Perfection and Extremism

 Today we talk about perfection and using social media to combat extremism.

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

Daily Reading

Today's reading is from chapter 29 of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching the translation of Jonathan Star.

Thoughts

Often when we use the word "perfect" we're using it to describe something that has only positive qualities. If you think of the perfect dessert, your mind probably starts filling in all sorts of positive characteristics of desserts you like.

Oftentimes, we think of perfection as an ideal. Something we may be able to strive for but isn't actually possible in real life. So if your favorite dessert is apple pie, and you're eating the best apple pie you've ever had, you probably know somewhere in the back of your mind that it still isn't the "perfect" apple pie.

In this verse, Lao Tzu defines perfection in a different way. He says the perfect apple pie is the one a grandmother makes for her grandkids. That the perfect apple pie is the one sitting in front of you being eaten.

For the Taoist, life is perfect when we can just enjoy it as it is. When we can take the bad with the good, knowing that those are distinctions we're creating in our own mind, and that reality itself isn't bad or good but just as it ought to be right now. And maybe, if we can become a little less critical of life, we'll learn to do the same with ourselves.

Uplifting News

Fatima Zaman is a counter-extremist using social media for good. In light of the recent disturbing trend of social media being used to recruit young people into violent extremism, she had the idea to use the same tactics to counter it. Calling the campaign "Extremely Together" in an effort to promote cooperation and reclaim the word extreme, the campaign has already engaged with 1.6 million young people online.

 Quote of the Day

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”

― Emily Dickinson