tao te ching - lao tzu


People through finding something beautiful
Think something else unbeautiful,
Through finding one man fit
Judge another unfit.
Life and death, though stemming from each other, seem to conflict as stages of change
Difficult and easy as phases of achievement,
Long and short as measures of contrast,
High and low as degrees of relation;
But, since the varying of tones gives music to a voice
And what is is the was of what shall be,
The sanest man
Sets up no deed,
Lays down no law,
Takes everything that happens as it comes,
As something to animate, not to appropriate,
To earn, not to own,
To accept naturally without self-importance;
If you never assume importance
You never lose it.

well, normally I hate to say much about pieces of literature I post - I prefer to just let them speak for themselves.

A few things struck me about this particular passage from the Tao Te Ching... first of all, I have experienced so much that people tend to take one idea and find truth in it, and therefore dismiss everything else as false. An example - someone may find that a particular friend of theirs really responds to words of affirmation. So therefore, they determine that to love someone means to affirm them, and every other expression of love is invalid. That may be an extreme example, but not an impossible one.

Secondly - we tend to see things such as life and death (or different ways of living life, or body and spirit, or many other things) as being at odds with one another, as opposites. Yet there is a harmony between them if you look at them carefully, as different parts that make up a whole. Different notes that make up a melody. Everyone's life is a part in the Symphony of Life.

So, the wise man lives his life in the best way he knows how, but does not assume importance for himself, and does not elevate himself above others - because when he elevates himself above others, he begins to view his ideas as the correct antithesis to everyone else's wrong ideas, and nobody is wise enough to be able to assume they are invariably right.

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