Don't Force Anything - Alan Watts
This article is a theoretical piece.
The article discusses the principle of Wu Wei in Taoist philosophy, which translates to "not forcing". The author explores the concept of Wu Wei and its application in different areas of life, emphasizing the importance of being in harmony with the natural flow of things.
Main topics: Taoist philosophy, Wu Wei, natural flow, non-forcing, spontaneity, space, childhood wonder. Secondary topics: Judo, Shakespeare, superior virtue, habit energy, anti-intellectualism.
- Introduction to the principle of Wu-Wei
- Explanation of the multiple meanings of the principle of Wu-Wei
- Explanation of Louis' principle of not forcing in anything that you do
- Identification of forced performances and their lack of authenticity
- Clarification of the misconception of Wu-Wei as egotistical passivity
- Explanation of the importance of timing in the practice of Judo and Wu-Wei
- Explanation of the drift of things and the art of sailing
- The superiority of virtuousness without intention over inferior virtuousness with intention
- Rejection of cultivated passivity or spontaneity in the practice of Wu-Wei
- Significance of the void and space in the practice of Wu-Wei
- Revisiting childhood fascination and suspending philosophical and religious views for a better understanding of the world
- Dismissing compulsive and habitual thinking for a clearer perception of reality
Don't Force Anything Through Wu-Wei: Alan Watts
Wu-Wei is a Taoist principle that combines many meanings, and the best translation for it is forcing. Louis is the principle of not forcing anything that one does. When watching any performance, be it an actor, dancer, or musician, it’s easy to know immediately when it’s forced, and it doesn't ring true. Deadlines and pressure may make people work harder, but it is possible to work without actually forcing the work. Many who study the Taoist doctrines think that Wu-Wei means doing nothing in the sense of laissez-faire or being lazy. Wu-Wei is the art of sailing rather than the art of rowing.
Superior virtue has no intention to be virtuous, and thus it is virtually inferior virtue cannot let go of virtuosity and thus is not good. One could say the real Wu-Wei is not intentional, and so is Wu-Wei, but inferior Wu-Wei tries to be Wu-Wei that it isn't. It's not a matter of cultivated passivity or even of cultivated spontaneity. To be spontaneous, you have to be able to realize that you don't know what you really want to do until you are very quiet, and it tells you.
Embrace your Inner Child to Unlock the Universe's Secrets
Space is what is essential, and it comes down to the void. Nobody can define it, and nobody can imagine it. The foundation of the universe lies in space, which appears to be nothing. Space is something which we can associate with from our childhood. To understand Wu-Wei, one has to go back to their childhood and embrace their inner child. Children have an abundance of intuition, and they spin around as fast as possible, watching the world go tilting. So we need to check our ideas and opinions at the door, along with our philosophical and religious views and all our logic.
Wu-Wei is not anti-intellectual, and it isn't undermining the value of logic and reasoning. Instead, it's treating those thoughts from one’s head in the same way as if they were maybe below, recognizing they are just like shapes in the spray as the sea breaks on the rocks. By doing this, we can get a better understanding of our feelings, such as seeing red as not red, and blue as not blue. This idea of simplicity helps see things more clearly.
The article on "Don't Force Anything" by Alan Watts can influence other areas of knowledge such as philosophy, spirituality, and psychology. The concept of wu-way or non-forcing can be applied to living a more mindful life and making decisions based on the natural flow of things rather than forcefully controlling them. It can also complement the understanding of Zen Buddhism and Taoism, which revolve around the idea of living in harmony with nature and the universe.
However, the article is missing a deeper analysis of the potential limitations of wu-way. While non-forcing can be beneficial in certain situations, it may not always be practical or effective. For instance, in emergency situations, action and force may be necessary to ensure safety and security. Additionally, the article does not mention the role of responsibility and accountability, which may be crucial in certain aspects of life.
The author of the article misses the potential contradictions in the concept of wu-way itself. While the idea of non-forcing may seem appealing, it may not always align with the reality of situations. For instance, in certain professional contexts such as deadlines at work or achieving personal goals, some level of force and action may be required. The idea of not forcing may also be misconstrued as a justification for passivity and inaction.
What does the principle wu-way mean?
