I got to thinking over yesterday’s Beyond Spooky post. In particular, I was wondering what effect, if any, the capitalization of proper names has on Western thought. One thing I appreciate about Chinese is how there is no way to capitalize words. The character 道 (dào in pinyin) means road, way, path; channel, course; way, path; doctrine, principle; Taoism, Taoist; superstitious sect; line; say, talk, speak; think, suppose. However, the only way to distinguish between road and capital ‘T’ Taoism is through context, not capitalization. I find that capitalization can skew perception toward elitism, or at least, does nothing to counteract it.
I think of myself as a small ‘t’ Taoist (but my computer automatically changed the small ‘t’ that I typed to a capital T). Thinking of myself as a small ‘t’ rather than a capital ‘t’ Taoist feels more impartial and connected to the whole. This feels less tribal, and more like a way is vast and resembles nothing. Without capitalization, the way looks more indistinct and shadowy. With capitalization, on the other hand, the Way looks more spoken of and named. Rather than softening the glare, capitalization hardens it.
The associations I draw between Taoism and quantum entanglement will probably make more sense to the small ‘t’ Taoist with a scientific outlook, and to a scientists with a small ‘t’ Taoist outlook. On the other hand, I suppose capital ‘T’ Taoist and capital ‘S’ scientist will agree less, if at all, with the connections I make. The same “wall” likely occurs with any capital letter groups with which people affiliate (especially politics, religion, ethnicity, sports, nation-states). While such tribal associations are innate and natural, it helps to realize that such walls also limit our discernment to penetrate the four quarters.