Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pop Culture Tao - Life Doesn't Ask

Trey Smith

Of all the various series I write, I think this one has the fewest entries. I last wrote an installment 6 1/2 months ago! It's not hard to understand why. We live in a society that is predominated by Judeo-Christian and capitalist imagery. It is not common to see or hear anything that alludes to Taoism in the media.

Below is an ad from the shoemaker, Reebok. It is not the same ad that caught my eye on the TV screen, but it's close.

"Life doesn't care what you look like or where you come from. It's not here to judge you." Doesn't that sound like something you might read in the Tao Te Ching or Zhuangzi? Try reading the quoted lines again and replacing the word, life with the word, Tao. It has a familiar ring.

That said, I think Zhuangzi -- but not Laozi -- might disagree with the final statement, "Life only asks that you join it." For Zhuangzi, life/Tao poses no questions. Living (or being) is not a choice. Whatever you are or are not and whatever you hope to be is part of life/Tao. Even if you end your "life" in this realm, that is part of the totality of life/Tao too.

So me thinks that Zhuangzi, if he was the copy editor for this ad, probably would have jettisoned the last line altogether. What do you think?

To see what other aspects of "pop culture" I've written about, go here.

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