楊 道 Yang Dao

Yang Dao, the first of the 13 groups into which I have divided the Daodejing, develops ideas derived from or related to the ideas of 楊朱 Yang Zhu, a legendary sage who lived around 350 BC or somewhat before. This group consists of chapters 13, 24, 30, 31, 44, and 46. Of these chapters, I think that chapters 13, 30, and 31 are the earliest and represent the Yangist beginnings of the Daodejing. These chapters are clumsily put together and textually difficult, with sometimes-opaque maxims accompanied by multiple attempts at elucidation. In particular, the early texts of chapter 30 vary widely, and I think that we can conclude that the final editors of the Daodejing inherited in these three chapters in garbled, very early forms which they tried to fix. These chapters might be words of the earliest Yangists, or even of Yang Zhu himself and despite their textual problems, their general idea anti-militarist message is clear enough.

The Yangist chapters are straightforward and read like proverbs or folk wisdom. They make a powerful statement and are entirely without the mystical poetry, subtle metaphysics, or cunning political strategies of the later Daodejing. Yang Zhu advocated the return to a simple life dedicated to what is most near and most real — life, or more simply, the 身 shen body (or person, or self). He opposed participation in warfare in particular, and since during that period the pursuit of glory in warfare was the principal occupation of the aristocracy, Yang Zhu was in effect proposing the renunciation of aristocratic status.

Standing by themselves these chapters are rather banal, but because they rejected the dominant aristocracy’s entire way of life, in their day they were earth-shaking. Their power comes from the boldness of the practical break proposed, which required the aristocratic recipients of the message to rethink their whole lives. This is why A.C. Graham could say that Yang’s intervention “provoked a metaphysical crisis which threatened the basic assumptions of Confucianism and Mohism and set them in new courses.” *FN* Crude and simple though they may seem, these chapters were the germ from which the Daodejing grew.

Chapter *13 (included in GD)

寵 辱 若 驚
貴 大 患 若 身

何 謂
寵 辱 若 驚 ?

寵 之 為 下 也
得 之 若 驚
失 之 若 驚
是 謂
寵 辱 若 驚

何 謂
貴 大 患 若 身?
吾 所 以 有 大 患 者
為 吾 有 身 也
及 吾 無 身
吾 有 何 患?

故 貴 為 身
於 為 天 下
若 可 託 天 下 矣
愛 為 身
於 為 天 下
若可 以 寄 天 下 矣
Favor and disgrace are like warnings;
Honor disasters like your own body.

What does this mean:
“Favor and disgrace are like warnings”?

The favored one is in the inferior position.
Getting favor is like a warning;
losing favor is like a warning.
This is the meaning of
“Favor and disgrace are like warnings”.

What does this mean:
“Honor disasters like your own body”?
The reason I have disasters
is that I have a body
If I did not have a body
what disaster could there be?

Someone who honors caring for their body
more than for ruling the empire
may be entrusted with the empire;
someone who cherishes caring for their person
more than for ruling the empire
may be granted the empire.

Textual notes

寵 辱 若 警: without textual evidence, I have interpreted 警 “shock” as 驚 “warning”.

寵 辱 若 警: MWD B reads 弄 for 寵. There are an extraordinary number of variant texts of the Daodejing. Perhaps this is the result of wide circulation outside any institutional discipline and before the writing system was standardized, or perhaps it is because Daoist scribes and editors (in contrast to Confucian scribes and editors) felt authorized to make changes. This word-variant amounts to a different interpretation, since it turns the first two words of this line (and perhaps also, by parallelism, the first two words of the net maxim) into a verb + object pair rather than a compound subject, giving something like “Appreciate disgrace as a warning; Honor a disaster as your own person”. however, I have not treated the two maxims as parallel, and like most Engish translators, have interpreted 寵 辱 as a double subject.

寵 之 為 下 也Some of the Jiang variants destroy the irony by make the text expanding the text to say”The favored is higher, the disgraced is lower”.

貴 大 患 若 身: “Body” might also be translated as “person” (as in “always carry your identification papers on your person”) or “self”. Christian doctrine and the mind-body distinction mean that your body is not quite you; your mind or your soul is the real you. But in China your body is a sacred thing, your legacy from your parents, and Yangists especially honored this traditional principle, expanding it to point out that both in court life and in military service you impiously put yourself at risk of mutilation or death.

寄 天 下 / 託 天 下: like 取 天 下 in chapters 29, 48, and 57. In the last two lines I have followed the texts which use the particle 於 to make the comparative meaning explicit. The BD and WB versions read 貴 以 身 為 天 下 “Honors their body as the world”.

