Closing the openings,
be one with the dust of the way.
So you come to the deep sameness.
Then you can’t be controlled by love
or by rejection.
You can’t be controlled by profit or by loss.
You can’t be controlled by praise or by humiliation.
Then you have honor under heaven.
This always reminds me of Heraclitus: “you cannot step twice in the same river.” The river is actually the same river, but it’s different, too.
It was trying to understand these things that made me conclude that language is a poor tool and a lot of these confusions come as a result of how we label things. It’s useful to have a word such as “tree” that we can use to describe the things that surround us – but it’s equally obvious that each “tree” is unique and therefore different. We can just add qualifiers: ‘that is a tall tree’ and ‘that is a tall pine tree’ ad infinitum. At some point, our description of any thing becomes so specific that we are just referencing the thing itself, or the source code in preference to the design documents.
The first lines (“Who knows does not talk”) occured to me independently regarding classified material. Back in the day, when I first started working with computer security and federal government systems, I’d bump into “sekrit skwirrel” types who’d try to make themselves seem more knowledgeable by being obscure. The ultimate form was “I know but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.” I used to respond “if you knew, you wouldn’t even say that much, so I assume you don’t.” Or, later, “tell me anyway then try to kill me; I need a laugh today.”
Unrelated: if you are a programmer, here’s a giftable book for you [wc] Geoffrey James’ The Tao of Programming is a book of computer philosophy written in the style of Lao Tze. It’s funny and profound and it’s just the thing for a grumpy old coder.