The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 12

The Straight Path

Governments don’t live together, people live together. With governments, you don’t always get a fair word or a fair fight. Well, I’ve come here to give you either one, or get either one from you.

Josey Wales | The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Great Way is easy,
yet people prefer side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
while farmers lose their land;
When government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
When the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 53

Here, Lao Tzu is saying: If you are in harmony with the Tao, things stay in balance. When too few have too much, there is none.

It is easy to see how this happens. When those representing the interests of the people are too far away from them, the decisions they make are not always the ones the people want.

At the end of their journey, Josey’s surrogate family finally reaches the ranch house property they were seeking. They are home now, and decide to hole up and fight. Josey realizes a fight may not be necessary, however, if he can appeal directly to the Comanche chief and convince him they can peacefully co-exist.

Josey doesn’t send an envoy to represent the interests of his friends; he rides right up to Ten Bears and makes a deal himself. There is no mistaking his offer and he cannot hide from the outcome. It is genuine.

Whether it’s a “fair word or a fair fight”, Josey takes the straight path. As he puts it in his compelling speech to Ten Bears, “Dyin’ ain’t hard for men like you and me, it’s livin’ that’s hard.”

Successfully reaching an accord with Ten Bears, Lao Tzu would agree he is in keeping with the Taoist spirit of laissez-faire, live and let live, philosophy.