Friday, June 4, 2010

Psychflare: Taijitu and Chao

Meet the latest Psychflare. Significantly lighter than the previous, and rife with overt symbolism. I suppose it illustrates how different these can be from each other.

Taijitu and Chao

Legend does not tell us, but it should, about the day that Taijitu and Chao were walking together down a path, somewhere. Some argue the path was not a literal path, the walking was not the physical act we know by that name, and possibly the day was not a specific point in or interval of time, but simply metaphors for whatever it was that was happening. It is hardly relevant, though, and if you subscribe to schools of thought that insist on those points, feel free to mentally edit the following account to conform.

Legend does not tell us, once again, how the conversation started, and it may be that nobody knows, or cares. It might have been about the weather or the price of rice, but at some point the subject of balance was brought up, most likely due to someone losing theirs and falling face-first into a puddle of water. (The puddle later went on to awake and make some hasty deductions about the nature of the universe, but that is not the story we tell here) And so it came to be that Taijitu said:

“Balance, my esteemed Chao, is at the root of everything. Look at nature, and tell me if you not find dualities. Light and dark, hot and cold, up and down are only the most obvious ones. Try to describe a person, and you find yourself alternating between hostile or friendly, calm or fierce, strong or weak, sceptical or credulous, reliable or not, wise or foolish, and I suppose you do not need me to continue enumerating. And, once you accept the dualities, can you avoid realising the harm that lies whenever one chooses one aspect to the complete exclusion of the other? That a careful balance is, in every case, preferable to what awaits us in the extremes? It is because of this that I say that Balance is what we must seek”

Chao was somewhat taken aback at Taijitu's devotion to the subject, but pondered the words and asked a question, a question that may or may not be terribly significant in light of what happened later:

“But, if we must seek balance in everything, must we not also balance Balance itself with unbalance?”

“That Balance must be balanced is misconception brought about by the illusion that a state of non-balance is one extreme, when in fact, it is both”

“So you are saying non-balance has no counter except itself?”

This point they debated for quite some time, both becoming increasingly convinced that the other's argument was entirely semantic. It is not known to us (yet again) who got tired first of the circularity and suggested that Chao make an alternative proposal. Upon a moment's reflection, Chao declared:

“The problem with your balance rule is that it's a rule. We look at the universe and find repeating patterns and create rules they fit, but then we make the mistake of saying that the rule was always there, and we are just discovering it. Rules are entirely a tool of the mind for understanding that which happens, but we confuse them for a property inherent of the phenomena, and therein lies the trouble. Because, when we think of rules as Out There, we think of them as a something that has a definite nature we must learn. As soon as we find a rule that seems to work, we by exclusion declare all other rules to be wrong, because we have the one that matches the rule Out There. If rules are In Here, however, we accept that rules are simply something we use to help us, then different rules are perfectly possible.”

Taijitu, fully aware of how this echoed of the first question, asked:

“But, if there are no definite rules, wouldn't saying that be a definite rule, and thus negate itself?”

“That is only if you keep thinking in terms of rules, and not of happenings. The rule that there are no rules is simply an aid, as all other rules. It is our failing that we keep trying to force the world into our preconceived notions of order”

And once again, the two fellow travellers argued for quite some time, and went back and forth, and used many analogies and tried their arguments every way they could possibly think of (and at least three they could not). They accused the other of equivocations and false dichotomies, and were at times right and at others wrong, but were not quite sure which was which. And so on and so forth.

It is here that most versions of the tale differ, usually depending on who is telling the story. Some say they yelled until they could no more, and then beat the living shit out of each other. Others, that the tone remained civilized throughout and that in the end they agreed to disagree, in the name of Balance and/or Perspective. Many claim that they met a third figure in the path that day, but its identity is the cause of much controversy. Most, for different reasons, say that Ichtys declared both their philosophies Heretical and Evil, and promptly beheaded them. A few, that they found a common enemy in Triquetra and promptly prepared a pile of wood and a stake. There is a group that proclaims that an unseen speaker attempted to settle the discussion by asking each how they could test their assertions, though whether it was a disembodied, yet distinctly unicornian voice or an unusually small teapot is not clear.

In any case, what happened is what happened, or possibly not. I dunno, maybe it makes more sense to the Enlightened. Maybe.

No comments:

Post a Comment