Lenten Observance: Day 36

Tao 71 & 72

71: “Not-knowing is true knowledge.  Presuming to know is a disease.”  Of course, the author is not attacking wisdom or knowledge, or knowing things.  Knowing to live the Tao would be a form of knowledge.  This is an attack on the “experts.”  When people become experts, there is a tendency for others to revere them, and for the experts themselves to get caught up in their own expertise (this is when they lecture and pontificate).  And they confuse their own expertise, which may be extensive, for true knowledge, which it is  not, and they don’t see opportunities to get knowledge which doesn’t fit their paradigm.

72: “When they lose their sense of awe, people turn to religion…”  When what starts as wonder and awe at the majesty of the world becomes crystalized, it becomes “organized religion,” and then the followers of a particular group hold on to various dogmas.  In science, we can see this in the case of the geocentric view — long after it became untenable to hold to Ptolemy’s system, the church and other groups held on to it, despite evidence to the contrary.  And there is the chance that years from now, scientific truths we hold will come under attack and those who have a vested interest in the theories of today will dig in and fight any changes.  Of course, we see this turn to fundamentalism today as a case of the people losing their sense of awe and wonder.  And I’d include dogmatic atheism in this mix as well — at times, it seems all dogmatic people have is dogma and they lose the wonder of life lived, with all its messiness and complexity.

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