The Dao of Power

Chapters 32, 33, 34, 35, and 37

These chapters are found at the end of Part I of the traditional Daodejing and I think that they were placed there by an editor to serve as a conclusion. (By its themes and style, chapter 36 obviously does not belong with these chapters). Chapter 32, 35, and 37 are included in the GD text, but chapters 33 and 34 are not. In the MWD and BD texts the Sage is mentioned in chapter 34, which would require the chapter to be moved to Sage Dao, but I have used the WB text where the Sage does not appear. Because these chapters have been placed at the end of Part I, I regard them as late Early Dao (as it were), but they have affinities to chapters 44 and 46 of Yang Dao, which would make them early Early Dao. I can only leave all these questions on the table.

In these chapters we first see attention to reflexivity and suggestions that the reader turn his attention inward rather than outward. We also

Power mediocrity / muddle / promise of success Dao an agent (BUT those who understand Dao will do things effortlessly — BOTH)

2 GD NOT 33 34

WUWEI and ZI

Strong : 32 34 (sage?) 37 //Weak: 32 33 35
F*32 32 NOT 自 然 Ziran,
wuwei 37
Millenarian / magic 35 37

My first four groups of Daodejing chapters are privatistic, making little or no reference to public or governmental affairs except to reject participation. , but the chapters in this group and the preceding anti-Confucian group are early styatements of the transformed approach to governance later called Huanglao. Terms like simplicity 樸, quietness 希 言, and wuwei 無 為, originally proposed as methods of self-cultivation, are taken to describe th ideal ruler. Rulers should minimize their interventions and work from behind the scenes with as little fuss as possible.

Chapters 32, 35, and 37 of this group are found in the GD manuscript, but chapters 33 and 34 are not. It’s a tightly clustered group, with only chapter 36 from the Sage Dao strategy group interjected at a late stage of editing. Like the anti-Confucian chapters, this group of chapters marks a move from the privatism of the earlier groups toward a the Huanglao approach to government of Sage Dao. Dao in these poems is not merely the order of things or a guide to behavior, but a source of power, and there are hints of magic (天 地 相 合 以 輸 甘 露, chapter 32, and 執 大 象 天 下 往, chapter 35) just as there were in chapters 50 and 55 of the Vitality group, and perhaps these passages point to the practices of some kind of millenarian cult.

The reflexivity of 自 正, etc. Is a recognition that the Sage is always dealing with processes that are already in play, rather than with a neutral or static raw material, and that these processes (自 然, “what is so of itself”, nature) are often benign and any case are too powerful to be opposed head-on. . The Sage lets things happen if they’re going in pretty much the right direction, and only intervenes to nudge things a little when they start going off track.

**32
道 恒 無 名
樸 雖 小
天 地 弗 敢 臣
侯 王 若 能 守 之
萬 物 將 自 賓

天 地 相 合 以 輸 甘 露
民 莫 之 令
而 自 均 焉
始 制 有 名

名 亦 既 有
夫 亦 將 知 止
知 止
所 以 不 殆


譬 道 之 在 天 下 也
猶 小 谷 之 與 江 海
Dao is always nameless
Though the primal simplicity is minute
nothing in heaven or earth can master it
If lords and princes could hold to it
all things would submit themselves

Heaven and earth wwould come together
to send down sweet dew
and without anyone’s command
the people would live in harmony.

Then names are first cut
and once there are names,
indeed should know to stop
If you know when to stop
you will be free of trouble

Compare Dao in the world
to the little streams in the River and the Sea.

Nameless
simplicity
知 止
不 殆
Water

 1. 小:細 3. 天 地 弗 敢 臣: 天 下 莫 能 臣 也 7. 露: 洛 11, 12. 知 止: 知之 13. 小 谷: 川 谷             


無 名, 不名, 弗名 01 32 34 37 41 All early
樸 15 19 28* 32 37 57*4/6 early
自 賓 (etc.) 32 37 *72 *73 自 知 33 *72 自 然 17 23 25 51 *64
知 止 32 44 知 足 33 44 46
不 殆 16 25 32 44 52

自生 07*, 自視 22, 24
自遺其咎 09*
自然 17 23 25 51 64*
自今及古 21
32 自賓, 自均; 37 自化, 自正; 自化, 自富, 自正自樸 57*
33 自知, 自勝
39 自稱孤; 42 自命 (名)

**33
知 人 者 知
自 知 者 明
勝 人 者 有 力
自 勝 者 強

知 足 者 富…..
If you understand others you are smart,
If you understand yourself you are wise,
If you conquer others you are powerful,
If you conquer yourself you are strong.

