I feel as if this has to be a double posting, because there is no way that I haven’t written about Chapter XLI before. It’s my favorite chapter and the chapter that got me to really thinking about it in a greater way than I had done before.
I took a class on Taoism in 2002 as part of my undergrad, and when I read this book for the first time, I thought it was ridiculous. I quoted it to my friends with an extra helping of WTF attached. I mean, doesn’t most of it sound a bit crazy on it’s face? “The light is the dark is the scholar is the master”? I mean, it does sound sort of like a pot experiment gone wrong.
I am clearly the fool in this scenario, and still am, to an extent. I love the Tao, but if I didn’t laugh, it wouldn’t be the Tao.
When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn’t laugh,
it wouldn’t be the Tao.
Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems long,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest are seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.
The Tao is nowhere to be found.
Yet it nourishes and completes all things.