The Te of Piglet
Benjamin Hoff


Well, it takes all kinds to make a mess.

The West is full of Tiggers--restless seekers of instant gratification, larger-than-life overachievers.  The West idolizes them because they're Bouncy and Exciting.  Maybe even a bit too exciting.  And they're becoming more exciting all the time.  It seems that it's no longer adequate to be a True Individual, or even a Hero; now one needs to be some sort of Superman, living an overinflated life punctuated (in true Tigger fashion) with exclamation marks.  Faster than a speeding bullet!  More powerful than a locomotive!  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!  This is the age of Supereverything--Superstar, Superathlete, Supercoach, Superpolitician, even Superbusinessman:  Faster than a speeding ticket!  More powerful than a profit motive!  Able to lease tall buildings in a single day!

Tiggers are not necessarily what they seem, however.  While they may appear to be self-propelled, they are in reality jerked this way and that by whatever appealing object or sensation catches their attention.  And while Tiggers may appear energetic to the extreme, their love of ceaseless action and sensation is actually a form of spiritual laziness.  Tiggers are not in control of their lives, as is clearly shown by their behavior.

Unfortunately, it is quite easy to be an impatient, inconsiderate, scatterbrained Tigger in a society that admires, encourages, and rewards impulsive behavior. 

Advertisements tell us to buy whatever-it-is and Spoil ourselves.  An appropriate word, spoil.  We deserve it, they say.  (Maybe we do, but we'd like to think we're better than that.)  Store layouts are carefully designed to encourage impulse buying.  Movies, television shows, and magazines promote impulsive behavior of the most questionable kind, in the most flash-it-in-their-faces manner.  Practically everything from hairstyles to lifestyles is endorsed as some sort of drug to be taken Now for Instant Relief.  If you have this model of automobile, this style of clothing, this shape of girlfriend, or this sort of romantic entanglement, you will be happy.  You will be loved.  You will be Somebody.  Those who can't have such things are doomed to frustration.  Those who can have them are doomed to the inevitable disappointment.  As Oscar Wilde put it, "In the world there are only two tragedies.  One is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it."  We are reminded of the old Persian curse:  "May your every desire be immediately fulfilled."

In chapter twelve of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse described what's wrong with Tigger's sensationalistic approach to life:

The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors deaden the tongue.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.

In The Te of Piglet, a good
deal of Taoist wisdom is
revealed through the
character and actions
of A. A. Milne's Piglet.
Piglet herein demonstrates
a very important principle
of Taoism:  The Te--a
Chinese word meaning
Virtue--of the Small.


History will see advertising "as one of the real evil things of our time.
It is stimulating people constantly to want things, want this, want that."

Malcolm Muggeridge


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