2 Ideas About Sneaking Up On Letting Go

Edward Slingerland offers two possible ways to sneak up on becoming effortless without making a direct effort to do so.

It’s a central Taoist ideal that dates all the way back to Confucius. Wu-Wei is translated from Chinese as meaning “non-doing” or “non-action.” What it refers to is the achievement of such alignment with the world that one moves through it without needing to make a conscious effort to do so. It’s kind of like “going with the flow,” but set to 11. Its possessor lives a successful, productive life without friction as a result of being so in tune with the way the universe naturally operates that effortless action just happens.

On the face of it, it’s a paradox, of course: How do you move through the world without pushing yourself, or being pushed forward? Generally, just doing nothing means nothing gets done. And making an effort to achieve effortlessness doesn’t really make much sense.

According to expert on Chinese thought and cognitive science Edward Slingerland, there are a couple of ways to essentially sneak up on wu-wei without being caught trying.

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  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

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Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

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Credit: EAST Team
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