THE LIBERATION OF THE WELL FROG XIV

Scott:  You look about to fall out of your chair; I should let you go.

Zhuangzi:  You should have done that a while ago! But it’s been fun. I’ll be back for more.

Scott:  Before you go, I just want to hear the main points of our discussion again. So, what does it mean to “get it”?

Zz:  Well, for starters there are lots of ways of getting a sense of Dao. We’ve only been looking at one way. So we might want to start by asking what it means to get Dao. This is the Dao-experience—a purely psychological experience with absolutely no reference to some actual metaphysical Dao, and which makes no claim to understanding reality. So, what do you think?

Scott:  I call it the view from Dao. It’s a transformation of perspective. The experience of Dao is one of the equality of all things—including all ideas about things—in oneness. It’s a return of one’s mind to undifferentiated chaos. Yet, it’s also an experience of pan-affirmation, because our very life is an affirmation.

Zz:  That pretty much says it. It’s an experience of the Heavenly—but I understand how that concept has too much cultural baggage for you. But in contrasting that with the Human we are able to see how it is “neither of the two”. Our human point of view is informed by the view from Dao—but it is not negated by that view. We walk two roads at once.

Scott:  And the “getting it” that was suggested in this passage was getting a sense of Dao as having no inherent self-value, but rather as that which allows the positive valuation of all things equally precisely because it has no value itself. Its value is its valuelessness—its uselessness. It’s the way of yin.

Zz:  Right. But we’re not sure if the author “got” what seems to us to be the whole point of his essay. He seems to revert to assigning positive value to Dao—there is the Heavenly in us, and that alone is where de resides, and by it we can “know” the world.

Scott:  Yang always wants to take over—because the human is basically all about yanging. And what constitutes the liberation of the well-frog?

Zz: You’re the one who liberates him—but let me see if I’ve learned my lessons. Ha, ha. The well-frog is depressed because he has become aware of his insignificance—he thought he was somebody, but now he sees he’s a nobody who wants to be a somebody. He’s living in a world of comparisons. His liberation would therefore come through realizing the view from Dao in which all things are equal, so that his smallness would be as affirmable as the vastness of the ocean. Then he could be happy just where he is in all his wonderful insignificance. How’d I do?

Scott:  Not bad.

Zz:  And let’s not forget the most important revelations of all: You are still bound by religious-mindedness in that you need to believe that this dao has to “work” to be valid. And all your positive advocacy is but a reflection of your own sense of falling short and your ridiculous belief that that needs to be remedied. See you later, Well-frog! Bye!

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