Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Old Wu Wei Trick

Barbara at Mahablog has an interesting insight into the debate last night. She notes that Obama was more like a kung fu master and he just let McCain beat himself up. The principle of the 'uncarved stone' or 'the action of non-action' or more properly 'wu wei' is very applicable to what we saw last night on the part of Obama.

What I watched was more like kung fu. In the martial arts, aggression for the sake of aggression is more likely to work against you than with you. The master knows how to use his opponent’s energy against him. He lets the more unskilled fighter beat himself.

Martial arts masters employ the principle of wu wei — the action of non-action. This sounds like passivity — it often looks like passivity — but it is the art of channeling the flow of energy around you to accomplish a task or defeat an opponent. Put another way, it is the art of letting action act itself, or letting movement move itself, while you go with the flow.

It’s also the art of knowing when not to act. If your opponent is beating himself up, don’t get in his way.

It always makes me wonder when I hear people say, "go with the flow, if they actually know where it comes from.

No comments: