Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pop Culture Tao - Hold On Loosely

You see it all around you
Good lovin' gone bad
And usually it's too late when you, realize what you had
And my mind goes back to a girl I left some years ago,
Who told me,
Just Hold On Loosely, but don't let go
If you cling to tightly,
you're gonna lose control
~ from Hold On Loosely by 38 Special ~
While books like the Tao Te Ching and Zhuangzi certainly will introduce you to the concepts of philosophical Taoism, it would be a tragic mistake to think that said concepts appear SOLELY in works from antiquity. In today's modern pop culture, many of these same concepts appear again and again in different forms.

To this end, I'm launching another of my many ongoing series: Pop Culture Tao. Posts predominantly will focus on the entertainment industry and how many of the themes one can read in the works of ancient sages are utilized in today's songs and movies. In many instances, we'll compare more recent words with that of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

In the song, Hold On Loosely, the lines, "Just Hold On Loosely, but don't let go. If you cling to tightly, you're gonna lose control" express the same kind of sentiments we find frequently throughout the Tao Te Ching. For example, the underlying meaning in Verse 9 is not all that dissimilar.
Better to stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
The key message contained in both the song and the ancient verse is one of moderation. When we try to exert supreme control of situations or other people, things usually go straight downhill from there! When we try to gain more, we tend to wind up with far less than we bargained for!

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