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Taoism

August 1, 2018

If there is one spiritual outlook we could do with learning something from in the western world right now it is Taoism. There is no balance in our culture between the feminine and masculine principles of being. And this balance has been lacking for some time. A confluence of democratic political pretensions, individualistic moral visions and consumerist lifestyles has left us in a very unhealthy way of being. Our pretensions to democratic equality make us alternately bigoted when we have temporary moral higher ground over some other person and hypocritical when we don’t. We seamlessly pass from virtue signalling and bullying others to crying about being bullied and having mental health problems. We seamlessly pass from an avowed attack on real features of our society to wanting to enjoy the benefits that society reaped for us over the generations thanks to slavery, conquest, etc.

The feminine in our culture has become arrogant and over-sized as a compensation for the same thing in our recent past in the masculine in our culture. And that over-reaching feminine threatens to undermine the basis of our very civilisation by stretching it to a breaking point. Any woman who wants to quickly take offence to this statement is welcome to prove me right, regarding the recent feminine arrogance. By judging me as this, that or the other for daring to say something not nice about women. We really do need to grow up as a culture. This bi-polar over dramatic nonsense we seem to engage in these days is a very childish phase that we should rise above if we want to restore some balance to our society.

There is a lot we can learn from Taoism. We can learn that any action will tend to create an equal and opposite reaction. Recent forays in the political sphere should alert potential moral saviours of us all, to the dangers of a blind and arrogant attachment to your own personal ideals and value systems. The media does its best to stretch the yin/yang balance to breaking point, by targeted stories appealing to one extreme or the other. Always sensationalist, always provoking emotional responses, always getting people to take sides and digest a set of values in line with their already natural biases. We should not be indulging in our own biases like this as a way to see who can take them to the most ludicrous extreme, in order to get fame and popularity. We should not. But we are. And so we have a system that promotes sensationalist and caricatured extremes. It promotes this kind of indulgence. Stretching our mental and moral fibre to breaking point almost out of some sadistic pleasure. When what we should really be doing if we are to learn anything from Taoism is to question our own biases. And rather than looking to reinforce them by hiding in safe spaces and echo chambers. Looking to have them balanced out by the alternative perspective.

I entered an online room recently and someone, not from America, was entirely convinced he knew what was best for all Americans, that they should not have guns. He was so convinced, I expect largely by the emotional pulleys of the media working subtly on his heartstrings, that he was unable to countenance even having a debate which might entail questioning the legitimacy of that assumption for one second. I was once in that group of people, till I made an effort to understand what it was all about, then I realised it is a much more complex issue than the, in this case, sensationalist left wing bigotry media would have us believe. When you ask a few questions about, who will have the guns if not independent citizens, for instance? You see some problems. You see a presumption of trust in the police and army to be non-corrupted by this absolute power they would then have, for instance. If we really had an actual representative, accountable democracy, maybe we could trust our officials as only having weapons. But who really believes this other than very naive people?

Things like this open up an important discussion. But this discussion currently can hardly get off the ground because we are out of balance in our culture. We are polarised by a sensationalist media that is making us unhealthy. It is making us unhealthy and it is making us use up energy on pointless and futile grievances so they can have power over us when it comes to real issues. Who is they? The ever present question. Well, they are the elite, and left wing people used to be quite happy to talk of such a “they”. But lately they seem to have given up almost on raising such issues. The media has found a way to control them and use them with the background fear of consequences if they do not conform. It is a sad and dangerous situation. What has resulted is a kind of pseudo culture, a mask worn for superficial adornment in public by us in the western world. A fragile mask that conceals a deep burning anger and hatred. It is all in its origins a result of lack of balance in ourselves between yin and yang and we would do well to do some deep soul searching to find its root in each of us.

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