Lenten Observance: Day 20

Halfway through Lent!

Tao 39 & 40

39: “When a man interferes with the Tao, the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the equilibrium crumbles, creatures become extinct.”  Sounds pretty dire, and when one is one with the Tao, everything sounds peachy.  As the dichotomy of peachy and rotten is the sort of thinking that gets you into trouble (in a way, there is no peachy or rotten in the Tao, as all is whole, whereas binary thinking divides the world, and messes things up.  And the “we’re all going to die” at the end seems a bit extreme — the filthy sky, the earth depleted not so much.  Of course, this might very well be an indictment of the way the West has looked at exploiting resources — we have polluted skies, an earth that is somewhat depleted and barren, and global warming a threat. 

40: “All things are born of being.  Being is born of non-being.” This reminds me of the Theogony of Hesiod, where the first thing is Chaos, which may very well be “non-being.”  Hesiod doesn’t give us enough information to figure out what Chaos means to him.  But out of Chaos, which may not be an entity, Earth and all other created things come, which sounds like all things coming from the Tao.  And, in a way, day comes out of night, once we start viewing things in terms of binary opposition (something gives birth to its opposite, as soon as one thinks in terms of opposite).

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