Ambiguity
   
     

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Right or wrong, this or that?

Taoism stays well clear of morality. It leaves such things to the individual. The Tao Te Ching posits the notion that most moral decisions can be seen from more than one perspective.
What seems right to one person is wrong to another. When you choose this, you neglect that.


Values

Value is measured in terms of worth. What one person think is worthwhile or not, right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable - will differ from the next person.
You are not likely to value the same principles, standards or qualities as somebody else. People in relationships often share certain values but not others.
No two people are the same so it might be argued that value is entirely subjective and specific.


Variables

Variables complicate everything. Although it might be argued that probability reduces the likelihood of certain things occurring, this is still no guarantee.
You cannot allow for every contingency, and any attempt to do so will only cause anxiety.
Taoism encourages you to go with the flow and respond to things as they happen rather than try and plan too far ahead. This means taking a risk and being prepared to fail.


Meaning

At the root of ambiguity is 'meaning'. Words are an imperfect medium of expression.
Inherently flawed, they depend entirely upon the speakers ability to render reality verbally and the listeners ability to interpret.
Since reality cannot be expressed verbally, and interpretation is relative to personal variables - this complicates matters. Meaning is subjective and intrinsically biased.


Perspective

The legal system attempts to define things in an unequivocal manner. Dictionaries do the same. Yet, meanings change as culture changes.


Uncertain

Uncertainty is interesting. Denied clarity and foresight, you are required to move with what is happening and adapt to the situation. This is life.
Nobody knows what the future will bring or if the decision of today will backfire tomorrow. To live in fear of uncertainty is fruitless. Take a chance.


Ambiguity

Taijiquan and Taoism revel in ambiguity. What seems to be one thing may actually be something else. 
Our syllabus is not linear in nature; it constantly spirals back to the same things - which when reconsidered - seem quite different to how they did before. As you change, meaning changes.
Since words do not comprehensively articulate reality, doing is favoured over talking.
 

We live as if asleep, never waking up to the amazing, awesome one moment in our lives where we stand poised over eternity, aware that it is the only moment we will ever have, and that if we donít embrace it we have lost everything.

(Wolfe Lowenthal)

 


Page created 18 January 1998
Last updated 09 June 2019