Later editors must have found the two closing lines of this chapter hard to understand or in some way unsatisfactory, because Jiang Xichang gives 25 variants for these two lines. Others replace the 若 in the last two lines with 乃 or 則 to make the conclusion seem more definite. The Guodian and Mawangdui A texts replace 可 with 何, making the task of interpretation harder rather than easier: GD: 愛 以 身 為 天 下 若 何 以 寄 天 下 矣。 MWD A: 愛 以 身 為 天 下 女 (如) 何 以 寄 天 下。 Both of these seem to mean “How could someone who considers their person to be the empire be entrusted with the empire?”, contrary to the usual interpretation. 何 might be thought of as a careless graphic substitute for 可, but in both texts you see the proper form of 可 in the previous line.

I believe that this final couplet was added late in order to bring the chapter into harmony with the overall message of the complete Daodejing by saying that it is precisely the person who had renounced power and high position who can be entrusted with power and high position. I do not think that this was the original message of the chapter and perhaps these lines should be moved to the politicized Sage Dao.

Textual problems of the kind I have just been discussing are usually just handled by accepting the authority of some early commentator on the WB text, and there are so many of these problems that considerable parts of the Daodejing would be impossible to read if this were not done. At the same time, I think that that in some places textual variants can lead to valuable new interpretations, and I have often followed these leads farther than it is customary to do.

The intractability or clumsiness of chapters 13, 30, and 31 and the large discrepancies between the Guodian and the Wang Bi texts of chapters 30 and 31 are among the reasons why I think that these chapters are the oldest chapters in the book and (except for the closing couplet) conceivably the actual words of Yang Zhu.

Interpretation

This chapter advocates detachment from one’s social standing, directing attention instead toward the cultivation what is most real, life itself. It advocates a willingness to accept a humble position even if that leads to condescension and insult, pointing out that elevation to a high position puts you in danger (either in war or as the results of court intrigue) more than demotion and humiliation do. What is important is a life, and as long as your body is whole you have life, even in a humble and disgraced position and regardless of social position or standing at court. There is in this an element of pre-state principles of family piety which hold that the a man’s primary duty is to return his body to the ancestors whole and unmutilated, and that this duty should have priority over personal ambition and state affairs. But there is definitely an aspect of “egotism” 為 我 wei wo here — live for yourself , not for others. But Yangists doubted that public service was genuinely benevolent and generous, as Confucians and Mohist claimed it was, and their real meaning was that you should live according to your own awareness rather than striving for the good opinion of others.

Chapter *30 (incomplete version in GD)

以 道 佐 人 主 者
不 以 兵 強 天 下

其 事 好 還

師 之 所 居
楚 棘 生 焉
大 軍 之 後
必 有 凶 年

善者果而 已矣
毌 以 取 強 焉
果 而 毋 矜
果 而 毋 伐
果 而 毋 驕
果 而 毋 強
果 而 不 得 已 居
是 謂
果 而 不 強

物 壯 而 老 老
謂 之 不 道
不 道 早 已
Someone serving a ruler of men in accordance with Dao
doesn’t use weapons to bully the world.

These things tend to come back at you.

Where an army has camped
brambles and thorns grow.
In the wake of a mighty army
there will be famine years.

A good commander gets the job done and that’s it.
He doesn’t push his advantage.
He gets the job done and doesn’t push
He gets the job done, but doesn’t brag.
He gets the job done, but without arrogance.
He gets the job done, but doesn’t bully.
He does the job if has no choice.
This is the meaning of
“Get the job done without bullying”.

Wasted in your prime:
this is against Dao.
What is against Dao
comes to an early end.
GuodianWang Bi
以 道 佐 人 主 者
不 欲 以 兵 強 於 天 下
以 道 佐 主 者
不 以 兵 強 天 下

其 事 好 還
師 之 所 處
荊 棘 生 焉
大 軍 之 後
必 有 凶 年
善 者 果 而 已
不 以 取 強

果 而 弗 伐
果 而 弗 驕
果 而 弗 矜
是 謂 果 而 不 強


其 事 好 長
善 有 果 而 已
不 敢 以 取 強

果 而 勿 矜
果 而 勿 伐
果 而 勿 驕
果 而 不 得 已
果 而 勿 強

物 壯 則 老
是 謂 不 道
不 道 早 已

The Guodian text of chapter 30 is half as long as Wang Bi text, leaving out several whole sections, and concludes with 其 事 好 長, which is significantly different in meaning than the phrase 其 事 好 還 toward the beginning of the WB text. This is one of the most striking pieces of evidence that the GD Daodejing (estmated to be dated about 300 BC) was a work in progress. Both versions consist of a succession of independent passages united only by theme.

