The sage has no mind of his own. He takes as his own the mind of the people.
In youth I wanted to be unique (BE somebody) and rationalized all the various ways I stood out from them people. I suppose insecurity fed this need, which promised that BEing unique would make me secure. In truth, the opposite is true. The more unique I felt, the greater my sense of isolation, which made me all the more insecure. Finally, as the years go by, I feel more secure and less unique. Is my increasing sense of security taking the steam out of my need to be unique, or is realizing my lack of uniqueness, i.e., taking as my own, the mind of the people, making me more secure? They are so intertwined, both are causes and effects.
The quietest and most constant part of my mind, I’ve come to realize, is the same mind that is within all—people for sure, but everything else too (as I feel it). It’s universal. The unique personality side of mind is also universal—not in content, but in character. Thus, I like to dance and eat ice cream while you like to sing and eat cake. The constancy here lies in the reality of desire, NOT in what we desire. Knowing that I have no mind of my own, but instead share common ground with everything else softens my sense of separate self. This deepens my sense of connection. Losing my self allows me to join the ‘cosmic family’. All that stands between me and eternity is this sense, this illusion, of self!
It was easy to take as my own, the mind of the people, when I realized I had no (unique) mind of my own. It’s all a matter of perspective—how I look at my empire. Taking as my own is the passive result of a changing viewpoint. At birth, my viewpoint was self-centered. I was the center of the universe. As this viewpoint widens I become more connected with the universe. Me and it, blend into WE.
Those who are good I treat as good. Those who are not good I also treat as good.
In so doing I gain in goodness. Those who are of good faith I have faith in.
Those who are lacking in good faith I also have faith in. In so doing I gain in
Those who are not good I also treat as good is very Christian in tone. Doing this, like ‘turning the other cheek’ always seemed an impossibility. Taken as a dutiful thing to do, it is. I just can’t forgive unless I FEEL forgiveness. It must blossom from within. I find I’m actually treating those who are not good, as good more now. And this relates directly to how deeply I take as my own the mind of the people.
Who chooses to be not good? When I feel good, I act good. Goodness produces goodness and is it’s own reward. It arises from inner peace. As long as I’m feeling good within, I can’t help but treating those who are not good, as good. Not good, whether in action or thought, arises out of grasping for what I don’t have. Not good is one result of discontentment. And that’s why, there is no disaster greater than not being content, [see ch. 46].
The sage in his attempt to distract the mind of the empire seeks urgently to
muddle it. The people all have something to occupy their eyes and ears, and the
sage treats them all like children.
Taking the mind of the empire by itself suggests that the sage is acting upon the empire—an actor and an object acted upon. However, the point becomes more profound when taken together with he takes as his own the mind of the people in Verse 110 above. When the sage muddles the mind of the empire, he muddles his own mind. Thus, vulgar people are alert. I alone am muddled, [see ch. 20].
Out of the mind comes judgment. And from my judgment follows action. No wonder it’s wise to seek urgently to muddle it, my mind. The sooner I become reflective and circumspect, the more I can defuse short sighted judgments which only lead to wasteful action. Being muddled gives time to consider the big picture.
I only realized how arbitrary the distinction was between child and adult after I had children. We think there is a difference because of the different somethings we use to occupy eyes and ears. But really, the game is the same—it’s just the ‘anti’, or the stakes, that go up. So, for example, instead of throwing rocks ‘adults’ drop bombs. The process of maturing begins when we are born and never ends.