The virtue ladder - my musings and experiences

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There is a ranking of virtues in the Dao De Jing that will vary depending on translation, but those differences are of minor concern for the intention to share my thoughts on the general idea and see what you think, whether you have made experiences that might match, contradict, or amend it.

I tried to keep my thoughts for conveying the idea as concise as possible (because I also tweeted it, haha.)


  • Everybody thinks less of that which is below them but also of that which is above them.
  • Dao De Jing virtue ladder: righteousness < justice < kindness < integrity < Dao
  • Just people are afraid of approaching life with kindness, since they might have to sacrifice justice for it, which they believe is necessary. They might falsely believe that kindness merely builds on justice, like a luxury you can afford once you have justice, and since they themselves see the world through the eyes of justice at their stage of development, believing that justice has to rule, they consider kindness a frivolous pursuit at that time, or maybe a strategy for managing weakness. (Which those of integrity might, too.)
  • Kind people are afraid of approaching life with integrity, since they might have to sacrifice kindness for it. That which is unkind is generally perceived as harmful by them, since they themselves are yearning for kindness, i.e. to not get hurt.
  • People with integrity will tendentially have an even harder life than kind people because even kind people will oppose them.
  • Kind people can easily be kind to the just. To be kind to the righteous may be a bit harder. But when trying to be kind towards people who are acting from a core of integrity, they might tendentially resort to passive-aggressiveness and mistake it for kindness. And people of Integrity will see this. Such a clash of virtue can cause kind people to drop back down to justice level if they believe that their passive-aggressiveness is as much kindness as those people deserve. Basically, a higher-virtue interaction is potentially like a rocky shore that the ship might shatter at.
  • This also shows that raising your virtue level is not a struggle like climbing a mountain. Since it is all about overcoming fear, it is profoundly related to surrender, to inner peace. If you struggle in interaction with higher virtue, it is resistance in action.
Edited by Owledge

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