The greatest polarity of our times is the one between truth and lies. Not a single day goes by without some new apocalyptic warning that flood of fake news will sweep away the very foundations of human civilization.
One of the most useful ideas in the Daodejing is the one that many scholars label as reversion. Also known as the law of opposites or polarities, this is the process that governs the natural life cycle of a plant, animal, human, even inanimate objects such as a rock.
The Dao is an empty vessel;
It is used and never fills up.
It’s so deep that it is like the origin of all things.
Blunt the sharpness;
Untangle the knot;
Soften the glare;
Merge with the dust;
Invisible and formless, it always seems to be present.
I have no idea who gave birth to it.
It seems to have existed before the Lord did.
Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 4: the invisible and ineffable source
When the whole world knows to regard beauty as beauty, there is ugliness.
When the whole world knows to regard good as good, there is evil.
Thus, something and nothing nurture each other;
Difficult and easy complete each other;
Long and short give form to each other;
High and low depend on each other;
Note and sound harmonize each other;
Front and rear follow each other.
That’s why the sage:
Conducts his affairs with effortless action;
Spreads his teaching without words;
Lets all things unfold without initiating them;
Lets them grow without claiming possession of them;
Gets things done without expecting any gratitude;
Achieves his goals without claiming any credit.
It is precisely because he does not claim any credit,
That it stays with him forever.
The Dao doesn’t place any arbitrary labels on anything. It draws no false distinctions between beauty and ugliness and good and evil. It simply allows everything to unfold, without ever attempting to intervene, in the knowledge that opposing natural forces will remain in balance. Continue reading Daodejing Chapter 2: effortless action