I’ve been scrounging about in my archives from about 25 years ago when I got into some Usenet news groups, in the early days of The World Wide Web. One of them was on Taoism. This post was in response to someone’s comment that the participants were the blind leading the blind. I had some fun with it and hope you all do too.
The Blind Leading The Blind – YES!
Ah, J______, what a sly one you are. It’s true, we are the blind, but not leading. Having gone to take hold of a piece of the elephant, we gather to share what we have found. As we do so, all gain a greater understanding, a deeper appreciation of the thing-as-a-whole.
More important, perhaps, is another image, that of travelers gathering at an inn along the Way to rest in good company and exchange tales of their journeys.
The Great and Terrible Oz is a bombastic bore. I’d far rather have a conversation with the little man behind the curtain. As Dylan Thomas said, “I enjoy people telling me about their childhoods. But, they had better be quick about it or I’ll be telling them about mine.”
Among my personal quirks, and one I much enjoy, is that when I write I find odd collections of quotes come to mind. The connections among them are not always clear, but somehow related to the context. So, here goes. [Of course, in the original post the quotes were all in plain text. The art is new.]
My, what a long strange trip from what seemed an off-the-wall
comment. [And now, just because its a favourite, one more.]
One thing on which, at some point, all the great teachings agree is that they counsel humility and caution against vanity. In Christian creed vanity is counted one of the seven deadly sins. The rendering of one of the Ten Commandments in English reads, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain,” which, perhaps should read, “in vanity,” which sounds to me as saying one should not presume to be so vain as to think one can speak as if with the voice and authority of God. The voice from the burning bush tells Moses it is nameless, a way of saying to him that its totality is beyond the limits of his finite mind to encompass, as is the prohibition in the Commandment of attempting to make a graven image of it. So too is the question to Job from the voice in the whirlwind, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world?” Always, the admonition to know the limits of our understanding.
And, beyond the many gods of the Hindu pantheon there is the Atman which cannot be defined but is the source of all.
Lao Tsu tells us,
He describes the sage as humble and not taking credit.
Over and over we are reminded to be humble in the face of the great mystery at the core of being.
So, I ask this: Is it not a great vanity for someone to say their understanding or opinion of the will of God or their interpretation of some scripture is the only truth and that that with offends them also offends God? Is it not a vanity if they say this love is blessed and that is damned, and that they are commanded by God to allow the one and prevent the other from being acknowledged? Or, that they know when a developing embryo is endowed with a soul? Who do they think they are? Are they not speaking vainly in the name of the Deity?