an interview (I am leaning towards this) or his
              character on "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" that mentions how much
              inspiration came from the character of Spock. Maybe someone else on
              here knows of this refence?

              I know that in the original series Caine is looking for his American
              past/family. In all the episodes/movies made, does he ever reach some
              sort of completion of that quest? Or is that part of his tale still
              left untold?

              Steve
            • Monart Pon
              The following is from one of the numerous, and humorous, websites related to Kung Fu Caine. (Episodes of the original series appears to be available from
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 1, 2002
                The following is from one of the numerous, and humorous, websites related
                to Kung Fu Caine. (Episodes of the original series appears to be available
                from Columbia House
                <http://qj1.columbiahouse.com/quickjoin/product.do?club=4&pageId=genre%7CD&group=&dept=ABQ&mode=QJ2>
                This long link may be truncated; just copy the whole link to your
                browser.)

                Monart
                ~ * ~


                KUNG FU TOP TEN LISTS

                <http://www.muppetlabs.com/~davidj/tnt/tntfu.htm>

                Top Ten Things That Get Kwai Chang Caine In Trouble When He Comes To A
                New Town (old version)

                10) Defending the downtrodden
                9) Asking for water in a Saloon
                8) Trying to have philosophical discussions with guys who haven't
                learned the alphabet yet
                7) Sheriff having a bad day
                6) Orphans
                5) Having one of those flashbacks at the wrong time
                4) Things in town have been tense, mighty tense
                3) A pretty girl
                2) Dress code

                And the number one thing that gets Kwai Chang Caine in Trouble when he
                comes to a new town:

                1) That darned "wanted" poster


                Top Ten Stupid Things Big Dumb White Guys Would Say to Caine Before He
                Kicked Their Butts

                10) "He's just a skinny little china man."
                9) "If I say you drink whiskey, you drink it."
                8) "I can whup him easy, Pa."
                7) "I'm gonna break you in two."
                6) "I don't need a gun to take care of him."
                5) "You just bought a whole heap of trouble, Chinee."
                4) "You're worth ten thousand dollars alive."
                3) "Let's see what's in the pouch."
                2) "Yo Mama."

                And the number one stupid thing big dumb white guys would say to
                Caine:

                1) "I'm gonna make chop suey outta you."
              • Andre Zantonavitch
                ... ... This brings back great memories. This t v show is part of our collective Western mythos. The lists
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 1, 2002
                  --- Monart Pon <monart@...> wrote:
                  > The following is from one of the numerous, and
                  > humorous, websites related
                  > to Kung Fu Caine. > KUNG FU TOP TEN LISTS
                  >
                  >
                  <http://www.muppetlabs.com/~davidj/tnt/tntfu.htm>
                  >
                  > Top Ten Things That Get Kwai Chang Caine In
                  > Trouble When He Comes To A
                  > New Town (old version)
                  >
                  > 10) Defending the downtrodden
                  > 9) Asking for water in a Saloon
                  > 8) Trying to have philosophical discussions
                  > with guys who haven't
                  > learned the alphabet yet
                  > 7) Sheriff having a bad day
                  > 6) Orphans
                  > 5) Having one of those flashbacks at the wrong
                  > time
                  > 4) Things in town have been tense, mighty tense
                  > 3) A pretty girl
                  > 2) Dress code
                  >
                  > And the number one thing that gets Kwai Chang
                  > Caine in Trouble when he
                  > comes to a new town:
                  >
                  > 1) That darned "wanted" poster
                  >
                  >
                  > Top Ten Stupid Things Big Dumb White Guys Would
                  > Say to Caine Before He
                  > Kicked Their Butts
                  >
                  > 10) "He's just a skinny little china man."
                  > 9) "If I say you drink whiskey, you drink it."
                  > 8) "I can whup him easy, Pa."
                  > 7) "I'm gonna break you in two."
                  > 6) "I don't need a gun to take care of him."
                  > 5) "You just bought a whole heap of trouble,
                  > Chinee."
                  > 4) "You're worth ten thousand dollars alive."
                  > 3) "Let's see what's in the pouch."
                  > 2) "Yo Mama."
                  >
                  > And the number one stupid thing big dumb white
                  > guys would say to
                  > Caine:
                  >
                  > 1) "I'm gonna make chop suey outta you."