If you know what is enough you are rich…..

The conclusion of this chapter is worse than the beginning. Its sense is banal, it violates both the line pattern and and the rhyme scheme, and in its advocacy of strength 強行 it doesn’t fit within the Daodejing. I have removed it from text, though this leaves a lone final line without a rhyming pair.
明 強

Chapter 33, which is not included in the GD DDJ, is one of the weakest chapters in the DDJ. Thematically this chapter might fit better in the Yang Zhu group along with chapters 24, 44, and 46, but I have kept it here in the 32-37 group. I have kept only its first 5 lines, producing an asymmetrical and probably incomplete chapter, and but the last 3 lines, which violate the meter, rhyme scheme, and parallelism of the first 5 lines and have little apparent connection to the rest of the chapter or anything else in the DDJ, have been relegated to the doubtful group. The reflexivity of 自 知 and 自 勝 in chapter 33 is significantly different than the reflexivity of 自 賓, 自 均, 自 化, and 自 正 in Chapters 32 and 37. 自 正, etc., means the world’s self-righting processes of the world which the Sage lets happen withoput interfering with them, whereas 自 知 and 自 勝 in chapter 33 mean the Sage’s unselfishness and capacity for self-understanding and self-correction. In chapters chapters 22, 24, and 72 these capacities are contrasted to the arrogant man’s selfishness, conceit and self-misunderstanding (自視, 自見, 自伐, 自矜, 自貴).

**33b
強行者有志也
不失其所者久也
死而不忘者壽也

He who proceeds strongly will attain his goal.
He who doesn’t lose his place will endure.
If he dies and is not forgotten he will be long lived

Chapter 33, which is not included in the GD DDJ, is one of the weakest chapters in the DDJ. Thematically this chapter might fit better in the Yang Zhu group along with chapters 24, 44, and 46, but I have kept it here in the 32-37 group. I have kept only its first 5 lines, producing an asymmetrical and probably incomplete chapter, and but the last 3 lines, which violate the meter, rhyme scheme, and parallelism of the first 5 lines and have little apparent connection to the rest of the chapter or anything else in the DDJ, have been relegated to the doubtful group. The reflexivity of 自 知 and 自 勝 in chapter 33 is significantly different than the reflexivity of 自 賓, 自 均, 自 化, and 自 正 in Chapters 32 and 37. 自 正, etc., means the world’s self-righting processes of the world which the Sage lets happen withoput interfering with them, whereas 自 知 and 自 勝 in chapter 33 mean the Sage’s unselfishness and capacity for self-understanding and self-correction. In chapters chapters 22, 24, and 72 these capacities are contrasted to the arrogant man’s selfishness, conceit and self-misunderstanding (自視, 自見, 自伐, 自矜, 自貴).

**34
道 泛 兮 其 可 左 右 也
萬物恃之而生而弗辤
成功遂事而弗名有也
[愛利 萬物而弗為主]
故恒無欲 可名於小
萬物歸焉而弗為主
可名於大
以其終不自為大
故能???
            1. 泛 / 渢 / fan 3. 作 而 生 5. 衣 養 萬 物 11. 是以聖人能成大也,以其不為大,故能成大。  成 功 遂 事  02 17 34 77 為 主 9 34    無 欲  01 03 34 37 57 以 其 終 不 自 為 大, etc.  02 07 08 22 66   Early versions of chapter 34 include the "Therefore the Sage" phrase, but I have used the WB text, which does not. 
**Chapter 35
執 大 象
天 下 往
往 而 不 害
安 平 大
樂 與 餌
過 客 止
Hold the Great Image
and the world will come to you.
Come and do no harm
Peace will be absolute
Music and snacks
will stop the passing traveller.

I am unable to understand the opening lines in terms of the rest of the Daodejing, unless perhapsit should read as millenarians. My incomprehension made translation difficult, and maybe I missed something.

象: 04, 14, 21, 35, and 41.

