The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 5

Compatible Opposites

You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people my friend: those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

Blondie | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 2

The ancient symbol on the cover of this book is the ever flowing dance of compatible opposites. It represents the glue that holds the Universe together; balance.

I call it a dance, because the opposites aren’t fighting. I say compatible, because they cannot be separated.

Once you really understand that you can never only have beautiful or you cannot run from difficult forever, Lao Tzu says you must accept the way things are. This balance of the way things are is the main teaching of the Tao. In more modern language, we say “you have to take the good with the bad.” If you honestly ponder this for a while, you will start to see all things are only parts of a whole. Like the ancient symbol.

Sometimes you get to be the boss, sometimes you have to dig a hole. When you struggle too much to force things to be one way or the other, to have a preference, you are not seeing the whole and become out of balance. Better to just go with the flow.

This line from Eastwood’s Blondie (“The Good”), who has a loaded gun aimed at his nemesis, Tuco (“The Ugly”), near the end of the film, highlights a stark dichotomy of who is in control at any given time. It is a running theme throughout the movie.

These two characters fates are bound to each other in their chase for hidden treasure. The upper hand goes back and forth as the plot unfolds. And though there is no love-loss between them, they accept the idea that one will never find the gold without the other.