Tao, Discourse, and the Tao

How is our idea of discourse related to nothing just is?

If N1 (nothing just is what it is), it is through our conceptualization of discourse as a tool with which we try to grasp and understand the world outside ourselves. If we accept the statements above, discourse is a way to see discourse in the world. a way to see how discourse constructs a world, and a way to see the world.

This same paradox is captured in a dichotomy in the first chapter of the Tao, and remains a fixture theme throughout.
Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.
Naming: the mother of ten thousands things.
Though the Tao insists on their interconnection, nameless and naming represent two very different ideas. The nameless is the eternal tao, the boundless spirit of endless possibility, of happening. From the perceived chaos of nameless we construct our own understanding of it, to help cope with its ruthlessness nature of Tao towards its creations. This is the emergence of discourse, systems of thought intended to explain the randomness of life surrounding the story-tellers. And from here the importance of using discourse grew, making sense of the moments as they passed, creating order, attempting to make new, different, and old alike familiar.

We’re trying to do exactly this too, attempting to make the old familiar, with our translation:

The eternal mysteries of existence are beyond our petty names
but names are not worthless, for names can connect us to the world we live in.

Here again, the same dichotomy. Tao exists in an ethereal world, a timeless existence. Meanwhile, we live a material, changing, and impermenant existence. Over only a very short existence, individuals must attempt to understand the deepest mysteries of the universe, a seemingly impossible task. And so our attempts are always only partial, fragments of insight hidden within an historical context that can warp and obscure. Occassionally our discoveries are great and enduring, even transcending. But far more mysteries of Tao await.

Discourse is the medium. It’s the understanding(s) carried in the social body that help to mitigate the primal fears of the unknown, to make sense of the forces of change and the discontinuity that can result. But it’s more too: it’s the codification, institutionalization, and classification of understanding into a self-perpetuating system. Eventually they all ossify, for no discourse is capable of expressing the namelessness of Tao. But through them, through their successes and failures, rises and falls, we can manage glimpses of the eternity they’re so often, at least initially, designed to grasp.

For discursive formations, at their most grandiose, claim to reveal Tao. They claim to express fundamental truths about the world we live in, truths about the good life and death, about justice, and about truth itself. Some might already, most will never and others still are forgeries. But at their best, here lies the potential to consider the great mysteries.

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