"there is a principle called way means none or not no negation way has a combination of meanings it can mean action making but the best translation I have found for it is forcing and so Louis is the principle of not forcing in anything that you do"
What is wu-way based on?
"so wu-way is based on knowledge of the tide the drift of things get with it wu-way is the art of sailing rather than the art of rowing"
What is the difference between superior and inferior virtue according to Lao?
"one of the most famous sayings of Lao in the laozer book is superior virtue has no intention to be virtuous and thus is virtually inferior virtue cannot let go of virtuosity and thus is not good"
How does the author suggest one approach the idea of not knowing what they truly want to do?
"you have to be able to realize that you don't know what you really want to do until you are very quiet and it tells you"
Understanding Wu-Way Principle Quiz
- a. Way Means Everything
- b. Wu-Way
- c. Action Making
- d. None of the Above Correct Answer: b. Wu-Way
- a. Laissez-faire
- b. Forced action
- c. Spontaneous action
- d. Both a and c Correct Answer: d. Both a and c
- a. Sailing
- b. Running
- c. Rowing
- d. Swimming Correct Answer: a. Sailing
Question 1: What is the principle called that has a combination of meanings?
Question 2: According to the text, what could the term Wu-Way mean?
Question 3: What does the text say is the art of Wu-Way?
The Importance of Space Quiz
- a. Infinity
- b. The Universe
- c. Kung
- d. All of the above Correct Answer: d. All of the above
- a. Give them all the attention they deserve
- b. Ignore them completely
- c. Treat them like shapes in the spray when the sea breaks on the rocks
- d. Record them in a journal for later analysis Correct Answer: c. Treat them like shapes in the spray when the sea breaks on the rocks
- a. Check our ideas and opinions at the door
- b. Embrace our philosophical and religious views
- c. Overthink every situation
- d. Make snap judgments about everything we encounter Correct Answer: a. Check our ideas and opinions at the door
Question 1: What does the text call space?
Question 2: How does the text suggest we view our thoughts?
Question 3: What does the text say we need to do to understand the world like a child again?
The True Meaning of Virtue Quiz
- a. Wu-Way is Better than Forced Action
- b. Superior Virtue has No Intention to be Virtuous
- c. Life is Strange and Full of Surprises
- d. Virtue is Immeasurable Correct Answer: b. Superior Virtue has No Intention to be Virtuous
- a. To intentionally do nothing
- b. To actively try to be more Wu-Way
- c. To be spontaneous and go against societal rules
- d. To not intentionally do anything Correct Answer: d. To not intentionally do anything
- a. Discussing the principles of Judo
- b. Explaining the meaning of Wu-Way
- c. Talking about the importance of virtue
- d. Describing how to understand the world like a child again Correct Answer: a. Discussing the principles of Judo
Question 1: What is the saying of Lao in the Laozer book?
Question 2: According to the text, what is the real way to practice Wu-Way?
Question 3: In what context does the text mention Shakespeare?
Tips based on the content of the article "Don't Force Anything - Alan Watts":
- Practice Wu-Wei: This is the principle of not forcing in anything that you do. Allow actions to come naturally and effortlessly, without trying to force them. This tip can be applied in everyday life by taking a step back and allowing things to unfold without attempting to control every detail.
- Trust your natural instincts: Get in touch with your intuition and allow it to guide you. This can be done by meditating or simply paying attention to your gut feeling. Apply this tip by trusting your instincts in decision-making and allowing your inner voice to guide you.
- Let go of virtuosity: As the saying goes, "superior virtue has no intention to be virtuous and thus is virtually inferior virtue cannot let go of virtuosity and thus is not good." Let go of the desire to be perfect or exceptional and simply be yourself. This can be applied in everyday life by accepting who you are and focusing on progress over perfection.
- Practice mindfulness: Be present in the current moment and focus on what is happening now rather than dwelling on what has already passed or worrying about the future. Apply this tip by taking a few moments each day to practice mindfulness meditation or simply focusing on the present moment during daily tasks.
- Embrace the unknown: Allow yourself to experience the unknown and embrace the mystery of life. Apply this tip by trying new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone, even if it means not knowing what the outcome will be.
The best tip to include in daily life is to practice mindfulness. Being present and focused can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve overall well-being. Incorporating mindfulness into daily activities such as eating, walking, or even driving can lead to a more fulfilling life.