bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,


When you distinguish
between good and evil.
you've lost the art.

Art goes beyond morality

The reach of your compassion
is the reach of your art --
Joseph Campbell.

Dangerous social teaching or simple spiritual truth?

I am reminded again by the introduction to The Secret of the Golden Flower, that secret knowledge ought to remain secret from those "who can't handle the truth."  Subscibers to this point of view include the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, St. Auguistine, many cult leaders, and the NSA.  Jesus allegedly said: "the truth will make you free."  And Gandhi believed in total openness, even with one's opponents..

But when i read Campbell's statement, i immediately think of Richard Wagner, whom many consider a great artist and a moral and social "monster." (cf. Deems Taylor, "The Monster/").  His art extended far past his compassion, or else i do not know what either art or compassion means.

I find the notion of evil. or "not good" difficult to abandon.  It does seem dangerous.  I know there is a "higher" wisdom the says: If you know yourself you know that you cannot kill or be killed.  Slaying and being slain are part of maya, the illusion.  The Tao Te Ching says that the wise person does not fear evil.  Though evil does have power, that power can be diverted from doing harm.

It has been said that the only think necessary for evil to prevail is for the good to do nothing.  On the other hand, we are told "resist not evil, rather repay evil with good/"  But perhaps those ideas are not as opposed as they seem, at this moment, to be.

I do know this.  People mostly talk about morals when they are talking about the behavior of others.  When it is revealed that they have committed the acts they condemn in others, they weep their mea culpas and promise to "get treatment."  If i tell you how to behave, i am a busy body, an obnoxious fool.  If you tell me how to behave, i will tell you to mind your own business.  If i tell myself how to behave, there is a good chance that the message will get through.  So i must forget all about the moral lapses of others and concentrate on my own.  Part of turning inward is to better monitor my efforts to be more compassionate, humble, modest, committed, harmless and joyful.  Others will do what they will do, whether anyone is watching them or not.
Tags: tao te ching
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