Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds The Dao De Jing is a rhyme text. About 60% of the text is given to us in rhyme, and this is very important because from those rhymes, we can understand the period in which the text was edited together. Probably the text was edited together in the 4th century. From the text we can also understand the period in which the text was born. An awful lot of the Dao De Jing is really a manual on proper governance. How should the human being govern the world? And what it does is it provides an alternative to the attitude that was driving the competing states during the Warring States period.
Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds That it argues that there is a grand analogy and that is that the ruler should be to the people what Dao is to the world and that is that Dao as an organizing idea is inclusive. The Dao as an organizing idea doesn’t force itself on the world. Dao is a way of being in the world that is Zi Ran Er Ran It’s a way that emerges out of the collaboration of all of the Wanwu of all of the different elements that constitute the human experience. And so, the most effective ruler should be a ruler that we don’t even know about.
Skip to 1 minute and 52 seconds The second kind, the second best ruler is a ruler who we know but who we don’t see as interfering with us. And the worst kind of a ruler is a ruler that imposes order on the people. And so just like nature, the rhythms of the seasons, the best kind of a ruler is a ruler who orchestrates order in the world without the world knowing that it is being ordered in any way at all. So the Dao De Jing can be read as a manual for proper governance, for the best way of governing the human experience. Another thing that we can say about the Dao De Jing is that the Dao De Jing is not expository.
Skip to 2 minutes and 46 seconds It doesn’t tell us the way that the world should be. That the Dao De Jing is a text that makes point 31We might say a watched pot never boils, making a point that we ought to be patient, but watched pots always boil if we keep them on the stove long enough. And so the idea is not to explain the way that the world is but it’s to attract the sympathy of the reader to the point that the text is trying to make. And so this is a text that every time we go to it, we derive additional meaning for it. The Dao De Jing achieves coherence in two ways.
Skip to 3 minutes and 35 seconds The first way that the Dao De Jing achieves coherence is by collecting ideas together that encourage us to cultivate ourselves and achieve a life, a meaningful life that is an alternative to the kind of warfare that was the context of this very early text. And so, we can say that the text is coherent in the sense that it provides a strategy for organizing the human experience and optimizing its creative possibilities.
Skip to 4 minutes and 17 seconds But the second way that the text achieves coherence is each one of us, as we read theDao De Jing, brings our own story, our own narrative to the text and that as we live our lives and continue to read the Dao De Jing, the Dao De Jing answers the kinds of issues, the kinds of problems— it provides us with counsel for dealing with problems in the human experience, for dealing with problems in our family, in our community relationships, dealing with problems and the way in which we think about the human experience and how we go about leading meaningful lives.
The Yijing Process Cosmology: The interpretive context (Part 3)
The rhymed Dao De Jing, largely a manual on proper governance, is about Dao. Emerging out of the collaboration of all of the Wanwu, Dao is inclusive. The Dao De Jing is of practical significance to provide us strategies and counsels for various issues and problems.