When a country is in harmony with the Tao,
the factories make trucks and tractors.
When a country goes counter to the Tao,
warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.
There is no greater illusion than fear,
no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
no greater misfortune than having an enemy.
Whoever can see through fear will always be safe.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 46, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Today’s chapter presents us with a choice. We can either live in peace and harmony, or we can choose to live in fear. It is the difference between dwelling in the eternal reality, or succumbing to the snare of the greatest illusion of them all.
When we are talking about an entire country, choosing to dwell in the eternal reality means a healthy economy. It means peaceful relations and commerce with all of our neighbors and entangling alliances with none.
That this idyllic picture seems unrealistic shows just how far we have fallen. Countries that are ruled by those who profit from the illusion of fear, are left with little choice but to attempt to manage their failing economies. Their modus operandi is to work out entangling alliances with their neighbors in which there is something to be gained by exploiting them. And, if their neighbors don’t respond the way they want, then that means war.
Fear is a power motivator. And, Lao Tzu tells us it is the greatest illusion of them all. This chapter seems timely, given the recent beheading of James Foley, and the various pronouncements by the ruling elite and the military industrial complex, that we have plenty to fear.
While I am no fan of FDR, his words after the attack on Pearl Harbor, seem to stand in stark contrast to how the ruling elite wishes to manipulate its citizens today. “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”
Truer words have never been spoken by any person. But who is bold enough to speak those words today? No, they want us to be afraid. They want us very, very afraid. That is how they play their game. That is how they manipulate us into begging them to take away all our civil liberties.
But I will be so bold. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Fear is an illusion. The greatest illusion of them all. Its only purpose is to blind us to the eternal reality. To keep us from seeing the truth behind the game the ruling class plays, in order to further augment their power.
This is why when Lao Tzu has said over and over again, IF the powerful could center themselves in the Tao and stay centered, the world would be a paradise, I know that waiting for that outcome is a fool’s errand. For war is the health of the State. I want you to not pass over that last sentence. War is the health of the State. Let it sink in. Don’t just let it go on by. The powers that be, thrive on war and the threat of war. It is only in that, their power grows. They will have none of this peace and harmony. Because a world in peace in harmony is a world that has no use for them.
Am I painting a hopeless picture? Hold on, don’t give up on things just yet. The words that Lao Tzu speaks are not just wasted on the powerful. They also are directed to each one of us. And that is good news, my friends. Because we don’t have to wait and wish hopefully for the transformation of the powers that be.
I have been enjoying the posts of a fellow tumblr blogger, Jake Shannon. He has been posting about what he refers to as Personal Anarchism. He talks a lot about the illusions of the State. And their power to hypnotize us. He thinks trying to make change from the top down is idealistic. What he is promoting instead is individuals practicing their own form of personal anarchism in all the ways and places that they can. Try to avoid enforcement zones. Those are places where the State is busy doing what the State does best. The point is to live your own life the way you want. Wherever and however you can. I hope I am not putting words in your mouth, Mr. Shannon. I haven’t read your book, yet. If you would like to send me a copy of it, I will most assuredly read it. I find your ideas resonate very well with me.
We truly can practice our own personal anarchism. We can choose to live in harmony with the eternal reality, the Tao. We can step out of the way of the snares laid out for us. The illusion of fear, is easily spotted. Don’t be hypnotized. Step around it. Don’t be fooled. And do not fear. It is nothing but an illusion. Designed to manipulate you. There is no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy. From what are you defending yourself? Who is your enemy? The State wants you afraid. But you don’t have to live in fear. You can live in peace and harmony with your self, your family, your neighbors, and your world. See through the fear-mongering and you can always be safe. To Hell with the State.