3. Pooh beautifully embodies numerous Taoist principles.

The Uncarved Block is another central concept, which, fittingly, is a P’u in the Chinese. The word is typically translated, “simple, natural, honest, or plain.” The symbol P’u is formed by combining the symbol for tree or woods and the symbol for a dense thicket. This is rendered as “tree in a thicket” or “uncut wood.”

The Uncarved Block expresses value for things in their natural state, and that their power is lost when the simplicity of that natural state is altered.

Pooh is a paragon of the Uncarved Block. He is pure and simple-minded. His simple-mindedness is not to be confused with stupidity. It is precisely this quality that enables him to accomplish what the clever often miss.

Think about the moment in The House on Pooh Corner, when Piglet, Pooh, and Rabbit are lost in the woods, enshrouded by mist, and keep returning to the same sand pit. As in many other Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Pooh is the hero of The House on Pooh Corner.  When the group inadvertently circles back to the sandpit, Rabbit is relieved because he knows exactly where he is again, even if he is still lost.

Pooh offers the idea of looking for the sandpit instead of looking for home. He suggests that, since they are looking for home and only finding a sandpit, perhaps by looking for the sandpit, the trio might happen upon home. Rabbit finds this unsatisfactory, but goes along with Pooh’s suggestion. Pooh tells his companions that he can hear his twelve honey pots better when Rabbit isn’t talking.

At one point in the story, Pooh reflects on Rabbit’s cleverness in a conversation with Piglet. “I suppose that’s why he never understands anything.” Rabbit is very clever, but his cleverness obstructs happiness and true understanding. The same could be said of Eeyore’s pessimism. His knowledge and experiences are all ammunition for better-informed complaining. There’s a certain humor, but it’s not a humor that is fun. It’s a humor that trails off into sadness. Far from the arrogance of the clever or the complexity of the pessimistic, the Taoist is noted for his simplicity and levity. There is a childlike wonder that allows one to discover that Life is fun.

Rabbit thinks; Eeyore resigns; Pooh simply is—and it is this very simplicity that makes him so aware and utterly lovable.

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