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  1. Revisiting Chapter 23

    I would like to revisit Chapter 23. There have been some really good discussions in the past but there are couple of ideas I encountered that I think tie the two sections of Ch23 together in a different light and extend understanding a little beyond the usual interpretation. First Section In looking at first six lines, I noticed that they are often translated that winds and storms "cannot" last the whole day. But just as often are translated as "do/does not". That was critical for me as it seemed that "cannot" kinda implies that there is some external constraint involved; perhaps Heaven and Earth but then that suggests wind and rain are something separate. When rendered as "do/does not" it suggests that wind and rain are natrual expressions of Heaven and Earth; there is something intrinsic at work. I then recalled Ch40: Reversion is the action of Tao. (Lin Yutang) This led me to think of Heaven and Earth as representative of a cyclic process. Under Heaven and Earth, wind and rain arise, expend tthemselves and return to a state of calm. So, to be in accord with Dao, one should emulate the cycle of nature. One should arise to activity, then having accomplished (expended) return to a stste of calm and quiet. Second Section The remaining lines then might be taken to illustrate the state of one who is in accord with Dao. But what is it about having calmed down thst allows one to be in accord with Dao? I found a possible answer to this in the concept of ganying. Based on analysis of proto-Daoist texts by Dan G Ried in The Thread of Dao: Ganying is the phenomenon of mutual attraction that exists between things of the same type, This seems to suggest that by calming oneself (meditative state) that the unity of all under Heaven and Earth can be realised. Conclusion This was important to me because it suggests that being in accord with Dao is not purely a philosphical position; that being in accord can be understood as a process. That through the practice of periodically calming onself and experiencing the unity of Dao one can gradually come into accord. This was a real epiphany for me. It connects the philosophy with practice. So, I thought I would put this out there for comment and discussion.