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)
We have been talking about the way things are versus the way things seem to be. In today’s chapter we have the stark difference between a country which is in harmony with the Tao (that would be harmony with the way things are) and a country that is going counter to the Tao (that would be the one that is succumbing to the illusion, the way things seem to be).
The greatest illusion of them all is the phantom of fear. The greatest wrong of them all is preparing to defend yourself because you have been spooked by a phantom. The greatest misfortune of them all is to consider your fellow human beings, who are your brothers and sisters, your enemies. Fear is a powerful motivator, indeed.
I want my country to be in harmony with the Tao. I read a very nice article today about all the reasons to be optimistic. I like being infused with optimism. Sometimes, even I, look at the way things seem to be, and I too, despair. Optimism is good. And there really are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. But sometimes, they are hard to see.
Still, Lao Tzu wrote this chapter, to infuse us with a sense of purpose. And, I think we need to be optimistic about our purpose.
What can one individual do, in the face of a whole country that is going counter to the Tao? Lao Tzu tells us that whoever can see through fear will always be safe.
That is about the best news that you are going to get all day. I am a whoever and so are you. Each individual out there reading this blog post today, and a whole lot of individuals that will never read it, are whoevers. And each one of us can see through the phantom of fear. It is really all an illusion. You, too, can be safe. Just as I am safe.
See through the fear. See it for what it really is. And, accept the eternal reality for what it is. The illusions that have been propping up the State for ever so long are being exposed for the frauds they are. The State is both economically and intellectually unsustainable. See beyond the illusion. See that reality. And make it a reality. Stop helping the State prop itself up via illusions. Let it come crashing down.
If you want your country to be in harmony with the Tao, don’t wait for the powerful to make it so. We don’t have that long. Make it a reality in your own life. That is your purpose. Be optimistic. You can do this. Plowshares, or Swords? You get the reality you make.