Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Way of Water: Occupying the Low Ground II

Scott Bradley


For all its talk about transcending "right and wrong', Daoism actually has little interest in them except as they inhibit our experience of the view from Dao. Left to themselves, they will work themselves out; the sage need not concern herself with them, in any case, since to transcend them is to fulfill them as they cannot fulfill themselves. The foundation of Daoist ethics is the understanding that society is best served by the completion of individuals within it.

Somewhere in the literature of Zen it says that he who talks about right and wrong is in bondage to right and wrong. The very questioning of the moral implications of flowing to the low ground demonstrates that bondage. And this returns us to the statement made in the previous post, that one cannot understand the metaphor until one has understood the essentials of the principle it seeks to illustrate.

One cannot go with the flow unless one has learned to flow; and one who flows does not offer a moral threat to either himself or others. Because a hippie takes it as an opportunity to do whatever he pleases, simply illustrates that he has no experience of what it means. In other words, to concern oneself with the moral implications of this, or any other principle, outside the experience from which it arises, is simply to demonstrate the absence of that experience.

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

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