The Sunday Lao Tzu: The Future

Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.

It’s a beautiful spring day in England. The kind of day fir which, if you are religiously inclined, you would want to offer thanks to whatever deity you have chosen to worship. The predictions of a deluded old man have been blown away in the fresh wind, insubstantial and dead as dust, vanishing like broken promises into a clean blue sky.

Let’s not waste our pity on Harold Camping. He is at best a fool, at worst a charlatan and thief. He spent a hundred million dollars on an exercise in self-promotion. Hardly the most Christian use of such a large sum.

Worse, his followers are waking up this morning to realise that they have blown life savings and mortgages to pass his message along.

We all need a sage, a mentor, a muse to help guide us down the road. Sadly, we could also use some advice on choosing that wise man or woman, and it’s all too easy to listen to the wrong person. I choose to be guided by the precepts of Master Lao, but I understand that he too can be contradictory. For example, I offer the quote above, but he has also said:

The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.

…which, you could argue, is perhaps what Camping thought he was doing. Nevertheless, two opposing koans on the same subject, allowing me to put my own perspective onto a text. Which is exactly what Camping did.

Any reading of a text is subject to the reader’s interpretations and bias. As a writer, I understand that clearly. As does Master Lao, who says:

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

…which is just so incredibly helpful.

It’s very likely that Camping will regroup, rejig his numbers and come up with a new date for the heavens to fall. This is the fifth time he’s done this, and as long as his followers give him money, he will continue to do so. This saddens me, but it’s their choice, and there is nothing I can do to change their minds. I simply hope that at least some of them will wake up in every sense of the phrase today, and take joy and comfort in the precious gift that is the first day of the rest of their lives.

Advertisements

Published by

Rob

Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s