Archive for May, 2009

Why I am Taoist

Over the years, since as I was old enough to read, I have hungered for knowledge. Knowledge, my Dad always told me, is power, and as cliché as that sounds, he’s right. And that hunger has overwhelmed all of the other thing s that a human craves: acceptance, community, happiness, and just recently, spirituality. Perhaps the one thing I haven’t been able to lose is my ability to love, and that seriously bothers me.
My quest for knowledge brought me face-a-face with religion, and I soaked up what it had to teach. I’ve been Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Pagan, and Agnostic, before I finally managed to see though all of the illusions, and wove my own. Catholicism has roots in paganism, Mormonism had roots in the Occult teachings of the Great Hermes, the same Hermes that taught Anton Le Vey and Alistair Crowley about the Demons of Hell and of the Satanic tradition, Islam was Judaism and Catholicism repackaged with hints of Arabian Paganism, Paganism was based on imagination and love. And every religion I’ve been a part (save Paganism) requires your fear and your blind adoration. They require that once you’ve accepted them, you cannot accept any other knowledge, and if you do, it must be though their filter. Religion, is indeed a virus, it drives men and women mad, insane with a pathetic urge to make life mean exactly what they want it to be. It drives them to embrace their own selfless ambitions and ideas because it gives them the illusion of power; it gives them something to back up their prejudices and their rage,
And that was one thing that I never managed to learn. My prejudices are backed up by me, my own selfish desires, not someone else’s. Agnosticism allowed me the luxury of apathy, but I grew sick of it, apathy can be beautiful, but most often it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. I wanted more, and I stumbled into Atheism, and my world made sense again.
As an atheist I grew, faster than I did before. The rules of other people began to fail to apply to me, everything began to evolve into something coherent and progressive, rather than obscene and repressive like faith. The great arguments that I listened to in religion became just mouth moving, uttering words that only make sense if you believe in other words, that on their own are just as meaningless as the first. Arguing with such men is futile, they circle around their lies like vultures around a corpse, and nothing can bring them down. I’m not saying its not fun to argue with them, but you never manage to get anywhere.
But I realized as I went along that everything I believed in, in a philosophical sense already had a name. It had a holy book, and that holy book had been in my possession for years: the Tao Te Ching of Laozi.
The Tao Te Ching is still my holy book of choice, its nothing really holy about it, its nothing more than 5000 Chinese characters written on paper, and overall it seems nothing more than a collection of poems. To others it s political manifesto, but to me, it’s a set of paradoxes that appear to be absurd to most, but those who have seen beyond their own illusions, it’s a guide, a subtle but firm guide that points in all directions at once. I believe that the Tao is something most people who can see though the illusion follow on their own, they don’t need the Tao Te Ching, but it helps. The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao. And so I follow the Tao as a philosophy, not as a religion. I am still an Atheist, but I am also a Taoist, I suspect tht before I graduate, I may even have lost the Tao and moved on, but that is also what I believed about Anam Cara, and I still (sadly) believe in that, despite the evidence against it (Patrik, Trevor, Tatum, Daniel)
To me Laozi and Zhuangzi are great teachers who much like Jesus, had an intelligence that far surpassed that of everyone else. They had vision, they had a truth in their eyes that could not be denied, a madness that can only be found when a human finds himself face to face with the undeniable reality of our world, beyond the illusions and the lies and the dreams that never seem to go away.

I feel, out of place in my world, the older generation seems hell-bent on holding on to their traditions, traditions that are nothing more than an overgrown and overstayed fad. And as I see younger people, I see the same mistakes, recycled again, with their own feverish idealism and a complete disregard for reality. When I see the older set, I feel a sense of pleasure knowing that soon they will be faced with rot and ash, their belief nothing but memories in the cosmos, their existence nothing more than a hint of the past. When I see the younger people around I feel sad, knowing that my life will be dictated to me by their collective naitivite. Some make me envious, that i can’t feel that sense of humility, sometimes I fear that I may crave that sentiment of happiness, of unitary. And then I see the shadows behind the spiraling minarets, I see the beggars in the alleys under the beautiful temples, and I remember that these young people only are one with the beauty and ignore the ugly. All the world knowing that beauty is beautiful makes ugliness. I hope that someday they realize that the higher they build and the higher they reach, the lower they drive other people, the deeper they are forced into the primal mud from which we came.