The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 7

The Common Good


The Stranger | High Plains Drifter

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes as common as grass.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 57

Having been given free reign over the town in return for saving them from a band of outlaws, the Stranger informs the hotel owner he wants everyone to leave so he can have the place to himself. The proprietor then asks, “Where are they gonna go?”

The people of the isolated mining town of Lago perpetrated a cover up. Realizing their mine was on government property, they hired a gang of thugs to kill the Marshal who had discovered their secret.

Having abused the control of law and what they believed to be “the common good,” the citizens of the Lago lose both. The Stranger appears out of nowhere to show them this, and in a sense, restore balance. To bring the karmic disservice the Lagoan’s are all complicit in, back to even.

Eastwood’s Stranger, another Man With No Name, has no interest in judgment or trials or conventional rules. He has let go of those things and takes a far more fundamental approach. He is above it.

From the Tao Te Ching, we see that the Universe also governs at a level beyond our human rule making. If we were but in tune with these laws, we wouldn’t need so many of our own and everyone would be perfectly fine.

A classic, economical Clint reaction, the one word answer at first leaves you wanting some explanation. Then it sinks in that an explanation isn’t necessary. Not that we were going to get one anyway.