Taoteching 42

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The eternal Nameless Way gave rise to One. One became aware of itself when One separated out from Other, and there was Two. The interplay between One and Other was a Third. The interplay between the Three gave birth to all things.

When things reduce their forcefulness they get in tune. The aggressive and violent do not attain their natural lifespan. The tallest tree in the forest invites the lumberjack with his chainsaw. The fastest auto on the freeway invites the patrol car.

In celestial mechanics, the two-body problem has a complete solution. It can be solved on a blackboard, and the future positions of the two bodies can be known for any arbitrary time. But when you introduce a third body the system becomes chaotic, and there is no general solution, although the solution can be approximated with numerical methods, which simulate the system by brute force instead of with an elegant but boring single equation. In other words, just by adding a third component, the system takes a quantum leap in complexity and becomes interesting.

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