Lenten Observance: Day 3

Two short sections today, 5 and 6. Both talk about the capacity of the Tao (endless) and that it gives birth to both good and bad, that it doesn’t take sides. “Tao” 5 tells us to “hold to the center.” This idea of the center will recur. The center of a wheel being crucial to the working of the wheel, but it is a hole that, in a way, holds it all together. There is a hint here of the dangers of labeling — the Tao is like the master that takes good and bad students — does not exclude one because it doesn’t fit. This is a big lesson for many religions — if you don’t meet the standards for orthodoxy, you are excluded, officially or not. It is the way society largely works as well, so that a free speaking woman or person of color in the early 20th c. would likely be viewed with suspicion — such people do not know “their place.” Of course, it doesn’t matter that they had no input into “their place.” Even the side that “wins” such an argument, the orthodox, lose — they close out difference, with everything that difference might bring. It appears that they successfully shut up the other side, but the other side is still there, but the dominant side doesn’t get to benefit from dialog. They haven’t so much shut up the other side as shut their ears to any point that contradicts their own. That can’t be good.

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