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Great quote, wchurchill, and depressing, too.  Here's another one which applies (albeit in a sense far from the original):

Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach, in meiner Brust

Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast

One soul favors, like Lao-Tzu, letting things unfold of their own accord (through the Tao, if you want), while the other feels that inarticulate yet inchoate latent impulses are as yet potential only, and are far from being guaranteed to be realized, and that human imagination, volition, commitment and passion can transform these from the possible/potential to the actual/real.

Why do I say "depressing"?  Because philosophically, I am very biased towards the Taoist/Zen way of seeing things, expressed in your quote above.  So philosophically, my head is saying,  "Don't rock the boat, and never forget: 'After illegal drugs and arms, the most insidious U.S. export is the American Idealist.'"  But as a Westerner, I believe, I am anxious not to lose the "window of opportunity", not to try to "catch the wave" of reform and renewal that I sense billowing, to do something with it, apply energy and imagination and creativity to add value to the world, but that I worry that the wave may never break on its own, or may do so at the wrong time, or in the wrong place, and may simply deflate (the metaphor does not quite work, because people have no ability to influence whether an ocean wave will break or where, but you get the idea.)  The quote is depressing, in short, because it makes me feel impotent, irrelevant... and yet on some level I believe Lao-tzu is right.

But maybe surfing is a good metaphor after all: We cannot create the wave, but we can catch it, and if our timing and positioning and preparation are right, we can do something beautiful with all that built-up energy in the surging water.  Or, we can miss the moment, and watch it roll away to crash on the surf.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Dec 28th, 2006 at 12:31:29 AM EST
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these are excellent comments bruno-ken.  I understand what you are saying and empathize with all of it.  In my experience, I have just found, to my regret, that people who are not ready to learn, will just not learn--and the attempt to proselytize to them may in fact do harm.  Here's another quote, more western in its source and from a slightly different angle:
He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he  that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man,  and he will love thee.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:  teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

It's not the same point, but it points out that certain people, a wise man, will be very open to discussion, instruction, whatever.  but the fool, the scorner, the wicked man,,,,not sure I would choose those terms,,,,will actually hate you if you try to show him the right direction.  and unfortunately when we begin these campaigns to make things right, we find there are few wise men,,,many more of the others.  so tampering with it, tends to ruin it.  IMHO
by wchurchill on Thu Dec 28th, 2006 at 10:57:57 AM EST
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