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18.1 When the Great Way is deserted, then there is humanitarian duty.
18.2 When intelligence comes forth, there is great fabrication.
18.3 When relations are discordant, there is family love.
18.4 When the national polity is benighted and confused, then there are loyal ministers.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation


Meditation:

Chang Chung-yuan comments on this chapter as follows: "...when the great Tao prevails there is a perfect harmony among heaven, earth, and ten thousand things and between the Sage and ordinary men.  Thus when the great compassion prevails in the universe there is no need to teach merely moral principles, such as benevolence and righteousness.  Such principles are artificial restrictions imposed from without and not the real compassion of the heart from within...."

If i ever doubt this, i need only look at a culture or subculture that is not my own.  So many of their values and standards and behavior seem contrived and self-serving.  Then i come to understand they see my culture as artificial and shallow.  Then i realize that if i could be truly objective, i would be able to see my own culture as others see it.

Now i begin to see the meaning of the apparently counter intuitive lines of Czeslaw Milosz' poem "Love"
  Love means to look at yourself
  the way one looks at distant things
  for you are only one thing among many..
  And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
  without knowing it, from various ills.
  A bird and a tree say to him: Friend....

There is no way but the Way.

Prayer:  Holy Loving:  Grant me the gifts without which i am phony,  Amen.

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