Rule 34: There are NO exceptions!
In the extensive research that I did for this blog, I came across rule 34 of the internet. Rule 34, brothers and sisters, states that, “If it exists, there will be porn of it. No exceptions.” Rule 35 states, “If there is no porn of it, porn will be made.” Because porn sells.
Like porn, Lao-T tells us that tao is everywhere; nourishing, feeding, clothing and caring for all living things. It gives its all and is valued by everyone and everything. Yet it is nothing. It wants nothing. It has no purpose. It just is. Tao, therefore, is like porn only in its ubiquity. Porn nourishes, feeds, clothes and cares for the pornograpgers alone. For the rest of its users, it eats them up and spits them out.
Is teaching more like porn or more like tao? Read on, dear reader, read on…
But what is tao? Tao is everything. And the more I come across this argument in Lao-T’s work, the more I am convinced that tao is language; or more accurately, that tao could be language. Language is everywhere. Everything depends upon it because without language there would be no names and no distinctions. Language feeds the brain and the brain is the receptor of everything. Language provides us with the tools that we need to clothe the world in descriptive language. And language is not demanding. It just does its thing.
Could teaching be tao? Teaching is not everything. More often than not, it is merely something. Everyone depends upon teaching? I don’t think so; I think everyone depends upon learning. Does teaching nourish students? No – it is more frequently to be found denying them sustenance in favour of what the scientists have decreed is a helathier option (that makes a lot of money). Does teaching clothe the world? Well, it certainly throws a cloth over the world.
And what is the difference, then, between teaching and tao? Well, L-Tse tells us that tao is accepted by all living things; they voluntarily return to tao. That doesn’t very often happen with teachers. Teachers are often rejected by many people – students, supervisors, colleagues, government wage departments.
Can teachers be like tao? Yes they can. They simply have to remember that the greatest people in life do not do great things and this is what makes them great people. They deliver a lesson that requires next to nothing and which seems to be about nothing in particular; they can communicate without the need to resort to resources that stultify their teaching; they nourish their students and yet want no praise whatsoever for their efforts. They are doing their thing – not in the faux-humility of the bashful prize winner, but because they know that the whole thing is not about them; it is about language and learning.
Teachers, we are merely bit parts in the sideshow.