Name: C. W. West

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Tao of Heaven and Hell

The Tao perspective is well known, well analyzed and well over-used to answer many questions by forming opposite ends of the same matter. Heaven and hell (whether they actually exist will be discussed at a later time) is explained by a simple Tao model without the varying scale that accompanies other Tao explanations.

As with other matters subject to the Tao analysis, there are two opposing extremes that are completely incompatible. As in the walrus' earlier observation (see The Inescapable Balance) regarding the integrity of human contentment, there are fully opposite poles that must be considered together to understand either individually. The two extremes of heaven and hell exist individually, but because they are necessarily paired in our conception, our nature is to look at the two as if they were connected by a measuring rod. We make our observation of heaven and hell from a vantage point that is somewhere along the measuring rod that connects the two extremes.

Which pole am I closest to? Am I moving toward heaven or hell? Is heaven really as good as it is supposed to be? Is hell really all that bad? How long do I have to decide? I used to be a lot closer to ____ but now I seem to be moving toward ____. (fill in the blank: a. heaven or b. hell)

All that seems a little silly to the walrus. In the case of heaven and hell, there is no middle ground. We have moved way beyond the point of rational balance. There is simply heaven and there is simply hell. No halfway. No intermediate balance. No progress toward either pole. No more choices to be made. The balance is there, but only because there are two poles. There is no balance between the poles because there is no between. And therefore no one can truly improve the odds of achieving his desired destiny before it arrives.

Does that mean that no one should try? Have you forgotten the walrus' words so quickly? Is it the effort or is it the achievement that holds meaning? Should one focus on reaching heaven or work toward avoiding hell? The walrus says no.

It is the effort, the journey, that will be the reward. The destination is not negotiable.


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