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Daodejing Creates Space For Interpretation And Rhetoric

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By Author: Tracy cater
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In so beginning, the Daodejing opens up the linguistic problem of knowing, communicating, and understanding, and it rejects the Analects' concern with accurate naming, deeming such an enterprise doomed. In refusing the singleness of a name, the Daodejing creates space for interpretation and rhetoric, which in turn leads to more engagement with difference. The Daodejing embraces the diversity, even the internal dialogue of masculinity and femininity, high and low, bright and dull. The binaries of the Daodejing are not antagonistic oppositions, but complementary pairs that are Cheap Shoes interdependent and interpenetrating: what LuMing Mao calls "interdependence-in-difference". Interdependence-in-difference responds to Confucian concerns with accurate naming by suggesting the impossibility of cutting concepts, let alone the world, into accurate definitions. Meaning is interdependent, interpenetrating, and fluid.

One might imagine that a fluid world, one of process and becoming, one beyond description, would lack political appeal, but aside from its well-recognized contemplative aspects, Daoism provides a robust political strategy, arguing that convention and intimate relationships or even the law cannot found governance because governance entails politics, difference, and distance. Instead of traditions, laws, naming, or intimacy, Daoism advocates natural order. Faced with the complexities of pluralism that worry a state and its ruler, Plato suggests aspiring to the image of one ideal world or Form. Confucius offers education, performances, and self-cultivation that is, practices and performances as normalizing and perfecting. Daoism, however, offers a boundless world with no standpoint of critique or control. In contrast to the Confucian tradition, the Daodejing values natural behavior over performance, convention, and education. If humans neglect dao and instead focus on excellence, virtue, or Tightness, then social norms and rituals arise, and they deform organic order.

Excellence is deforming to dao: naturalness and spontaneity are the primary characteristics of dao (Chen; Liu). The Confucian tradition is critiqued in steps, by starting with Discount Shoes excellence (one might wonder how it is possible to criticize excellence) and then slowly demonstrating, through a reasoned, linear process, how a natural commitment to doing "one's best" is replaced by social norms that constrict and limit. There is play, deconstruction, even humor, in diminishing excellence (or at least the arrogance of aspiring to excellence), but the structure of Chapter 38 is reasoned and ordered. When action is limited to striving toward excellence and performances, then there are troubles with deformed motivation. Ultimately the nature of becoming human and being moral is not and cannot be scripted. Although both the Analects and the Daodejing contend that good communication is an open process, not goal driven, the Daodejing argues that recognizing the other is not based in a traditional or performative script. Resisting the structure of performance and the coercion and authority of normalizing practices, the Daodejing rejects Confucianism.

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