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Nothing Doing

To: thelema93-l now
From: (xiwangmu)
Subject: Nothing Doing

49990719 IVom Hail Old Boy! Hail Uncarved Block!

re the difference between the not-doingness of the lush (laziness) 
 and taoism ('wu-wei'):
# ># The "yoda-esque" (or should I say taoist?) method of
# ># "not-doing" is an entirely different beast, as I'm sure
# ># you're well aware, involving perfect balance.

# >I disagree. this is the reason that fabulous tales from
# >taoists about sages intoxicated by wine and general
# >drunkards moving with the tao are so important. it is too
# >easy to condemn those who will not serve us. far better to
# >become useless to the 'movers and shakers' of the world.
# Could you explain your last sentance a little more clearly? 

busibodies making Important Events and Things tell us that we
need to get moving if we are going to Accomplish, Achieve,
and Produce (!). if they see us doing nothing we may become a
part of their Grand Plan. if we can be put to Good Use, like
the straight pine to the carpenter, then we may become occupied 
with their Implementation. if we are useless to them, like the 
gnarled old tree whose name we've forgotten because it is so
useless and why bother with it anyway, then we will have so
much more time to laze about and do nothing, not trying to
Amount to Something and thus wasting precious time! oh p'u!

# Yes-- but at the same time within the same tradition you see 
# recommendations for that centered-ness I referred to as well 
# as involved practices which are openly anti-drugs and sex.... 

of course. busibodies will infiltrate all social groups, even
those which espouse doing nothing!

# >the principle of 'uselessness' is directly supported by
# >clever and self-interested hedonism that you've attempted
# >to discern from taoist wisdom.
# Are you saying we can't differentiate here? 

I would hesitate to do so and caution against it.

# (Certainly from the vantage point of keter this is irrelevant. 
# But from the vantage point of malkuth?)

from Malkuth all things are visible, from Kether only one.

	One Taoist saying is: "The Tao does not *do* anything.
	Yet through it, all things get done." In spirit, the
	Tao is close to the idea of effortless action. If
	anything, the Tao is certainly something which acts
	"effortlessly". Now, insofar as the Taoist Sages
	were in harmony with the Tao, did they not also act
	effortlessly? Did they really "make an effort" to
	write what they wrote, or did they not rather draw
	upon the powers of the Tao? Of the Tao, Laotse said
	words to the effect:

		When you look for it, you cannot see it
		When you listen for it, you cannot hear it
		But when you use it, it is inexhaustible

	So is not their success due to their using the
	inexhaustible powers of the Tao? Did the Taoists feel
	they were the authors and inventors of their words
	and ideas, or that their words and ideas were coming
	through them? Did they feel like active instigators
	or like mediums? Did they feel active or passive in
	writing, or neither? That is, was it really they who
	wrote or did their writings seem to have a sort of
	life of their own that flowed back and forth like
	aimless clouds riding on the winds?


	The following poem by Su Tung-Pu .... about
	Tao Yuan-Ming.

		The way is lost, and men have lost themselves
		Words spoken now are never from the heart
		The refined gentlemen south of the Yangtze
		In the midst of drunkenness still sought fame.
		Yuan-ming alone was pure and true,
		Living his life in talk and laughter.
		He was like a bamboo before the wind,
		Swaying and bending, all its leaves atremble,
		Some facing up, some down, each a different shape --
		When he had his wine, the poems wrote themselves.

	At this point, many readers will object and say, "Of course
	an artists work becomes effortless once he has obtained
	mastery! Indeed, true mastery consists precisely in the
	fact that his works seems so 'effortless'. A good writer's
	writing seems effortless. A good juggler juggles so
	effortlessly. A good driver drives effortlessly. A virtuoso
	musician's playing is effortless indeed; if it were not
	effortless, he would not be a true virtuoso. But what you
	totally forget is the enormous amount of energy, work,
	discipline, and effort involved in learning the skill!
	That's where the real effort comes in -- in learning the
	skill rather than in practising it. So all this fine
	sounding Chinese "Wu-Wei" stuff is highly misleading!
	It focuses only on the end product and totally ignores
	all the painful steps of the learning process!"

	To this I reply that I have not forgotten it. I simply
	don't believe it! I do believe that much learning does
	involve making an effort, but my point is that it not
	always does [sic], and more important yet, in many cases
	where it does, it really doesn't have to! In other words
	I am asserting that Wu-Wei -- effortless action -- is
	applicable *to the very learning process itself!* Yes,
	this is the main thesis of this chapter ["On Making an


	The question whether painful effort is really necessary
	to master a subject is still highly controversial.
	There are those like myself who say, "If you really love
	a subject, it is not necessary to make an effort to
	learn it". Others say "Posch! That sounds nice, but is
	only wishful thinking". Well, who is really right? Or
	is there a third possibility? I think the situation is
	most beautifully summed up in the following passage.

		In the *Dialogue of P'ang Yun* and the *Records
		of Pointing at the Moon* we find that P'ang Yun
		and his wife had a son and daughter, and that
		the whole family were devoted to Ch'an. One day
		P'ang Yun, sitting quietly in his temple, made
		this remark:

			"How difficult it is!
			How difficult it is!
			My studies are like drying the fibers
			 of a thousand pounds
			of flax in the sun by hanging them on the

		But his wife responded:

			"My way is easy indeed!
			I found the teachings of the
			Patriarchs right on the tops
			of the flowering plants!"

		When their daughter overheard this exchange,
		she sang:

			"My study is neither difficult nor easy.
			When I am hungry I eat,
			When I am tired I rest."
	"The Tao is Silent", by Raymond Smullyan, 
	 Harper and Row, 1977; pp. 158-62.

centered in Malkuth all things are a chore, so many obstacles.
now we need to join with Agape as nothing can be done.

centered in Kether all things are easy, so much power. now we
need to summon Thelema as so much is to be done.

centered in tao, all things are what they are. with the Way,
doing nothing is perfection!

blessed beast!


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