A NEW PHILOSOPHICAL DAOISM X

Zhuangzi’s mysticism is quite simple. Finding ourselves embedded in Mystery, we affirm it so completely for that to amount to releasing ourselves entirely into it. And this amounts to a sense of oneness with it. One with Process, what process could possibly harm us?

Mystery is as much “in here” as it is “out there”. Absolutely everything is Mystery. The totality of our experience is Mystery. Thus, releasing into Mystery is releasing into ourselves, our most immediate experience of Mystery. It’s the affirmation of our entire human experience.  It’s shouting “Yes!” to life.

There is much in life that we do not particularly like; suffering, death, harm done to others, and our own failings top the list. Affirming the Totality entails affirming these as well. This is what makes such a movement so difficult, especially in the case of evil. Yet, affirming these as the expression of Mystery does not mean complete acquiescence to them. This is the importance of “walking two roads at once”, the ability to hold to a cosmic view and a human view simultaneously. The former informs the latter so as to insure our concerns do not destroy our peace and thankfulness. We rightfully attempt to extend life, prevent suffering, curb harm to others, and improve ourselves. Only now these are done in the light of a broader context.

On what basis can we justify affirming the Totality? Isn’t this just an arbitrary determination? From the point of view of reason, it is. But from the point of view of life, it is not. This is what life is and does. Life is affirmation. It is its own celebration. With reference to the protestations of reason, Zhuangzi suggests we not “add to the process of life”. Let the broader experience of life guide us, rather than the worries of the deliberating mind. Reason might call this “circular”, but then so is reason’s own self-justification. That’s why it’s all Mystery.

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