伐, 矜: These words are seen in chapters 22, 24 , and 30 and nowhere else in the Daodejing. This is one of the reasons for including chapters 22 and 24 in Yang Dao, though these chapters may have been considerably written later in time than the foundational chapters 13, 30, and 31.

強: “strength, stiffness” is treated here and in chapters 43, 76, and 78 as something negative to be avoided. This is an instance of the Daodejing’s reversal of the conventional values of high and low, front and rear, dark and bright, and so on. In chapters 03, 33, 36, 52, and 55, however, strength 強 is taken straightforwardly as a good thing. Several of these cases are probably simple the result of the composite nature of the Daodejing, but there area number of other cases in which terms are given their reversed value in some places, to make a point, but used in their normal sense elsewhere, which are hard to explain by the textual layering. The revaluation of high and low 上 / 下 is the primary theme of chapters 08, 61, and 66, for example, but elsewhere 上 has its primary positive meaning: 17: 太上; 30: 恬淡為上; 41: 上德不德; 71: 知不知上. Chapter 76 reverses hard and soft while using 上 in its positive meaning: 柔弱處上, and chapter 41 honors the valley (low) by calling it “the highest”. And even when chapter 08 honors water for its downward tendency, it compare it to the highest good: 上善若水.

弗 勿 毌 毋: In the lines 果 而 勿 矜, etc, in chapter 30, four different adverbs of negation are used in the 5 texts I have studied: 弗 in GD, 勿 in MWD A, 毌 in MWD B, 毋 in BD, and 勿 again in WB. These words and the more familiar adverbs of negation 不and 無 (which mostly replace them in the Wang Bi text) are phonetically related in a system: pǝ / pǝt, mǝ / mǝt, ma / maŋ (Schuessler 1959). It seems, however, that by the time of even the earliest (Guodian) text the older system of negations had been forgotten, and that 勿 and 毋 / 毌 were relic words in all 5 texts.

I think that the presence of these words is evidence that chapter 30, at least was inherited in written form by editors who were uncertain about what to do with the archaic forms. Other than that I have not been able to find any significance in the presence of these rare negative forms, except that 勿 毌 and 毋 are imperatives.

Intepretation

Chapters 30 and 31 are not pacifist, but they deny that there is glory in war and treats war as a regrettable necessity at best, and something to be mourned rather than celebrated. Since war was the primary activity of the Chinese states, and since the pursuit of glory and high status through military exploits was the main focus of the Chinese aristocracy, chapters 13, 30, and 31 , in effect, reject both the ethos of the dominant Chinese group, the military aristocracy, and the primary social and political forms of that era.

NEMESIS

物壯則老,謂之不道,不道早已.
物或惡之,故有道者不處.

The Daodejing assumes a dangerous world and repeatedly reminds its readers of the value of circumspection, self-effacement, and restraint. While the Daodejing can be given a completely secular reading in terms of the objective dangers brought by ambition and of court life, scattered through the book are words and phrases evoking traditional views of nemesis, retribution, fate, and the anger of the spirits,: for example, 禍, 咎, 吉, 祥, 不道 , and 不殆.


The idea of nemesis is clearly expressed in two tags above, which are seen in chapters 24, 30, 31, and 55 but play a lesser role in the GD text, where only the tag in chapter 55. The 道 of 不 道 here is not necessarily the Daoist Dao but might be something more ancient, something like “against nature” in the moralizing sense or perhaps “unspeakable” (a possible literal translation).

Nemesis and related ideas of reversal and compensation are fundamental to the Daodejing and reappear again and again. In traditional China it was thought that if someone behaved badly, even if their victims could not retaliate, the offender would eventually be punished by the spirits. This is a folk belief, but the Daodejing does not simply express the popular belief, but is a philosophical development of a principle pervasive in Chinese culture which were being flouted by the modernizers, especially the Legalists.

The attention to care of the body and the the nurturing of vitality in chapters 13, 50, 51, 52, and 55 is another development of a pervasive belief. In traditional Chinese religion long life was the greatest blessing, and your body was not yours to do with as you see fit, but a precious gift received from the ancestors, and it is your responsibility to deliver it to them unmutilated at the end of your life. The idea of return often seen in the Daodejing is a related idea: innovations and crimes are deviations from the standard 正, and eventually the standard will be returned to. These principles are at the center of a cluster of related ideas found in traditional societies but set aside by modernizers of every time and place.