The second half of the chapter I have moved next to chapters the beginning of chapter 14 and the ending of chapter 56, which are different versions of more or less the same thing.
[35b
故 道 之 出 言
淡 乎 其 無 味 也
視 之 不 足 見 也
聽 之 不 足 聞 也
用 之 不 可 既 也


Thus the words from the mouth of Dao
Are bland! and flavorless.
Look at them and they’re invisible.
Listen for them and they’re inaudible.
But live them and they will last forever.]

Later texts of chapter 35 are almost identical to the GD text, which makes me suspect that it was written not long before the time when the GD text was being put together. The 大 象 obviously stands for Dao, or perhaps it refers to a talismanic symbol of Dao. This is one of a number of chapters in the early Daodejing which seem to refer to magic. Others include 天 地 相 合 / 以 輸 甘 露 in chapter 32, and 夫何故?以其無死地 in chapter 15. Wuwei 無 為 and “self-righting” 自 正seem like magic, though they can be non-magically explained as the outcomes of the natural operations of an existing order nudged into harmonious state by minimal interventions governed by a wise understanding of the processes already in motion. The conclusion of this chapter is so much like chapter 14 (which is not part of the GD text) that I almost moved to there, but it can be understood in the context of the opening of the chapter. The conclusion of the very disjointed chapter 56 Also part of the GD

**37
道 恒 無 為 也
侯 王 若 能 守 之 
萬 物 將 自 化      
化 而 欲 作  
將 正 之 以 無 名之 樸
夫 亦 將 知 足  
知 足 以 靜   
萬 物 將 自 正   

**37 1. 小:細 3. 天 地 弗 敢 臣: 天 下 莫 能 臣 也 7. 露: 洛 11, 12. 知 止: 知之 13. 小 谷: 川 谷無 名 / 無 為 而 無 不 為 3, 4 . 化 : 𢡺 5, 8. 正 / 闐 / 寘 / 鎮 / 定 6, 7. 知 足 / 不 辱 / 無 欲 7. 不 辱 以 情 / 無 欲 以 靜 8. 萬 物 / 天地 / 天下 8. 定 無 為 02 03 37 38 43 48 57 63 64 知 足 33 37 44 46 靜 (爭, 情, 清, 靚) 08 15 16 26 37 45 57 61 正 (闐, 寘, 鎮, 定, 政, 貞, 忠, 直 ) 08 16 18 22 32 37 39 45 57 58 67 78

Chapter 37 is full of variants, which probably means that it circulated widely in oral form before being brought into the canonical DDJ, and maybe also that it has been heavily worked over by editors. Chapters 32 and 37 are very similar and share the sequence 道 恒 無 [ / 為 ] ….. 侯 王

無 為 7 or 8
02 37 38 43 [48] 57 63 64
弗為 10 or 11 弗 欲
03 34 47
不敢為 12 or 13
03 64 67 69

34 37 38 43 [48]
02 03 47 57 63 64 [67 69]

/ 為 ] ….. 侯 王 若 能 守 之 萬 物 將 自[賓/ 化}. I think that chapter 37 is a rewritten version of chapter 32, with the term 無 為 replacing 無名 and a line added which allows the possibility of repressive acion: 吾 將 正 之 將 正 之 以 無 名 之 樸 (a use of the word quite different than its uses in chapters 15, 19, 28, 32, and even 57. The reason why chapters 32 and 37 are both included in the DDJ presumably is that the definitive text of the DDJ was produced by a committee.

In Early Dao the phrase wuwei 無 為 itself is seen only in chapter 37, which was heavily edited to serve as the conclusion of Part I of the DDJ, but the terms 自 賓, 自 均, 自 化, and 自 正 in chapters 32 point to way, as did 自 然 in chapters 17 and 23 of the Anti-Confucian group and chapter 51 of the Vitality group. The phrase 無 為 seems to be mark a stage in the development is seen only once in the Yang Daoi, Vitality, and Maternalist groups and not at all in the final 15 chapters of the book (chapters 67-81) and seems to be a technical or formulaic name given to an alreayd-existing concept.

