mysteries of power

Who knows
doesn’t talk.
Who talks
doesn’t know.
Closing the openings,
shutting doors,

blunting edge,
loosing bond,
dimming light,
be one with the dust of the way.
So you come to the deep sameness.

Then you can’t be controlled by love
or by rejection.
You can’t be controlled by profit
or by loss.
You can’t be controlled by praise
or humiliation.
Then you have honor under heaven.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

A poem full of what should now be familiar as Taoist statements. Paradoxes. Oblique phrases wrapped in simplicity.

But it really is this simple. Those who talk all the time reveal very little knowledge. Those who move and shake and can’t stop speaking blunt your own sensibilities, loosen your own sense of control, and dim your life. I think often of social media as a contrast to what the Tao asks of us. The deluge of information blunts our ability to respond, to react. It blurs our ability to see what matters. It makes us slave to praise, to social reinforcements. It makes our fear of rejection, of humiliation, our anxieties about loss and money all run amok.

There is a fight going on within our nation, and I wish I could use less aggressive terms for it.

Perhaps just using the word conflict is enough. But there is a conflict in our nation, and most are clinging to social media to remain part of the conversation, to make sure we have the most relevant up to date hot takes to pepper their status updates with.

But when you live in the forest, it’s hard to see anything but thousands of different trees. Sometimes you need to walk up the hill to see that these are not thousands of distinct trees, but one forest.

This will bring you more peace and serenity, as well as making you more effective.

By all means, remain connected, but make sure to take a step back at least once a day, and try to synthesize all the information you’re receiving. Try to fit it together. Because everything is connected. Especially in politics. Most of the issues stem from a few sources, though they lead to myriad problems.

Find the sources. Focus your energy there.


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