awareness + action



understanding in

a person has two attributes:

awareness and action. Together they

form  a natural tai chi. Who can enjoy

enlightenment and remain

indifferent to suffering

in the world?


This is not

in keeping with the Way.

Only those who increase their service

along with their understanding

can be called men and

women of Tao.


from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 53


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are often especially

sensitive to the evils of the world

and, craving certainty, purity, and completeness,

firmly reject the evils as totally as possible, wishing to avoid

any compromises with them. Instead, utopians assert an

alternative vision of the world which they would like

to come into being. Their visionary belief may be

labeled “religious” or “political”—

it matters little for this



They await

a “new world” which is

to come into being by an act of God,

a change in the human spirit, by autonomous

changes in economic conditions, or by a deep spontaneous

social upheaval—all beyond deliberate human control. These

believers are primarily concerned with espousing the “true”

understanding of the evil and the principles by which

people should live, gaining converts, living with the

least possible compromise until the great change

arrives. They may deliberately seek to establish

ways of living and communities which

exemplify their principles and which

may inspire others to do



The most

serious weakness of

this response to the problem

of this world is not the broad vision,

or the commitment of the people who believe

in it. The weakness is that these believers have

no effective way to reach the society of their dreams.

Condemnation of social evil, espousal of an alternative

order of life, a deep personal commitment, and an effort

to live according to it, are all good and necessary, but

unfortunately alone they do not transform human

society and institutions. To do that, an instrumen-

tally effective program of achievable steps for

dealing with the evils of existing society

and for creating an improved

social order is



Gene Sharp


we will sing in the dark and try to forgive


In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.

Bertolt Brecht


There will be prayer, too,
but to a different god,

and dread will lurk
in the songs we sing.

Doom in the timpani
no matter what the tune,

the tune a variation
on the theme of doom.

We will sing in the dark
and try to forgive

and try not to dwell
on the lives we lived.

The music we play
will be a funeral song,

the poetry we speak,
that ancient tool

we used to believe
was the vital spark,

or if not the spark,
will be the match we strike

again and again
in the darkest dark.


Andrea Hollander