Chapter 26, day 5 (reflexion)

Today I tried reading my chapter out loud instead of in my head in the hopes that the words and sentences would seem more concrete when said aloud, which would help me find more meaning in the teaching as well as the message it contains. This seemed to have worked : based on my new interpretations, I think that chapter 26 warns it's readers to stay anchored because in the grand scheme of things, you are nothing. It also says that you must be rooted if you want to be light, meaning you must be anchored if you want to be able to be in a state of wu-wei, or "a state of personal harmony in which actions flow freely and instantly from one's spontaneous inclinations ... and yet nonetheless accord perfectly with the dictates of the situation at hand, display an almost supernatural efficacy, and (in the Confucian context at least) harmonize with the demands of conventional morality" (Slingerland).

To me, this means that it is important for Daoists to realize how insignificant they are in the whole world, as demonstrated in this verse about sages "No matter how magnificent the view or lovely the place, they remain aloof and unaffected" (chapter 26). It can also be observed how they use paradoxes to describe what they should strive to be as to eliminate imprecisions of language and the restrictions labels cause: "The heavy is the root of the light. The still rules over the agitated." (chapter 26). I really find it interesting how Daoists avoid trying to be things, such as virtuous, and use paradoxes to describe their beliefs. I can notice a parallel between their refusal to label and today's western mentality of not needing to put a label on yourself (often in terms of sexuality or gender).

I wish I could follow more Daoist rules and I see a lot of sense and logic in their beliefs, however I believe that I have grown up in too much of a Western world to really comprehend the deeper sense intended by Laozi and other daoists. Perhaps I will become more open to their ways of life as we pursue our studies in ancient chinese philosophy.


-Works cited-

Fraser, Chris. "On Wu-wei as a unifying metaphor." Philosophy East and West, vol. 57, no. 1, 2007, p. 97+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A160714004/AONE?u=sain21486&sid=AONE&xid=5ad6abe6. Accessed 19 Sept. 2019.


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