The Tao of Neons*
written in the spirit of “The Tao Of Programming”
by Brian English
First edition: 7/3/99
There are many automobiles on this planet. They are large and small, luxurious and bare, powerful and slow, cherished and neglected. They come off mighty Assembly Lines in great Assembly Plants. They travel by truck or boat to all corners of the globe. There are those that carry great Leaders, there are others that carry common children. Built in mass quantities, there are few that have individual Souls. Few that are Alive. There are a select few that have Tao. Many are Neons.
How are Neons Different? What is the Tao of Neons? How can it be identified? What can be learned from the Tao of Neons? Does it exist in the Driver, or the Neon itself? The answer is Yes. Listen well to these Lessons, for within their words shall you gain enlightenment.
II. Origin of the Tao
Some years ago, a mighty Automotive Assembler was looking to build a small car, built behind its own doors, to bring pride to the Empire. Its Wizards, Wise Men, Workers, and Bean Counters gathered in a circle to discuss their plans.
“It should be inexpensive to produce!” clamored the Bean Counters.
“It must be affordable, but not cheap!” demanded the Marketing Drone.
“It must have advanced features!” exclaimed the Wizards.
“It must sell many, many units!” exclaimed the Stuffed Suits.
“It should be built by our hands, and our hands only!” contributed the Workers.
With that, the Stylist pulled the tarpaulin from the prototype. “It will have round headlights,” he stated.
All present looked upon the prototype and smiled.
“It will have Tao,” stated the Patriarch.
III. The Tao Of Production
It had been ordained by the Patriarch that the Neon was to be built. To that end, a new Assembly Plant was constructed. Modern and sophisticated, it still required Workers to operate its wondrous machines of Creation. It required a special kind of Worker; one who could understand Tao. The Plant Master stood outside the Plant door to meet those who would insert Tao into the new little cars. The first candidate drove up in a Toyota Camry and was dressed in a dark blue business suit, his appearance unruffled and precise. He approached the Master.
“Hello, I would like to be a Worker in your new Assembly Plant. Is there a position for me?”
Before the Master could answer, a second candidate drove up. He arrived in a restored Volkswagen Beetle from years past. It gleamed in the sunlight despite its age, and was parked in the middle of three empty parking spaces. The candidate was dressed in a more casual attire. As he climbed out, he frowned and gently brushed a piece of plant matter from the sparkling finish. He approached the Master and the first candidate.
“Is this where to apply for the position of Worker for this assembly plant?”
The Master studied him for a long minute. He turned to the first candidate. “I fear you have gotten lost.”
The second was shown his locker and workspace that morning.
Some time later, the novices were learning at the feet of the Master; learning the ways they were to build the Neon. “But Master, “ one queried. “I have no knowledge of what Tao is, and where to find it. Where shall we find what is to be put in this car?”
The Master smiled patiently at the novice. “The Tao is not a thing. It is something that is. It cannot be consciously added, yet must be present in every car that leaves this Plant."
The novice was still confused. "Where can I search to find this Tao?"
With that, the Master threw a cloth at the novice. It struck him in the chest. From that point, the novice was on his journey towards Enlightenment.
IV. The Tao of Selling
A man walked into a Dealership where Neons could be acquired. He said to the Seller; "I am looking to buy a small car. It need not be fancy or extravagant; instead, it should serve as daily transportation, requiring little attention from me, for I do not wish to spend my time continually taking care of it, since I am often engaged in more important matters."
Some weeks later the Seller saw the man drive by in a Honda Civic. He sighed in relief.
If the Tao were obvious to all, it would be diluted by some.
A Seller looked up to see a young family looking at a Neon. The father peered at the window sticker and the mother opened the trunk while the child climbed into the driver's seat and played with the steering wheel, making engine noises with her lips. "Would it be the child were older," murmured the Seller to himself. "but she looks like she will be taking her driving test in a few months."
The Tao speaks not to the mind, but to the soul. It cares little for numbers or measurements; in fact, to fixate on arbitrary numbers is to deny the Tao.
