Harris Beringer did not strive to write this paper. Harris did not try to do it. It was just done. If this seems to be impossible, you just do not understand it. You cannot try to understand it either, for that also means that you do not understand. Yes, Daoism can be frustrating.
It is 10 O’clock at night as this sentence is written. What took so long to get this far? Harris did what he had to do whenever it had to be done. His brother, as any child would do, asked him to play a game of one-on-one basketball. Harris did not even think. He simply went with the flow, which reminded him that he needed to use a toilet first. Again, he went with the flow. Back to the topic, the basketball game was an excellent idea. Harris easily defeated his foolish little brother, and subsequently emerged a wealthier man. At the few times when the younger Beringer could make a shot, Harris was a gracious loser. After all, if Harris could accept everything with a smile and had no desires, he would be having peace of mind. To play basketball instead of do work, which saps energy from his soul, seemed like an excellent idea. Now, with the day coming to an end, and his eyelids heavy like a retired sumo wrestler, he embarks on an unwinding exercise he calls schoolwork.
Thinking back, Harris’s decision to play basketball is consistent with Daoism. Daoism is about vitality, life, and health, and nature. That basketball court, on which a marvelous (for Harris) game was played, is surrounded by healthy green grass, a healthy old tree, and eye-catching, fragrant flowers. Harris experienced exuberance when playing basketball; drank water, the life-giving force; and yes, he felt young again.
However, for Harris to actually understand Dao and not just try to follow some of its principles, he must first unlearn the spurious knowledge of the supposedly advanced world. The path to understanding Dao begins with the discovery of one’s inner essence. This occurs when a person or thing acts in natural and spontaneous concordance with its inner principle. It is the opposite of all that is arbitrary, learned and artificial. So when Harris went to his computer and he did not feel as if it was natural, he went to get some water and focus on nothingness.
Harris tried and strived to unlearn the artificial, which of course is wrong, but he is still new to this idea of Daoism. He tried to meditate, but kept pausing to think, “Am I meditating? Am I thinking of anything now? Is it raining?”
And so, a bizarre response paper was written. Nothing was planned, and nearly everything was natural. If a part of the essay sounded correct, surely it was correct. This was Harris’s best attempt to write a Daoist paper, which in itself breaks the rules (or non-rules) of Daoism. There was only one problem with this paper. Harris is not a master Daoist philosopher. His “Daoist paper” did not make any sense, and it was not because he just did not understand. It was because it was bad. Harris needs to remember the rules that he learned in school and from his peers, or else his writing is a huge mess. He redid the earlier portions of his essay, and ended with a final thought on Daoism.
Now this response paper is complete. This paper shall be collected in but a few hours, but it is not in any way the paper that will be graded. The paper is merely the holder of the words that rest on its surface. As a blank screen, this assignment had the potential to become a work worthy of printing. Ideas rested in Harris’s head and would glide out onto the screen, and everything would be beautiful. The screen itself was pure, and Harris was at peace. He figured that everything would come easy. After all, he meditated in class today! However, this did not happen, and great frustration ensued. This is the resultant of the paper that began Daoist, and ended in a utilitarian idea. Harris needed to finish this paper, or else he would be unhappy with himself for failing to hand it in, and his teacher would not receive the great delight that is experienced when this is read. It would be in everyone’s interest to complete it. Now it is truly done, and the young man can go to rest.