Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some Harmony I

Scott Bradley


Having no regular internet access, I am unable to get involved in the debates that take place here, or to immediately respond to questions directed my way. This has its advantages as well as disadvantages. With reference to some of the unpleasantness of some recent discussions, this has probably been a case of the former. This is in part because I seem to be part of the discussion. Nevertheless, I would like to weigh in now that the dust has settled.

This blog is a particular thing. As such, it has its parameters. I understand it as being about Daoism and the ramifications of Daoist philosophy. This is its content. There is also a qualitative component which that content would seem to require; if it is about Daoism, it should attempt to exemplify Daoist principles.

Since this blog is a lot of words, it seems to me that one Daoist principle which should most certainly be in evidence is harmony. Harmony is not agreement; disagreement may very well be a necessary component of harmony. Harmony is that spirit which unites the otherwise disharmonious. This spirit might also be described as openness. And openness issues from a particular way of viewing the world and the totality of our experience in it. Openness issues from Vastness, the experience of limitless and bottomless Reality. This understanding, this experience, is such that all ideas become "peculiarly unfixed". Whatever points of view we might embrace, we understand them to be provisional upaya, skillful means, fish traps of no consequence once we have the fish. This applies to my point of view, as well as yours. And because they are all provisional, they are all 'acceptable'.

This, I believe, is the Daoist point of view and the point of view, at least in part, of this blog. As such, we endeavor to have its content be expressed in this spirit. The blog is meant to be an expression of harmony. Our differing opinions make this harmony possible.

"Show me some harmony" is a challenge which has been oft repeated on the blog. And Trey has rightfully responded that this is it. The spirit represented on this blog is that harmony. Ostensibly, we do not know each other otherwise. Now, it may be that he who demands to see harmony in action has previously known me, and believes me to live disharmoniously. I am not interested in disputing this judgment. In any case, this blog is a place to grow in harmony.

It may seem like a small thing to express harmony in words, words being considered so divorced from reality. But one must begin somewhere. Yet, is not the disharmonious spirit of such a demand — this demand that we show our harmony somewhere other than in words — a demonstration of how difficult it is to show it in words?

I have leapt over a step in my argument, because it is the one I least wish to make. But I must. This challenge and many more like it do not, in my opinion, evince a spirit of harmony. They require that someone be wrong. They are confrontational. They seem angry. For this reason, Trey has stepped in to preserve the harmony of the blog.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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