Tuesday, June 02, 2009

2,500 Year-Old Chinese "Eco-Village" Vision

My vision of an environmentally sustainable future culture is often guided by Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, composed about 2500 years ago. Next to the last chapter, he envisions a world of harmony between humans and environment; it is an eco-village, a village harmonized with the environment. It's very simple, and expresses how we can live, let live and be happy:

Imagine a small state with a small population
let there be labor-saving tools
that aren't used
let people consider death
and not move far
let there be boats and carts
but no reason to ride them
let there be armor and weapons
but no reason to employ them
let people return to the use of knots
and be satisfied with their food
and pleased with their clothing
and content with their homes
and happy with their customs
let there be a state so near
people hear its dogs and chickens
and live out their lives
without making a visit

Chapter 80
from Lao-tzu's Taoteching: translated by Red Pine with selected commentaries of the past 2000 years.
Mercury House, San Francisco, 1996.

This old verse suggests a world of people content and satisfied with a simple life. A life free of the trills of travel, acquisition, complex financial transactions, or vain displays of possessions. The happiness is inner, but leads to a simple external life.

Imagine: What would a day in this village be like? How would we work? What would our friendships be like? What would family be like? What would we be? What would we think?

(Image from Earth Heart - Tao Te Ching notecards.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would enjoy a week-end there.
Just, to dine on the local fare.

But, couldn't delay long though,
Too, many place to see
And too, many places to go.