The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 10

A Time for Everything

To Hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

Josey Wales | The Outlaw Josey Wales

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.
So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easy.
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness.
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 29

You won’t win every race. You don’t always need to be doing something. You can’t really fix the world and make it better.

The world, the Universe and everything you know and experience fit together so harmoniously, how could you have an idea and believe it is an improvement on something so ageless and wise?

Josey Wales lives day to day, minute to minute even. He is making it all up as he goes as he runs from his pursuers.

In this scene, Josey and the boy, Jamie, have just gunned down a couple of hillbilly’s who had attempted to capture them in return for a pocket full of gold. The boy wants to bury them, Josey thinks otherwise.

Rightfully, he is feeling a little nasty, but he knows that life on the lam has no place for ceremonies or the normal rituals of life. It is a time for being on the move and simply allowing events to take their course without stopping to think about it or interfere.

Josey Wales is a landmark film in Eastwood’s celebrated career. The tale of a peaceful farmer turned into a desperate outlaw when is family is caught in the crossfire of some Civil War zealots. Josey refuses surrender to those same zealots and go back to a “normal” life when the war is over because, as he puts it, he’s got “nothing better to do.”

I’m sure Lao Tzu would not judge Josey for defiantly spitting on the dead hillbilly’s head right before he delivers this line. As gratuitous as it is, however, from the audience’s perspective, you wouldn’t want it any other way.