The fish are still biting and I’m reeling them in, I’m just not posting them. Posting my fishy observations requires so much cleaning up to make them suitable for consumption. Finishing the last chapter of my translation of the Tao Te Ching — Tao Te Ching, Word for Word — was the catalyst I needed to reevaluate matters. I’ve wondered for some time why I post my observations in the first place. After all, a Taoist point of view has to be among the most ironic subjects to speak or write on. As chapter 56 reminds, he who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know. Naturally, I include think and write along with speak.
So I have to ask myself, if I don’t know, why reveal my ignorance? On the other hand, if I do know, why am I speaking? To be fair, chapter 56’s He who knows… statement is not the whole story. On the plus side, striving to write coherently is a fascinating challenge, and my observations seem to benefit a few people. You could say I’m composing ‘music’ for the mind beyond itself— the indistinct and shadowy realm, as chapter 21 says. Speaking of indistinct, chapter 67 hints, The whole world says that my way is vast and resembles nothing. It is because it is vast that it resembles nothing. If it resembled anything, it would, long before now, have become small.
Is redundancy the name of the game?
Clearly, I’ve said it all before, ad nauseam. Still, this continuous echo keeps the bio-hoodwink from pulling me off course. Alas, forgetting what I truly want of life is all-too-easy! Thus, recalling insights from my more balanced moments helps anchor me during my less balanced moments. Redundancy is essential if I wish to remember my deepest priorities.
Adventures of aging
I never remember any elderly people telling me how fascinating aging was, although if they had, it probably wouldn’t have registered, i.e., I can only truly understand what I already know (see You Know, p.203). I seem to be having increasing difficulty remembering things. I know this worries many aging people. However, it’s a positive thing for me, as chapter 20 says… My mind is that of a fool – how blank! Vulgar people are clear. I alone am drowsy. Vulgar people are alert. I alone am muddled. Insight seems to flow through the void my mind is becoming… or perhaps I’m just making lemonade when served with lemons!
Then again, I could just be seeing myself more as I actually am rather than as the genius I once preferred to think I was. That sounds like chapter 71’s Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. Put simply, what I thought was true prevented me from seeing what may be actually true — the blinding effect of belief.
Another unlikely possibility is that I could be experiencing the beginnings of Alzheimer’s and the hole it produces in memory will lead to the final days of insight before my mind’s curtain falls. Speculating is fun, especially given how life usually turns out differently from anything we imagine. Life’s an adventure, that’s for sure!
Postscript: It is now 2019, about 8 years after I wrote this post. I now believe I’ve completed the circle, or as chapter 36 puts it, If you would have a thing laid aside, you must first set it up. After my last post, The Tradeoff, (p.549) I felt I’d said enough. Still, who knows? Oh, and I don’t have Alzheimer’s… yet.