Scott:  I have to confess that I was secretly hoping Trump would win. Since true, progressive change was denied us by the Democratic elite, why not just let Trump give people a huge and hopefully final dose of corporatism, plutocracy and bigotry? Maybe that will wake them up? But now, well, it’s scary now that it’s happened.

Zhuangzi:  Yes, you now live in even more “interesting times”. But you know the story of the man who met the rise and fall of so-called good and bad fortune with equanimity, don’t you? Where’s that found?

S:  The Liezi, I think.

Zz: Ah, yes. The Liezi. It doesn’t have anything by Liezi, you know. Most everything I wrote about him I just made up! He was a bit of a legend, so I made use of his fame. There’s some good Yangist stuff in there, though. A bit one-sided, his emphasis on preserving one’s life as priority number one, but he was on to something. People today don’t get how there was a time when the individual didn’t matter for much—personal freedom wasn’t part of the societal scheme back in his day. He made an important contribution to our understanding of ourselves.

S: Graham suggests you might have once been a Yangist.

Zz: Ha, Ha. Graham had lots of fun playing with my stuff—I just hope he didn’t take his play too seriously. You can play with him, I hope. You do know that you’re just playing with my stuff too, don’t you?!

S: I try to remember that that’s all I’m doing, yeah.

Zz: So, where was I? Oh yeah, the story. There’s a guy whose horse runs off. His neighbors say, Bad luck! He replies, Who knows? Then the horse returns with other horses. What good luck! Who knows? Then his son tries to ride one, falls off and breaks his leg. Bad luck! Who knows? Then the army comes looking for cannon fodder and his son escapes because of his leg. Good luck! Who knows? And so it goes.

S: So the misfortune of having Trump as president (I can hardly say it) and of having millions of people who think that that’s just dandy—that might just turn out for the best. That’s my hope.

Zz: Well, yes. But since you don’t know if the “benefit” that comes out of it won’t be “harm” in the end, maybe you’re missing something.

S: And that is . . . ?

Zz: Well, that “benefit and harm” are all tangled up! We can’t be sure what’s which. And my benefit might be your harm. Better to put your “hope” in what’s beyond hope—beyond concern for benefit and harm. Let your hope be a non-dependent hope—a kind of non-hope. Come on, you know the drill! All is Well!

S: How could I not know it—I made it up. Or did you? I’m not sure.

Zz: Ha. You won’t get an answer to that out of me!


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