Chapter *31 (Part of GD)

夫 兵 者 不 祥 之 器 也
物 或 惡 之 故
有 道 者 弗 居
兵 者 非 君 子 之 器 也
不 得 已 而 用 之
恬淡為上
弗 美 也

若 美 之 是 樂 殺 人 也
夫 樂 殺 人 者
不 可 以 得 志 於 天 下 矣

君 子 居 則 貴 左
用 兵 則 貴 右
吉 事 尚 左
凶 事 尚 右
偏 將 軍 居 左
上 將 軍 居 右
言 以 喪 禮 居 之

故殺人眾
以 哀 悲 位 之
戰 勝
以 喪 禮 居之
Now weapons are ominous devices.
There are beings which abhor them;
the man of Dao does not abide with them.
Weapons are not the tools of a gentleman.
If their use cannot be avoided
Dispassion is best
Do not glorify them.

To glorify them is to delight in slaughter.
Someone who delights in slaughter
will never attain his goals in this world.

At home a gentleman honors the left
in the army the right is honored.
In auspicious affairs the left is honored
at funerals, the right.
The lieutenant general stands on the left;
the commanding general stands on the right.
This says that funeral protocol is followed.

When masses of men are slaughtered,
commemorate it with mourning and wailing.
When the battle is won,
celebrate with funeral rites.

There are several differences between the Guodian version of chapter 31 and the Wang Bi versions of chapter 31, though they are not as striking as the differences between the texts of chapter 30.

fu: “Now”. This particle is used in the middle of a discourse in order to introduce a new topic or a new section of an argument. It strongly suggests that chapters 30 and 31 are a single extended unit and should be joined. Both chapters are

GD 泣: variants 立, 位.

有 道 者: “The man of Dao”.The MWD A, MWD B, and BD texts all have 有 欲 者 “The ambitious man” in place of 有 道 者 here and in chapter 24. (GD 31 does not include the phrase at all and chapter 24 is not included in GD.). Given the Daodejing’s frequent warnings against desire and ambition, 有 欲 者 seems out of place, but “freedom from desire” 無 欲 (as opposed to freedom from ambition) may not have been a tenet of the very earliest Yangism / Daoism. 有欲 and 無 欲are paired in a neutral contrast in chapter 01, and when 無 欲 or 不欲 appear in chapters 03, 37, 57, and 64 the context is political control, not contemplative peace of mind: a peaceful, satisfied population is intended. With 有 欲 者, the point of this line would simply claim that the use of weapons and warfare is usually counterproductive.

君 子: Mostly a Confucian term. May be evidence that chapter 31 was written early, though the only other chapter in which this term is seen in some texts is chapter 26, which is more likely late than early.

物 或 惡 之etc.: also chapter 24. Not in GD.

器: Manmade devices, especially weapons but also bronze vessels. (Chapters 11, 28b, 29, 31, 36, 41, 57, and 80).

恬 淡: also 恬 襲 and 恬 僂. 淡: Also seen chapter 35. Bland, mild, tranquil, impassive.

恬: Quiet, peaceful, satisfied, aloof, indifferent.

襲: Cover, covered, conform to, inherit, accept, follow after, take over, plagiarize, invade (especially by surprise attack). A tricky word in this context.

僂: Bent, bent forward, crooked, hunchback (possibly a loan for 慺 “respectful, deferential, careful, courteous, dedicated”, since respect is shown in China by bending, inclining, and shrinking the body). Crookedness, skewedness, slantedness, etc., are also themes in chapters 22 (曲則全 / 枉則直), 45 (大直若屈), 57 (以正治國,以奇用兵) and 58 (正復為奇,善復為妖) and can mean either self-effacement and humility, or indirect and even devious methods.

COMMENTARY

There is a tendency in the Daodejing and Chinese culture generally to merge prudence and morality and to recommend moral behavior on the ground that it is what gets the best results, and there is also a tendency in the Daodejing to make points subtly and ironically. But from time to time the Daodejing drifts over into the pure condemnation of wrong, and I think that this is one of those places. Even the Daodejing chapters I have called Yangist seem to assume a state context, and if Yang Zhu himself ever advocated complete withdrawal from state affairs, these chapters would have to be regarded as appropriation of Yangist ideas rather than as original Yangism. In this chapters it is conceded that sometimes war is unavoidable (不 得 已 而 用 之) and only the glory of war is denied. Bu the glory of war was what the Chinese aristocracy lived by and lived for.

