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Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Taoism = simple, yet hard to understand for some, philosophy/way of living.

Winnie-the-pooh = A.A. Milne's children's book character who is a silly, cute little bear.

The greatest teacher of Taoism, according to Mr. Hoff, Winnie-the-Pooh!

How?! "The Tao of Pooh" tells us exactly that.

This is one of those rare books you come upon: adorable, quick, and soaked with so much meaning. Taoism is this philosophy of nothing-ness. Of not thinking, worrying, just having inner quiet - inner peace. Pooh bear is the ideal candidate for this type of behavior. He doesn't bother about anything, nor does he run around like a chicken with no head just trying to do things for the sake of doing them. He is a simple little bear - just like a true Taoist. I highly doubt that A.A. Milne knew he was writing the world's greatest taoist into his little silly bear's character. But that leads us to ponder - how did Pooh end up being like this?

Mr. Milne, perhaps stumbled, or had perhaps known, that the character of Pooh would represent a kind, silly, simple-mindedness. He might not have written it with the Taoist concept in his mind, but maybe he was commenting on society and the roles we all hold within it. Like Rabbit for example - he is the one who most of are like - type A, running around at all times, always trying to get something done, making sure everything is perfect, etc. etc. In today's society don't we all just go about having "no time" and not enough hours in a day to complete our "to do" lists? Sounds just like Rabbit; and take a look at Eeyore - we have all come across (or perhaps even are) the pessimistic sort, the downers, the ones who think the world is doomed from the start. Then there is Owl - the "smart" sort, the know-it-all, or rather the ones who think they know everything and are completely full of it. And although Tigger was a much later character - we definitely have come across his types - the ones who jump around always and try to be the center of attention. Of course I'm leaving out Piglet - the scared sort, not wanting to take chances, ready to take the back seat to avoid confrontation. And then there is Pooh - the empty headed one - deemed as silly, but really simple; he comes up with things unknowingly, and doesn't want much more then just some honey and his friends to keep him happy. How many of these have we come across? Very Very few, and yet, this is the type we all secretly wish to be like.

Simple, not worrying, not thinking, living life as it comes, enjoying each day and the beauty within each day. Not waking up to worry about the day's chores, but waking up to the sounds of birds and feeling the sun's warmth. Not thinking about what bird it is, or how warm/cold it is, but just relishing the moment that is life. I do truly believe most of us progress through life without stopping to "live". Pooh bear apparently teaches us this; and Mr. Hoff points that out quite wittingly in his 158 page book of pure, simple silly-ness.

Highly Recommended for those who want to be amused, who love Pooh, have an interest in Tao, or simply want to read something that makes sense! :)


  1. Great overview ! Makes me want to read it sooon:)

  2. thanks R! :) don't worry, you can start reading it in a week ;)