I thoroughly enjoyed this, with plenty to ponder. Thanks!

Expand full comment
Mar 16Liked by Superb Owl

That final line sent shivers through my spine!

Now, I am stuck in a strange paradox. The Truth is thus that we should empty our cup when we believe to have found the ultimate answer. But the knowledge that the world is shapeless is itself a Truth which we must not take for granted! Now I am forced to listen to theories where good and evil are separate, opposing forces...

I am being turned into a nomad voyaging from one ideology to another in a quest for Truth that I know will never end. An endless refilling and emptying of cups.

Maybe being shapeless can be enjoyable?

Expand full comment
Mar 18Liked by Superb Owl

> The Hamiltonian of the universe cannot be written down.

Xiao-Gang Wen's textbook Quantum Field Theory of Many-Body Systems offers this custom interpretation: "The physical theory that can be formulated cannot be the final ultimate theory. The classification that can be implemented cannot classify everything. The unformulatable ultimate theory does exist and governs the creation of the universe. The formulated theories describe the matter we see everyday."

But yours is more succinct.

Expand full comment
Mar 12Liked by Superb Owl

I came in prepared to hate this post. Ok, another skeptic who's going to tell us why Taoism is new age bunk. Turns out I was wrong. A really good summary, by which I mean your way of seeing things matches up well with mine. I'll pass this along to others and put a bookmark on your webpage.

Expand full comment

It's a good project trying to get people to see spirituality is not (entirely) nonsense. But you're going to write on enlightenment? Don't you have to be enlightened for that one?

There are limits to non-duality. Of what use was non-duality to an abolitionist? To the Allies? The most I can think of is that it would have a calming effect, but these two factions clearly were in posession of capital-T Truth.

Non-duality does not mean the Pandavas entirely forsake their claim.

Expand full comment

"Taoist morality doesn’t resemble that of a typical religion, in that it doesn’t really outlaw or promote specific behaviors—it seems assumed that good behavior will follow naturally from aligning with the Tao."

That simply isn't true.

There are absolutely moral precepts to Taoism. In the Quanzhen Longmen sect, for example, you accept the first 15 (plus 9 additional precepts for women) as preparation for conversion, another 300 for monastic ordination, and reformulations of ones already learned for ordination to the priesthood. And Taoists embrace the gender binary (as is evidenced by the nine additional precepts).

Expand full comment