The Garden of Eden story in Genesis parallels the Taoist view of how humanity fell out of touch with Nature: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. Interestingly, chapter 1’s The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way; The name that can be named is not the constant name alludes to the same ‘knowledge’ problem in Genesis.
Later, in the Gospels we find, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. This conflicts with Genesis and the Taoist view. After all, isn’t “the tree of knowledge” built on the foundation of words, e.g., Yin vs. Yang; heaven vs. hell, good vs. bad; death vs. life; peace vs. war; old vs. new; and so on etc.? This ‘tree’ imparts a distorted view of nature as a whole.
The bell curve (graphic above) can be a broader way to view nature. There are two rather rare extremes, a total Yin on one side and a total Yang on the other, with most all aspects of nature sharing a kind of middle ground between these extremes. Our ability to recognize the complementary quality of nature’s entangled reality is weak, to say the least. You can’t have one side without the other, as chapter 2 observes…
The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly;
The whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad.
Thus Something and Nothing produce each other;
The difficult and the easy complement each other;
The long and the short off-set each other;
Note and sound harmonize with each other;
Before and after follow each other.
We hang on to words as discrete realities, and we end up thinking—believing—that we know what we know. We only see what we believe in a kind of self-fulfilling virtual reality. Chapter 71 begins with, To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. Deeply realizing I don’t know is my only way to begin returning to nature, the Garden of Eden.