Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The World Anew

I'm often asked by people to explain and sum up Taoism. It's always a difficult proposition. Unlike a religion (like Christianity or Islam), there is no fixed or universal definition. The kernel of Taoism is different for each person. There's no question that there are some universal themes, but each of these is difficult to express in words.

Yet, words often are needed to convey ideas from one person to the next. This very blog is a feeble attempt by two brothers to express some of our beliefs about life and its meaning. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't. Hey, but that's life!

While words can be very limiting, there are some words we recommend. If you want to climb outside of your perspective to view the world anew, one author immediately comes to mind: Alan Watts.

Watts, who died in 1973, started out as a priest, but left the priesthood in 1950. He has written numerous books about Taoist and Asian thought. I've read many of them and have found each one to be insightful and fresh.

I'm currently reading The Wisdom of Insecurity. Though written over 50 years ago, it reads like it was written yesterday. Here's a brief excerpt:
Yet it has always been taught in religion that "God" is something from which one can expect wisdom and guidance. We have become accustomed to the idea that wisdom -- that is, knowledge, advice, and information -- can be expressed in verbal statements consisting of specific instructions. If this be true, it is hard to see how any wisdom can be extracted from something impossible to define.

1 comment:

  1. I just found two of your posts relating to this book and, it seems quite a book!

    I have read a fair few of Dr Watts books but this one has only just come to my attention. Thanks.


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