Speak without speaking

It’s a sign of how powerful was the speech that Emma Gonzalez gave at the March for Our Lives that they’ve started circulating doctored photos of her supposedly tearing up the Constitution.

The most powerful part of her speech was the part when she didn’t say a thing.  I’ve written many posts on the theme of “don’t do and everything gets done.”   Chapter 48 in the Dàodéjīng describes exactly how Emma’s speech works:

取 天 下 常 以 無 事
及 其 有 事
不 足 以 取 天 下

David Hinton translates this passage as:

To grasp all beneath heaven, leave it alone.
Leave it alone, that’s all,
and nothing in all beneath heaven will elude you.

If this Daoist principle still seems like mystical nonsense, I urge you to listen to Emma’s silence.  Experience the discomfort of just standing there.  In the moment.  Her audience had a hard time dealing with not doing anything until six minutes and twenty seconds had elapsed.  But Emma just stood there.  Even when someone came out to get her to move on.  She just stood there.  And then we got what it was all about.


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