Friday, April 4, 2008

Taoism in "All Tomorrow's Parties"

The assassin ("Konrad") in All Tomorrow's Parties is, as we have read & heard in lecture, a follower of Taoism. I found this website which can be provide helpful information to anyone who wants a fuller understanding of William Gibson's artistic use of the character and the metaphysical beliefs that he projects.

From that webpage, here are some specific Taoist concepts, beliefs and practices pertaining directly to Gibson's text:

  • Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life.
  • The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment.
  • Each believer's goal is to harmonize themselves with the Tao.
  • The concept of a personified deity is foreign to them, as is the concept of the creation of the universe. Thus, they do not pray as Christians do; there is no God to hear the prayers or to act upon them. They seek answers to life's problems through inner meditation and outer observation.
  • Time is cyclical, not linear as in Western thinking.
  • Taoists follow the art of "wu wei," which is to let nature take its course. For example, one should allow a river to flow towards the sea unimpeded; do not erect a dam which would interfere with its natural flow.

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