The Mediation of The Concept of Balance in the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu

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The mediation of the concept of balance in the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu; ‘The way’ is cluttered with constant imagery of contradictory views which are both compelling and insightful, through which we are taken on a journey, our final destination being the true meaning of life. In a world where we are all yearning for the meaning for life, true harmony and real balance it is no surprise that the Tao Te Ching is a very haunting piece of literature that holds the reader in an almost trans like state of mind as it attempts to portray the way to accomplish the above. ‘The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.’ The opening two lines of this collection of 81 proverbial chapters introduces the reader to the superstitious sense of mystery that prevails right until the very end. From a literary perspective we can see this as a paradox in itself. It is nothing unusual in literary texts to find the use of contrasting images andor ideals so as to produce a clear image in the reader’s mind of what the author is trying to convey. The Tao is no different in this aspect seeing as on analysis of the first lines, they in other words mean that the ‘way’ which can be described is not a true representation of it; and the name given to it does not do justice to what it really is. This is a very strange way to introduce the subject matter, however it brings into focus the main element of this text, that being the fact that to understand we must rid ourselves of the common definitions we have given to things whilst accepting the things we cannot see, however believing in their existence. The original text was written roughly 2,500 years ago in Chinese so when you connect the dots it is interes... ... middle of paper ... ...gether once we have familiarized ourselves with Taoist goodness and accept all its flaws. How balance is truly mediated cannot be rectified completely, although I believe it is fair to state that the Tao is similar to a ‘do it yourself’ manual, it plays with and stirs up the notion of the need for clarification in the reader’s mind on a psychologically intricate level and then releases us back into the labyrinth of life to fend for ourselves. Sources: Primary text: Feng, Gia-Fu and Jane English (trans.). Lao Tsu-Tao Te Ching. New York: Vintage Books, 1989 Secondary text(s): Cleary, Thomas (trans.). The essential Tao. San Francisco; Harper San Francisco, 1991 Lau, D.C. (trans.). Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. New York: Penguin Books, 1963 Mitchell, Stephen and Stanley Lombardo (trans.). The Tao Te Ching. Indianapolis Cambridge: Hackett Publishing company inc. 1933

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