THE CHURCH OF PERNICIOUS ONENESS XI

Scott:  Once again we must agree to disagree. Is there a oneness to be had in that?

Zhuangzi:  There is if we wish to unite them, but it is only you and I who so wish. We must let Meng have his unadulterated not-oneness. That’s “going by the rightness of the present ‘this’”.

Mencius:  Thank you. And I will go by the rightness of my rightness.

Zz/Scott:  Agreed!!

Mencius:  But you are wrong to call my dao an unadulterated not-oneness. To be human is to have a heart that knows right from wrong and hungers for the right. To hunger for the right is to be one with one’s own nature; to accumulate rightness is become one with Heaven.

Scott:  And to fail of the right and to do the wrong, is that not also a oneness?

Mencius: Your oneness is indeed most pernicious! To do wrong is not-oneness.

Zz:  Then there is much that is not a oneness and that is no oneness. It is because right and wrong must forever sunder the world that we opt for its transcendence. For this reason the Laozi says that Heaven is not humane. But we would not deprive you of your hunger for rightness, nor of your belief that humaneness is a human oneness. Only we take them to be a purely human anomaly, and find no such discrimination in Heaven.

Scott:  Thus, a sense of oneness with Nature is both the transcendence of right and wrong and an affirmation of the human hunger for the right. We are left to walk two roads.

Mencius:  And I walk but one alone. Who then, knows true oneness?

 

Zz:  It is true that we know no true oneness; we can only imagine one, since we are by nature dual. Only we wish to honor our actual human condition of adriftedness and ambiguity and thereby do not let the human conquer Heaven or Heaven conquer the human.

Scott:  So we agree with you that when humanity is humane it has achieved a oneness with its own nature and has furthered the flourishing of its qi, the very élan of life. But because we differ in our understanding of Heaven, we also differ in how that humaneness might best be achieved.

Mencius:  Your precious wuwei. Pure nonsense.

Zz:  Yes, it is nonsense. Dao does nothing, yet nothing is left undone. Things do best when left to be and become themselves. But even Confucius understood true humaneness as spontaneously arising and unmediated by questions of right and wrong.

Mencius:  That is indeed the experience of the sage. But how one achieves sagacity is another thing altogether. For that much wei is required.

Scott:  Much wei is required for the achievement of wuwei, and neither can be said to ever stand alone and without the other. And sagacity is a chimera, though one worthy of imagining for the wei that it inspires.

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