Arriving by assistance of the Whole

Studying Dào Dé Jing #68, we see how the person who would succeed to concluding a labor does not present themself as solely responsible for success. Rather, they comprehend that every endeavor has mutual supports. Nor does such struggle—if Loving—strive for the misuse of power to achieve an end by any means whatsoever.††

Basic power—natural ability—too often becomes honed by hubris into Improving-Power, the possibility of seizing what proves a person’s position of authority. Dé (Arête — Excellence) expressed in someone humbly at the vanguard eschews such “honors.” Even the ancient hermit does not arrive alone at the top of the peak but has arrived by aid of stone, tree, clouds, and the Way. How much more so does the one who takes up Loving Struggle among many folx arrive by the assistance of the Whole which has always already been alongside?

Most who brag of being self-made—to the point of believing their own rhetoric—sooner or later will find themselves self-unmade. Yet even in this, they will become an unmaking alongside all those of whom they took advantage in Violent Struggle.

Those who are good at command
do not flaunt courage
Those good at fighting
do not get angry.

Those good at defeating enemies
do not enter into direct conflict.
Those good at employing people
humble themselves.

This is called the Dé
of non-contention.
This is called the ability
to employ people.
This is called being
in accord with heaven,
the ultimate principle of the ancients.
(Lu & Brown 2018: 56)


†This aphoristic meandering originally appeared on a closed group associated with my Patreon account on 01Sep2019.
††I will have to consider this in terms of Malcolm X’s “by any means” at some point vis. The struggle of all marginalized folx in their situation.


Lu, W. and Brown, K. 2018. Dào Dé Jing: A Translation of the Laozi. Denton, TX: Sparrowhawk.

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