“Social Justice” What would a Taoist do?

by The Maui Taoist

HAPPY SERENITY The three vinegar tasters are representative of ‘the Three Teachings of China’. The three teachings are one, the three jewels, love, moderation and humility are one, Buddha saw life as bitter, Confucius saw life as sour, Lao Tzu saw life as it is in its natural state. Life can be sweet when utilized for what it is, nature is not a setter of bitter traps (Buddhism) and sour rules (Confusianism). Life may be bitter or sour, how can we be anything but sweet and kind. Lao Tzu’s inner peace starts with a sweet smile, he simply accepts vinegar for what it is : it’s vinegar. He has no expectations. Most people go trough life expecting certain things, but it is a most liberating experience when we are able to live life with an attitude of no expectations and no regrets. The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations. In the beginners mind, there are many possibilities, so many expectations. In Lao Tzu’s mind there are very few. The vinegar dilemma is a well known bitter-sour/sweet yin-yang dilemma. Finally it’s a koan. So what, the Supreme Ultimate Tao is indifferent to human affairs, possibilities, expectations and desires. Expectations are simply another form of false hope, and no one should give up hope.

“We all declare for liberty; but by using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor.
Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of these things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”      Abraham Lincoln

The other day someone asked me what I thought about “social justice.“ I don’t think he liked the answer I gave him.  I often get asked such questions and yet my answer is always quite simple.  What would a Taoist do?  Well I can only tell you what this Taoist would do.  When it comes to Tao, I guess you might say I’m sort of an originalist.

Understanding Tao is all about natural action or non striving, we say “wu wei” which means sometimes the best option is no action. Everything in nature finds balance within the system, and people are part of the system.  The Taoist leads by example, he doesn’t fret about conditions and neither does he contribute to negative conditions.

For thousands of years man has tried to help things along and yet they fail as often as they help, often making matters worse.  I don’t fight wars, I don’t fight anyone.  I show people how to heal the wounds caused by war and suffering.  If humans fight wars and kill each other that is just the way it is.  If you were on a walk in the woods and you came across two tigers fighting, would you intervene? Or would you avoid it and help those that may be injured through no fault of their own?

Oh, we’ll go into this country to help….we’ll ban this life saving insecticide…we’ll steal from the rich and redistribute to the poor… we’ll hate this person for being rich and be just as greedy coveting what he has….lets support the “Arab Spring”…. Let’s back this dictator or promote democracy even if the people there don’t want it…let’s feed the wild animals…kill the wolves…. Don’t kill the wolves…. Oh my GOD the planet is heating up… no its not, its cooling down, somebody do something!… The Jews caused the problems… no it was the Republicans…no it wasn’t, it was the socialist Democrats…

Pour ice in it.. No no no… put heat on it…Make everyone use light bulbs that contain deadly mercury, what are you crazy?  Blame George Bush for spending too much…. Blame Barrack Obama for spending four times what Bush spent…. Invade Iraq… send drones into Pakistan…. Invade Afghanistan…. Use Drones in Yemen… Bomb Libya…Don’t support the people in Syria… Support the people in Egypt… Send troops to Sudan… Don’t support the people in Iran… Bush was a wimp, Obama is a tyrant… Don’t protect our border just other countries borders…WTF?… Don’t let citizens own guns; Give guns to Mexican drug dealers instead…. Force people to pay for services they don’t want…. don’t help them get what they need…Bail out the banks, then tell everyone banks are evil, then take campaign money from them….. Be a feminist and hate men… be a misogynist and hate the women for hating men… if you would be a damn man she wouldn’t hate you…Hate this, Love that… Argue argue argue… Hate hate hate… bla bla bla…Whine and complain… Occupy Wall street…. be indignant…Oh no, we must not anger those people… don’t say that!  Be a people pleaser… go along to get along… do this, do that… Enough! Hog wash!

I say… “Oh Well“… “Big Deal”… “So What”… “Who Cares?”… It really doesn’t mater anyway.
Keep life simple:
Stop making all these rules and laws
Stop making Government bigger
Take responsibility for you own life
Stop complaining and protesting about what you don’t have
Don’t hassle those that have what you want
Stop trying to save the world
Avoid military action
Take care of your homeland
Take care of your health
Love your neighbor
Be peaceful, compassionate and content
And all the world will benefit

I know this may sound cold or indifferent but is it not wrong to tell others what is right or wrong?  Who are we to judge and abridge other peoples liberty? Why should I care what you smoke or do in your bedroom or what kind of light bulb you use or what car you drive or food you eat? Is it right to steal from those that work hard to give to those who do not? Its nobody’s business how much money someone else makes. Why tax people on what they make instead of what they spend?

I do what nature tells me to do. If we all would follow natural law everything would work out fine. I know we need laws and government and on rare occasions even war, but we must also understand that these things are necessary evils and should be kept at the most limited levels.

A Taoist sees that nature will always balance everything out, it is a spiritual thing to look away as the two tigers fight and have faith in the process.

What would a Taoist say about war, global warming, economic inequality, and a whole host of other social issues?  What would I do?  Nothing!
Tao knows what to do…

“…there are plenty of people who believe that freedom includes taking what they need from others — usually through political action. Many of them consider inequalities in wealth to be conditions of slavery. They would continue to fight for the social conditions they want.” 

From:  “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World”  by  Harry Browne

Copyright: Cory Williams 2011