We think life will go this way.

Life goes that way instead.

We learn to love the beauty that lies before us that way.

Is this not also Daoism?


It is time to devote myself to Wang Bi over Nagarjuna. As a writer of aphorisms I prefer commentators.


I am glad I discovered this file. Chapter 18 strikes me:

It is when the great Dao is forsaken that benevolence and righteousness appear,
When wisdom and intelligence emerge that great falsehood occurs,
When the six relations exist in disharmony that the obedient and the kind appear, and when the state is in disorder that loyal ministers arise.

It is interesting that what follows “when the great Dao is forsaken” is not some version of terrible things will occur, as one would expect in a monotheistic religion, where God punishes those who forsake him. Instead, it’s things we consider great will occur (benevolence, righteousness). Which is another way of saying what we consider great is foolishness, for in considering them great we have already forsaken Dao.


Chapter 20 is perhaps the most difficult I’ve read–not conceptually, but pragmatically. Am I willing to do this?

Wang Bi’s first comment made me hold my place as I went back to section 2. This is the first time I’ve physically done this with a text since the Bible.

Yes, this is scripture. I must repudiate learning not because it is wrong, but because it is what others think I should learn. Their opinion does not matter, and is the root of worry. Can I take this Kierkegaardian leap?

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