Monday, February 4, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 8, Part 1

Trey Smith

Two toes webbed together, a sixth finger forking off - these come from the inborn nature but are excretions as far as Virtue is concerned. Swelling tumors and protruding wens - these come from the body but are excretions as far as the inborn nature is concerned. Men overnice in the ways of benevolence and righteousness try to put these into practice, even to line them up with the five vital organs!

This is not the right approach to the Way and its Virtue. Therefore he who has two toes webbed together has grown a flap of useless flesh; he who has a sixth finger forking out of his hand has sprouted a useless digit; and he who imposes overnice ways, webs and forked fingers, upon the original form of the five vital organs will become deluded and perverse in the practice of benevolence and righteousness and overnice in the use of his hearing and sight. Thus he who is web-toed in eyesight will be confused by the five colors, bewitched by patterns and designs, by the dazzling hues of blue and yellow, of embroidery and brocade - am I wrong? So we have Li Chu.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
What is normal? Each of us possesses imperfections. We talk about averages, but I've really never met an "average" person.

We each have limitations. In one way or another, every one of us is dazzled and bewitched by the sensations and experiences our lives have to offer.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

1 comment:

  1. I see much support for Left-leaning politics on this Taoist site. The Left of American politics is as coercive, invasive and anti-individualistic as it's Right counterpart is.

    Based on statements such as these-

    "Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it."

    "A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

    "The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be."

    Taoism seems *much* more in harmony with the political viewpoints of Libertarianism, which supports a very minimal-intervention "rule by not ruling" approach, just as Lao Tsu did.

    I invite you to investigate Libertarianism, you may find it to be in closer harmony with Philosophical Taoism, just as I did.

    Have a good day! :)


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