The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 6

Profit and Thieves

I know what you’re thinking punk. You’re thinking “did he fire six shots or only five?”. Now to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself a question, “do I feel lucky?”. Well, do ya, punk?

Inspector Harry Callahan | Dirty Harry

Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 19

Once we define what is right, what is worthy of worship or what it means to be a success, people will believe it. They will stress over whether they have it or don’t have it. They worry if they are doing it right or not.

Ironically, before anyone learned these definitions, they were doing just fine. People will find a natural, harmonious way to live together. Forcing them to qualify their choices with some label only messes things up.

Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan delivers this famous line after foiling an attempted bank robbery and faces down one of the thieves.

Sick and tired that no one in power is doing anything to really solve the social or moral injustices he has to experience everyday as a cop, he becomes a force of one, doing what he sees going undone.

If there were no “bad” guys to chase down, Callahan would likely be living a different life. What he wouldn’t be doing is creating circumstances that allow bad guys to exist in the first place. He exists because his opposite also exists. His is the Yang chasing the Yin.

I imagine if he hadn’t been a cop, he would have been that really tough history teacher no one wanted in high school.