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Zen and Taoism are not overly concerned with fixing things. They tend to advocate leaving things alone.
All points of view?
The problem with solutions is that they are contingent upon our perception of the problem. We usually do not see all sides.
We cannot necessarily foresee the unexpected side-effects that may arise from our solution. Fixing one problem may well create another.
Zen does not aim to fix things. It looks for the underlying principle/essence and seeks to follow that.
Concentration is a major folly addressed by Zen. If you concentrate on one thing, you exclude other concerns. Zen aims to encourage an inclusive approach to life.
Instead of focussing upon a single item, you become expansive and see the interconnectedness of all things. Narrowing your standpoint and shutting out other considerations is naive.
Who determines what is important? Why discard some things and accept others? On what basis do you choose? Ultimately, it all comes down to what you personally value.
A solution is typically a fix, an answer. An answer is a response to a specific question. What if a different question had been asked?
Life presents us with many problems, dilemma and situations. There is no generic solution. There are many different possibilities, choices and options.
It all depends on what you are seeking as an outcome. Every answer is provisional. It must be a work-in-progress. It is subject to change. Life is not fixed.
In taijiquan combat we do not favour techniques. A technique is a solution to a perceived problem. It aims to apply a step-by-step method to fix a predictable, defined situation.
Yet, fighting is anything but predictable. We cannot afford to make assumptions or apply a preconceived solution. Students with Sifu Waller learn how to re-perceive the nature of the problem.
Quite often, they realise that there is no problem. Instead of seeing a problem, they see an opportunity.
Rather than apply a set response to each attack, the student is taught how to explore possibilities. They begin to see every situation as unique, and respond to the needs of the moment.
Their aim is not to fix anything or achieve a solution. Instead, they simply respond appropriately. The attacker may change tactic and counter. Our student simply moves with this and adapts.
Not everything requires a fix. Not all fixes are worth having. Our culture is obsessed with replacing the old, and embracing the new. Many new 'solutions' simply create new problems. Consider computers.
Did they really create the paperless office environment? Have they made working life easier for anyone? What about the side effects of using computers? Do people now work fewer hours?
Computers use up power, emit radiation, strain the eyes, damage posture, cause repetitive strain injury and waste a colossal amount of time and money.
People use computers to steal things, commit identity theft and fraud.
18 March 1997
Last updated 07 November 2018