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David Zindell's Neverness, A Requiem for Homo Sapiens and all things Science Fiction and Fantasy
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 Post subject: Thoughts on Tao Te Ching
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 5:14 am 
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Verse 50 of the Tao Te Ching:

Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.

He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.

Of course, from the standpoint of fantasy books that many of us are into, it's fun to think of this in literal terms, and imagine being impervious to any danger. "Ha! Do your worst! Death cannot enter me, for I know how to live!"

But, as are many parts of the TTC, this is a metaphor. "He who knows how to live" is one who knows how to live well! One whose thoughts are - whose very being is - of life, love, and joy. The rhinos, tigers, and weapons represent things that cause thoughts of death, fear, and sorrow. But these things don't cause such thoughts in those who know how to live. Their minds and hearts are always on the good; never seeing - not capable of seeing - the dark side of things. ____________
Highdrake's mastery of spells and sorcery was not much greater than his pupil's, but he had clear in his mind the idea of something very much greater, the wholeness of knowledge. And that made him a mage.<i>Edited by: danlo60 at: 12/11/06 1:19 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on TTC
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2003 6:00 pm 
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I'm not quite sure where you are coming from Fist (not surprising as we often come from things from very different directions)...
But to me knowing those bad, scarey beaties do exist, and that bad things can happen make the laughter and joy and love even more precious, even more beautiful...
Doesn't Galadriel once say something to the effect of "The light can still see the heart of the darkness, but the darkness cannot see the light."? ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on TTC
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:36 am 
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Yes, you're right. Badly worded on my part. (You know, when you run your mouth as much as I do, you're bound to get things wrong once in a while. LOL!! ) For example, instead of "never seeing - not capable of seeing - the dark side of things," I should have said something to the effect that such people are not capable of being dragged down to where they cannot return from. They experience all things, but see it all as part of the whole. Rather than try to avoid the dark, they go into it, through it, and come out the other side. Which gives them a better appreciation of the light.

duchess, Thank you for keeping me on my toes!!! ____________
Highdrake's mastery of spells and sorcery was not much greater than his pupil's, but he had clear in his mind the idea of something very much greater, the wholeness of knowledge. And that made him a mage.<i></i>


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