道美 Tao Beauty #22
© Tao Beauty - bone structure of Daodejing #36 (English commas added).
Copyright ©2019 June 13, 2019
One of the many keys that define the legitimacy of a writing, is the author's ability to phrase their words within a concept that suggests that the author knows what the topic is. Especially important within ideological writings, is that the legitimacy of an author's claims of 'personal abilities' are evidenced within, and judged by, how the author describes their claims.
A frequent example is of authors claiming to be 'enlightened' with the ability to know everything within their own minds and bodies, but, the claims are found to be false because the authors cannot describe any thought, nor describe an emotion, nor describe anything else within their minds and bodies. It is one thing to purposefully avoid giving detailed descriptions to the public, but even if the author claims to be purposefully avoiding speaking of descriptions, still will the author's degree of knowledge of the topic be unintentionally described by how the author phrases sentences.
The topic of beauty is very important, because, an individual's inability to describe how and why the sense of beauty arises within one's self, also mandates that the individual cannot be knowledgeable of parallel topics like love, virtue, emotions, kindness, benevolence, biology, psychology, and the ideologies that include science.
Below are the original words of the first two sentences within modern versions of Daodejing section #2, plus a rough word-per-word English draft translation:
'Heaven below all know beautiful it be beautiful while evil stop.
All know good it be good while not good stop.'
The following are seven public domain translations of the first two sentences within Daodejing's section #2:
"All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is." (James Legge 1891)
"When all in the world understand beauty to be beautiful, then ugliness exists. When all understand goodness to be good, then evil exists." (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"Among mankind, the recognition of beauty as such implies the idea of ugliness, and the recognition of good implies the idea of evil." (Lionel Giles 1905)
"When everyone in the world became conscious of the beauty of the beautiful it turned to evil; They became conscious of the goodness of the good and ceased to be good." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"Everywhere it is obvious that if beauty makes a display of beauty, it is sheer ugliness. It is obvious that if goodness makes a display of goodness, it is sheer badness." (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"All men know the existence of beauty, Beauty, cleft asunder, is ugliness. All men know the existence of Love. Love, cleft asunder, is hatred." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"When every one recognizes beauty to be only a masquerade, then it is simply ugliness. In the same way goodness, if it is not sincere, is not goodness." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
Giles' abbreviated translation, done well for a thirty-year-old man, presented suitable logic within a loose frame of conversational English... the other six translations presented irrational scholarly concepts.
The underlying concept — relative to the section's following sentences, as well as relative to other topics within Daodejing — appears to suggest that beauty and ugly/evil are mutuals... but, also, the sentences appear to suggest that the sense of beauty cannot arise without there also arising a sense of evil/ugly. The sentences also appear to suggest that evil/ugly existed first, before beauty... that there must first be something evil/ugly before something can be sensed as beautiful.
In the real world, there can exist a non-extreme of either polarity, where an individual's environment is common... no ugliness... no evil... no beauty... nothing out of the ordinary... nothing to cause a rise of emotional change... but still the individual can later experience the sense of beauty when a thing becomes present that enables the individual to interpret the thing as beautiful.
To look out one's door... see one's white wooden deck, see the large trees within about a foot from the deck, each tree grown by seed planted by one's self, see the green leaves on branches that hang down, covering most of the deck... the spring air is very comfortable, and the whole of the scene is very agreeable to an individual who has a love for Nature, sufficient enough to enable the sense of beauty. The walls inside the house are not ugly... nothing inside the house is ugly... the house interior is simply common ordinary.
The written claims, that beauty first requires ugliness/evil, are false claims, and prove that the authors did not know what the topic is. Within an ideological writing, if an author is able to make the mistake of claiming that the personal physical firsthand experience of beauty requires ugliness/evil, then the mistake also voids everything else that the author claimed.
Word-mutuals... up and down are word-mutuals, imaginary concepts created within one's mind while the body is experiencing real life...
Left and right are word-mutuals, imaginary concepts created within one's mind while the body is experiencing real life...
