道士 Tao Scholar #14
© Tao Fish - bone structure of Daodejing #36 (English commas added).
Copyright ©2019 May 06, 2019
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All known English translations of Daodejing, available to the public, are of the scholarly approach, of memorizing book words, and then inventing an imagination of what the book words mean. No known English translation of Daodejing, openly available to the public, is presented from the firsthand point of view.
Scholarly translations of Daodejing, illustrate that the translations were indeed derived from the imaginations of believing that memorizing book words is sufficient enough to know everything about everything, and that participation in one's own life is not necessary to know Tao. The scholarly translations — like western philosophy — invent many beliefs about the Tao within Daodejing, without first knowing what Tao is.
Samples of public domain translations of the first sentence in Daodejing section #42:
"The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things." (James Legge 1891)
"Tao begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets all things." (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"The Tao produced the One. The One produced two; the two produced three; the three produced all things." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"Reason begets unity; unity begets duality; duality begets trinity; and trinity begets the ten thousand things." (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"In Tao is Unity of Life, In Unity is Duality of Life, In Duality is Trinity of Life, In Trinity all beings have life." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"Tao produces unity; unity produces duality; duality produces trinity; trinity produces all things." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
The following is my own abbreviated and simplified (and purposefully incorrect) direct word-per-word draft version of the first sentence within Daodejing section #42: 'Dao birth one, one birth two, two birth three, three birth ten-thousand thing.'
I have publicly written of the 'one, two, three' for roughly thirty-four years, for over eleven years I have frequently publicly written of all things requiring three or more ingredients, and now having found Daodejing, the ancient sentence appears overtly simplistic to me from several different points of view.
Popularly, it is believed that new things can be created by combining only two things. Information, Physics, Quantum: The Search for Links by physicist John Archibald Wheeler states: "It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom... an immaterial source and explanation... every it — every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself — derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely... from... yes or no questions, binary choices, bits."
William James Sidis, popularly believed to have been America's greatest academic prodigy, wrote of a theory of the reversal of the law of thermodynamics: "Consequently, a similar line of reasoning, which must be exactly as correct logically, can be followed by tracing events backwards from effect to cause instead of tracing from cause to effect... And not only can a given momentary condition of all particles in the universe determine one and only one possible effect, one and only one possible future, that same given momentary condition (position and velocity of every particle) could only have been caused by one possible past series of conditions. ...Now, tracing causation thus backwards... bring us to a time when two masses which are now in motion have been together, in contact." (The Animate and The Inanimate, William James Sidis, 1920, Richard G. Badger Publisher, The Gorham Press. Reprint SesquIQ High IQ+SQ Society, 2007, Woven Strings Publishing.)
Similar two-dimensional thinking can be seen within the 'cyclic universe theory', within all scientific 'laws of Nature', and within all other known scholarly theories of the origins of Creation, as well as within all of western philosophy (e.g. reductionism).
It makes no difference that people might have memorized the words 'Nature is curved', almost all people still think flat.
A very long list of past and present 'scholarly geniuses' — including the individuals who are popularly believed to be the 'smartest people on earth' — can be placed upon the table, and by quoting each individual's own written words, have each name associated with the belief that 'all things are created from a flat two-dimensional binary sequence of one-two'.
The idea of a binary origin of this Reality is in all ways irrational, but the concept of requiring three or more things to create a new thing is not comprehended by most people, which also makes it not possible for scholars to form a coherent idea of what the Daodejing sentence pointed at.
Within past and present scholarly papers about Daodejing, some of the scholars speak of the 'one' as if possibly being a solid "substance", which renders the scholars' papers to be very sad.
How is it possible for the Source of Creation to be a solid 'one'? How can a 'solid one' thing think, reason, choose, design, and create Creation? If a Source is a solid one, then there could not have been any 'mutuals' (e.g. left right, up down, etc.). Without mutuals, the scholars need to answer how it was possible for the Source to know anything or to reason anything if there existed nothing to reason.
Some people believe that a 'nothingness of Source' is the ultimate goal in the believers' own personal lives, but the Source created Creation, and no human with the belief of 'nothingness' has ever created anything, which proves that the goal of 'nothingness' is an imaginary belief.
Some scholars speak of the 'one' within a history of theology, while referencing examples of memorized academic beliefs of 'emptiness' and 'non-being' to be the answers to Daodejing's statement of 'one'. Again, very sad.
Numerous scholars have stated that the 'one' infers the 'original force that created Creation', which is a philosophical belief that does not relate to this Reality. The 'three dimensions' of this Reality were created from, and exist within, 'more' than what currently exists to the eye. Also, why must there only be 'one' Source?
If there does not exist a 'one' within this Reality, then upon what imagination can it believed that the Source is a 'one'? Attempts of claiming that Daodejing's 'one' implies a Source — even if the word 'one' is used within conversational language — always results in logical fallacies and towers of turtles.
If Daodejing truly does speak of the Source as being a singular 'one thing' as the scholars believe, then the book is garbage... throw it away, and walk away. However, if the book is speaking of creativity, and if the author had firsthand understanding as he appeared to have in other sections, then the 'one' relates to the book's other sections, and the other sections help explain the 'one' sufficiently enough for an individual with firsthand experience to catch the author's 'pointing of finger'.
Except within people's imaginations, the numbers 'one', 'two', and 'three' do not relate to anything real in this Reality. The conversational use of 'one', 'two', and 'three' is as a simplified language of looped metaphors that have no direct relativity to this Reality. If 'one' has no relativity to this Reality, then 'one' also has no relativity to the Source, no relativity to the nascent of the Universe, and no relativity to dao.
Also, other words within the Daodejing sentence are also self-explained within other sections — lengthy in-depth explanations in some cases — and require use of different synonyms in the first sentence to retain harmony throughout the book. The scholarly English translations of the sentence, suggest that either the authors did not read the full book, or else did not remember, or, perhaps, did not understand what was written in the other sections.
The first sentence's 'one' has several plausible different possibilities, but when compared to the remainder of the book's topics, including the below quotes of other sentences, the 'one' is self-answered.
The Daodejing sentence's statement of 'three birth ten-thousand things' is quite remarkable for its uniqueness within historical documents. 'Laozi's' statement, all by itself, no other words needed in the book, his words exceed the words written within all other public books throughout known history.
'Laozi' wrote similarly important statements, all of which very strongly suggest that he actually did know of the topics that he wrote about.
Force and Other Beliefs
The scholars' word 'force' is a term that — similar to 'one' and 'beginning' — only philosophically relates to this two- and three-dimensional Reality, and absolutely cannot possibly relate to the Source from where this Reality nascented. The scholars make use of common conversational English, while inventing philosophies of things that cannot possibly be true, but while also truly believing that their invented words are somehow meaningful.
Some scholars, who comment on Daodejing, speak of 'non-being'. The 'non-being' term relates to what scholars have read, memorized, and imagined to be true truth because many other scholars have also read and written of 'non-being' and 'nothingness' as being true truth.
If individuals truly believed in 'non-being', then why did they not already know of 'non-being'? Why did the individuals have to read of 'non-being' before they believed it to be true? 'Gravity' can be found and reasoned without reading of the word, 'weight' also can be found and reasoned, as well as all other perceivable things that are real in this Reality can be found and reasoned without first reading words. So, then, why would 'non-being' be believed if it cannot be found in this Reality?
One theologian scholar actually dogmatically stated that all people "must" believe that dao implies the scholar's belief of "non-being".
By observing the scholars' beliefs, an individual can then use the beliefs as contrasts that help to illustrate to one's self what is correct. Mutually connected things... not know left if no right... not know up if no down... not know good if no bad... not know how unique 'Laozi's' words are if not first know how satiated scholars' words are.
It is also sometimes useful to read a scholar's writings so as to glean an idea of what popular scholarly phrases might imply. One scholar wrote of teleology (a philosophical theorizing of end-causes, reminiscent of 'applied ethics' where the imagined philosophical theory of 'ethics' does not first know what the word 'ethic' means, also like scholars translating Daodejing without first knowing what 'dao' means) and the scholar also wrote of ontology (a philosophical theorizing of the philosophy of theoretical metaphysics). The scholarly paper dwells within philosophical imaginations, while never approaching firsthand experience, which illustrated the scholarly approach to be void of firsthand understanding of Daodejing's topics.
Several papers dwell upon a few terms like 'zi ran' and 'wu wei'. 'ZiRan' and 'WuWei' are sometimes used as two words combined, similar to how 'jun' and 'zi' are combined — rightly or wrongly — to form the concept of a 'junzi'.
Of the 'ZiRan' term, 自 (zi) generally implies 'certainly, from, oneself', while usually implying 'oneself'. 然 (ran) generally implies 'correct, right'. Within a firsthand point of view, 'oneself correct' implies applied logic relative to the only real standard in this Reality — Nature — but within the non-firsthand 'ZiRan' point of view, the term implies philosophical ideas like 'natural, Nature, like self, at ease'. Applied firsthand, 'oneself correct' already relies upon 'natural Nature', but ZiRan removes firsthand participation within one's own life, while simply inferring 'natural way of life' (without first knowing what the 'natural way of life' is).
A highly abbreviated (and purposefully incorrect) direct word-per-word draft version of the last sentence of Daodejing section #25: "People harmony earth, earth harmony heaven, heaven harmony dao, dao harmony oneself(zi) correct(ran)." The 'harmony' word is gleaned from an abbreviated phrase, while the Chinese word can also imply several other synonyms including 'standard'. For the moment, the use of 'harmony' is best descriptive for the topic's purpose.
If the last two words of the sentence were to be changed to imply 'ZiRan - natural', then the sentence would read similar to: "People harmony earth, earth harmony heaven, heaven harmony dao, dao harmony natural(ziran)."
Observing the sentence's sequences and implications within a flat two-dimensional process, people are as if near the latter sequence of created things, then earth a little higher, then heaven still higher, then dao even higher, and topmost high is either 'oneself correct' or else 'natural'.
If dao is of harmony with 'natural', then 'natural' arrived into the sequence before dao, 'natural' was before Creation, 'natural' was before heaven, 'natural' was before earth, 'natural' was before Nature, and 'natural' was before people, which appears to be of a strong contradiction of logical sequencing. How could it be possible for 'natural' to exist prior to anything natural existing?
However, there are at least two far better ways of interpreting the sentence.  If dao is of harmony with 'oneself correct', then 'oneself correct' closes the loop of creativity, or, as might be said, 'root of Source', and thereby changes the flat two-dimensional sequence into a circling loop from Source to man back to Source, or, as might also be phrased, the act and ability of creativity has no boundaries, Creation is not finished, and man still possesses the potential for creativity (chidao).
A better choice is to  interpret the sentence for what it states: the human creature is a product of harmony of earth, earth is a product of harmony of heaven, heaven is a product of harmony of dao, and dao is a product of harmony with oneself correct. The sentence, therefore, would be pointing at how things are created within harmony and dependence upon three or more other things.
Harmony is also one of the topics that I have excessively written about for numerous years, a topic that I observed and analyzed myself while gazing out a front window when at pre-school age, and it is frustrating that adults too rarely recognize what is so exceedingly obvious and simple.
The two above choices are both incorrect, but give illustration of what scholarly interpretations are apt to invent.
Samples of scholarly translations of the sentence:
"Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is." (James Legge 1891)
"Man follows the laws of earth; Earth follows the laws of heaven; Heaven follows the laws of Tao; Tao follows the laws of its intrinsic nature." (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"Man’s standard is the earth. Earth’s standard is the Heaven. Heaven’s standard is the Tao. The Tao’s standard is spontaneity." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"Man's standard is the earth. The earth's standard is heaven. Heaven's standard is Reason. Reason's standard is intrinsic." (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"Man finds his law in the Earth. The Earth finds its law in Heaven, Heaven finds its law in the Tao, The Tao finds its law in the affirmation of Self." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"Man is derived from nature, nature is derived from Heaven, Heaven is derived from Tao. Tao is self-derived." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
Similar to the older translations, modern translations usually stumble the worst on the last words. The common modern translations of the latter words follow ideas that parallel 'tao is its own natural self'. Perhaps the core problem with the scholarly translations is that they attempt to use academic English definitions of words while the translators themselves know nothing of the topic, nor are able to keep continuity between words, which results in English sentences that have no meaning. If a common person on the street were to speak a sentence like what the scholars speak, the person would be deemed to have a harsh thinking problem and might be taken away to a mental hospital, but, scholars think nothing of what they themselves speak, and truly believe that their imagined words are somehow coherent.
Suzuki-Carus approached close to a sensible translation of #25's last sentence. The use of 'reason' is far more favored than 'way', 'tao', or any of the other common English terms. The use of 'standard' is also far favored over 'law'. Harmony requires, harmony... to be harmonious, a thing must also be harmonious with another thing's 'standard'. Nevertheless, Suzuki-Carus stumbled on the last words, creating a philosophical concept that does not relate to this Reality, nor relate to firsthand experience. Scholarly knowledge of 'reasoning', and of all other acts of the mind, is zero, which renders the Suzuki-Carus words to be philosophical noun-based inventions. Also, if reasoning is 'intrinsic' ('belonging to a thing by its very nature'), then a scholar needs to explain from where the 'one' Source's reasoning came into existence. If the Suzuki-Carus version removed the "'s" from "Reason's", the translation would then approach closer to what is real.
Scholarly points of view are always focused upon nouns of imaginary outside things, but individuals with firsthand experience, their points of view are of inside things that are real and can be described with verbs. The absence of descriptive verbs, results in scholarly nouns. All scholarly translations of dao, only nouns.
Of 'WuWei', 無 (wu) implies 'no, not, not-have, nothing'. 為 (wei) implies 'act as, be, because of, become, serve as'. By how an individual interprets the words within a sentence, the individual may see 'nothing be' or might see 'not-have serve-as'. The differences between the two interpretations fully change the whole of what Daodejing speaks of.
Philosophically, the combined term 'WuWei' is generally thought of as implying 'non-action', which — close to a popular non-Chinese concept of being 'empty' — has led many individuals to practice a form of uncaring slothfulness, of merely accepting whatsoever might occur in life, that is, the individuals do not participate in their own lives, while also never recognizing that the behavior of WuWei 'non-action' is itself directly judged within the standard of Nature to be a self-destructive behavior, which carries several worded descriptions that include 'bad' and 'evil'. Creativity is good and is as the root of Source, whereas WuWei 'non-action' is bad and believes that an individual can attain Source-like supernatural powers while denying the root of Source. Relative to the laws of Nature, creativity is smart because it agrees with Nature's way, whereas WuWei non-action is stupid because it disagrees with Nature's way.
Public domain quotes of the last sentence of Daodejing's section #3 that has 'wu wei wu' as the first three words:
"When there is this abstinence from action, good order is universal." (James Legge 1891)
"He governs by non-action; consequently there is nothing un-governed." (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"Practice non-action and everything will be regulated." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"When he acts with non-assertion there is nothing ungoverned." (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"He teaches the Masters of knowledge to cease from activity, to act through activity of the Inner Life; then Inner Life will govern all." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"If he, himself, practices restraint then everything is in quietness." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
An abbreviated (and purposefully incorrect) direct word-per-word draft translation of my own: 'Be(wei) nothing(wu), be(wei) then nothing(wu), not harness-river'. The 'harness river' word can also imply 'administer, cure, govern, heal, etc.', but still points at self-control of some form, especially within Daodejing's topics. The 'then' word can also imply 'follow, standard'. Within an authoritarianist scholarly idea of 'WuWei', the sentence might be interpreted as 'Be non-action then nothing not govern', or 'Be non-action standard nothing not govern', or 'Be non-action follow nothing not govern'.
The favored translation of the sentence is quite different and far more meaningful than the provided draft version, but the draft version is adequate enough to illustrate that the 'wei wu wei - be nothing be' implies two initial plausibilities depending on where English commas are placed.  'Be nothing be' is an undesirable thing that results in 'not harnessing the river' which is directly connected to and further explained within the section's previous sentences.  'Be nothing be (the) standard, (then) nothing not harness-river'. The second variation could also be reasonable if the sentence stood alone by itself, but since the sentence exists within parallel sentences (as well as the whole book) that point to ideas that do not agree with the second variation's interpretation, then the second interpretation is deemed untenable.
The scholarly idea, however, presents 'non-action' as a desirable thing, a thing that people should do, but, within the scholars' sentence, an act of 'non-action' would plausibly still be deemed to preclude the scholars' desirable ability to 'govern' while also ignoring and contradicting what the section's previous sentences stated.
'WuWei' might be a popular term today, but modern popularity does not mandate that the term was used in ancient writings, nor that the term must be applicable in section #3. The modern English concept of 'all things are created by binary' is also very popular, also very much believed, also very strongly taught as true truth within science and all classrooms, but also very much wrong.
From a firsthand point of view, 'zi ran - oneself correct' is one's own conscious logic in action (not 'non-action'), while 'wu wei - not-have serve-as' is a consciously reasoned observation of the elements of one's own life in action. From a scholarly point of view, 'ziran - natural' is an action (not non-action) of what occurs outside beyond oneself, while 'wuwei - non-action' is as one's outside-expressed way of life.
The act of 'not acting' is still a sequential series of mental acts of choosing to believe one's self to be of 'non-action'. A belief in a thing, does not mandate that the belief must be true and real within this Reality. If the Source created Creation, then the Source acted and created. There is no known evidence of any believer in 'non-action' who has ever created anything.
Section #3 has seven sentences, all connected, all related, all in harmony with the other, all sharing bone structure, all sharing similar pattern, all explaining each other, but scholars' translations contradict all words of all sentences.
Comparing the four scholarly claims:
 "The Tao produced One" that sequentially produced "all things".
 Tao's standards/laws follow 'ziran- natural' (follows the laws of the created thing 'Nature').
 "Tao is self-derived".
 Tao is all about "non-action" and "non-being".
Within the scholarly approach,  Tao is the Source that created everything beginning with the first and only "one",  Tao follows and is subservient to the laws of the Nature that Tao created,  Tao is the 'Original Source One' that created itself from nothing for no reason and without purpose, and  the nothingness non-being Tao is of a non-action that creates nothing.
And so, according to the scholars' words, Nature rules Tao, but Tao created Nature, and Tao created Nature by Tao doing nothing.
And, apparently, no scholar has yet recognized the absurdities of what the scholars have written.
The four topics are but tiny and excessively brief examples of the scholars' contradictions and troubled imaginations throughout the entirety of Daodejing. Some of the contradictions are because of different authors of Daodejing having written claims that contradict the other authors' claims (which is universal within all writings open for the public to modify), but still the scholars could not discern the different voices, while the scholars' translations continued to contradict the individual authors' words even within the same sentences.
If Tao/Dao relates to the Way of the Source, then the Way of the Source is creative, of action, and all individuals who 'fist fist to bosom' the Way of Tao/Dao, must then reactively also be creative like the Source. However, the opposite is true: many individuals claim that the Way of the Source is "non-action", and the individuals, within their non-action, create nothing. And there, the deciding logic of which way is correct, is based upon the reasoning of whether an individual is of a real Tao-creative, or of an imagined and false Tao-belief.
Divide one oneself... divide one's self... participate in one's own life.