256. Contemplation (V)
A common assumption is that Taoist balance means to take a little from Column A and a little from Column B. The Yin and the Yang represent the masculine and feminine principles, so a person who takes this mistaken approach might say: “I want to achieve balance between men and women: what we need is for men to wear skirts and women to wear trousers. Men should try on cosmetics and women should use power tools. When we mix the typical masculine and feminine attributes sufficiently we will have found a Taoist balance.” Needless to say, this is not balanced at all; it is a recipe for Frankenstein’s monster—for a transsexual.
In politics, this approach leads a person to say: “Moderate centrism is the Tao, because it’s in the middle. I take a little bit from socialism, conservatism, and liberalism and get a balance. I’m not on any side. I condemned extremists on all sides. If there is a dispute between liberals and conservatives, I tell them to trade policies with each other: a little gay marriage here, a little tax cut there.” But Tao say: “Person who claim centrist, unbalanced extremist: man they call extremist, balanced centrist.”
The Tao works through the interrelation of opposites: a man who becomes masculine, very muscular, and has very patriarchal views will become feminine; he augments his power to such an extent that he gains the self-possession that all women have by default—everyone desires him as they desire an attractive woman, except their desire stems from his perfectly expressed masculinity. The woman who becomes feminine becomes hard like a man; she has an icy unapproachable beauty, and when she has children she becomes a woman who fiercely defends her children as a warrior in battle. The Tao: the masculine in the feminine, the feminine in the masculine. However, certain weak men have misinterpreted this idea as “getting in touch with their feminine side” and taken it to mean men should act like soft women and become “male mothers”.
The Tao is enantiodromia: the tendency for an extreme to turn into its opposite. This process—the swing back and forth—creates psychic equilibrium; if you stop the swing, disaster happens. It is the same as with computers: a microchip works with “on” and “off” switches; it would not work if the switches did not alternate “on” and “off”. Moderate centrists break a political system by their collusion with liberals who say there is no “on” and “off”.
The self-proclaimed moderate is governed by his repressed extremism, and he antagonises and destabilises the political system because nobody trusts him. The traditionalists see him as a traitor, and the liberals see him as a sexist pig. “Can’t we all just get along?” says the centrist, but he says this because he is a coward; he represses the other factions and so prepares the path to the real explosion. Real stability comes about through two clearly defined sides in contention: if you want peace, prepare for war—the moderate centrist holds a disarmament conference, a sure way to start a war.
The young man starts out leftist and he should be encouraged to take his leftism as far as his character will allow; at the limit, it will snap back into traditionalism: the opposites reverse, and this is maturity. If you say, “Stop! This is dangerous left-wing extremism!” you have thwarted the Tao and disaster will follow. You will create artificial stability, not organic stability. Whatever position you really feel, deep down, must be expressed—or else it will unconsciously drive you. The traditionalist makes no compromise with the liberal, and the liberal makes no compromise with the traditionalist—thus balance is achieved. “People who stand in the middle of the road get run down,” said Thatcher; and this is what happens to people who bill themselves as centrists, they facilitate catastrophe. The path to stability is to go into your madness: “Where the danger lies, there is the healing power.”