I looked it up and wondered if it had made me any wiser. Tao that is.  3

What got me going was blame.  4

What kept me going was credit.  5

The complementarity of opposites. Tucked deep into a ball of wax. Or some Gordian knot. Melt the wax ... both melt away. Cut the knot ... loose ends. I have the impression that philosophers prefer the wax whereas moralists got themselves entangled in loose ends.  6

It is complementarity that took me to tao, whence on to the semi-legendary philosopher Laozi who, going by the translation from Chinese to Engish, clearly expressed something I had felt for years. Tao is not a thing, neither concrete or abstract. Tao is an eternally nameless principle that encompasses everything for which we have, or possibly shall have, a name plus some description. The universe we know exploded into being whence time began along with a proliferation of other things; things that we know of and things we are in the dark about.  7

If we think of God as the Creator then "God" is a substitute for "tao" and either way we have named what is eternally nameless. If we say things like "Our Father which art in heaven," then "tao" had created both, heaven and Our father among innumerable other named things, theism included and, yes, taoism. Laozi's merit is that he sent us on the right path with the only means available to him, words. Words, the stuff of loose ends.  8

I am going to copy a few lines from "The Great Transformation" (2006) by Karen Armstrong, about the Aryans, better known as Indo-Europeans. They are peoples who had spread out from the Caucasian steppes, into the Indian subcontinent of Asia.

   "Like other peoples, the Aryans experienced an invisible force within themselves and in everything they saw, heard and touched. Storms, winds, trees, and rivers were not impersonal, mindless phenomena. The Aryans felt an affinity with them, and revered them as divine. Humans, deities, animals, plants and the forces of nature were all manifesttions of the same divine 'spirit'.... It animated, sustained, and bound them all together.

   "Over time the Aryans developed a more formal pantheon. At a very early stage, they had worshipped a Sky God called Dyaus Pitr, creator of the world. But like other High Gods, Dyaus was so remote that he was eventually replaced by more accessible gods, who were wholly identified with natural and cosmic forces."    "None of these divine beings, however, were ... omnipotent and [they] had no ultimate control over the cosmos. Like human beings and all the natural forces, they had to submit to the sacred order that held the universe together."  

This shard of history began roughly four thousand years before Laotze came into the picture. And so, it appears, the world was already quite connected. Not at the speed of light, but still.... Then we have Genesis 1:1, cut from the same timber: "In the beginning God created heavens and the earth."  10

"Tao," or "dao" are not translations from Chinese; they are translations from Chinese script to alphabetic script. When it comes to translations of meaning, well, things become somewhat bewildering. From the Wikipedia: "Aside from its purely prosaic use to mean road, channel, path, principle, or similar, the word has acquired a variety of differing and often confusing metaphorical, philosophical and religious uses. In most belief systems, the word is used symbolically in its sense of 'way' as the 'right' or 'proper' way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices." So, there you go.  11

In the days of Confucius and Laozi, the Chinese intellectual elite may have perceived complementarity as being universal, an essence born from tao. The tao symbol depicts a balance between complementary things. With balance comes tranquility, a highly desired state of affairs. Neverthelesss, such balance can be upset. I am writing this at the time of the summer solstice when that dark side begins to encroach on the light side.  12

I can live with the notion of tao (or Dyaus Pitr or the God of Genesis 1:1) holding reality in its lap, so to speak and that words such as tao, Dyaus, Deus, God are simply a necessary tool for people to allude to whatever is eternally nameless. Makes sense to me.  13

It makes sense to me notably in the light of the distinct, only partly reconcilable wave model and particle model of electro-magnetic radiation of which light is a small part. Much, but not all, of the behavior of light can be explained by both of these models. But what one model is missing is not the same as what the other model is missing. Certainly, the way I perceive the significance of this may well be very different from the way dyed-in-the-wool quantum phycisists perceive what with their parallel universes, quantum spin theory, whatever.  14

Eternally nameless? Not for a lack of trying. Modern physics does this by its pursuit of a "Theory of Everything" that would concile Einstein's theory of relativity (well, an offshoot, the Standard Model, actually) and quantum mechanics. A team of more than a thousand phycisists even managed to identify the very creator of matter (yes, I'm a little glib here), the Higg's boson, hence popularly named the "God particle" even though the boson is decidedly not a particle. Laoze could have lived with that, methinks.  15

I can accept how, by the wits of those first telling it, the story of Genesis 1 is as earnest an endeavor to make sense of the world as now is the Theory of Everything. And that Genesis 2:17 jibes well with the thinking of Laotze: "... of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat ...." because if Adam would do so hard reality would set in, including the seamless blending of myth and philosophy that made moralists getting themselves entangled in loose ends—the conundrums of a good and loving god dishing out oodles of pain and suffering. "Are God and Nature then at strife?" a poet, Tennyson, lamented.  16

That hoped-for Theory of Everyting is not really expected to cover everything. It is not expected to explain that God is love or merely good. It is not expected to explain that a caring God created a Nature red in tooth and claw. Nor explain the story told by the Gospel according to Luke about the conception of Jesus.  17

It takes some time and doing before newly borns pick up the art of naming things, to enter the order of things of those near them, an order woven, it seems, into the very language we speak. But a natural order? Well. Am I rambling? Sure, I am, but .... But so what? Aren't we all?  19

Let's step back for a moment. What do we mean by "natural order"? The order of nature? The order of human nature? Nature calls for acts that humans have come to abhor. The 19th-century poet Alfred Tennyson was aghast by what geological evidence—nature's stories then seen on ravine walls—began to reveal:

      Are God and Nature then at strife,
      That Nature lends such evil dreams?
      So careful of the type she seems,
      So careless of the single life; ...

Blame, credit. Good, evil. Who or what decides where to draw the lines? Survival? Survival of the fittest?  

      Who trusted God was love indeed
      And love Creation's final law–
      Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
      With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

May I be forgiven for having quoted from a work of book-length that I never read in full. Well, I might suppose that it is better to have read and understood a few stanzas than to never have understood at all.  23

Yes or no, or that something in between, po.  24

Man, woman ...  25

Tennyson eventually found the way back to his model of the straight-and-narrow:

      A warmth within the breast would melt
      The freezing reason's colder part,
      And like a man in wrath the heart
      Stood up and answer'd, "I have felt."

      No, like a child in doubt and fear:
      But that blind clamour made me wise;
      Then was I as a child that cries,
      But crying, knows his father near;

      And what I am beheld again
      What is, and no man understands;
      And out of darkness came the hands
      That reach thro' nature ...

"Perpetuum Mobile. Opus 257"

"Und so weiter," the conductor read from the score, turned, and bowed to a captivated audience confirming their approbation.  27

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