I would like to cap off the recent series of posts on Taoism with an interview with Ursula Le Guin, conducted by Brenda Peterson. In it, the lifelong student of Taoism talks about how the Tao Te Ching has influenced her personal life and the construction of her worldview. As usual, I find her comments accessible, refreshing, thought-provoking, and hilarious. Here are some of my favourite passages:
Relating back to the notion of winning at all cost in last week’s post, I thought of an essay I submitted to a contest a year or so ago. Titled Playing to Tie: Adopting a Sustainable Mindset, the piece was shortlisted by the Web of Life Foundation, an organization focused bringing fresh thinking and new perspectives to socio-environmental issues. It has subsequently been published as part of an essay collection titled An Orange County Almanac and other essays.
We are our own harshest critic. I read the piece now and wonder why it was ever selected. I see it as overly long and disjointed, suffering from my strange phase of rampant semicolonization. Rereading it evokes a strong urge to cleave it apart for major editing and revision. Yet, there are bits and pieces that I am still proud of, and I would like to share the ideas in several of the passages:
I referred briefly to the essay titled The Politics of Play: Seeking adventure in a risk-averse society in last week’s exploration of The Curious Garden, but I think it merits some attention of its own. In the piece, Jay Griffith argues that unstructured and free play (something that is increasing rare nowadays) is vital for helping children grow up into mature, sustainable, and resilient individuals capable of exercising sound judgement. I would like to share a couple of choice quotes:
I really like TED talks. I not only enjoy being exposed to ideas worth spreading, but I am also rejuvenated by seeing the passion people have in their work. But it takes a lot of skill to do TED talks well. It doesn’t matter how exciting the ideas themselves are: One has to convey them in a way that captures the imagination of the audience. The story is not enough; one needs to also be a good storyteller.
Perhaps more of these kinds of messages, delivered through mediums that resonate deep within the Chinese psyche like Shan Shui paintings, can help broaden the debate, spark lasting awareness, and affect change on the complex issues behind most environmental problems.
This is what I wrote in the Shan Shui: Environmental Art Ekostory a few weeks back. Last night, I stumbled upon the intriguing work of artist Yao Lu, titled Yao Lu’s Landscape, at barbourdesign.wordpress.com:
I recently came across this short film created by a group called the Planetary Collective and was immediately captivated by what astronauts, philosophers, and authors described as the “Overview Effect”:
A full piece exploring the ideas and themes of the film will be up on Ekostories in a few weeks. I wanted to share this now because the group is doing a Kickstarter for a full-length feature titled Continuum that is due in a week or so, and I figured they could use some exposure. If Overview is any indication of quality, Continuum is going to be one fascinating and thought-provoking documentary.
You can learn more about the project at The Planetary Collective Presents: Continuum.