By the time the kings of the Three Dynasties appeared, the world was in great consternation indeed. On the lowest level there were men like the tyrant Chieh and Robber Chih, on the highest, men like Tseng and Shih, and the Confucianists and Mo-ists rose up all around.Go here to read the introductory post to the chapters of the Book of Chuang Tzu.
Then joy and anger eyed each other with suspicion, stupidity and wisdom duped each other, good and bad called one another names, falsehood and truth slandered one another, and the world sank into a decline. There was no more unity to the Great Virtue, and the inborn nature and fate shattered and fell apart. The world coveted knowledge and the hundred clans were thrown into turmoil.
Then there were axes and saws to shape things, ink and plumb lines to trim them, mallets and gouges to poke holes in them, and the world, muddled and deranged, was in great confusion. The crime lay in this meddling with men's minds. So it was that worthy men crouched in hiding below the great mountains and yawning cliffs, and the lords of ten thousand chariots fretted and trembled above in their ancestral halls.
In the world today, the victims of the death penalty lie heaped together, the bearers of cangues tread on each other's heels, the sufferers of punishment are never out of each other's sight. And now come the Confucianists and Mo-ists, waving their arms, striding into the very midst of the fettered and manacled men. Ah, that then should go this far, that they should be so brazen, so lacking in any sense of shame! Who can convince me that sagely wisdom is not in fact the wedge that fastens the cangue, that benevolence and righteousness are not in fact the loop and lock of these fetters and manacles?
How do I know that Tseng and Shih are not the whistling arrows that signal the approach of Chieh and Chih? Therefore I say, cut off sageness, cast away wisdom, and the world will be in perfect order.
~ Burton Watson translation via Terebess Asia Online ~
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Chapter 11, Part 3B - Chuang Tzu
Posted by The Rambling Taoist at 2:30 PM
Labels: Chuang Tzu, Quotes, Taoism
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