Scott:  We sure are meandering all over the place in this conversation.

Zhuangzi:  Yes we are—let’s call it wandering! But wandering and changing the subject are two different things. We were talking about the religious aspect of your engagement with me and all this “Classical Chinese Philosophy” bullshit.

Scott:  I invited you here so you could support me in my project, and instead you seem to be tearing it down!

Zz:  You’re most welcome. And I do appreciate the sense of irony in your statement—“neither of the two”!—I haven’t said anything that you’re not trying to say to yourself—only you need a more neutral sounding board to say it.

Scott:  Yes, I see that. But I also worry that all this meandering—wandering—will put off the reader. This is for publication, you know.

Zz:  Ah, yes. Have you ever asked yourself why you need this objectifying project at all? Why you can’t just shut up and enjoy growing in your own solitude? I mean, here we are having a great conversation and you’re worrying about how it will be seen by third parties. But this also has to do with the religious aspect of your philosophizing—and so I’m not letting you off that hook.

Scott:  Okay. But it also feels like I’m hanging out my dirty laundry—complete with the stains on my underwear.

Zz:  What you really fear is the loss of the rationale for your project and your blabbering about it. If getting it isn’t better than not getting it, then what’s the point? You’ve found something to believe in!

Scott:  God! No! Stop! Go away!

Zz:  Go away?  Just when things are getting interesting? I don’t think so! So look, right now you’re standing at “the threshold of the great furnace”, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking you’re ready or able to jump in. You’re looking at true emptiness, and that’s scary. Mostly the best we can do is just see the fire of yin and that somehow incrementally transforms our yanging. So let’s get on with your project—because even if you were to actually jump into the furnace you could still emerge and continue your ceaseless blabbering. “Neither of the two!”

Scott:  Yes, that last is so important to realize. But give me a moment; I just need to catch my breath . . . I got dizzy there for a moment . . . Okay, so now I’d like to meander back to the unfinished threads of this conversation—and close the sack sort of speak. And then we can move on to the liberation of the well-frog.


  1. Whatever it is you’re doing with this project (I mean your whole engagement with Zz via writing), it’s the DOING that your readers–at least this third party–appreciate, not any flashes of insight that may–and do–come along, almost accidentally, and–crucially–under the radar, “yiningly” (“yingly”? “yin-like”?). And it’s the underwear stains that are most appreciated, ’cause we’ve all got ’em and can relate.

    Yeehaw, keep the horse going, man! It’s one hell of a ride.

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