The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff looks just like a kid’s book at first glance. The book is interesting in the fact that it often reads as a kid’s book, but at the same time tells of complex philosophical ideas. Taoism isn’t just a religion, but also a collection of philosophical ideas so complex that even many of its followers don’t understand it. Hoff, through the simple world of Winnie the Pooh, brings these ideas into everyday life.
One of the first concepts that Hoff writes about is that of the “Uncarved Block.” Conveniently called ‘Puh’ the theory tells that the simplest is often the best explanation and that things are the most beautiful when they are in their naked and natural state. Many times during the course of my life the simplest solution has turned out to be the best. Once I was working on a design for a web page and after making a lot of complex designs I simply threw them all away and started over making a simple and easy to navigate site which looked a lot better than the previous design.
In the chapter Cottleston Pie Hoff talk about following one’s “Inner Nature” or gut instinct. For instance they talk about many different animals and what it is in their nature to do. Tigger says that he would like to try but when he does he falls to the ground. This is simply illustrating that people should simply do things that they can realistically accomplish instead of trying to do things they have no hope of completing. Many times I have dreamed about doing certain things but when I really think about the feasibility of doing it I realize that there is no way I could do it and I would only be wasting my time if I tried.
... difficulties involved in choosing a simple lifestyle include, giving up a lot of things that you may be used ... people. She had most of the ideas. When it was snack time for everyone she would ask the people ... assumptions about others just because they have a generalized idea about them in their heads. Just because one ... decide for them. When it was clean up time she did that work also. She would go ...
The Bisy Backson is a creature who is perpetually doing things and always running around frantically trying to finish things. Hoff gives an excellent example of how this can be a terrible situation to get in telling the story of a man who doesn’t like his shadow or he footprints and starts running to get away from them, but his footprints and shadow keep following him to he runs faster and faster and eventually collapses and dies. Although I have not taken this to such extremes I have many times signed up and pledged myself to too many things and as a result have been way too busy and not enjoyed any of them. For instance today I not only have this essay to do but also one for science and a test for math. Sigh.
All of the Taoist principles illustrated in the book tell of ways to make life easier, simpler, and more relaxing. At the same time I also see some of the problems with these theories. It is impossible if you want to be successful in life to simply go with the flow. By following some of the Taoist principles in moderation such as not always going with the flow but doing so if I can make someone else’s life easier without adding any problems to my own is a very smart thing to do.