Dao De Jing 29 – Proper way/attitude to face the world
When one attempts to manipulate the world, I see him fails.
The world is holy, it cannot be manipulated, whose attempt to manipulate it, fail; whose attempt to rule it, lost it.
-> The world is a consequence of a multitude of factors, both within and without. How can one’s limited self, with all its bias-preconception-illusion, accurately sees and runs the world?
Since things may lead or follow; be warm or cold; be strong or weak; be upright or fall.
-> The moon gets brighter and then dark; stock market goes up and down; empire becomes powerful and then fall, and same applies to a person, an organization, a society, and a civilization.
Therefore sages let go of (man-made) extreme, luxury, and excess.
-> Knowing the world runs in its own rhythm. Sages surrender the desire to manipulate extreme, luxury, and excess, and abide is reality beyond these changes.
Chapter 29 Discussion:
How to face the world? Stop trying to manipulate, follow the flow, Laozi suggested. But how about my health, my family, and my career? Do i not need to manipulate to keep them going? Instead of manipulation, which implies forcefulness and control, one can approach the tasks like water: with humility and responsibility (see also DDJ8 – Dao is like Water). Knowing despite of our best effort, things might not work out in ways we like to see (sometimes it gets better), nevertheless we accept our role and do it with our best ability. When we have done so, we feel peace in the process irrespective of the outcome; we are beyond our expectation, we are in peace. So Laozi said, let go of our excess arrogance and expectations, and do our best in the flow.
Bilingual version of Chapter 29: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj11-3/