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05 June 2008 @ 08:07 am
Tao of the Day  
If you don't trust people, you make them untrustworthy.
- Tao Te Ching #17 (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.
- Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed
bitterfun on June 5th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
"If you don't trust people, you make them untrustworthy.
- Tao Te Ching #17 (trans. Stephen Mitchell)"

This is a fundamental one for me. I get blamed for being too trusting and careless for following this philosophy, but I could careless. I like it.

"To make a thief, make an owner; to create crime, create laws.- Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed"

This one I'm a little iffy on. I think something is lost in the translation. I believe the passage tries to highlight the futility of dicotomy aspect. In this translation it seems like more of a material/anti-establishment nay-saying. With the general Chinese society/culture influence and Confusanism, I think Taoism was a bit more understanding of rules and laws than the translation makes it seem.
Kburgunder on June 5th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
sing it to the choir
This is a fundamental one for me.

Seriously. I didn't get this for years, and when it finally hit me over the head in the usual frying pan manner that epiphanies do ... it is so much less exhausting just trusting everyone. When they go out of their way to fuck up, then there's various things to do - even continuing to trust them in the right circumstance. Until then, no need to waste an ounce of energy trying to figure out who is and isn't trustworthy and with a few interpersonal exceptions, often pretty irrelevant.

I also had a funny experience recently related to this. I started dating someone new, and his ex-girlfriend completely freaked out about it, and upon learning that he and I were growing close, actually forbid him to tell me her last name, where she worked or anything else personal about her. I have no idea why, other than that she ate a bowl of crazy for breakfast that morning.

But guess who I'm suspicious of ;>

The reverse axiom also has merit.
Kburgunder on June 6th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
Heh, The Dispossessed is totally material/anti-establishment; it's kind of a utopian version of an anti-property anarchist society.
bitterfun on June 6th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
*looks up book on Amazon*


"Her best-known fantasy works, the Earthsea books..."

This makes so much more sense now. I didn't recognize the name or that I had read some of her books until I saw the meantion of Earthsea.

"an experiment in nonauthoritarian communism"

Meh, not exactly my cup of tea, but I don't begrudge other's interest in it.

Edited at 2008-06-06 07:08 pm (UTC)
Satan's Tilt-A-Whirl: toonsavannarama on June 5th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
I recognize that the first is trying to say that some trust is worth risking, and the second that arguably needless laws breezily make criminals of people who are harming no one except possibly themselves. However, inappropriate trust and a state of lawlessness are both disastrous.

For me, those statements are too simplistic to be powerful. Perhaps in their original contexts, I would enjoy the writing more.
Kburgunder on June 6th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
You're totally right - The Dispossessed is all about imagining the utopian version of anarchy.

For what it's worth, the context in which I was considering it yesterday was interpersonal relationships and jealousy. I've almost never had to deal with jealousy in my life before - I am so not a jealous person! However, circumstances have finally given me the opportunity to experience this very icky thing, and as I'm facing it for the first time, I keep realizing that though I might want to make a million rules to comfort myself, the creation of said rules actually sets up the person who is trying to do right by me to fail.

And not just that, but the more rules I make to feel secure, the less freedom there is for anyone in the situation and I'm totally against that.
Satan's Tilt-A-Whirl: toonsavannarama on June 6th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
The plot thickens. ... I am not a jealous person by nature either--but I am not immune. Yep--very tempting to make rules and create structure when one is feeling insecure. And the difficult thing is, there must be some structure. It can't just be anything-goes. But ambiguity and uncertainty is uncomfortable, and yet totalitarianism almost unliveable.

I think the trick is to be honest with the self about it (and write pages about it, possibly in private) in order to thoroughly understand where it's coming from and what provoked it and if there is anything that 1) one can do strictly for oneself to feel better or more secure 2) reasonably request from another person to mitigate it 3) if you and the other party are similar enough in mindset and attitude to make small concessions to the other.

But to not give jealousy too much dignity. That is where the greatest of problems come in, I'll posit--giving jealousy too much permission; too much weight, too much meaning, unconsidered. It is the same as allowing anger to dictate one's actions. One may be angry quite reasonably. One may be angry, calm oneself, and still find that the course of action desired while angry is still the wisest and most appropriate choice once the immediate anger has ebbed.

The same is true for jealousy, I think. In the fire of jealousy one might think "I will break up with him for this!" And once time and reflection have passed, that might still be the logical choice, actually. So I think the key is to feel it freely and examine it, but not act right away or mistake it for righteousness.
Kburgunder on June 6th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
I love your brain. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
blackflymetadragon on June 5th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
The only good policeman is a dead one. The only good law is unenforced.

-Big Black.

I saw you on the bus for both directions of the commute Tuesday. Must have been a sign. ;)

Kburgunder on June 5th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
I don't recognize your LJ name. Do I know you?
blackflymetadragon on June 5th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Juno's boy. Orange motorcycle. ;)
Kburgunder on June 6th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Hee! Hi-hi! :)