Friday, September 25, 2009

In Harmony

A common theme in Taoist thought concerns the concept of balance or harmony. From my perspective, I think it would serve Taoist bloggers better to utilize the latter term more than the former. The problem with the word balance is that, too often, westerners take it to mean the midpoint between two points or extremes. In terms of the overarching principles in our society, being a middler sounds like a person who would be drab, not ambitiousness and not a lot of fun.

Harmony, on the other hand, can be more easily grasped. I think most folks understand this word in the context of music. When singers blend their voices in specific ways, it produces a new sound that is more than the sum of each individual part. This blending can transform a song in dramatic ways.

Harmony can also be achieved any time the individuals of any group (e.g., singers, soldiers, athletes, actors, etc.) put their individual desires aside to work for the objective that benefits the group as a whole. It is in these ephemeral moments when people are more able to see the interconnection of all members of the group and to understand that, if one person doesn't keep to their part of the bargain, the whole group suffers.

The key facet, of course, for any group to succeed is to ensure that everybody is on the same page and understands the objective in mind. Harmony will never be achieved if each person solely follows their own agenda. Here's a video of the song "I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing (in Perfect Harmony)" that underscores this point in a hilarious fashion:

It was kinda hard to recognize the song, don't ya think?

From my humble perspective, the above example is an apt description of the way our world operates today. People spend most of their waking hours focusing almost exclusively on themselves -- needs, desires and dreams -- and only pay lip service to the needs of other individuals and the community at large. It's no wonder we are so disharmonious!

The second example of this famous song illustrates the dramatic difference when everyone is on the same page and working to achieve the same objective.

Which version do you want our world to sing?

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