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Re "Kung Fu Caine": Philosopher-Hero

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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