Will

James Legge Translation (1891): "Like the Waves Carried About By the Wind"??

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I am a little bit perplexed by the following passage (https://ctext.org/zhuangzi/heaven-and-earth):

 

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These men will not go where their mind does not carry them, and will do nothing of which their mind does not approve. Though all the world should praise them, they would (only) get what they think should be loftily disregarded; and though all the world should blame them, they would but lose (what they think) fortuitous and not to be received - the world's blame and praise can do them neither benefit nor injury. Such men may be described as possessing all the attributes (of the Dao), while I can only be called one of those who are like the waves carried about by the wind.' When he returned to Lu, (Zi-gong) reported the interview and conversation to Confucius, who said, 'The man makes a pretence of cultivating the arts of the Embryonic Age. He knows the first thing, but not the sequel to it. He regulates what is internal in himself, but not what is external to himself.
 

 

(obviously there's more to the passage context that I had to cut out)

 

I really love the phrase "like the waves carried about by the wind," as it seems to perfectly describe the ideal Daoist (someone who is carried through life in a natural manner, "going with the flow," so to speak). But it seems to me that the passage takes a negative view of living "like the waves carried about by the wind." It appears to contrast that with living with "all the attributes of the Dao." 

 

Is there something I'm missing about the context? Help!! :P

Edited by Will
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Yes because these men have only mastered themselves, but not outside, and connection with the macrocosm.
Hence they are attacked by others outside them.
There may also be a reference to pre-post natal chi (Embryonic Age).
 

The man makes a pretence of cultivating the arts of the Embryonic Age. He knows the first thing, but not the sequel to it. He regulates what is internal in himself, but not what is external to himself. If he had intelligence enough to be entirely unsophisticated, and by doing nothing to seek to return to the normal simplicity, embodying (the instincts of) his nature, and keeping his spirit (as it were) in his arms, so enjoying himself in the common ways, you might then indeed be afraid of him! But what should you and I find in the arts of the embryonic time, worth our knowing?'

 

Waves carried by the wind is not complete because it's only 2 elements, and if you are carried you are not participating so it is partial.  The goal is to be fully unified with existence which includes acting-in-union, and inner-outer ... being carried or retiring is a common fantasy of human beings who wish to take a break.   But that is not Tao.

 

imo

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50 minutes ago, Will said:

Such men may be described as possessing all the attributes (of the Dao), while I can only be called one of those who are like the waves carried about by the wind.'

yes, good catch

 

Legge mistranslated this passage. I should be

 

I call them wind-wave (disturbed) people

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2 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:

yes, good catch

 

Legge mistranslated this passage. I should be

 

I call them wind-wave (disturbed) people

 

Wait really? In what sense do you mean "disturbed"?

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I tried searching for this info yesterday and couldn't find it - is the Legge translation based off of the Wang Bi version of the text? I'm specifically wondering about the Chinese text at ctext. Thanks.

Edited by Aetherous
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1 hour ago, Aetherous said:

I tried searching for this info yesterday and couldn't find it - is the Legge translation based off of the Wang Bi version of the text? I'm specifically wondering about the Chinese text at ctext. Thanks.

 

To the best of my knowledge, Legge's translation of the Zhuangzi was first published in 1891, in this book (link below is to a publicly-available digital copy):

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=jOdHAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA322&lpg=PA322&dq=Such+men+may+be+described+as+possessing+all+the+attributes&source=bl&ots=VQpUfJb56E&sig=QuzUOPo2JA5T0thgPOTKrn5XZps&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGs_D44e3eAhVK1oMKHXUHChkQ6AEwCXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Such men may be described as possessing all the attributes&f=false

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8 hours ago, Aetherous said:

I tried searching for this info yesterday and couldn't find it - is the Legge translation based off of the Wang Bi version of the text? I'm specifically wondering about the Chinese text at ctext. Thanks.

wiki says it does

 

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10 hours ago, Will said:

 

Wait really? In what sense do you mean "disturbed"?

Trad.  
fēng bō literally says wind-wave but it is an expression:
disturbance crisis disputes restlessness 
 
 
Quote

"Such men may be described as possessing all the attributes (of the Dao), ....." but to me they are just disturbed, messed up folks.

 

 

Legge did not recognise the expression, and also got tangled up in the grammar. Happens to the best of us.

 

Edited by Taoist Texts
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Let's remember though, Legge had to do almost all his own work while translating.  All things considered, I think he did a damn good job.

 

And true, later translators of the Chuang Tzu were able to do better with certain concepts than he was able to do.  But this takes nothing away from Legge's work.

