07 November 2016

Wisdom of Dao vs Wisdom of the World - More is Not Better - DaoDeJing 65

What is the difference between the wisdom of the world and that of Dao? Wisdom of the world is about skills - how to do more, get more without moral values. Wisdom of Dao is about following the virtues of Dao. Just teaching people to be smart without the values are inviting disaster says Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 65.
DaoDeJing Chapter 65 Text & Translation

古之善为道者,非以明民,将以愚之。
The master followers of Dao of ancient times do not teach the people to be intelligent, but rather teach them to simply follow after the virtues of Dao (It is so simple that it appears foolish)

民之难治,以其智多,故以智治国,国之贼!
Why are the people so difficult to rule? Because they are so intelligent (to find exploit all kinds of loop-holes). Hence, ruling a country by stressing only on intelligence only is a thief that will result in the country's wealth being stolen by the crafty ones.

不以智治国,国之福。
Not ruling the country with stress on intelligence and skills [but also on values of Dao], it is the good fortunes of the country.

知此两者,亦稽式;常知稽式,是谓玄德。
Knowing these two management models is not enough. You must research into their implications.
Always research and know the models in depth is called great virtues.

玄德深矣远矣!与物反矣,然后乃至大顺。
The great virtues have deep and far effects! They are opposite to the common wisdom of materialistic things. Seeing further and following [Dao] will bring forth great  and smooth progression.

The Difference in Focus - Things vs Virtues
Worldly wisdom, typified by Science, is interested only in how things work. How can we do more with lesser effort. It is purely materialistic and existentially focused. It has no interests the why of things and the moral values of things. This spells great danger. There was a joke that says that the uneducated thief only a steal a portion of the rails but when he is educated in some ivy league business school he will steal the entire railway. Intelligence without moral values will create great disasters for people.  The hidden values statement of the worldly wisdom is "more material things make for a better life." It can also be worded as, "If you want to be happy, you must have more things." One way to have more is to work for it. Another is to fight and cheat to have it. The major cause of the great financial crisis of the 2008-2009 and of Enron and others is Greed - always wanting more and never satisfied with more.

The Outcomes - Disaster vs Great Happiness
Stressing on virtues without emphasis on skills may look too simple and foolish on the surface. But it will bring peace, good relationships, and happiness. Without the advance technology, we may just need to work harder and longer, but we still can enjoy the good life with others. In the old of days of 'snail-mail' when we have to wait for weeks for the postmen to deliver our mail, we have weeks to response. Now with instant messaging, our lives are in much greater stress than before. We are interrupted frequently and under constant pressure to response quickly. Yes, we can do more things with better technology, but are our lives better in terms of happiness and stress-free? More material things do not lead to greater happiness.

Conclusions:
Heavenly Dao's wisdom is about love, righteousness, peace. (e.g. See Three Treasures for Your Greatness - DaoDeJing 67) Earthly Wisdom is about getting more things for self. Money Base. Greed. Just teaching people to be smart without the values are inviting disaster. Having more things is not a better life. Better life needs not have more things.

Lim Liat(c) 7 Nov 2016

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