Taoteching 40

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The direction of the eternal Nameless Way is to return. The purpose of the eternal Nameless Way is to temper excess.

Everything is elevated to existence. Existence is elevated from non-existence.

A disciple told Master Ji, "Master, your words seem to defy reason."

Master Ji replied, "Reason is for cutting away truths and filtering out truths, so as to arrive at the truth you are looking for. Reason is useless for growing and nourishing truths."

"But Master Ji," the disciple objected, "reason is the foundation of our system of justice!"

"Exactly," Master Ji replied. "That is why our society's righteousness is based on cutting and filtering, on refraining from doing evil things instead of accomplishing good things."

"Master Ji, what about when there is a tragedy, such as a typhoon or an earthquake, and the people are blamed for somehow offending the gods?"

Master Ji said, "Those who worship at the altar of reason cannot accept the capriciousness of nature. They must have an explanation for everything. So they say the gods are angry and sit in moral judgment of the people."

"So the supernatural is real, Master Ji?"

"Rather, our world contains infinite complexities. To harness it is to spoil it. The days are bright, the night is dark. Winds blow, floods come. The seasons are hot and cold. These things exist beyond man's puny attempts to control them."

"Still, Master Ji, men often succeed in their way, and take pride in their cleverness."

Master Ji replied, "Nature abhors monuments to man's cleverness, attacking his walls with moss and erosion and crumbling his cities to dust. Only the ever-renewing patterns of life are permanent."

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