From My Bookshelf: The Te of Piglet

I found The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff while I was working on downsizing our home. No, we are not planning to move; one does not have to move in order to downsize. Of course, finding a book is a great distraction to what one intended to do in the first place, right?

I had read The Tao of Pooh by the same author years ago. In Te, contemporary issues (of the early 1990s) are folded into concepts of Taoism through conversations with Winnie the Pooh and friends. While Te is a bit of a rant and stereotypical about western philosophy, spirituality, politics, linguistics, feminism, education, science, and technology (for example on page 93, Hoff wrote that “America is in many ways becoming Eeyore Country, in other ways it is turning into Tiggerland.”), the following paragraph brought me a smile:

“In many ways, Piglet may appear the least significant of the Pooh characters. Yet he is the only one of them to change, to grow, to become more than what he was in the first place. And in the end, he does this not by denying his smallness, but by applying it, for the good of others. He accomplishes what he does without accumulating a Large Ego; inside, he remains a Very Small Animal—but a different kind of a Very Small Animal from what he was before” (p. 50).

People who know me well know that my favorite quote is by Mother Teresa:

We can do no great things; only small things with great love.

On the other hand, I think as we all go through a lifetime of situations and circumstances, there is a bit of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, and Rabbit in all of us.

While I think it is harsh and stereotypical for Hoff to remark on page 149 that the “one thing the West did not import from the East was the traditional Chinese belief that science, morality, and spirituality must go together; that science without ethical and spiritual considerations was not a whole science, but a form of madness,” it did serve as a good reminder as we merge “Science of Reading,” prescriptive reading programs, and standardized curriculum and testing with restorative literacies.

After all, as Hoff tried to imply (p. 151), “there is a good deal more to the Importance of Observation than scientific discoveries. There is also the matter of Living Wisely and Well.”  

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