Monday, January 21, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 7



My translation of Chapter 7 of Tao Te Ching:

The Universe is everlasting
It is everlasting because it does not strive to grow
therefore it lives forever
A sage leads, as he follows behind according to natural laws
A sage survives, as he does not act according to his own wish
He achieves his ultimate objectives
Isn't it by not setting his own objectives?

Paul's inspiration: It is always a human dilemma to let things grow or to intervene, oftentimes by forceful means, to correct an undesirable situation. In our contemporary society, it seems that we err more on over-intervention than otherwise. Sometimes we will nostalgically dream about the good old days when we let things grow and let things take their own course. Laozi was telling us that in his time people were doing too much unnecessary and harmful intervention. Guess it is human nature to over-intervene than otherwise. The lesson learned should therefore be: when in doubt, don't intervene, just let thing take its own course.

In contemporary Chinese usage, "The Universe is everlasting" has been used to signify ever-lasting love and romantic love in particular, needless to say this particular meaning is only tangential to Tao Te Ching, if at all.

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