|P. J. Laska Photo by Warene Hobson|
"...I'm not interested in Daoism (the religion), which is what most of western writing is about. I found the older wisdom tradition conveyed by the Dao De Jing to have a lot in common with the naturalism that evolved in early Greek philosophy. Then I was puzzled by the phrase "wei wu wei" (ddj 3 & 63) and spent a lot of time trying to make sense of other translations before I realized they were passing off "act without action" and other contradictory nonsense as something subtle and mysterious.I started exploring this phrase which asks the reader to bring opposites together. Then it struck me that the opposites are "wei"=human action, and "wu wei" =non-human activity, or natural process, and it fell into place. The ancient wisdom is about balancing these two, to achieve sustainability.The main difference between human activity and natural process is the intellectual and artistic design that's present in human action, whether it is called thought or idea, or consciousness that gives our action its end or goal. I call it 'desiging (sp) action' to set it apart [from] the processes of nature that go on without this conscious design. This is the key to the ecological reading that guides the commentary -that and the anti-imperialist thread, which you will see in ddj 80 the paradigm for a sustainable community is a small state with few people." Personal Communication from P. J. Laska to Roger D. Hicks 2017.
"Those using [the Wisdom of] the Way to assist a sovereign in governing do not employ force of arms. This will likely provoke the use of arms in return. Where troops set up camp, thistles and thorns grow. Where great battles are fought, years of hardship will follow. Those adept [in the use of the Way] do not risk using force. They succeed without vanity and without aggression, and get results without arrogance, gain, or use of force."