HUMANIST CORNER February 2019
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you try to hold onto. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
(All selected from the Ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tse 604 -531 BCE)
As a 21st century humanist I could happily follow that thinker from two and a half millennia past. Who of us isn’t familiar with the yin yang symbol enclosed in the infinite circle? Circles are to be found in many religious symbols (our own included) The Taoist version is even on the cover of my last book “Sermation.” (No sales pitch intended) The circle divided into two equal divisions, each carrying a small segment of the other, usually found in black and white.
Yang, the white portion stands for day or maleness; the black Yin, night or femaleness. Yang is often thought to encompass the masculine energies such as dominance, competitiveness, structure, linearity, individuality and typically left brain function. Yin, the darker side, evoking feminine energies such as creativity, pragmatism, wholism, intuition and right brain activity. In the unity of opposites they should ideally function in harmony and balance – life’s most desirable state. Such an ancient concept seemingly more beyond our reach than ever, even in this technologized, fast moving, but incredibly muddled world.
An outstanding, past member of our fellowship, now deceased, Scotty Zilinski, was always fascinated by Goddess history and ideals. Those rotund, little figurines frequently stumbled upon at archaeological or geological digs. Long before even Lao Tse, the concept of Mother Earth, the generous and sustaining creator of all things was revered by our earliest ancestors. She was, of course, superseded by manly and mighty warrior/hunter gods with their superior upper body strength. Yet it may well have been their women who first planted those early seeds in the ground from which our great cities later sprang. In the sixties we took a brief step toward a more simple existence and diminished consumption, only to be drowned out by the drums of drugs, war and wealth. Nonetheless perhaps Arlo Guthrie was prophetic. Maybe the times really are a-changin’. Worldwide hearts seem to be pining for some version of that ancient, Taoist balance…
Along those lines what a joy at the recent State of the Union to see that ocean of white dresses, including even the speaker herself! Clearly a glaring reference to Suffragettes of the early twentieth century. The exclusively female movement founded in 1903, fighting for women’s right to vote which actually took until 1928 win. Darkness fleeing from light can be such a lengthy process-
Tragically there was not one word escaped the president’s lips on the topic of climate change or global warming! Whoever was seeking balance that night had to wait for the brief Democratic rebuttal following the address. Georgia’s Stacey Abrams clearly stressed the importance of climate, healthcare and inequality. So perhaps with a little help from their sisters across the aisle, we can finally move toward that long sought balance. Collective wisdom echoed by sages and prophets century after century. Truth be told – don’t we have to?
HUMANIST CORNER February 2019