DAODEJING_44_pp_draft

DAODEJING_44_pp_draft - DAODEJING 44 INTERPRETING THE TEXT...

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DAODEJING 44 DAODEJING 44 INTERPRETING THE TEXT INTERPRETING THE TEXT
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What is the  Daodejing  asking when it asks, “Your name or your  body, which do you hold more dear? // Your body or your  property, which is of greater value?” (44) In the first line it  appears, if we take “name” to refer to reputation, and “body” to  refer to oneself, to be asking whether one’s reputation is of  greater value than who one is. The second line seems to be  asking if one’s property or possessions are more important than  oneself because, granted the  Daodejing’s  emphasis on living  simply, without desires, it makes no sense to think that these lines  could possibly be suggesting that desiring possessions or  reputation could be as important or valuable as one’s own self, we  might interpret these lines to be a recommendation to not get  carried away by desires for fame or riches, but rather, to nurture  and care for the self. 
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This interpretation is in accord with other  statements in the  Daodejing,  that “Those who  know themselves are enlightened,” “Those who  conquer themselves are strong,” and “Those who  know contentment are rich.” (33)
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This interpretation is also supported by the next line, which asks,  “Gain or loss, which is the greater calamity?” a question that  presupposes that not only losing fame or fortune is bad, but that  attaining them is also bad. Losing fame or fortune would be a  calamity from almost any perspective, but why would gaining fame  or fortune be a calamity from a Daoist perspective? The first two  lines provide some help here, because if we hold fame or fortune 
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DAODEJING_44_pp_draft - DAODEJING 44 INTERPRETING THE TEXT...

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