They call Warren Buffett the sage of Wall Street because he is a most successful investor. His chief advice for investing is this: “Be fearful when others are bold, be bold when others are fearful”. Obviously, this advice frequently applies to life in general. It parallels chapter 73’s He who is fearless in being bold will meet with his death; He who is fearless in being timid will stay alive.
Implementing this advice is another matter. As chapter 70 says, My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice. Why is the understanding easier than the practice? I suppose for the same reason it is easy to imagine yourself climbing Mount Everest and yet difficult for the body to do. This discrepancy between thought and action easily brings about unintended consequences. Hence, chapter 71’s 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.
Couplets and the Co-generating Principle(1) is another way to apply Correlations to practical matters similar to Warren Buffett’s advice. One advantage of the Couplets is that they peel away various issues pertaining to one’s approach to life. For starters, consider how Couplets deal with Buffett’s advice:
Boldness evolves forth into MEEKNESS as it contends, yet MEEKNESS revolves back to boldness as it BOWS DOWN; hence, contend within the MEEKNESS, yet BOW DOWN within the boldness.
As you see, Buffett’s advise and the Couplet’s punch line is essentially the same. However, the Couplet describes the whole process in two parts. The first part portrays the ebb and flow. I find that being more aware of how this pendulum swings gives me a heads up. The second part, the punch line, offers guidance on how best to maintain a modicum of balance. Naturally, my success at this ebbs and flows. Yet, even in utter failure, at least I know what is happening. That alone is worth the price of admission into a Taoist worldview.
(1) My wish to apply Taoist principles to specific emotional issues led me to make up Couplets as a way to see the ebb and flow of life’s happenings more clearly. This soon led me to break perception down further into Correlations (p.565). Words and names were hindering my ability to see life as broadly and impartially as possible. Correlations offers a means to work with chapter 1’s, The way possible to think, runs counter to the constant way, in a somewhat practical way.
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