-- the female always overcomes the male by her stillness. Stillness may be considered (a sort of) abasement.There probably are numerous ways to interpret these lines, but I'm guessing sexuality provided the impetus. In the traditional act of male-to-female copulation -- what has been called the "missionary position" -- the woman takes the position below the male and, in a manner of speaking, invites him in for goodies.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~
The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~
The female always overcomes the male with serenity
Using serenity as the lower position
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~
from lying perfectly still
and waiting for power
to come your way.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from Beatrice.com, 2004 ~
If it turns out I have gotten this all wrong, check out the comments section as the Baroness will set me straight -- ooh, now there's a loaded pun!
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