Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

I find it ironic that, though we live in a world predominated by roundness, cycles and circles, most westerners view life in a linear fashion with definable beginnings and endings. The primary reasons for this apparent contradiction are borne in the fact that western civilized society is characterized by two dominant perspectives: Judeo-Christian belief and rationalism.

In terms of the former, the very conception of life is viewed in terms of the God story as told through the Christian Bible. The first 3 words of this work are "In the beginning" and the last installment -- Revelations -- describe the "end times". Consequently, in no uncertain terms, Christians are fixated on the concepts of first and last or beginning and end.

Yet, as we gaze out into the world in which we live, we don't find this dichotomy afoot at all. Far from being characterized as fixed points along a straight continuum, the natural processes of life are bound into never ending cycles.

Consider for a moment the roundness of our universe. All of the planets that make up our solar system are round. Each rotates in a circle on its axis and each rotates in a circle around the largest star, the sun.

Beyond this roundness is the cyclical aspect of nature. The four seasons form a circle. Each day is a circle. The life process itself is representative of a circle. Everywhere we look there are circles and yet we construct belief systems, philosophies and ideologies that run counter to nature.

For me, this represents one of the chief reasons that humankind tends to feel estranged from the world. Every other aspect of reality operates within this natural rhythm of life, while we vainly try to operate in a manner that is counterintuitive and at odds with everything else. It's no wonder so many of us feel alienated, isolated and stressed.

For centuries Taoism has been locked away inside the Far East. Slowly, as more and more people look for avenues outside the Judeo-Christian perspective, people from all walk of life are turning to Taoist philosophy to come to a better understanding of humankind's place in the overall scheme of things.

Taoists do not see the world in a counterintuitive fashion. We recognize and celebrate the cyclical nature of all things and it is our purpose to try as best we can to move with and in the stream of life to flow with all creation.

3 comments:

  1. What is it with you and your hatred of "Judeo-Christians"?

    Linear? Yep - you were born and you will die. You had a beginning and you will have an ending.

    Now if you want to inject some superstition into that - in some way you will "continue" - you're free to do so.

    Be as superstitious as you want! Taoism? Just another "ism", just another superstition.

    Have you given money to some Tao group? Paid Tao groups money for books or other trinkets? Superstitious groups - all of them - solicit for money, money, money.

    Just go to: http://www.taoism.net/enter.htm and the very first thing you see are their books to buy.

    "There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Assuming there is a "you" that is born and that dies, that is true. The question is, *is* there such a thing?

    And who says being a Taoist means you belong to a "Tao Group" or that you give said group money?

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a hilarious ignorant comment. It shows the true understanding of Tao, indeed!

    The very concept of a Taoist group is amusing. Kind of like a herd of cats....

    ReplyDelete

Comments are unmoderated, so you can write whatever you want. We may respond...or we may not. It depends on the mood and preferences of the specific author of the post. Ta-Wan generally responds in a timely manner. Trey responds some of the time and Scott rarely replies (due to limited internet access). You can be assured that all comments are read by this blog's two administrators: Ta-Wan & Trey.