 

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On 11/24/2018 at 2:47 PM, Will said:

I am a little bit perplexed by the following passage (https://ctext.org/zhuangzi/heaven-and-earth):

 

 

(obviously there's more to the passage context that I had to cut out)

 

I really love the phrase "like the waves carried about by the wind," as it seems to perfectly describe the ideal Daoist (someone who is carried through life in a natural manner, "going with the flow," so to speak). But it seems to me that the passage takes a negative view of living "like the waves carried about by the wind." It appears to contrast that with living with "all the attributes of the Dao." 

 

Is there something I'm missing about the context? Help!! :P

 

It is not mistranslated, you misread the passage.

When he says "like the waves carried about by the wind," he is saying he is NOT like a Daoist.

The full passage begins with the "sage" looking like a fool:
 

Quote

 

If you would (only) forget the energy of your spirit, and neglect the care of your body, you might approximate (to the Tâo). But while you cannot regulate yourself, what leisure have you to be regulating the world? Go on your way, Sir, and do not interrupt my work.'

Tsze-kung shrunk back abashed, and turned pale. He was perturbed, and lost his self-possession, nor did he recover it, till he had walked a distance of thirty lî. His disciples then said, 'Who was that man? Why, Master, when you saw him, did you change your bearing, and become pale, so that you have been all day without returning to yourself?' He replied to them, 'Formerly I thought that there was but one man in the world, and did not know that there was this man.

 

 

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They who hold fast and cleave to the Tâo are complete in the qualities belonging to it. Complete in those qualities, they are complete in their bodies. Complete in their bodies, they are complete in their spirits. To be complete in spirit is the way of the sage. (Such men) live in the world in closest union with the people, going along with them, but they do not know where they are going. Vast and complete is their simplicity! Success, gain, and ingenious contrivances, and artful cleverness, indicate (in their opinion) a forgetfulness of the (proper) mind of man. These men will not go where their mind does not carry them, and will do nothing of which their mind does not approve. Though all the world should praise them, they would (only) get what they think should be loftily disregarded; and though all the world should blame them, they would but lose (what they think) fortuitous and not to be received;-- the world's blame and praise can do them neither benefit nor injury. Such men may be described as possessing all the attributes (of the Tâo), while I can only be called one of those who are like the waves carried about by the wind.'


He is saying those men hold true to the Dao while he is buffeted about by the winds of praise and blame.
 

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On 4/17/2019 at 1:49 AM, Song of the Dao said:

It is not mistranslated, you misread the passage.

do you know any Chinese?

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On 4/20/2019 at 12:57 AM, Taoist Texts said:

do you know any Chinese?

 

No. But your translation was not useless to me.

 

I am saying the mistranslation is insignificant and has nothing to do with why the OP was confused. I understood it fine without any need to fix the translation.

 

 

Quote

 

But it seems to me that the passage takes a negative view of living "like the waves carried about by the wind." It appears to contrast that with living with "all the attributes of the Dao." 

 

Is there something I'm missing about the context? Help!!

 

 

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Don't we all find the writing to be a compliment to the men?  Ie that they have such equanimity that they not influenced by the outside.  Insults and praise do not move them.  Such maturity was often needed to be proved inorder to begin advanced metaphysical study. 

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Posted (edited)

@Song of the Dao, your interpretation seems very plausible (thanks for offering it!). Although, like you, I can't actually read Chinese, so @Taoist Texts's interpretation also remains plausible with respect to the original text. 

 

Either way, it is clear that the phrase involving wind and waves is intended to have a negative connotation -- something Zhuangzi thinks is un-Daoist, so to speak. 

 

---------------

 

Also, random question, but what happened to @Marblehead? Did they leave the forum? :(

Edited by Will

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10 hours ago, Will said:

@Song of the Dao, your interpretation seems very plausible (thanks for offering it!). Although, like you, I can't actually read Chinese, so @Taoist Texts's interpretation also remains plausible with respect to the original text. 

 

Either way, it is clear that the phrase involving wind and waves is intended to have a negative connotation -- something Zhuangzi thinks is un-Daoist, so to speak. 

 

---------------

 

Also, random question, but what happened to @Marblehead? Did they leave the forum? :(

Our marble of friends Marblehead passed away last December.

Not a day goes by I don't recall him with deep affection and often a chuckle thinking of one of his adroit comebacks.

 

What an authentic joy he was to communicate with, even when we steeply disagreed.

Truly one of the rare ones.  *raises a mug*  Cheers Marble... wherever you flow now.

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5 hours ago, silent thunder said:

Our marble of friends Marblehead passed away last December.

Not a day goes by I don't recall him with deep affection and often a chuckle thinking of one of his adroit comebacks.

 

What an authentic joy he was to communicate with, even when we steeply disagreed.

Truly one of the rare ones.  *raises a mug*  Cheers Marble... wherever you flow now.

 

Oh... :(:(

 

I miss him too, even though I only knew him for a short time.

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