5 taoism and ethnics- usefulness of the uselessPresentation Transcript
Western science and Eastern mysticism?
Niels Bohr’s self-designed ‘coat of arms,’ featuring Yin/Yang and “contraries in complementarity.”
“ It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.”
“ The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
At the micro-level, quantum physics tells us there’s no ultimate substance-brick of the universe. “It is no more particulars than energy-packets; nor more energy packets than particles…Both ‘this’ and ‘that’ are different ways for the same entity to be” (C. Li)
The Story of Cook Ding: We always look at things from a certain point of view. But Zhuangzi recognizes no essence or primary being, exclusively determining the entity’s being. The entity’s being an aggregate of parts is no less real than its being an ox.“ Only when we see it not merely as an ox, but also as an entity that is both a ‘this’ and a ‘that,’ can we get to the pivot of the Tao” (C. Li) Staying at the pivot of the ‘potter’s wheel of Heaven’ is called “letting both alternatives proceed.”
To adhere dogmatically to ‘that’s it’ of an entity is to discriminate against alternatives. But in doing so one is obstructed from seeing the reality of the Tao. “To know the Tao is not to discriminate against alternatives, but to be open to them” (C. Li).
Stayin’ in ‘the pivot of the Tao’
“ When there is no more separation of ‘this’ and ‘that,’ it is called the pivot of the Tao. At the pivot in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.”— Zhuangzi
“ To know the Tao is not to discriminate against alternatives, but to be open to them” (C. Li). Staying at the pivot of the ‘potter’s wheel of Heaven’ is called “letting both alternatives proceed.”
“ Everything is a ‘that,’ and everything is a ‘this.’ You cannot see it as a ‘this’ if you are from the viewpoint of ‘that’; you see it as a ‘this’ when you are from the viewpoint of ‘this’… Thus the sage does not bother with these distinctions but sees all things the way they are….” “The Way is the pivot of all things”— TTC 47
Zhuangzi and the Butterfly
“ The transformation of things” takes place when the boundary between ‘this’ and ‘that’ is dissolved and the oneness of the world is revealed.
Heraclitus: You can’t step into the same river twice.
Living in harmony with nature means to accept all of its transformations.
As with the Stoics of old, accepting transformations—not trying to change what we cannot change--serves to insulate us somewhat from adverse luck.
Example: calmness as to disaster and good fortune in story of the wild horses.
The usefulness of the useless
“ Doors and windows are cut out to make a room, But it is on its non-being that the utility of the room depends.”— Tao te Ching, 11