Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(45) Teaching that not to act is to act

At 9:50 p.m. on June 1st 1989 I was reading from the chapter in Fritjof Capra’s book The Tao of Physics where he discusses the philosophy of Taoism.
I had it open at pages 130 - 131.

I was at the same time half-watching a film on TV called Cal

A scene arose in which a man, who said he was a teacher, was talking to two Irish youths about ways of resisting the British presence in Northern Ireland.

I had been reading in Capra’s six page elucidation of the doctrine of Taoism of its central tenet: that there is a constant flow from one extreme to another - an echo of Heraclitus’ "All is transition."

That non-action can be a way of action is expressed throughout Taoism and at the top of page 130 there is this:
Non-action does not mean doing nothing and keeping silent. Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied.

With the book open at this page the teacher in the film said to the two boys,

"Not to act is to act."

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