Are newborn infants quite as pure and innocent as Laozi suggests? His argument is that because they have yet to undergo any forms of social conditioning, they are free from any selfish desires and are thus safe from harm because they represent no threat to others. I can’t say I’m entirely convinced.
Laozi is probably on much firmer ground when advocating that we should live in harmony with life’s natural rhythms rather than overindulging in materialistic pleasures and trying to control your vital essence though artificial means. The best way to stay in shape is by eating properly and exercising regularly rather than punishing yourself with crash diets and brutal gym sessions.
People who possess Virtue in abundance are like a newborn baby.
Poisonous insects will not sting him;
Ferocious beasts will not pounce upon him;
Predatory birds will not swoop down on him.
His bones are supple;
His muscles are tender;
But his grip is firm.
He has never known the union of male and female;
But his organ is aroused;
For his vital essence is at its height.
He can cry all day without going hoarse;
For his innate harmony is at its peak.
To know harmony is to be in accord with the eternal.
To know the eternal is to be enlightened.
To take too much pleasure from life is ill-omened.
To control the breath excessively with the mind causes strain.
When things have reached their prime you start to grow old.
This is called going against the Way.
Whatever goes against the Way will perish soon.