An Encyclical: Of Yin, Yang and Tao
Sol in Aquarius, Luna in Gemini, Dies Mercurii
20 Aquarius CI / 8 February 2006 EV
Beloved:Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
I. The world is composed of colliding forces, held in tenuous balance by webs of agreement. Because collisions become intolerable, people seek agreement; when agreements become intolerable, force breaks out. This is the balance, and imbalance, of which the world is composed.
II. The rarest treasure among human beings is understanding
. Most human beings live out their entire lives having experienced only the tiniest spark of this divine radiance; wander their too-few days through forests of darkness. And yet everyone on earth has something that he or she understands, and those who Understand try to build on this fact. Given its rarity, understanding gets one only so far. It cannot guarantee successful agreements, strong enough to restrain the collisions of force; nor can it guarantee the successful use of force, strong enough to resolve dispute in stable agreements. And yet those who understand force, and those who understand agreements, can learn to understand each other; and when they do, the world prospers.
III. Of all arts, then, you who seek to Understand, give yourself to the study of war and peace, of force and agreement. Study that classic of peace, Sun-Tzu's Art of War
; and that classic of resistless warfare, the Lao-Tzu (Tao te Ching
). Study too the Classic of Change (I Ching
), which strives to encompass both.
IV. And never forget the divine Chuang-Tzu, who teaches you to avoid the madness of others. Contrary to what a million hits on the internet will tell you, the Chinese character for "crisis" is not
made up of the characters for "danger" plus "opportunity": it is made up of the characters for "danger" plus "turning point," which is a very different thing. Know, in a crisis, when to seek shelter: some crises do not admit of opportunities beyond bare survival.
V. I focus here on Chinese classics for a simple reason: that notoriously unhappy people have a history so long, and so full of conflict, that -- contrary to what one might think by observing modern China -- they have produced from the laboratory of their millennia of suffering some deep insights on these matters. At the risk of seeming unduly provincial, I believe that the Prophet Aleister Crowley is one of the few to have compassed their thought, and exceeded it in clarity. But you knew I'd say that. ;)
VI. Even in the darkest of human hours, you who seek to Understand, rejoice in this: that you strive quietly for a more understanding future; that you get to work, and play, and love, with people who share your dreams; that you leave behind you artifacts which others will study when you are gone, perhaps even for centuries to come. There are assuredly worse fates; arguably few better.Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in Love and Freedom, THETA