RITUAL REVERSAL

This chapter is built around the Chinese custom of ritual reversal on inauspicious occasions such as funerals and warfare, in this case the reversal of the values of right and left. Other forms of ritual reversal are seen in chapters 39, 42, and 78. Ritual reversal is a sort of precursor of the Daodejing’s transvaluation of the values of high and low, strong and weak, bright and dark, etc. m which is a recognition of the polar interdependence of opposites. Ritual is the performative attainment of a wholeness encompassing both poles via a temporary reversal of roles. In one ritual the Chinese Emperor pretended to be a lowly peasant and plowed a single furrow, just as in the West the Catholic Pope washes the feet of the poor.

Chapter *24 (Not in GD)

企 者 不 立
跨 者 不 行
自 見 者 不 明
自 視 者 不 章
自 是 者 不 彰
自 伐 者 無 功
自 矜 者 不 長
其 在 道 也 曰
餘 食 贅 行
物 或 惡 之
故 有 道 者 弗 居
On tiptoes you’re unsteady.
Overstriding gets you nowhere.
Showoffs are not glorious.
The narcissist gains no renown.
The braggart accomplishes nothing.
The self-important don’t last long.

In Dao these are called
“wasted food and outrageous behavior”.
There are which beings abhor them,
and the man of Dao does not abide with them.

贅 行: Variant 斜 食 “perverse behavior”.
物 或 惡 之: See chapter 31.
伐, 矜: See chapter 30.

The longest section of chapter 22 exactly mirrors chapter 24, and in the MWD texts chapter 22 immediately follows chapter 21, so the continuity is clear. However, Chapter 22 mentions the Sage, so at this stage of my study it must be put into Sage Dao. At the next stage I divide chapters I will divide chapter 22, which is a hodgepodge consisting of 5 different sections whose interrelationships are uncertain. Chapter 24 is a later development of chapters 30 and 31, and chapter 22 (not included here) a later development of chapter 24.

The reflexive particle 自 plays a key role in the Daodejing, appearing 34 times in 17 chapters of the Wang Bi text. It has several different functions but generally points toward self-understanding, self-delusion, or self-motivating. Chapters 22b and 24 warn against conceit, bragging, self promotion, and pride; elsewhere chapter 33 praises自 知 self-knowledge and 自 勝 self-control, and chapters 34 and 39 speak of arrogant vs. humble forms of self-reference 不 自 為 大 / 39 自 稱 孤 寡 不 穀. 自然 “self-so” points to a free state of order in which each part acts of its own accord without being forced or commanded. And is a major theme all through Chinese thought.

自:Chapters 07. 09, 21, 22, 23, 24, 32, 33, 34, 37, 30, 57, 72, 73.
自然: Chapters 17, 23, 25, 51. 54.

INTERPRETATION


Chapter 24 says that the characteristic traits and behaviors of military heroes and proud courtiers — ambition, bragging, self-promotion, and pride — don’t get you anywhere and often bring retribution, either from rivals or from the spirits, for whom these behaviors are as bad as the violation of food taboos. The passage from chapter 22 is simply a negative mirror of part of chapter 24 but develops the claiming not only that bragging (etc.) will not bring you success, but also that not bragging will bring you success. What had been a simple caution has become recipe for success. These lines work the same as do the last two lines of chapter 13, which say that someone who has learned the lessons of the opening passages of the chapter, which seem to demand withdrawal from public life, might be “entrusted with the world” (become chief minister or even king). Chapter 22 belongs with the relatively late chapters 02 and 57, both of shich combine early and late themes, and should be regarded as a late development, and the same might be true of the tags at the end of chapter 13.

Chapter *44 (included in GD) and the closely-related Chapter *46 (the second part of is included in GD).

名 與 身 孰 親?
身 與 貨 孰 多?
得 與 亡 孰 病?
甚 愛 必 大 費
多 藏 必 多 亡

知 足 不 辱
知 止 不 殆
可 以 長 久
Name or body, which is dearer?
Body and property, which is greater?
Gaining and losing, which is more harmful?
The stingy will waste everything..
Hoarders will lose the most.

