ZHUANGZI ON THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS V

Blog:  Okay, we more or less understand how we can care intensely about the presidential elections while not having our peace disturbed by whatever their outcome might be. But “caring” implies taking sides—you’re “feeling the Bern”. We know “two roads” is going to fit in here, too—but can you explain how exactly?

Zhuangzi:  Would you agree that humanity is absolutely powerless when it comes to ultimate outcomes? There is really no difference between the inevitability of the death of an individual and the death of our species, our solar system, our galaxy and our universe as we pretend to “know” it.

B:  Yes; this is what you call the “unavoidable”. And we can “hand it all over to the unavoidable”.

Z:  Yes. And what does that mean to you?

B:  It means that our existence, by its very nature, requires a release of ourselves in trust. Every waking moment we are entrusting ourselves to the “goodness” of life—and that implies the “goodness” of death and all other outcomes, including the death of Everything. All is well.

Z:  Exactly. And this is not adding to life—we haven’t thought it up and now wish to apply it to life to make ourselves feel better—it is what life is and does. To live is to trust; so we simply get our worrying minds out of the way and let go in trust. So, if someone who doesn’t truly care about our collective flourishing, except perhaps as somehow manifest in the so-called survival of the fittest, wins the election, then, since we have entrusted ourselves to the ultimate “goodness” of the Happening, we are not disturbed in our fundamental positivity and peace.

B:  That’s the “higher” road. And the other road is caring about our collective flourishing. And why is that our highest value?

Z:  Because that’s what life is and perpetually seeks to accomplish. It’s what every individual thing does—pursues self-flourishing. And we understand that the flourishing of any one thing is inextricably united to the flourishing of all things. We are one, even as we are each one inviolably a different self-so. I really like where that Ziporyn guy took this—following where Tiantai took it—“omnicentrism”. Every individual thing is Everything while still just itself. Every individual thing is both the center and the periphery. Good stuff that. And I admit to feeling a bit of pleasure in having inspired that, at least in part. But, of course, I was inspired by others who were inspired by others . . .

B:  So, you “feel the Bern” because you think he has the best vision for our collective flourishing.

Z:  I do. But only in the context of the inherent messiness of the entire human enterprise—it’ll remain a mess in any event.

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