It took me a while to come up with a title for this one. A whole 30 minutes, perhaps.
I went through a variety of names. “Decent Thought” was rejected for lack of originality. “Shell Shade”, based on a turtle obsession, failed to resonate and lacked sufficient meaning. Another, an old pseudonym, reminded me too much of the past.
Within the context of blog titles, I find that many words harbor hidden pretense or suggest their opposite. To me, the “Raw” of “Raw Thought” evokes feelings of anger, the color red, and injury. Should thought always be raw, or is there a place in the world for tempered, considered thought?
Likewise, the “Decent” of “Decent Thought” felt presumptuous. How do I know my thought will always be decent? I don’t, and I know for a fact that sometimes it is not. The only reason I thought to think the word was for my recent (and possibly transient) fascination with decentralization. No, that won’t do.
I found myself wandering back to an old muse, Eastern religion, and Taoism in particular. That felt right.
The Tao, encompassing dualism, evokes no opposite. Unharmed by New Age naïveté (for the most part), it carries little pretense.
The “named Tao”
[..] early writings such as the Dao De Jing and the I Ching make pains to distinguish between conceptions of Dao (sometimes referred to as “named Dao”) and the Dao itself (the “unnamed Dao”), which cannot be expressed or understood in language. 1
This blog will explore the named Tao.
The Tao “which cannot be expressed or understood in language” would make for poor reading material.
Dao can be roughly thought of as the flow of the universe, or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the universe balanced and ordered.
What does it mean for a Universe to be “balanced and ordered”?
In another section, the collective output of Wikipedia had this to say—not so much as to answer, but to raise more questions:
In most belief systems, Dao is used symbolically in its sense of ‘way’ as the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices.
Does a “balanced and ordered” world have need for “ongoing practices of attainment”?
Opinions differ on the meaning of Tao.
What is clear, however, is that different groups have different interpretations of what it means for a universe to be “balanced and ordered”, and different understandings of what is “right” and “proper”, and what “practices” lead to what “attainment”.
A world can be “balanced and ordered”, and yet still be in conflict.
We can disagree on what is “right” and “proper”.
What is “natural” to some, may be unnatural—even offensive—to others.
The Tao which can be named is diverse.
The Tao which cannot be named
And though our Taos may disagree, may our “ongoing practices of attainment” bring us closer.
- Tao, “Description and uses of the concept” Retrieved from Wikipedia June 1, 2015