ZHUANGZI ON THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS X

Blog:  Well, I guess you’ve pretty much answered our questions about how to be politically involved without being politically involved—to care while not-caring—though there’s always more that can be said.

Zhuangzi:  Indeed there is. That’s why we must learn when to say, Enough! Words are an expression of our living, but they are not living. Speaking isn’t living. Nor is not-speaking living. But how can we speak of what is neither speaking nor not-speaking? All I can say is “experience understanding”—but that’s still just more speaking.

B:  Well, we have to admit that we’re loath to let you go, but I suppose we must. But before we do, can we ask you what you think of this blog and whether you think we got your philosophy right?

Z:  My dear Blog! What difference could that possibly make? If it works for you, that’s all that matters. That’s my philosophy. And yes, you got that part right—only you keep forgetting it.

B:  Well then, it seems we need to say goodbye—as hard as that is.

Z:  That’s the great thing about “not-being-together while being-together”—it’s reversible! Now we can be-together while not-being-together.

B:  Can you elucidate on that a bit more?

Z:  Ha! You’re like a child put to bed who keeps asking his mommy another question because he’s afraid of the dark. But okay, I’ll answer this one before I turn out the light—and I’ll leave it as a little night-light for you.

It’s about non-dependence. Everything I say is about non-dependence. But then, everything I say is about everything else I say. The experience is one, but its manifestations are many. Just like “Laozi’s” Dao—what a coincidence! Just like omnicentrism—amazing! Self-conscious existence is a very lonely affair, wouldn’t you agree? This is what it is to be self-so—apparently self-arising without cause or purpose, to be the infinite universe in a finite space. To be everything is to be alone. And because that loneliness scares us, we seek out others to alleviate our fear. This is dependence and a mutual co-dependence. It can only be a partial being-together. Co-dependent being-together aborts both the freedom of truly being-together with oneself and with others. Dependent friendship is as much a relationship of hate as it is of love. Love that depends is the incubator of hate. What the three friends in that story in which I have them say this realized was the joy of non-dependence on either their own self-esteem or the esteem of others, and for this reason they could truly be friends. They were omnicentric—they were utterly themselves and thus able to be everyone else.

Sorry, for the brevity on such a weighty subject, but I need to be on my way. I’m having tea with Confucius and Mozi, and they get impatient, even in eternity.

B:  Okay. And thanks. Now we’ll let you go so we can be-together-with you there.

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