We’ve all been out of touch with Nature for many millennia. Nevertheless, don’t feel guilt. Essentially, religion is merely a symptom of our out of touch with Nature experience — and of our wish to return to Eden.
The story of Eden in Genesis (Old Testament) parallels the Taoist view of how humanity fell out of touch with Nature: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. The hyperbole here is the view that if we didn’t “eat of it”, we’d be immortal. That is completely discordant with Nature’s way. Heck, even the universe isn’t immortal!
Later in the Gospels (New Testament), we find, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. This conflicts with Genesis and the Taoist point of view. After all, isn’t “the tree of knowledge” built on the foundation of words, e.g., good vs. bad, life vs. death, new vs. old, up vs. down, etc? It feels like Christianity wants to have it both ways. Hmm… how human.
By contrast, the Tao Te Ching’s disclaimer is uncommonly bold and ruthless. The beginning two lines state: The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way; The name that can be named is not the constant name. I’ve yet to find another paradigm as unabashedly straightforward and consistent with Nature as that portrayed in the Tao Te Ching. Have you?
All other paths seem to engage in various degrees of hierarchical hoodwinking. That’s not bad, mind you. After all, biology is the master hoodwinker, and the one that I examine as closely as possible to see how it plays out. This really helps neutralize its push-pull effect on me. That is, as long as circumstances don’t push my emotional buttons too hard. (See Peeking in on Nature’s Hoodwink)
Yet, I must confess that thinking I’m able to see through nature’s hoodwink enough to neutralize it may also be part of nature’s hoodwink. I fear I only see what I want to see. Thus, I constantly keep in touch with chapter 71’s To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty … and knowing this helps keep me more in touch with Nature.