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Hoff Benjamin : TE of Piglet (HB) (Pooh) Hardcover – 1 Sep 1992
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About the Author
Benjamin Hoff grew up in a rural area a few miles from Portland, Oregon. As a child, he preferred to spend his time outdoors, observing animals, insects, and plants. And from an early age he loved to write. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Tao of Pooh and The Diary of Opal Whiteley.
Top customer reviews
When Hoff is content to focus on Taoism and its concepts/lessons/writings etc it's fine, and manages to capture the sense of the earlier work - both enjoyable to read and informative. However, this type of material only occupies around half of the book, and when the author then decides to go on a series of fairly unrelated rants, such as against the amount of radiation emitted by televisons and computers, or a truly bizarre diatribe aimed towards 'teachers who aren't very positive' (truly the scourge of western civilisation, and central to any explication of Taoism to boot) one is left the feeling that, when he doesn't stick to what is clearly his field, Naom Chomsky he ain't.
Readers who crave a continuation of the banter between Hoff and the characters of the original Pooh books may well find something of substance here, and given the obvious charms of 'The Tao of Pooh' it's tempting to delve in once more for this one. But for those looking (as I was) for more detail on the matters described in the first book, another purely Taoist-orientated title would probably be a better choice.
However, in the years between the two books, Mr Hoff seems to have turned into an exceedingly grumpy old man. He launches attack after attack on polluters, educators and so called 'Eeyore Amazons' (that's feminists to you and me). I have to agree with other reviewers that the book would have been better had it concentrated on Taoism rather than making unsubstantiated claims that have quickly become dated. The Tao of Pooh feels like it was written yesterday, but this is full of pre-Clinton vitriol about 80s and 90s America.
I could go into all the inconsistencies in this book, but the bit that annoyed me most was Hoff's criticism of 'lack of femininity' in feminism. I'm a woman, and I want to keep my surname when I marry; what's wrong with that; it's just a personal choice women make to keep part of their identity. He sees feminism as making women more aggressive and assertive, but from this side of the fence I think women are often encouraged to be docile and accepting by society when they would be more vocal if left to their own devices.
Strange dislike of 'Tiggers'(young people)is also involved; they like video games and have shorter attention spans. True it may be, but I think it reflects a generational difference rather than something necessarily 'bad'. He then compounds the problem by saying he'd like us to have a Japanese/Chinese school system but then wants more weight to be placed on creativity than cultivation of hard knowledge, which doesn't stack up because they've placed huge amounts of energy into grade-getting, maths and science.
I DO like the occasionally witty repartee between Hoff and the Hundred-acre Wood characters, but there is not sufficient attention given to Piglet for the title to be justifiable. I suspect Eeyores out there would love this book, but I really didn't.
The Te is not so easily contained in the word virtue, however. `It is instead a quality of special character, spiritual strength, or hidden potential unique to the individual--something that comes from the Inner Nature of things. And something, we might add, that the individual who possess it may be quite unaware of--as is the case with Piglet through most of the Pooh stories.'
Of course, virtue un-enacted is a Very Small Virtue, indeed, so it become the responsibility of those with a Te to bring it forward in transformation. A Very Small Virtue, like a Very Small Animal, can be a good thing if the dreaded Heffalump comes by -- it might not get squashed; it might be ignored. But this is not the way of the Te.
The Te such as Piglet's can overcome distraction such as the Tigger Tendency -- the tendency to bounce off in different directions simply because they feel good. It can also help overcome the increasing drive toward acquisition (a Very Small Animal doesn't need Very Many Things; a society with cares for Virtue must not have an overpowering care for Things).
The modern person tends to overlook the small virtues in favour of Progress, in pursuit of reaching a potential, which `is seen as an increase of tools'. Of course, with more tools we can do more stuff! And with more stuff, we can make yet more tools!
The trend is not only material, but academic and philosophical, too. `Western philosophy, having little connection with everyday living, is (to this observer, at least) comparatively egocentric and impractical, with much Arguing and Theorising, and much bounding back and forth across the intellectual landscape--a pleasant, part-time diversion formulated by and aimed at the likes of Owl, Rabbit, and sometimes Eeyore, but not particularly supportive of the likes of Piglet and Pooh.'
Of course, one has an image to maintain, too. This is the point of existence of some Owls, who must be able to spell TUESDAY to gain respect, even if they postulate that any 'variant' of the spelling is sufficient. (Some lessons are repeated from The Tao of Pooh, because they are Very Important Lessons, and some people won't read both books, being of Very Little Time).
The Te is subtle and compassionate. It is not vocal, it is not loud. Lao-tse wrote, 'The skilled worker leaves no tracks' -- the worker is so at one with nature that no disturbance is made. Certainly making a broad show of Virtue is to cause a disturbance.
And yet, it is vital that virtue be prominent in action and life. What is a Very Small Animal to do?
After much more searching and being, Piglet arrives at the stage where he can finally be positive, to ward off the Eeyore effects, and thus attract positive with positive, attract virtue with virtue, in a low-key and subtle form. And finally, Piglet, a Very Small Animal of seemingly no consequence, attains recognition: `Piglet, Esq. My Dear Sir: The Board of Regents of Sandhurst University wish me to inform you of their desire to grant you an honorary degree of Brave Animal (B.A.). We should be most pleased if you could be present at the awards ceremony, which shall be held on...'
Piglets in the world, unite! Take a lesson, perhaps from one of the most Piglet-y figures of our century, Mohandas Gandhi -- a frail and shy man, frightened by crowds and a Very Small Animal in many ways. But with a great and irresistably subtle Te, virtue, that defeated the greatest empire on earth (a Very Big Animal indeed) without an army, and without backing down.
Every ending is a beginning. Now Piglet's tale is over. Now you must begin.
The author spent much of the book explaining his current misgivings about the world today. Whilst the quaint tales of Pooh and his friends provided a counter balance, it was not enough, and I found myself switching off on numerous occassions.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think it was that bad. However, unlike Pooh, I would'nt be tempted to read this book again.