Know what is enough and you will not be disgraced
Know when to stop and you will not be imperiled
and may live long.
天 下 有 道
卻 走 馬 以 糞
天 下 無 道
戎 馬 生 於 郊

罪 莫 厚 於甚 欲
禍 莫 大 於 不 知 足
咎 莫 憯 於 欲 得

故 知 足 之 足
此 恒 足 矣
In an empire with Dao
fast horses are sent to fertilize fields.
In an empire without Dao
warhorses breed in the outskirts of the capital.

There is no crime greater than excessive need.
There’s no disaster greater than not knowing what is enough.
There is no calamity more grievous than desiring gain.

The satisfaction of knowing what is enough
is the enduring satisfaction.

Chapters 44 and 46 reiterate and develop the Yangist principle first seen in Chapter 13 which holds that that your life and your body are more important than wealth, fame, or high position. These chapters are close together in the Wang Bi text but widely separated in Guodian bundle A, and perhaps are anthologized together as two different developments of a popular theme: 知 足 “Knowing what is enough” (along with “knowing when to stop” in chapter 44). Chapter 46 in its present state implies that wars are the result of royal or lordly greed (see also Sage Dao chapters 03, 12, 53, 75, and 80), but the opening section speaking of war is not part of the GD text, and the GD version of this chapter is much like a reduced version of chapter 44.

Chapter 46 speaks of 甚 欲 excessive need, but these chapters do not propose complete desirelessness or renunciation of goals: chapter 44 proposes that those who are capable of being satisfied will attain long life and perhaps a senior position 長, and (like chapter 13) speaks of the avoidance of 辱 disgrace. They merely warn against the traditional obsessions of royalty, the nobility, and even commoners. Even though “love” and “desire” would be acceptable translations of 愛 and 欲, I have tried to avoid these words because I did not want to evoke the interminable Western discussions of eros and sexual desire. All kinds of neediness are in question here, and sexual desire is not being proposed as their root cause.

NAMES

名 與 身 孰 親? Your name or your body, which is more dear? (46)

“Name” here includes reputation, status, and position in the world. It is you as seen by others. “Body” means you as you experience yourself, your actual physical self, your person, the real you. While the physical body might be in certain respects ignoble, unclean, lowly, or unrefined, being alive and having a body are prerequisites for enjoying every other good thing that there is. The ambitious , violent, and worldly foolishly risk the fundamental thing in order to gain such lesser, external things as fame, power, and wealth. This is a major difference between Chinese culture in general and Christianity: traditional Chinese religion held that your body is precious and holy, a gift from the ancestors, and that it must be tended and kept whole, and this ancient idea stands behind the Daodejing’s anti-militarism.


KEY WORDS

7 Yang Dao chaptersOther Early DaoSage Dao
13 *41 44*28 37
知 足44 4633 37
知 止4432
不 殆44 16 5225 32
長 / 久44 16 5907
甚 欲44
可 欲4403
無 欲01 34 3703 57
有 欲24 3101

明 Bright, perspicuous, perspicacious

The Daodejing plays in the 3 interrelated meanings of the word 明 ming: “famous” (seen by all), “perceptive” (sees everything), and “brightness” (what makes sight possible). Brightness makes distinctions apparent, and for Confucians the making of correct distinctions (correct naming) was of central importance, And Confucian texts speak often speak of “bright virtue”?? (See Soothill, the Hall of Light).

In some of the earlier chapters (chapters 10, 22, and 24 and 33), 明 is taken at face value and treated favorably, meaning either “prominent, famous” (chapters 22, 24, and 33) or “perceptive” (chapter 10), with no trace of the later Daoist reservations about 明. In chapters 27, 36, 41, and 65, however, 明 is treated less respectfully. The word is qualified in the first 3 of these chapters, telling you that the 明 of the Daodejing is not the normal 明 (27: 襲明 “covered light”, 36: 微明 “faint light”, 41: 明道若昧 “the bright way seems dim”), and in chapter 65 the Daodejing 明 is entirely rejected (非以明民,將以 愚之 “Do not enlighten the people, but make them stupid”). The mystical part of the Early Dao is flatly opposed to clarity of distinction, preferring blurring, confusion, and dimness (妙, 混 , 渾, 沒, 忽, 恍, and 芒 in various texts of chapters 01, 14, 15, 20, 21, 27, 35, and 49). As opposed to Confucianism and Mohism, Daoism favors the dark and mysterious 玄 (01, 06, 10, 15, 51, 56, and 65) over the clear and bright 明, and Daoist virtue 德 is a dark virtue 玄德 (chapters 10, 51, 65), not the bright virtue 明 德of the more positive-thinking schools.

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