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Tended 10 months ago (3 times) Planted 3 years ago Mentioned 10 times


Interdependence (sometimes called “mutual arising”) in Taoism refers to things or concepts that cannot exist without each other, and are thus best considered as aspects of a single thing, not separate. Good cannot exist without evil, white cannot exist without black, etc.

From The Tao Te Ching (Mitchell translation):

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

From Alan Watts’ talk The Taoist Way:

The world is a system of interrelated components none of which can survive without each other. Just as in the case of bees and flowers. You will never find bees around in a place where there aren’t flowers and you will never find flowers around in a place where there aren’t bees or insects that do the equivalent job. And what that tells us secretly is that although bees and flowers look different from each other they’re inseparable. They, to use a very important Taoist expression, they arise mutually.

So you could say, positive and negative, to be and not to be, yes and no. Light and dark arise mutually come into being. There’s no cause and effect, it’s not that relationship at all, it’s like the egg and the hen. So as the bees and the flowers co-exist, in the same way as high and low back and front and long and short, loud and soft. All those experiences are experience of all only in terms of their polar experience. So the Chinese idea of nature is that all of areas species arise mutually because they into depend and this total system of interdependence is the Tao.

From naturalist John Muir:

when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe


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