The reflexivity of 自 正, etc. Is a recognition that the Sage is always dealing with processes that are already in play, rather than with a neutral or static raw material, and that these processes (自 然, “what is so of itself”, nature) are often benign and any case are too powerful to be opposed head-on. . The Sage lets things happen if they’re going in pretty much the right direction, and only intervenes to nudge things a little when they start going off track. Something like this idea is found in Confucius:

子曰:「爲政以德,譬如北辰居其所而衆星共之。」

“The Master said: ‘He who rules by moral force is like the pole star, which remains in his place while all the lesser stars make homage around it.” (Analects II-1, Waley tr.)

子曰:「無爲而治者,其舜也與!夫何爲哉?恭己正南面而已矣。」

“Among those who ruled by wuwei, surely Shen must be counted. For what action did he take? He merely placed himself reverently and gravely with his face due south. That was all”. ( Analects XV-4, Waley tr.)

Confucius’s wuwei was the ultimate state of perfection reached by only a few Sages and relied on the power of the moral example of the Sage, rather than “letting things be” and Confucius was not reluctant to intervene with force or to rely on the power of words. . In any case, the main target of the DDJ’s doctrines of 無為 and 無名 wuwei and wordlessness were the Mohists and Legalists, for whom governing consisted of bending the population to the ruler’s will by whatever means were necessary. A second form of reflexivity seen in this chapter besides 自 正, etc. is the ruler’s self-knowledge and 自知 and self mastery 自勝. Impetuous rulers know neither themselves nor their subjects and thus come to a bad end. They show themselves off 自見 and push themselves forward 自伐, 而 先 身 (24, 07), think themselves great 自為大 (32) think too highly of themselves 自貴 (72), and are selfish 私 (07), while the wise ruler does exactkly the opposite, and it is just because the wise ruler has self-knowledge 自 知 restrains himself and has self-mastery 自 勝 that he often is successful where the unwise and greedy ruler fails.

無 名, 不名 01 32 34 37 41
無 為 02 37 (not MWD) 38 43 [48] 57 63 64; 弗為 03 34 47; 不敢為 03 64 67 69 無 欲 01 03 34
不欲 15 19 30 *57 *64
有欲 24 31
[46 故罪莫大於可欲]


樸 15 19* 28 32 37 *57
自 賓 (etc.) 32 37 *72 *73 自 知 33 72 自 然 17 23 25 51 *64
知 止 32 44 知 足 33 44 46
不 殆 16 25 32 44 52
成 功 遂 事 02 17 34 *77
為 主 9 34
以 其 終 不 自 為 大, etc. 02 07 08 22 66
象: 04, 14, 21, 35, and 41
靜 (爭, 情, 清, 靚) 08 15 16 26 37 45 57 61
正 (闐, 寘, 鎮, 定, 政, 貞, 忠, 直 ) 08 16 18 22 32 37 39 45 57 58 67 78

無 名, 不名 01 32 34 37 41. 樸 15 19 28 32 37 57 自 賓 (etc.) 32 37 72 73 (自 然 17 23 25 51 64) 知 止 32 44 不 殆 16 25 32 44 52 自 知 33 72 知 足 33 44 46 成 功 遂 事 02 17 34 77 為 主 9 34 無 欲 01 03 34 37 5 以 其 終 不 自 為 大, etc. 02 07 08 22 66 象: 04, 14, 21, 35, and 41 無 為 2 3 37 (not MWD) 38 43 48 57 63 64 靜 (爭, 情, 清, 靚) 08 15 16 26 37 45 57 61 正 (闐, 寘, 鎮, 定, 政, 貞, 忠, 直 ) 08 16 18 22 32 37 39 45 57 58 67 78

無 名, 不名 01 32 34 37 41. 樸 15 19 28 32 37 57 自 賓 (etc.) 32 37 72 73 (自 然 17 23 25 51 64) 知 止 32 44 不 殆 16 25 32 44 52 自 知 33 72 知 足 33 44 46 成 功 遂 事 02 17 34 77 為 主 9 34 無 欲 01 03 34 37 5 以 其 終 不 自 為 大, etc. 02 07 08 22 66 象: 04, 14, 21, 35, and 41 無 為 2 3 37 (not MWD) 38 43 48 57 63 64 靜 (爭, 情, 清, 靚) 08 15 16 26 37 45 57 61 正 (闐, 寘, 鎮, 定, 政, 貞, 忠, 直 ) 08 16 18 22 32 37 39 45 57 58 67 78