Hypochondriacs are folks obsessed with health issues. They make ‘illness mountains’ out of ‘wellness molehills’. However, we all do that for issues in life that bother us personally — ‘making of mountains out of mole hills’. We are all obsessed to a degree with some area of life, and so the hypochondriac’s cure really applies to us all.
Obsession, whatever the issue or degree, occurs when thinking goes to extremes, pushed there by emotion… and even deeper, by fear. Pulling thought back toward the middle is difficult, especially when in the throws of emotion. The mind needs a model of moderation to refer to.
Those who judge other people’s immoderation often use the word moderation itself as a model. People also use various religious models of moderation for personal guidance. Alas, moderation as a universal law is utterly relative, i.e., moderation for one person is often immoderate for another, and vice versa. Moderation is relative to one’s individual nature, and so it isn’t the clear-cut cure-all we try to make it.
I find the ‘non-locality’ exemplified in Schrödinger’s cat makes a marvelous model of moderation, if one accepts that weird mysterious sameness, as chapter 56 calls it. Reality isn’t this or that; it is both this and that. Alas, we are neurologically set up to experience reality as polar contrasts — ying vs. yang, good vs. bad, life vs. death, etc. You could say biology hoodwinks us, and all life, into seeing differences much more acutely than similarities. Perceiving difference serves survival by arousing our interaction in our environment. This works well in the wild, yet less so in civilized circumstances.
Seeing the mysterious sameness inherent in Schrödinger’s cat, and other paradoxes, allows me to peek through and see reality as a whole. The more I get my head around the view that both sides share the same coin, the less any obsession can get a toehold in my mind. The difficulty lies in seeing that paradoxical isn’t what it seems. As chapter 78 puts it, Straightforward words
Anything that challenges our trust in word meaning helps. Indeed, that feels like a primary purpose of the Tao Te Ching… and correlations, of course