As a pacifist surrounded by bloodthirsty sheep, I am perceived as a black sheep: a traitor to the perpetual crusade against eternal evil.
Traitor, indeed, I am…
I state that, politically, we are no more enlightened than were the medieval physicians. The remedies we use are ineffective, and when we obtain results, it is because they aggravate the disease.
We should stop there, but since we observe a change, we persist: we have to maintain the doctrine, one bloodletting is not enough, we have to do more.
This stops with the death of the patient, of course unwanted by the « doctors ». The cause therefore comes from elsewhere, no doubt from the faults of the deceased, sanctioned by the judgement of God.
Is this caricature of our political systems relevant?
I think so.
It leads me to question the tools (institutions and ideas) we have at our disposal.
We have already experienced similar situations of great uncertainty.
Some are still close to us but I believe more enlightening to look elsewhere and far away, in a culture foreign to Western traditions: in China, at the time of the Warring Kingdoms, the founding period of the great currents of Chinese thought.
Let’s go straight to the main idea that emerges from this parallel: everything has to be rectified, reorganised and redefined.
Everything has to be rectified
We would like to implement a patient, orderly and progressive approach, but the task is immense and long. We will not have the time.
Our efforts will soon be disrupted by accidents that will switch priorities.
Such changes will make us believe that we should have foreseen them.
In retrospect, decisions that were made rationally are judged to have been wrong, which shows (do we believe) that yesterday’s responsible were incompetent.
Change everything now?
So here we face our new challenge: we still must change everything but we must change it now.
Thus the impatient ones take power over those whose patience borders on immobility.
The new goal is to abruptly restructure events by some war or coup d’état.
This is the violent solution
It raises many hopes, but any serious analysis of history shows that it is a step backwards.
Yes, what the violent ones destroyed made room for a (supposed to be) desirable future, but this (still) non-existent future lacks the support of long lasting traditions and, more important, it will soon be perverted by the violence unleashed by the break-up strategy.
In short, instead of achieving what we wanted, we have stupidly switched from progressive patience to regressive violence
(or, if you prefer, from oppressive immobilism to sterile oppression).
Trapped between two forms of irrationality
Political thinking is now caught between two forms of irrationality:
– progressive irrationality, which believed it could be based on an a priori of absolute rationality (always inaccessible),
– and the regressive one, which, believing it is going straight to the point, violently destroys most of the positive reciprocities.
The Taoist approach beyond present dilemmas
It is here that, listening to the favourable circumstances that Tao periodically provides, we can say that…
– preferable is the strategy of water,
– more durable is the patient flow of the weakest between the banks of the hardest,
– and happier looks the gentle smile of the turtle at rest in the mud.