The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 25

All Things Change

Things change. They always do, it’s one of the things of nature. Most people are afraid of change, but if you look at it as something you can always count on, then it can be a comfort.

Robert Kincaid | The Bridges of Madison County

If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.

Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 74

Robert Kincaid is not an Eastwood creation, but Eastwood’s effortless nature and “comfortable in his own skin” attitude made him a harmonious fit for this film; both as actor and director.

Kincaid is the character lurking underneath all the hardened cowboys. He is the non-being to their being; the formlessness behind their form. He is far from violent and talks a lot more. I think William Munny and Harry Callahan would appreciate, even prefer, trading in their loaded guns for a camera.

Kincaid follows his own instincts and is able to ebb and flow with the changes that brings. He does not interfere with his own fate, even when Francesca, the unfulfilled Midwestern housewife he falls madly in love with, chooses to stay with her husband rather than run away with him.

By not interfering, he has avoided cutting his hands, so to speak.

In this verse, the Old Master is explaining why you should not fear the inevitable. Change is clearly an inevitable experience in this life, including the ultimate change of dying.

If you try too hard to avoid any of these naturally flowing and necessary changes, you risk taking your fate into your own hands, which can be a task beyond your ability.