The Tao is empty of agenda, therefore full of possibilities. It is not a limited reservoir of energy, doled out in parcels to supplicants. It is an infinite field. From Chapter 4 of The Activist’s Tao Te Ching.
Did you know that Lao Tzu’s wonderful and timeless book, written over 2500 years ago is a book of Utopian philosophy? It is. Every single one of his 81 poetic chapters is an expression of what social, political, natural, and human life would be like if the Tao were followed.
We live, however, in a culture of dystopian images, thoughts, and expectations. Just examine our films, media, and literature. Most of it is violent, dystopian, fearful, or simply distraction. Utopian ideals are dismissed out of hand as “unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky, new-age pixie dust.” What a tragic misunderstanding of the infinite potential of the Tao.
In times of crisis such as we are experiencing, dystopian images abound in media and thought. This is a failure of our imagination. We must retrain that most precious gift – the gift of imaginative thought. It will be difficult because our mind is trained to say, “Well, that’s not gonna happen. How would that ever happen?” Well, we don’t know how it will happen. We will never know how it will happen until our imaginations are healed and we begin to see it clearly. Attempts at utopian societies have failed because they have been built with dystopian-trained imaginations. Until we have considerable practice at new ways of using our thoughts, we will continue to flounder.
During these difficult times, I urge us not to succumb to the images that we have been fed all of our lives. The Tao is an infinite quantum field of possibilities that can be experienced, first in the imagination, then, when clearly envisioned, in reality.
What will our schools, our hospitals, our jobs, our transportation, our farms, our families be experiencing during our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s time? Let your minds begin to play with the infinite possibilities of Utopian thinking. It is the only realistic path to the future.
The below video contains my thoughts from Chapter 4 and some hints about how to begin retraining our imaginations.
We have it in us to transform the world, one thought at a time. We won’t see the way ahead until we “see it.” Then the practical steps will emerge. Let the chaos of this time clarify the great need for re-visioning of society and the world. Play with it. Write about it. See it!