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[cite] Mike:[/cite]The one part of the Tao Te Ching that seems to resonate with me is the "is" versus good/bad phenomenon that we've discussed. I have a question that I'd appreciate your insight on regarding this...
What about child molesters? I struggle with accepting behavior that is to me unnatural and evil. In a pure Taoist view, are we to accept this behavior as we do lying, the lion killing a gazelle, or a hurricane? Does the pedofile get the same treatment as the saint? Does the Tao allow for unnatural behavior, or is all behavior by definition natural?
[cite] Mike:[/cite] So, the lion on the plain protects his pride not out of love, but instinct. He does not hate a marauding hyena, he fights (and maybe kills) it as an instinctive response to protect. Thus, if I accept that the pedophile (for simplicity I'll use this example, understanding that we could substitute Hitler, or terrorists, or whatever ?.) does not choose his actions, that he does what he does out of an uncontrollable need, I can appreciate that this behavior just is, and I accept that he is neither evil or good, he just does what he needs to do.
While the butterfly and lion do not care, people do. As you point out, we have consciousness.
[cite] Mike:[/cite]While I accept that many, many of our filters and responses are a byproduct of social paradigms, I'm not sure that this completely explains our reaction to the pedophile.
[cite] Mike:[/cite]To me, I can look at that behavior and say "How sorry that he is so out of balance that he is driven to such behavior." I can also say "The harm he does others --- helpless children --- will create so many more being out of balance. Nature is better off that he is not free to create such disharmony." I can then behave in a way that prevents him from creating more out of balance beings. At the extreme, I could kill him and be in balance myself, if such an act was done unemotionally and out of an instinct to protect and maintain harmony. No social constraints, no hatred, just the observation that 'nature' is more in balance without so many more people being driven out of balance by the behavior of another. As Mr. Spock would say, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one."
[cite] Mike:[/cite]We, as sentient animals, even without social considerations, are social animals --- we are driven instinctively to run in packs. We (at least I) are also driven to react to any force that is destructive to the pack. Given that such a reaction is truly instinctive, and I am not rationalizing an emotion, it is not inconsistent with a Taoist perspective.
[cite] Mike:[/cite] "Oops - All life is conscious."... Yup, I acknowledge the error in expressing that. I do appreciate that all life has consciousness. "Sentience" is perhaps a better word ?.. and it raises the question, does the Taoist view assume that all life can reason? Does the lion not care about the hyena because he is incapable, or because he has transcended such needs? Does this mean that our 'caring' for things is a byproduct of social constructs vs. an advanced intellectual capability?
[cite] Mike:[/cite] "Our reaction to the pedophile is rooted in need and fear."... Okay. I get this at least intellectually ?.I do need to let it 'cook' for a while, but it makes sense despite how it evokes a deep distaste in me. I recognize that this distaste may simply be a byproduct of social paradigm, and fear, and need. So, I repeat the question above in a different way: as creatures with the ability to be self-analytical, and ones who were raised by and live in a society chock full of paradigms, when we respond to a social instinct (like your satisfaction in being helpful) is that any different than the lion rolling in the grass? I mean, we are what we are ?? even if we strive to 'have balance' how can we not respond to social paradigms, both consciously and subconsciously? Every day at work I consciously behave in ways that I don't necessarily believe in, because society would expel me if I didn't ?.then feeding my kids would be tough (and they eat a lot ?.), So, continuing the hypothetical example, if I react to the pedophile out of subconscious need and fear, I'm protecting, just like the lion protects, and we each do so driven by needs that pass through whatever intellectual abilities we have ???.
[cite] Mike:[/cite] We, as sentient animals, even without social considerations, are social animals --- we are driven instinctively to run in packs. We (at least I) are also driven to react to any force that is destructive to the pack. Given that such a reaction is truly instinctive, and I am not rationalizing an emotion, it is not inconsistent with a Taoist perspective.
[cite] Mike:[/cite]So, if I strive to accept those who evoke these strong emotions, and I appreciate that they do what they do out of need, and I strive for stillness, then even when I react, I'm doing what I am programmed to do. (my English teachers would be ashamed of that sentence ?.) I can't help it. Is that the point?
[cite] Mike:[/cite]Well, I've got to tell you --- using convenient, socially derived terms ---- I'm straining harder on some of these concepts than I did over the course of earning 3 college degrees. Of course, this subject matter is harder ?..and easier ?.
[cite] Mike:[/cite] It's funny how some emotions are so easy to let go, and others very hard. I seem to have a more difficult time with the "unpleasant" ones ?.letting them go, that is. You have me thinking hard about why I seem to be rationalizing hate ?.
[cite] Mike:[/cite] I stopped taking any type of pain killers a few years back, so I could experience pain not as a bad experience, but just an experience. That was easier for me than saying "Gee, I feel bad for the poor pedophile. How out of balance he must be and what a pity it is." I understand the wisdom of that and your points above, and intellectually, it resonates. Emotionally, I can't seem to let go of the hatred I feel for those (and a handful of other) behaviors. I know without a doubt that I could take the life of anyone who even tried to hurt my children, and I could sleep like a baby that same night. While social construct suggests that this is quite normal --- maybe even appropriate to some ---- it seems inconsistent with the Taoist mind-set that makes so much sense to me. I don't want to stop hating pedophiles, and terrorists, and rapists ??why that is seems to be the question that would be enlightening to me.
[cite] Mike:[/cite]I learn best by both dialogue and retrospection ?. I need to re-read some of the chapters you reference and ponder them a bit ?.
[cite] Mike:[/cite]"Ok, how are we doing?"... To answer your question, I'm still with you, and I am straining in some places to keep up, but I'm keeping up. I think.
In 5 years of experiencing Taoism, I've not experienced anyone who has the depth of thought in the subject as you have. My use of the honorific 'Sensei' on my last note perfectly reflects the value I perceive from this interaction. While expressing my thanks seems much more superficial than the appreciation I feel, I guess it --- and learning "well" --- is all I can do right now. If at any point you decide to write me off as a philistine ?or psycho ?or idiot, please do so. I understand. Alternatively, know that in the meantime you are helping me pursue my own growth and balance in a very meaningful way. Thank you.
[cite] mikequinn:[/cite]1) So, I have pondered all of this for some time now ... I think a light bulb went off about the 50th time I read this ....
2) Need drives desire. When we need, we are out of balance and must fulfull the need to regain balance. Understanding our needs that underlie our emotions is enlightenment. Enlightenment helps us have balance, moderate needs, and exist in harmony with all of nature.
3) Harmony is what the lion has ....he does not sweat status, ego, or self awareness.
4) He eats when he is hungry, fights when he is angry, and mates when driven to by instinctual needs.
5) Assuming for a moment the lion had the ability to cognate and express himself as we, if you asked him why he has such balance, he'd say "What are you talking about? I just AM."
6) ... in the void of my absence I have started studying karate.... Boy, I'm not 27 anymore .....
[cite] mikequinn:[/cite]1) ...Does the life force have some purpose, or pattern, or structure as to the things we are pushed toward?
2) ... Are you suggesting that the desire is a derivative of some intellectual process?
3) ... We mess ourselves up by over processing stuff, instead of just letting these things flow into and out of our consciousness as they may.
4) ... Society's loathing of one and loving the other is a social construct and thus fodder that we 'haul around'. The lion don't care.
5) ...realized something. My buddy the lion is a Taoist!!!