Wednesday, February 23, 2011

20: I Am Alone


What's the difference between yes and no?
What's the difference between beautiful and ugly?
Must one dread what others dread?
Oh barbarity! Will it never end?
Other people are joyous, like on the feast of the ox,
Like on the way up to the terrace in the spring.
I alone am inert, giving no sign,
Like a newborn baby who has not learned to smile.
I am wearied, as if I lacked a home to go to.
Other people have more than they need,
I alone seem wanting.
I have the mind of a fool,
Understanding nothing.
The common people see clearly,
I alone am held in the dark.
The common people are sharp,
Only I am clumsy,
Like drifting on the waves of the sea,
Without direction.
Other people are occupied,
I alone am unwilling, like the outcast.
I alone am different from the others,
Because I am nourished by the great mother.

I Am Alone

In this the 20th chapter, Lao Tzu's tone suddenly changes. It gets personal, which is very rare in the Tao Te Ching. There is even something close to anguish showing...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 20 Translation and Commentary

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