Why Actionless Activity?

4 11 2009

I’ve been talking a lot about women’s sports lately, and I’m sure I will continue doing so into the foreseeable future. But the name of this blog hasn’t been given the Royal Explanation as per blog etiquette, so I will pause and provide the missing details.

We turn now to the Tao Te Ching, chapter 43:

What is of all things most yielding
Can overwhelm that which is of all things most hard.
Being substanceless it can enter even where there is no space;
That is how I know the value of action that is actionless.
But that there can be teaching without words,
Value in action that is actionless,
Few indeed can understand. (Waley)

As this is a blog that deals in blather, “teaching without words” may be a bit hard to come by around here. But I did find a way to sneak that idea in to the blog design by adding the brick wall image across the top.

What do brick walls do?

Well, they stand there.

But what do they do?

Stand there…?

Studied closer, brick walls support, repel, shelter, obstruct — for starters.

But do they do these things, or are they by-products of their nature?

Brick walls don’t try to rebound tennis balls. They don’t try to support a roof. They don’t try to block your view of whatever is behind them. But by their very nature, they can do all of these things.

One may say that a brick wall is being authentic, as it isn’t claiming to be a sheet of glass or puddle of water. But brick walls don’t claim anything. They stand there, and are true to their fundamental nature by simply being.

That is the root idea from which this blog is formed.

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