Alo and De Benevolence
(PD) Alo and De Lake on Land.
Copyright ©2018 October 02, 2018
Alo: 'Inner benevolence, cause of beautiful, to choose not presence benevolence, why obtain knowledge?' The old words, do not, of course, easily mirror modern words, but the concept appears to speak well enough... 'inner benevolence, it is as the expression of one's own inner beauty... to not choose the presence of benevolence within one's self, why then obtain the knowledge of benevolence?'
De: Yes... and it is very close to your own words of chidao... it is one's own choice... and, also, there is no value in a person memorizing many words about chidao if the person will not choose to live their own path.
Alo: Yes... very close... I feel comfortable with the concept.
De: It is, unfortunate, that the word 'benevolence' itself has no meaning... one man's outward act of an uncaring kindness, is another man's inward act of caring... to us, the word implies an outwardly expressed inner tone that is accompanied with a chorus of caring emotions... but to some people, the word merely implies to not behave cruelly.
Alo: Agreed... and too, the unknowing of what the word 'benevolence' means, is a shared unknowing among all cultures... people to the west debate the word's meaning... people to the east debate the word's meaning... almost three-thousand years of debates, and still no one really knows what the original word was intended to mean. Part of the difficulty is that the sentence's first word can infer 'in, inward, inner, neighborhood', or even 'a nation's land'... if we could be sure of what the first word had originally meant, then it might help explain what 'benevolence' means.
De: But, the idea of the first word implying a neighborhood or nation, that makes no sense to me... a benevolent neighborhood? Like ours? But still, our neighborhood has quality, because of everyone's quality inward traits... to me, there is a conflict in the old writing if we were to say that the first word focuses only on outward behaviors, while the sentence gives no importance to inner qualities.
Alo: I agree, but... that is the way that the sentence has been translated by all known translators... they all wrote the idea of the first word implying a neighborhood. I have heard some native individuals speak of the first two words to imply a 'nation beautiful', which is a good thought, but I am not finding a similar intention in the words themselves.
De: Cultural, again... each culture is different... has different values, and different ways of interpreting life... people today may speak the same words as other people speak, but the people use the same words with different meanings, and the meanings are not understood by other people. Then, whatever we might choose as a definition of an old word, we already know that our definition cannot be what the original writer intended.
Alo: Correct... the best that we can hope for, is to glean a general concept from the old words, and to then contrast the concept to what we are able to see in our own culture. It is helpful that the old sentence has other sentences that follow, and the following sentences help to define what the first sentence likely inferred... 'non-benevolent person dwells in happy laughter, benevolent person calm and content in his benevolence'.
De: Yes, that does help... and the following words do appear to help define what the first sentence likely pointed to... to us, a benevolent person is peaceful inside... his peacefulness is a creation of his centeredness... but people who are not centered, they dwell within selfish things, of desiring external pleasures... the people have no control over their emotions, and though the people might sometimes outwardly behave with a form of kindness, the outward act is not an honest expression of their inward traits.
Alo: Agreed... and I believe that you touched upon a very important angle... an outward behavior that does not express one's inward traits, is not honest.
De: Oh, but that also means... if the old writing had implied a neighborhood of people behaving benevolently without the people themselves first being of inner qualities, then that would sum to the reality of the neighborhood being dishonest... not a place where I would wish to live...
Alo: Me neither. But here is one of the many examples of why the old writings have been translated in so many different ways... each person translates the old words relative to the person's present culture and the person's own inner qualities... most translators lived in a dishonest culture, and so it was to be expected that the translators would not have recognized the contradiction of claiming a neighborhood to be benevolent without the people themselves being inwardly benevolent.
De: True... much like today... the outsiders often claim of themselves to be benevolent, but, it is easy to see that the claim is not true.
Alo: One corner of the puzzle is the general interpretation of how an old writing relates to a modern culture... a second corner is of no one knowing what the word 'benevolence' actually means... a third corner is that it is dishonest to outwardly express what is not inwardly true... there are many corners to the puzzle, and the more that we study the puzzle, the corners continue to multiply.
De: Yes... 'Not puzzled, not start, not want-speak, not express-interest, to hold up one corner, not with three corners up, to imitate not again also'... what we had talked about before...
Alo: Yes... it is interesting to me to see how our interpretations are lived-out in our own lives, and too, how the old writings appear to be of harmony with themselves if we permit the words to imply similar definitions as our own.
De: It is still uncomfortable to me, however... we cannot know what an ancient culture might have been like, which also means that we cannot be sure of what the old writings really meant.
Alo: True... even the outsiders of today cannot know what our community's culture is like... and we do not really know what their culture is like... all guesses... all assumptions...
Alo: Also, the last word of the sentence, to some people, the word implies 'awareness'... some people think of 'awareness' as merely being conscious, or possessing a worded knowledge of a thing... but to other people, 'awareness' means to be fully conscious, of a degree of 'enlightened' awake-ness that is a high goal in some ideologies. It is interesting to me to wonder if the old men had known what an 'enlightened' awareness was... and if so, then the old writings attain a deeper and more meaningful message...
De: Yes, very interesting... very... that would then be saying 'why attain enlightenment if there is no inner beauty?'...
Alo: Yes, and it is so very true... many people, they sit and hum at walls, but the people are dead inside... empty inside... no glowing warmths, no centeredness, no beauty... their awareness is merely being conscious, and being selfish within the goal of attaining a personal reward...
De: The corners of the puzzle, continue to multiply...
Alo: Yes... but also interesting, is to ask... might it be possible, that our community today, might have been close to what the old men had wished for?
De: Ah... that does settle deeply, with degrees of happiness, and warmths, for the old men, as well as for our own people...
Alo: A neighborhood, like ours, of benevolence... if the old writings had not later focused upon a 'middle way' for the general population, then I would not be so uncomfortable with the first word implying 'neighborhood', but... still... without individuals' quality inner qualities, there could never exist a benevolent neighborhood anyway.
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Updated October 02, 2018
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