The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 11

Approval and Pride

Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.

Josey Wales | The Outlaw Josey Wales

It is easier to carry an empty cup
than one that is filled to the brim.
The sharper the knife the easier it is to dull.
The more wealth you possess
the harder it is to protect.
Pride brings its own trouble.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 9

Finally finding a bit a respite from their perilous journey, Josey’s misfit family stops to rest in the broken down saloon of a once prosperous mining town. Knowing better than to let his guard down, Josey alone remains vigilant.

When a bounty hunter strides in to challenge Josey, he tries to warn him not to pick this fight. But an overwhelming sense of pride compels the bounty hunter to walk back into the saloon and face down certain death. Whether it’s his greed for the reward or his inability to live with the shame of backing down, he simply cannot let it go.

And so it is, we spend our days honing our skills, with our eyes on the prize, wanting and hoping and striving for a better life. Caring more about fitting in and what other people think, not realizing we are trading in the happiness of today for some unknown future.

The desire to attain or maintain some level of status is powerful. It also seems important.

It is, however, an unwinnable game. It is a distraction from everything real and a great source of unnecessary stress in the world.

It ain’t much of a way to live.