                  This brings back great memories. This t'v' show
                  is part of our collective Western mythos. The
                  lists above are also very funny. An article I
                  read about 15 years ago (in 'Playboy' or 'Rolling
                  Stone' or some such) pointed out that "altho'
                  Caine practiced a version of a philosophy of
                  non-violence, in virtually EVERY SHOW he ended up
                  'non-violently' kicking the shit out of four or
                  five heavy-set cowboys."

                  Good for him! Still, he could have -- and often
                  should have -- done more. This jives with my own
                  views on the little-known concept in Objectivist
                  circles of REVENGE. No-one admits or understands
                  it nowadays -- in our highly Christian-influenced
                  Objectivist world -- but often enough, revenge is
                  virtuous. It isn't just sweet to do and watch on
                  t'v' -- it's frequently a moral blessing,
                  requirement, and IMPERATIVE. Objectivists are
                  rather niave and foolish when they think about
                  all this -- assuming they think about it at all.
                  It isn't "malevolent" to get some nice payback
                  and cosmic equality, if the act is just. And the
                  great Christian/Objectivist ideal of "being above
                  it all" or "not wanting to sink to THEIR level"
                  is quite wrong.

                  We all ought to take a page out Ayn Rand's
                  beloved Mickey Spillane books. Even Kwai Chang
                  Caine could learn a thing or two from Mike
                  Hammer.


                  Andre Z'
                  www.geocities.com/zantonavitch


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                • Chris Cole
                  On Fri, 1 Feb 2002 19:42:54 -0800 (PST) Andre Zantonavitch wrote: [long snip] ... After the settlement of Iceland, near the end of the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 2, 2002
                    On Fri, 1 Feb 2002 19:42:54 -0800 (PST)
                    Andre Zantonavitch <zantonavitch@...> wrote:
                    [long snip]
                    >
                    > Good for him! Still, he could have -- and often
                    > should have -- done more. This jives with my own
                    > views on the little-known concept in Objectivist
                    > circles of REVENGE. No-one admits or understands
                    > it nowadays -- in our highly Christian-influenced
                    > Objectivist world -- but often enough, revenge is
                    > virtuous. It isn't just sweet to do and watch on
                    > t'v' -- it's frequently a moral blessing,
                    > requirement, and IMPERATIVE. Objectivists are
                    > rather niave and foolish when they think about
                    > all this -- assuming they think about it at all.
                    > It isn't "malevolent" to get some nice payback
                    > and cosmic equality, if the act is just. And the
                    > great Christian/Objectivist ideal of "being above
                    > it all" or "not wanting to sink to THEIR level"
                    > is quite wrong.
                    >
                    > We all ought to take a page out Ayn Rand's
                    > beloved Mickey Spillane books. Even Kwai Chang
                    > Caine could learn a thing or two from Mike
                    > Hammer.
                    >
                    >
                    > Andre Z'
                    > www.geocities.com/zantonavitch
                    >
                    >

                    After the settlement of Iceland, near the end of the first millenium CE, the republic had no executive. The settlers had come from Norway, fleeing an increasingly-centralized monarchy. They created the Althing, with representatives from the four regions of the island. The Althing served as both legislature and judiciary, including appeals from the four regional Things. It was very comparable to the system of government of the Presbyterian Churches.

                    The Althing had no enforcement powers, since there was no executive. Compensation could be ordered, but it was up to the victor and his kinsmen to collect it. The social order depended on the support of the people to carry out its legal declarations.

                    Personal revenge was considered a legitimate means of social equalization, but was also subject to the rules of compensation. For example, if you kill my brother, I am expected to kill you in response, but I still have to pay compensation to your widow for her loss. There was a social restraint on revenge as well, since families didn't want to be ruined by the effects of a feud.

                    I suggest the reading of the Icelandic sagas for a social pattern based on revenge and compensation as a judicial system. Here is a link to some online versions: http://www.midhnottsol.org/lore/main.html
                    Chris
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