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Fluidity As Metaphor For Divine Love

'The highest good is like water.
Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
""Doing the right thing" is like water.
It's good for all living things,and flows without thinking about where it's going

...just like Tao."

8 - Daily Tao

Dianna Butler Bass, in A People's History of Christianity, lays out the history of her faith framed in a series of symbols the Way, the Cathedral, the Word, the Quest, and the River.  "The River" refers to Christianity as it appears to her betyween 1945 and the present.  She introduces this section of the book with a memory of a class on "Spiritual Life" taught by Henri Nouwen at Harvard in 1985.  It was a large class representing, presumably. many different backgrounds.  During the course, "...everything we had thought was important abour our doctrines began to slip to the background...and...shifted to new, more urgent concerns of faith and compassion..."

She then returns to the modernist/fundamentalist controversy where she sees "two streams," part if the same "river." flowing into the same "ocean."  She mentions Bauman's characterization of our condition as "Fluid Modernity "..where everything "solid" has melted away..."

She didn't quite quote Marx, but came pretty close.  I'm sure the phrase:  "All that is solid melts into air" would have different meanings for materialist and mystic.  Marx was looking at what capitalism had done to traditional relationships and verities and conclluded that we now stood "naked" and afraid before the stark material comditions that confront us.  A mystic might say that losing our confidence in this structure of appearances that we call "reality" might be a first step on the "path" of "enlightenment."

But if water is fluid, air is more fluid still, and perhaps even more "like the Tao"  Water is itself a compound created fom the combination of two gases.  One of those gases, hydrogen, is a significant part of the "known" universe.Ninety-five percent of the universe is composed of "dark energy" and "dark matter." about which we are almost toatally "in the dark."Everything in the known universe is composed of something that is, or once was, a gas....

OK, this isn't flowing where i thought it was going.  And it seems to be going nowhere.  I am going to post it anyway.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2015 11:34 am (UTC)
One of my favorite passages.
Sep. 6th, 2015 11:47 pm (UTC)
AH, yes. The Tao is like water!
Sep. 5th, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
I can't read this yet, but I remember all the writing you did on the Tao. I'm looking forward to reading it later, God/dess willing. And I hope to have time to read the poem you posted from a magazine. Can't remember the name of it now, but in the first line I was hooked on it.
Sep. 6th, 2015 11:48 pm (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2015 04:56 pm (UTC)
Impressive ... that snipped about the Tao rings true. And it injected a dose of encouragement in me, though I can't say its effect will be lasting. I might be too far gone. In any case, I'm glad you posted the link to Daily Tao. Now I know it exists, it might be worth watching.

And another thing, I enjoyed this entry. There's a feeling of life in it because it didn't necessarily go where you intended or arrive at a neatly wrapped conclusion with a bow on top.
Sep. 6th, 2015 11:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks. And that part about the universe being mostly darkness and gAses. i got directly from something you posted.
Sep. 6th, 2015 12:00 am (UTC)
This reminds me of the large subject area I think of as nouns and verbs.

In the US, we are so very accustomed to thinking of Things (which may do this or that), rather than thinking of Activity (which we and other Things may participate in, and make through our participation).

When it comes to relationship, this habit or preference leads to commodifying humans instead of doing life with each other.

And now, due to your post, I am associating the concept and phenomenon called grace with this verbness, this flowingness.

So thanks!
Sep. 7th, 2015 12:09 am (UTC)
As a Christian, Capitalist people, we are torn between the tendency to treat each other as participants in the "Kindom" and a tendency to "commodify" our selves and our relationships. We have not done what Marx thought we would do -- face the world as it is, or as he thought it is; but have created new structure of appearances which we call Christian capitalism. (While the Chinese seem inclined to construct a "market Leninism.") Grace continues to elude me as a social idea except that it may be the force that allows us to survive in spite of our social constructions..
Sep. 7th, 2015 12:14 am (UTC)
So far as I can tell, grace can only be described metaphorically.

And when people say "capitalist" I'm never sure what they mean. :D
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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