Chapter 22, day 5 (reflection)

Before jumping into the five consecutive days of reading of my chapter, I thought that I would never make any sense out of these contradictory and vague lines. Every time I read these familiar lines, I am always left deep in my thought and not knowing what to write. However, After reading my assigned chapter, I believe that the DDJ is written in a way for people to develop their own view on the different lines. I think that this idea is justifiable because the concepts that the DDJ puts in evidence are all about natural flow and non-action. By staying open minded while reading it, it is as if we were to open ourselves and allowing the dao enter in our body and letting it take whatever form it wants, which can differ with each person depending on their life experiences.

For me, I feel like this chapter has started to be quite meaningful to me. Just like the majority of other people, I am simply an individual like anybody else trying to fit inside our society and the norms that come with it. We often preach virtuous characteristics such as kindness and try to bring ourselves closer to those virtues. However, from my interpretation, the chapter 22 is about being authentic to ourselves and avoid trying to become someone else. Even though the flow of life can change people, we shouldn't be making effort to become someone that might be considered to be sage and virtuous according to the society and simply let life do its own thing. The DDJ is also telling us that being ourselves, being the imperfect individuals that we are, we are the best version of ourselves. To support this interpretation, I picked these lines that really summarizes the overall message of my chapter:

"The ancient saying, 'Those who are crooked will be perfected' is not without substance!

Truly, the sages are and remain prefect."(laozi, p.170)

Also, I have to say that the lecture where we talked about wuwei and ziran was by far the lecture that helped me the most with my chapter because I can really see these concepts being applied through those vague and foggy lines. I know that I have mentioned these concepts very often and how deeply my chapter is linked with wuwei and ziran but I really can't stress enough how prominent they are inside every line. All the paradoxes and contradictions are basically saying that we can accomplish the most with ourselves by doing the least amount of effort.

In the end, even though it was a short five days, I am happy to see that after five days, I've gained at least a certain level of understanding about chapter 22 and I know that even after all this reading of the same lines over and over again, I have simply scraped the surface of the chapter and the DDJ as a whole. Really, it was an interesting experience and it causes a lot of reflection that never thought I would have, especially about an ancient philosophy that is unique and unconventional in our society.

Or, Bethany. "The Daodejing (DDJ) & the Daoist Tradition (Part Two)" Knowledge in the Ancient World, 12 September 2019, Champlain College, Saint-Lambert, QC. Lecture

Laozi. The Daodejing.

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