Friday, June 24, 2011

About The Tao of Pooh

--I think I've figured out where I disagree with it. Hoff says cleverness, information, thinking and trying are the problem. I don't. Thinking and trying are like a hammer and nails: not useless, but not necessarily what you'll need in a rainstorm. As he sees it,

Scholars can be very useful and necessary, in their own dull and unamusing way. They provide a lot of information. It's just that there is Something More, and that Something More is what life is really all about. p.31

I suppose if I found scholarship as joyless as that, I might be down on it too. How terribly sad for him. I don't suppose scholarship, in some contexts, might be performed in a way that has something to do with Something More? He also thinks that

Cleverness. . . takes all the credit it possibly can. But it's not the Clever Mind that's responsible when things work out. It's the mind that sees what's in front of it, and follows the nature of things. p.75

I think the best mind for working things out would see what's in front of it. . . and have a lot of things in front of it, as much as it can handle well.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

In China, there is the Teahouse. In France, there is the Sidewalk Cafe. Practically every civilized country in the world has some sort of equivalent--a place where people can go to eat, relax, and talk things over without worrying about what time it is, and without having to leave as soon as the food is eaten. In China, for example, the Teahouse is a real social institution. Throughout the day, families, neighbors, and friends drop in for tea and light food. They stay as long as they like. Discussions may last for hours. It would be strange to call the Teahouse the nonexclusive neighborhood social club; such terms are too Western. But that can roughly describe part of the function, at least from our rather compartmentalized point of view. "You're important. Relax and enjoy yourself." That's the message of the Teahouse.

What's the message of the Hamburger Stand? Quite obviously, it's: "You don't count; hurry up." pp. 106-107


The play-it-safe pessimists of the world never accomplish much of anything, because they don't look clearly and objectively at situations, they don't recognize or believe in their own abilities, and they won't stretch those abilities to overcome even the smallest amount of risk. p.122


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