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12 February 2009 @ 10:03 am
Tao of the Day  
For the Brave.

I've avoided posting this one before, though it's been relevant often, because of an interpretation problem I have with it. I feel compelled to note that all Tao is within the context of consent. Acting on a desire in a way that denies someone else the expression of their desires in a matter would be completely unacceptable. This is not, for instance, a justification for murder. It is instead a reminder that we should always ask for the things we want. Asking may receive a no and then you can begin to be free of it, but not asking is a self-constructed cage.

Desire unacted is corruption.
Must Not is a slave-owner, Ought Not is a slave.
Energy constrained turns the wheels of evil.
Look what you're dragging with you!
How can you run the gyre, how can you handle the power, chained like that?
- Ursula K. LeGuin, Always Coming Home
Satan's Tilt-A-Whirl: toonsavannarama on February 12th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have a fundamental problem with that one too, having watched a lot of my friends destroy their lives believing that desire alone is Reason Enough.
Kburgunder on February 12th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's amazing how often I stand bewildered in front of someone, shouting, "Just do it!"

I know my life rocks for acting on and expressing my (socially appropriate ;> ) desires. The positive reinforcement is so often built in, too.

I do remember when I was afraid of No, and my life rocked a whole lot less. It's a powerful fear and motivator. But it crumbled into dust so fast when I accepted that No is OK and up to other people...
Kburgunder on February 12th, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
(did I totally misunderstand what you were saying? I'm doubting myself as I re-read what you wrote...)
(Deleted comment)
Satan's Tilt-A-Whirl: toonsavannarama on February 12th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I'm saying that "Desire = A Good Reason" is simplified and dangerous; desire alone is not a good reason. Desire and Good Reasons may co-exist. It's exciting when they truly are walking hand in hand. But I've seen people invent/retcon all sorts of convoluted reasons and flimsy rationales to prop up hurting others or themselves, directly or as a totally foreseeable side effect.

Desire is a fine feeling. Acting on it is a totally different animal. I'm of the opinion that desire alone should not be imbued with respect greater than it deserves. It is a starting place.