Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 95, Part I

from Verse Ninety-Five
The activity of Nature does not cease; coming to an end, it starts over again. Therefore it can go on perpetually. When a wheel has a place to turn, it can thereby travel far. The activity of Nature is one, without deviation; therefore it has no error.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
It is difficult for a finite being to understand fully the infinite. It is difficult for a thing with parameters to understand fully something without parameters. It is next to impossible to define something that exceeds definition.

Human life is demarcated by time: beginnings, duration and endings. We're born. We live. We die. Start. Finish. Arrive. Depart.

So, it's natural for each of us to look at the universe in this same way. Before there was something, how could there be nothing? If there was nothing, what then could have sparked life? When life on earth ends for all, does life end or does it begin anew? How does one measure forever?

As a child and young adult, these questions would bedevil me in the silence of the night. No matter how I tried, I couldn't seem to wrap my mind around the concept of forever. Whenever such concepts arose in my mind, it left me with a queasy feeling.

I don't go there now. One way in which philosophical Taoism has truly impacted my life and outlook is by teaching me to look more closely at the world of nature around me. In nature, I don't see any strict beginnings and endings, only perpetual cycles that blend into one another.

Different steps of different beings; all taking the same journey on congruent paths.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.


  1. >"It is difficult for a finite being to understand fully the infinite".

    Not so much difficult as irrelevant.
    Some things are not understandable.
    I know I am.
    I do not need to understand it.
    The universe fills me with awe.
    I do not need to understand it.

    The created needs not understand the creator.
    Still the created may know the creator.

  2. Well Crow, I agree with you. That said, most humans seek to understand that which is incomprehensible. For me, this helps to explain the popularity of religion.


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