This is sort of spontaneous, so please bear with me …
Several conversations with people both in and out of the TotJO this past week have brought up an interesting (to me anyway) consideration. It all focuses on “human hearted-ness”. Now, this idea was regarded as the highest of virtues, especially by Kung-fu-tzu (Confucius). To revere our human nature is something of a more wholesome attainment than righteousness and propriety and everything that we are conditioned to respect as ‘respectable’. Here’s the thing :
We all get so intent on ‘changing’ our behaviours – ‘fixing’, as it were, those aspects of ourselves that we (individually or as a society) see as shortcomings. As it usually turns out, we are deploring our own human inclinations – dumping them onto a ‘moral dung heap’ as though we haven’t any right or reason to desire, to resent, to act-out. We haven’t any tolerance with ourselves about our mistakes, our illusions or our laziness. We want to be outstanding …
That is so screwed-up.
It is not to say that we would not best cultivate the other virtues, those we regard as ‘good’, but to harbour a disdain for our human-ness, which is the foundation of it all, is detrimental to whatever else we may regard as upstanding. We have been very nicely trained to consider ‘human nature’ as a basically rotten thing. It isn’t … Human nature, to be clear, is a fundamentally good organisation.
As was said with a friend earlier today, “there is as much spirituality in being a bastard as in being all pious. Both have extremes which would be best avoided.”
Accordingly, those of us who attempt to be shining examples of virtuous righteousness become ‘the thieves of virtue’ (cf. Confucius). To try to be wholly righteous, thus against one’s true nature, is a vain attempt to go ‘beyond’ human. To me, and by all means I’m no authority, to brutishly bang away against nature, one’s own and that of the way things actually are – is about as close to “sin” as we actually get here.
There is a pun in Chinese that cannot be translated into other languages, but it is found that it works pretty well for us. ‘Tao’ means “the Way” but it also means “to speak”. Thus, the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching : “The Tao that can be told (followed/said) is not the true Tao” – this can be said that we cannot force/Force it. It follows, or perhaps leads, that : “The Force which can be Forced is not the true Force.”
So, if we, according to our nature, are coming up against resistance in ‘following the Force’, that really implies pretty clearly that we are trying to impose some generally accepted model of morality than truly following the Force.
Just something to ponder …