Last week as we camped in our backyard, I could give the book a first full reading that won't be the last.
Lewis defines the Tao like this,
The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar.17
I disagree with his view of the Tao as something that precedes and supersedes God, if that is what he is saying, but I won't spend time here on the disagreement because I do coincide with him in that there is a 'Tao' as he calls it. To me the Tao doesn't precede but emanates from the divine nature of God Himself and as such it can be traced to all cultures and religions. It has always been present because God is present in all men and all cultures at all times, even if we fail to acknowledge Him or we wrongly attribute this right order and its absolute values resting in it to some other god.
Apart from defining the Tao, in this second part of the essay Lewis talks about some of what we read before in Poetic Knowledge. Values, emotions, sentiments, that pre-scientific knowledge, or precisely poetic knowledge, all that has to do with our 'chest', is not by default irrational or subjective just because it can't be reduced to 'ratio', as many contend it is. Like the authors of the Green Book, who reduce value statements to our own feelings about things, disregarding that things, by their nature, are meant to arise just feelings, and thus not all feelings are the same 'valid'. This notion is linked to the absolute of a moral order that embeds us, bigger than us, that is why we can safely make value assertions and recognize when the heart is in agreement with the head or not (as when Lewis admits to be 'wrong' for not 'enjoying the company of little children'. I liked his metaphor of the men of enlarged heads that appear to be intellectuals but only because their chests and rest of the body is atrophied.
Some of what Cindy comments in her posts reminded me strongly of an incident in a mercadillo, sort of a farmer's market, in my old neighborhood in Madrid. Legal and illegal selling takes place at once. Those who legally sell their produce and products, have to pay fees and taxes, those who sell in the black market, carry a bag on their shoulders, place a couple of products on the floor and when police comes closer, someone who is watching yells and run, and as long as you have a black plastic bag over your shoulder, they can't touch you. So there I was, in the middle of screams but not only from the sellers, but from the population yelling and insulting the policemen that had just caught some of the sellers of movie copies, and who were running after another person. A mom close to me telling her young daughter, 'you see', 'those two policemen, charging against those poor people trying to make a living', 'confiscating the movies that for sure they'll keep for themselves'. While people complain on an on about how bad the economy is, and I'm talking about 6 years ago, they will take the part of those who they believe are poor, weak, destitute, and insult and yell, and I even feared for the two policemen, outnumbered by an angry mob who was blocking them from reaching the men who were one minute before they arrived, making a hole in the same protesters pockets and damaging the country's economy.
In the same line I recently read a great article at Imprimis about the immigrant laws in Arizona. Those in federal government jumped in outrage when they heard that officials and police could ask a person to prove legal status on the premises of a reasonable suspicion that they were here illegally, and claimed injustice, racism, discrimination! Their heads may be impeding them from even reminding them they have chests. Those two words are apparently for many not much more than terms used in romance novels, where the protagonist may 'have the feeling' that her husband is having an affair. Reasonable suspicion, as the writer of the Imprimis article explains in the legal (and rational) context, and as Lewis may claim to a man with a chest, is something far from a chance to unleash his presumed fascist instincts. Policemen can, should be, and many are, professionally and emotionally qualified men since they have been professionally and emotionally TRAINED to simply do their best by doing a service to the state of Arizona and its citizens.
I could go on an on with more personal examples. But I am not sure if I should, for I'm good at debunking my neighbor and not so good at seeing the huge planks to be debunked in my own thinking. Actually, I'm a bit proud of getting better at this, I admit, for two days ago, when I was about to send a comment to a person who had debunked something very dear to me in a very clumsy way, I told my husband if I should hit send or not, he said I could, but then I told him, 'no, she is not inside the Tao. I have tried this before, and she only comes back with a patch up type of answer, or a distracting reply.' After all, I rather spend time analyzing the Tao constructively with those inside, for the purpose of it is to teach and learn, but that only can happen if you belong in it. I have very little hope for these postmodern people, even less for the ones who don't even realize the moving sand they chose to build their ideas and life. For now, I pray, vote, and take care of my family the best I can. Maybe one day I can write as Cindy who already has two sons who are giving so much to our country!