Without going out the door we can know all under heaven.
Without looking out the window we can see Nature’s way.
He goes out farther, he realizes less,
Accordingly, the wise person goes nowhere yet knows.
Sees nothing yet understands.
Refrains from acting yet accomplishes.
1) no (not) go or come out (exceed; put forth) door (household; family; (bank) account) know (realize; tell; knowledge) land under heaven. 不出户知天下。(bù chū hù zhī tiān xià.)
2) no (not) peep (spy) window see (catch sight of) sky (heaven; weather; nature; God) road (way, principle; speak; think). 不窥牖见天道。(bù kuī yŏu jiàn tiān dào.)
3) his (its, he, it, that; such) go or come out (exceed; put forth) full (overflowing; more) far (distant; remote), his (its, he, it, that; such) know (realize; tell; knowledge) full (overflowing; more) few (little; less; be short). 其出弥远，其知弥少。(qí chū mí yuăn, qí zhī mí shăo.)
4) <grm> is (yes <frml> this; that) use (<v> take <p> according to; because of <adj> so as to <conj> and) sage (holy; sacred) human (man; people) no (not) go (be current; prevail; do) <conj.> and (yet, but) know (realize; tell; knowledge). 是以圣人不行而知。(shì yĭ shèng rén bù xíng ér zhī.)
5) no (not) see (appear, become visible) <conj.> and (yet, but) bright (light; clear; open; honest; understand). 不见而明。(bù jiàn ér míng.)
6) no (not) do (act as; be, mean; support) <conj.> and (yet, but) accomplish (become; result). 不为而成。(bù wéi ér chéng.)
Work in Progress
Again, it all looks just perfect to me. I hope it is not just truth and beauty in the eye of the beholder ;-). I did see a need for a few commas, but that was it.
I find it very helpful to consider we humans as just another species of animal, and leave out the self-promotional baggage. In this case, I think of the “grass is greener” instinct that drives all life to reach beyond where it is. For an big old sea turtle or a giant redwood tree, that ‘reach‘ moves at a slower pace than for a humming bird or a spring weed growing in my garden. Likewise, some people are driven more keenly to reach further, farther and faster than others. For them, this chapter would unlikely resonate, unless, in their heart of hearts, they were looking to the ‘other side of the coin’ for balance. Mostly though, we are drawn to the message that resonates with what we wish to hear… no, what we NEED to hear.
I left home and emigrated to Australia and wandered the planet – North, South, East, West, high and low – for years and years. I finally realized that I was really searching for home. The reason I left in the first place was that I had no pressing reason to stay. I gradually became so comfortable being a ‘foreigner’ that cultural distinctions disappeared. Scratch the skin(1) and people began to look the same everywhere. Although, ironically, I also notice how incredibly unique each individual was, at least on the surface.
Yes, straightforward words seem paradoxical. The point here is that what I came to see, I came to see from within. Others who travel far and wide can just as easily come away without the ‘profound sameness‘ that I eventually realized. In my view, those who continue to see differences do so because they need just that. They were born with a little more of the “grass is greener” drive instinct than I was. In other words, I didn’t choose to focus on the similarities between different ‘skin colors’, just as others don’t choose to focus on the differences. On that bell curve of existence, some lie on the ‘right’ some on the ‘left’ and many somewhere in the middle.
The bottom line here, in my view, is that what we see ‘out there’ in the world is a reflection of who and what we are ‘in here’. Biology determines how our senses react to external stimuli. We see the world in color, not because it is that color, but because our visual neurons ‘interpret’ the frequencies as color. Of course, there is no sound reason why we have any business perceiving biology’s elaborate hoodwink in the first place. The more hoodwinked we are, the more we play life by the rules, as they may be. Yet, we can to some extent see beyond the fog of war—the battle ground of life. I suppose even biology has its limits… the mystery is actually the last ‘bottom line’. Washing away the mystery, can you see life as flawless?
For the record:
|Similarities correlates to:|
|truth||passive||broad||continuous||death||space & time.|
|Differences correlates to:|
|illusion||active||narrow||transient||life||mass & energy.|
(1) Scratch the skin pertains to skin color superficially, but ‘scratch the surface’ also pertains to culture, tradition, habit, ideal, religion, politics, … you name it. Indescribable is its true reality.
Without going out the door, we can know all under heaven.
Without looking out the window, we can see Nature’s way.
He goes out farther, he realizes less.
Accordingly, the wise person goes nowhere, yet knows.
Sees nothing, yet understands.
Refrains from acting, yet accomplishes.
Chapter of the Week
What if the world we see ‘out there’ is simply a reflection of ourselves (who we are ‘in here’). That is my sense of it, and this chapter points that way. Only by knowing yourself, the ‘in here’, can you know the ‘out there’. Put another way, what we see ‘out there’ is merely a reflection of what is ‘in here’. Therefore, through knowing one’s self, one can know all under heaven without going out the door.
Going here and there and everywhere is often a way of distracting yourself, avoiding the uncomfortable unknown (fear and uncertainty) you inevitably face ‘in here’. How can something so straightforward and simple be so ‘invisible’? I can only assume that nature doesn’t want us to look ‘in here’ all that much. And even when we do, we tend to judge what we see ‘in here’ by the apparent reality we believe exists ‘out there’. The irony is overwhelming at times!
The further one goes, the less one knows may parallel my recent Why Do Idiot Savants Run Things? post. Looking farther ‘out there’ narrows one’s view. You see more of less, and less of more. If knowing is about having a sense of the Mystery upon mystery ‘big picture’, then a narrower view means knowing more about less. This is the classic, ‘not seeing the forest for the trees’. Why would one go farther and farther anyway? Going farther is a symptom; we go farther when we don’t know contentment (have enough of what we desire or value). Therefore, rewording this as, “the less one knows, the farther one goes” may be more accurate, from a symptom’s point of view anyway.
More can be accomplished by being patient and letting nature takes its course. Of course, this is very hard to do. A ‘just get it done’ instinct drives us to resolve uncertainty, settle issues and be done with it so we can go on to the next ‘greener pasture’. Haste makes waste is no empty saying. To forgo the ‘greener pastures’ and live ‘in here’ now requires a truer understanding of life.
A truer understanding of life naturally arises from self understanding. Without self understanding what can one really know, how can one interpret experience wisely? The more one tries to go somewhere and do something to gain self understanding, the less chance they will find it, directly anyway (yes, in the end, ‘all roads lead to Rome’). Self understanding is found within; one need go nowhere, do nothing.
Obviously, the next question is: What is self understanding really? I boil that down to self honesty and digging down into my sense of life priorities – what do I truly want out of life over the long term? A motto of mine(1) speaks to this: ‘Short term pleasure attracts long term pain. Short term pain attracts long term pleasure’. The more I know what I truly want of life, the more the later guides my moment.
(1) This motto goes back to my years in Japan; a time of serious self examination. I find it as true today as ever, and helps me not second guess life as much as I might otherwise perhaps.