Within the use of the English language, the concept-words 'beauty' and 'ugly' may be mentally imagined and judged as polarities, but the real-life sense of beauty is not an imaginary concept created within one's mind. An individual can experience beauty without having ever experienced ugly... it requires the firsthand experience of seeing ugly before an individual can know what ugly is.
A self-observing male, can look at a distant female, and describe by what inner processes that the sense of beauty is created... describe, which body portions are first evaluated... describe, how the proportions are weighed... describe, body language... describe, outward expressions of inner qualities... and enter into very lengthy descriptions of verbs occurring within himself, all occurring very quickly, and summing to whether the female is attractive to him, or not. Scientists cannot do it, philosophers cannot do it, academicians cannot do it, dictionary-makers cannot do it, ideologists cannot do it, no known individual claiming 'enlightenment' for himself can do it.
If an individual is not able to self-observe, then that is okay, but the individual ought to accept the reality that they are not qualified to speak of beauty, and especially not qualified to translate writings that speak of beauty.
Daodejing's writings about mutuals, are valid, but only valid relative to words, and relative to self-invented imaginary abstract thoughts that do not relate to this Reality...
In the real world, in this Reality, there could be no thinking if no 'real mutuals', no memories, no emotions, no sensory perceptions, no sense of beauty, and no life, if no 'real mutuals'. Individuals, able to self-observe, are aware of verb-actions that occur in different directions, different speeds, different curves, and in all ways different, without any being a mutual. The common concept of 'mutual' is an abstract thing... not real... and any individual, who is unable to self-observe why, ought not speak of the topic.
Unfortunately, Daodejing's sentence of beauty, does not relate to real life, nor relate to this Reality... the section's third sentence is the judgment of the first two:
My own draft translation: 'Therefore have nothing mutually unprocessed.' The original words are very simple, the words relate to each other, and the words relate to the sentences that follow... and the third sentence's meaning, regardless of synonyms, still points to the underlying concept that 'all things in Nature are mutuals'.
Public domain translations of the third sentence:
"So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other" (James Legge 1891)
"Thus existence suggests non-existence;" (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"There is the same mutual relation between existence and non-existence in the matter of creation;" (Lionel Giles 1905)
"Thus not-being and being arise the one from the other." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"For" (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"Therefore "possessions" and "Inner Life" interdepend in life." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"So existence and non-existence are incompatible." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
If the author's first two sentences pointed at mutuals... if the author's third sentence reconfirmed the claim that all things are mutuals... and if much of the remainder of Daodejing copies the author's claim that all things are mutuals, and that Nature itself was created with 'mutuals', then, Daodejing teaches false teachings.
People are not identical, not the same, not equal, and neither are emotions. There is no such thing in all of this Reality that is identical as another thing... including emotions... and if there can be no identical, then there can be no identical opposite.
Beauty and ugly, not mutuals... there are different kinds of beauty... different kinds of ugly... each, arise in different ways, and for different reasons... never in eternity is it possible for the same emotion to rise twice... none are the polar opposites of the other, and no self-aware individual would claim otherwise. Only scholars believe in words... only scholars believe in a binary creation of this Reality...
But, now, what if the first sentence's original Chinese words were permitted to be interpreted rationally? The word 美 (mei) implies 'attractive, beautiful, delicious, good, happy, pretty, tasty, United States of America, etc.', and the word 惡 (e) implies 'badness, evil, ferocity, hate, loathe, etc.'. The common English dictionary-definitions of Chinese words make use of modern definitions, and do not include ancient Chinese definitions, nor include real-life meanings. If, the definitions were permitted to relate to real life, then the sentences' meanings change, and might become agreeably rational.
If 'Laozi' wrote section #2, then the words ought to be translated similarly as how 'Laozi' wrote other sections... but, if the author of section #2 was one of the other authors within Daodejing, then it makes no difference how the sentences are translated, because, the sentences would be scholarly, like the six translations above.
Choice... self-observe... self-think... divide one oneself... divide one's self... the choice is one's own.