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Notes on video lecture:
Laozi: Stop the Journey and Return Home
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
desiring, nature, Confucious, plow, unhewn, belly, technology, deploy, sophisticated, metaphor, large, social, warfare, covetous, like, dung, end, windows, countryside, Heaven, luxury, home, obsequious, taxes, death, villages, nonaction, Daodejing, literacy, overgrown, inequality, good, rulers, recalcitrant, agricultural, world, increase, deafen, horizon, robbery, stratification, used
Laozi, in contrast to Confucius, wants us to return to the              wood
the evils of the              elite
it is bad to have social                             
Daodejin Ch. 75:
"The people are hungry because those above eat too much in           , this is why the people are hungry."
Daodejin Ch. 53: "The court is resplendent, yet the fields are                   ."
the elites are happy
but things are not going well in the                       
the granaries are empty but people have fancy clothes
"find swords dangle at their side, they are stuffed with food and drink, and possess wealth in gross abundance"
they take pride in               
the text implies that this is just a symptom of a           -scale society
large societies always lead to income                     
this dynamic of the idol, predatorial elite will always happen in a large society
organized government is the problem
greed of officials
desire for a larger tax base
they want to conquer more lands so they have more peasants they can tax
the solution is a return to                 
we have to break things down
get rid of large-scale societies
the                    is a text that believes the transition to agricultural based societies was a mistake
we should go back to how humans lived before we had large-scale societies
break the state apart
decentralize political life and send people back to living in small, village-size                          communities
Daodejing Ch. 46
"When the world has the Way, fleet-footed horses are used to haul         . When the world is without the Way, war horses are raised in the suburbs"
fleet-footed horses are military horses
there is no need for military horses so they are used to do farming work
you won't need an elite class
you won't need officials anymore
you won't have a tax base anymore
they won't be needing              goods anymore
Daodejing Ch. 80
"Reduce the size of the state. Lessen the population."
this is pretty much the opposite of what most              of the time wanted
"Make sure that even though there are labor saving tools, they are never         ."
this explains the adherents of Laozi pulling the          by themselves
we don't want to                  our productivity
we want to go back to simple things
create a situation in which people are not trying to improve                     
they aren't trying to raise agricultural output
they are happy with things the way they are
"Make sure the people look upon            as a weighty matter and never move to distant places"
grow up in a community, live there, and die there
the perfect state is where people can hear the sound of dogs barking and roosters crowing
have simple desires and everything you need will be right there in your village
"Even though they have ships and carts, they will have no use for them. