“Taoism and Asatru Virtues” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Eastern Philosophy

Happy Mani’s Day

Discussion:

Every time I address the subject of eastern philosophy, I keep coming back to Taoism.  Probably because of all of the eastern philosophical viewpoints, it has one of the easiest to understand main concepts – balance.  Keeping one’s life balanced is its central tenant and it is probably the main concept I borrow from in eastern philosophy.

When it comes to the pursuit of virtue. the issue is balance.  One could, for instance, become attached to Self-Reliance and Indsutriousness to the point one forgets Fidelity and Honor. The constant reminder of balance is why I have organized the virtues the way I have. This online journal The Grey Wayfarer is a mechanism that keeps me considering all the virtues rather than just focusing on a small group of them or even a single one.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The need for balance is one the is illustrated in the Asatru Virtues.  One should work hard, but not dishonorably.  One should maintain relationships but not to the point of cowardice or the truth.  The need for balance is to remind one’s self that there is more to life than one aspect of it.

Wants (Freki):

I want this balance.  The reason should be obvious as my goals are attached to it and provide the highest sign of where I have been focusing my efforts and which virtues still need work.   The idea of balance makes sure I don’t get too caught up in one thing at the expense of another.

Reason (Huginn):

I have found this adds a new level of reasonableness to my path. An added layer of consideration that allows me to say – ‘hey your spending too much time thinking about this goal at the expense of others’.  I can also see here certain goals are not even being addressed and realize – ‘That’s an imbalance.  I need to do something about it.”

Wisdom (Muninn):

This leads to the practical – ‘it works’ sort of wisdom I find in considering am I being balanced. It leads me to understand that all the virtues are important for a wise life. No one of them should become so important to the neglect of others.

Conclusion:

Right now this simple discussion of Taoism and balance has caused me to realized that my time is being invested in an unbalanced manner because I am not following my routines as closely as I should. The routines are designed for me to make progress on all my goals. I need to make new efforts to keep them better.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Taoism: Yin and Yang” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Eastern Philosophy

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion

In the rotation, I deal with eastern philosophy directly once, but to be honest there is a lot of Taoism in my philosophical viewpoint.  Particularly the idea of balance or what the Taoist would call yin and yang. The chart below kind fo displays the basic difference.

One might say the whole concept of Wolves and Ravens represents Yin and Yang, but it isn’t that simple because in Taoism some things in my philosophy cross the lines to the other side and some of the things might be considered on both sides depending on how they are applied. For me, you might say the Wolf of Need and the Raven of Reason are Yang, but the Wolf of Want and the Raven of Wisdom (which involves a lot of intuition based on experience) are Yin.

If I take anything from Taoism it is the idea of the balance of life. Of keeping things level instead of overdoing one thing at the expense of the other.  The parallels to this idea are in truth in every philosophical system I can think of as well as a large chunk of the nature of each mythology.

Probably this is found in two other notions: 1) Order (or Law) vs. Chaos (or Liberty) and 2) Good (benevolence) vs. Evil (malevolence).   A Taoist would try to strive for a balance between these and be truly neutral about both of them.  I tend to be more Chaotic but neutral about the question of good and evil.  You might say I boil it down to the issue of law vs. liberty and lean heavy on the side of liberty, but the whole good and evil question might be invalid.  I say ‘might be’ because I am still thinking and meditating about it.  The one thing is that I am deliberately unbalanced right now from a Taoist point of view in regards to law vs. liberty. Mostly because I can see how the law is far easier connected to doing harm in the name of good intentions. Whereas to me liberty brings about a respect for the humanity of the other persons in the world which often benefits all.

I would say at that point the Taoist and I reach a fork in the road and I wish them well and then take the fork in the road that says ‘liberty is better than law’.  That said, balance in other aspects of my life is influenced and reflects an understanding of Taoism.  Balance is a constant consideration of mine.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The need for balance is illustrated in what happens when the balance is not maintained.  I can speak from painful experience of the consequences of not maintaining the balance between self-love and loving others as an example.  Too far on self-love and you become a narcissist and too far in the love of others makes you a living martyr that eventually leads to self-destruction.  Neither is desirable and the balance keeps you functioning both in the love of self and others without the extremes of either. The need for balance is pretty clear from a preservation standpoint.

Wants (Freki):

A proper balance is also wanted.  It leads to greater success. I have known many men and women who their life was their work and in the end, they never enjoyed once the fruit of their labors.  Because they didn’t know how to relax and enjoy the fruit of their labors, their health suffered.  On the flip side, I have known people who gave themselves over to hedonism without working at all.  Their laziness leads to poverty and quite frankly a lack of honor.  The ultimate expression of this is the thief who lives on the labors of others.  The one who learns to balance work and enjoyment will be the one who is truly successful and that is something I definitely want.

Reason (Huginn):

Reason comes into these things as you have to think about things fairly regularly to observe if balance is being maintained.  Balance doesn’t come easily or without a lot of thought behind it.

Wisdom (Muninn):

I would say Taoism as a philosophy has a lot of wisdom to it, but I would evaluate things ma little differently as far as what needs to be balanced. That said, the principles are very universal and wise at the same time and I have no trouble listening to them and applying those I think leads to wisdom.

Conclusion:

I suppose Of Wolves and Ravens is indeed my own form of Taoism.  Balancing need and want with reason and wisdom.  But there is an imbalance built-in to that – listening to reason and wisdom first. A little asymmetry is good for us actually so that is something else to consider. Next week is western philosophy and I think there is a debate there that is about asymmetry that will be good to look at when considering this.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!