The nameless backgrounds the nameable

MWF PHIL 1050.006, 1:00pm, Friday 16 Sep 2016

We took a close look at poem 1 about the Dao (Way), spending time on the (ironic) difference between the Nameless and the nameable. Basically, it is difficult to name the Ultimate Source of Reality and any attempt to name the Source must fail. Laozi does not want us to fall into the trap, however, of accepting only that which can be named as important.

In poem 39, we looked at how harmony in the world arises from “grasping One”–that all is one. When “grasping One” fails, all moves toward disharmony. This can be applied to our human situation because we tend to think about each other in terms of difference rather than one expression of life. The nobility and dignity of being human falls under the desire for all of the different things we can collect.

These were the only two poems we had a chance to discuss. I hope the youth will keep going back and reading them. My target for the rest of the semester would be for the young thinkers to bring up any poem from the collections that they think pertains to class discussion.

For some reason the audio split it up at certain points so when one stops, you must start the next.


Poem 1 in Featured Image from Laozi, Dào Dé Jing, Trans. LU Wenlong and Keith W. Brown, ©2016.
Poem 39 from Laozi, Dào Dé Jing, Tran. LU Wenlong and Keith W. Brown, ©2016.

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