Daodejing - Timothy Han AAS 212 Professor John Koller...

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Timothy Han AAS 212 Professor John Koller 4/14/08 Chapter 42: Infinity, Balance, & Simplicity
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Han 1\ Upon first glance, a page out of the Daodejing, is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. They are seemingly filled with paradoxical language and leave you wondering what exactly you just read. The key, however, seems to lie in perspective. An interpretation of a chapter from a western perspective will only serve to further confuse a reader. I have found that the best way to look at things is to read the meaning behind the meaning, so to speak. Much of these topics are presented in metaphorical language that is hard to interpret, as well. In reading the other chapters of the text, however, one can find common themes, such as those handled in chapter forty two, throughout. Chapter forty two of the Daodejing deals with a multitude of issues in the relatively small amount of words that it uses. This chapter discusses the infiniteness of the Dao, or the Way, and its role in world. In addition to this, these lines cover the areas of government involvement as well as the issue of violence and its consequences. Most prominently, however, chapter forty two displays and emphasizes the ideal of balance, within oneself as well as in one’s surroundings, and the practice of simplicity through the concept of wuwei , or non action. Overall, chapter forty two seems, most of all, to be emphasizing the role of balance in accord with nature, as a path of the Dao. In the opening lines of chapter forty two, the statement is made that, “The Way produces the One. / The One produces two. / Two produces three. / Three produces the myriad creatures.”(42) In this, the Way refers to the Dao and the natural “force” that seems to motivate and fill all things. The “One”, then, is probably the image of the Way, or the closest we can get to the force or energy that we designate the word, Dao, to. The “Two” most likely refers to the qi, or vital energies, made up of yin and yang that are
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Han 2 mentioned in the lines following these. I am uncertain as to what the “three” that are mentioned are. My best guess would be that the combination of the image of the Way along with the two in the yin and the yang comprise the three. And as such, these three energies, born from the primordial forces of the nameless, created the “myriad creatures”. Philip Ivanhoe’s notes on the chapter seem to confirm the strong possibility of these
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Daodejing - Timothy Han AAS 212 Professor John Koller...

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