A young man proudly strode into the Delivery Bay of the Dealership where he was to receive his new Neon. The Seller stood waiting for him near the front of the car. "My name is John Smith"; he stated.
The Seller, in his sable robes, was slightly confused. "I believe we have already met, Mr. Smith. It was I who sold you this Neon."
The man named Smith looked startled. "Forgive me; I did not see you standing there."
The Tao of Neons is not obvious to sight, but it attracts those who are Receptive. The Tao does not reach all Neon owners, but it is unconcerned. It resides not in a single car, but instead, finds its roots in all Neons; ready if a new owner appears who can be attracted.
A man was searching for a small car to buy. With many to choose from, he was undecided. He made a list of makes and models he was interested in, and presented it to the Master for his advice.
"What of this Toyota Corolla," he asked the Master. "It rides much quieter than a Neon."
"The Master smiled slightly. "A silent man may lack the ability to communicate with those around him. A Neon is louder because it communicates with it's driver."
"What of this BMW?" he asked, pointing to the small sports sedan. "It is stylish, and makes a bold statement of performance and status!"
"Are you buying this car to drive, or to impress the Emperor?" asked the Master.
The man turned next to a Honda Civic Si. "This car has an engine that sings a high-pitched song when in the upper ranges!"
The Master snorted slightly. "In the lower ranges, it has nothing to say. Remember that when you are in stop-and-go traffic."
"What of this Saturn?" the man inquired. "The price is something that does not need to be haggled over."
"The price of a plow does not need to be haggled over, either," answered the Master.
Next on the man's list was a Daewoo. "Truly, this car is an excellent value for it's low price!"
"Agreed," answered the Master. "I think 'inexpensive' each time I see one."
The man considered the Neon again. "I will confess, the Neon does appeal to me. Is it possible I may be on my way to understanding the Tao you speak of?"
The Master templed his hands and bowed slightly. "We will not know that until we see if you appeal to the Neon."
V. The Tao of Ownership
Two Neon owners met at a Gathering, near the village square. "Look at my R/T," the first boasted. "It has an Iceman intake, Eibach springs, AF/X computer, underdrive pulley, and V-TECH taillight covers! No one beats me in the quarter mile!"
The second replied; "Look at my Expresso. It has the Camel interior, anti-lock brakes, and practically all the factory options. I love it as it is, and have no plans to modify it."
Both looked at the other's car and nodded in appreciation and Enlightenment.
The Tao speaks differently to different owners. It speaks, but also listens. For if the Tao were inflexible, it would not endure. A hammer that can shatter a stone cannot shatter a rubber ball.
A man stood in his driveway, washing his Neon. His older sibling came up to him and chastised him for it. "Why are you continually washing this car? You have washed your Neon more in the four months you have had it than I have ever washed my car!"
The man did not look up from washing his Neon. "You do not understand the Tao. It speaks to me and listens to me with greater clarity if the surface is not smudged with dirt. To allow dirt to stay for extended periods would imply a loss of faith in the Tao. I doubt the Tao could communicate with you through the rust on your hood."
Two novices were gathered at the foot of the Master in the Master's garden. "Master, how can we tell if we have received Enlightenment? We believe we may have become Enlightened, but are not sure."
The Master posed them a question. "What do the taillights of a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 look like?"
The first novice took a stick of bamboo and proceeded to etch a credible representation in the dirt of the taillights. The second thought for a moment, and shrugged. "Master, I have forgotten."
The Master turned to the first. "I fear you have more to learn."
A young man sat at a red light in his Neon. In the lane next to him, a Ford Mustang 5.0 pulled up. Its driver looked over the little Neon and scowled. When the light changed to green, he left in a loud mixture of rubber smoke and fury.
The Neon owner smiled, and mentally recorded another victory. He was filled with Tao.
A young man was driving down the road towards a nearby village. Halfway to his destination, he became tense, and a frown appeared on his face. His passenger saw this and remarked "What is the matter? What has upset you so suddenly?"
The driver did not answer. At the next traffic light, he picked a small piece of fluff out of the center console, opened the Neon's window, and cast the fluff outside. He and the Tao both relaxed.
A Neon owner greeted his sister as she drove up in her recently acquired Ford Escort ZX2. She laughed at him, saying "My car has a manual transmission; which I have learned to shift. It should easily defeat your automatic Neon in a contest!"
The man posed her a single question. "Why is that so important to you?"
His sister had no reply.
Several novices were gathered at the foot of the Master in the Plant's temple. They posed him their questions;
"Master, is the Tao present in all Neons?" asked the first.
"It is," replied the Master.
"Master, is the Tao present in a Neon with an automatic transmission?" queried a second.
"It is," answered the Master. "Some people are in a position to desire or require an automatic. The Tao welcomes them, for it is Receptive to all types of drivers. The Tao forces no one to choose."
"Master, is the Tao present in a Neon fitted with an Iceman intake, AF/X computer, underdrive pulley, and racing wheels and tires?" inquired the third.
"It is," confirmed the Master. "The Tao also attracts those who wish to make their Neons the fastest they can, for Tao recognizes the human need to strive for excellence amongst their peers."
"Master, is the Tao present in an unmodified Neon?" posed the fourth.
"It is," stated the Master. "The Tao also attracts those who are happy with their Neons for what they are, not what they can turn them into."
"Master, is the Tao present in a Neon outfitted with a body kit, aftermarket wheels and tires, and headlight covers?" questioned the fifth.
"It is," replied the Master. "A Neon is a canvas to some, who seek to express their individuality in a readily manifest fashion. The Tao speaks to them as it speaks to you and I."
"Master, is the Tao present in a Neon fitted with lowered springs, axle extenders, 13-inch go-cart wheels, 5% tinted windows and a single wiper modification?" inquired the last.
At that point the Plant whistle blew. "It is time to return to work," the Master said as he rose to a standing position.
A young man was driving his female companion around in his brand-new ACR. She looked around the interior with distaste. "Why did you purchase this car? The day is sweltering, but there is no air conditioning to keep me from perspiring, no radio for me to listen to gentle music. The ride is harsh; I can feel each pavement jolt in my backside, and there is no lighted vanity mirror for me to maintain my makeup and hair. What is the appeal of this car?"
The man smiled with anticipation. His favorite corner was coming up.
One of the village elders was walking through the province's capital city. Lost in his own thoughts, he paid no attention to the sound of argument coming from the Temple of Justice. He only took notice when a man's voice said;
"But my lord, in all our years of marriage, I could not get her to close the door by pushing on the door, rather than the glass!"
Some minutes later, the man walked out of the temple holding two sacks of gold. His former wife left in another direction, scowling and holding half a bag of gold.
The Tao of Neons is present in both Neons and Owners, for indeed it is created and nourished by their Union. Both must be present for either to exist. This is the reality of the Tao.
The Tao exists in the feeling of completion a Neon owner gets when the steering wheel fits perfectly into his hand, the vibration from the running engine awakening his very soul.
The Tao exists in the slight feeling of remorse one gets when he closes its door behind him at his workplace. It exists also in the reassurance he feels knowing he only has to wait nine hours before driving it again.
The Tao exists in the smile of a new Neon owner who decides that every car he owns will have a power sunroof.
The Tao exists in the mind of a Neon owner where no concern with resale value can be found. To him, it resembles calculating the resale value of his children.
The Tao exists in the soul of a man who cannot sleep easily because melted snow has soiled his floor mats. It is strengthened when he spends an hour removing all traces of it.
The Tao exists in the perception of a man who never has to search for his Neon in a parking lot, for it will draw him unerringly to its side.
The Tao exists in the imagination of a man who thinks it would be worthwhile to have "Expresso" stitched into his door panels.
The Tao exists in a Neon that gathers miles while the family minivan gathers dust.
There are those who do not see the Tao, and others who struggle to understand it. The Tao is patient, and is content to wait for a favorable wind.
*This was lifted entirely from someone elses website. I had nothing to do with it and changed nothing but the colours. Any questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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