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The Whole Tao

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

If the Tao is the way, I don’t know that it’s the whole way. J. D. Salinger, in the voice of Seymour, pointed out that religion hinges on detachment but poetry on passion, and if you want to practice the Tao you have to go beyond poetry – have to accept the bad verse alongside the good, which Seymour for one won’t do. Anyway, I’ve been wondering. The Tao Te Ching gives many directions on being soft, but, thus far in my reading, says nothing on being hard. Is there not a time for everything? And while detachment is positive and powerful, can’t passion be a positive force too? I know that passion is one of the most beautiful things, and I know there’s a time when embracing, flexing, ceding is not constructive. Does the Tao Te Ching account for this? Or is it willing to acknowledge only certain slices of what we humans are? (It must be bigger than that.)

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