December 29th, 2011

Eighth Day of Nonsense

On the 8th day of Fastmass* my grocer sent to me
Eight maize ears silking,
Seven Swamis slimming.
Six speaks o' Palin,
Five molding wings,
Four crawling nerds,
Three drenched friends,
Two hurtled gloves.
and a Partridge Family CD,

* Neologism denoting 1) an omnivore's opinion of a vegetarian feast, or 2) celebration of a martyred saint who seemed to be way too much into martyrdom,

Writer's Block: Bare necessities

Name three things you can’t live without.
I thought i would pass on this because my answer is not honest. These are three things that the legendary Chinese philosopher Lao Tse thought he could not live without. They are three things that i would like to be able to say i could not live without. But i do not live as though i thought that i could not live without them. Each "virtue" had a slightly different meaning for the Taoist sage then most of us would give it today. Love is compassion, mercy. It pre-echoes Francis' prayer that he love rather than be loved. Humility is the proper understanding of reality and one's own place in it which is exactly the same as that of any other person, being, or thing. Simplicity us unburdening the mind and heart of "excess baggage," though cleaning up the clutter in my physical environment might help.

The Way of Chuang Tzu - Thomas Merton 's Introduction

".....It is precisely this unconditional character of wu wei that differentiates Chuang Tzu from other great philosophers who constructed systems by which their activity was necessarily conditioned.  The abstract theory of universal love preached by Mo Ti was shrewdly seen by Chuang Tzu to be false precisely because of the inhumanity of its consequences.  In theory, Mo Ti held that all men should be loved with an equal love, that the individual should find his own greatest good in the common good of all, that universal love was rewarded by the tranquility, peace, and good order of all, and the happiness of the individual.  But this "universal love" will be found on examination (like most other  utopian projects) to make such severe demands on human nature that it cannot be realized, and, indeed, even if it could be realized it would in fact cramp and distort man, eventually ruining both him and his society.  Not because love is not good and natural to man, but because a system constructed on the theoretical and abstract principle of love, ignores certain fundamental and mysterious realities, of which we cannot be fully conscious, and the price we pay for this inattention is that our "love" in fact becomes hate...." --Thomas Merton, 1965.

The Way of Chuang Tzu - Thomas Merton - Google Books

The above is from "A Study of Chuang Tzu," a 28 page introduction to selections from the Chuang Tzu.  Merton was a monk who devoted much study to Taoism and wrote the above ten years before i consciously took my first peek inside a Taoist text.  I must bow to him in homage to his likely deeper insight into Taoism.  I am puzzled and perturbed by much that i read in this introduction, yet i return to it over and over, compelled by its insights.  In fact, instead of reading the text, which i want passionately to do, i find myself rereading the introduction again and again.  I find that i must read it carefully.  In fact, it is only the words "mysterious" and "inattention" in the final sentence which changes my opposition to the above quote to endorsement.