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Minding

Tao Te Ching
Translation and Interpretation
by Derek Lin


Chapter 49



The sages have no constant mind
They take the mind of the people as their mind
Those who are good, I am good to them
Those who are not good, I am also good to them
Thus the virtue of goodness
Those who believe, I believe them
Those who do not believe, I also believe them
Thus the virtue of belief
The sages live in the world
They cautiously merge their mind for the world
The people all pay attention with their ears and eyes
The sages care for them as children

Interpretation

Tao sages are not closed minded or dogmatic. They do not have inflexible, fixed ideas that can never change. They do not assume that they are always right, so when their opinions differ from those of the people, they will examine alternative perspectives carefully. If the people's ideas have merit, the sages are happy to adopt them as their own.

The compassion of the sages is truly universal. They treat people well, whether or not they are deserving of kindness, because the sages do not prejudge them. They also have enduring faith in the basic decency of humanity. They trust everyone, whether or not a person is trustworthy. In short, the sages expect goodness from people and get it, because people cannot help but raise their own standards to live up to the goodness that the sages see in them
Chapter 49


To have a "mind of one's own" is a prerequisite for living in the modern world.  But i see the modern world as fading fast, at least in the United States.mainly because people are not thoughtful enough, or perhaps they think to much about the wrong things.  But we may end up with the worst features of the modern world combined with the worst features of the medieval world -- a true dystopia -- if we are not already their.  We may find that we have creared "artificial intelligence" without the help of any technology whatsoever.

To have "a mind of one's own" can mean different things in different contexts.  It can mean that one does their own thinking.  Good.  But what are they thinking about? and to what purpose?  Do they distinguish between values and interests?  Is their thinking really mostly about themselves?  Is my thinkiing mostly about myself?

Derek Lin's interpretation seems to contrast having a "constant mind" (his somewhat unique translation) with compassion for others.  This suggests an association of mind with ego.   To say that one wants "no mind" is to say that what the mind is too mindful of is the supposed welfare of the "little self," the fabricated self image that one comes to imagine is the self.

Perhaps the Buddhist's "mindfulness" and the Taoisr's "mindlessness,"  are about the same thing, the use of thought as a tool for going beyond thought toward "consciousness."

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