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  1. Daoism as a Practical Philosophy

    Howdy: I'm interested in whether any folks on this discussion board follow Daoism as a practical philosophy. I've seen a lot of conversation about energetics, Chinese medicine, Qi, and so on. I don't want to be provocative, but I've come to the conclusion that most of this stuff is nonsense. But having said that, I do believe that there is a really practical core to Daoism that has sustained it over the centuries. Let me illustrate with a practical example from my home town. There is a small park that exists where two rivers meet. It is quite nice, but it gets in the way of two major highways connecting. The local engineering department usually controls where roads go and the planning department only gets to "pretty up" the mess that the engineering department creates. The planners really wanted to save the park, but they lacked the power to do so. The local university had a convention of North American timber framers and offered to have a "building bee" as part of the conference if the city would provide the materials and land, plus a project for them to do. Some genius in the planning department decided to get them to build a beautiful covered pedestrian bridge over one of the rivers. They built it and the city fell in love---people get married on the bridge. It's a tourist destination. A couple years later the engineering department decided it was time to connect the two highways and they wanted to build a concrete bridge next to the covered pedestrian bridge. An instant mob of enraged citizens showed up with pitchforks and torches, and Council quickly vetoed the plan to connect the two highways. I never understood what happened until later when a friend who was then a City Councilor and eventually was mayor for several terms explained that the planning department chose the spot and the project specifically to stop the Engineering dept from connecting the two highways. I would say that this was a case of "doing without doing". I would even go a step farther and say that the covered bridge is acting like a "land God" in my city because people worshiping it has resulted in the preservation of nature. I think that as more people in the West adopt Daoism into their lives, it is important to emphasize the concrete ways that Daoist principles can improve people's day-to-day lives.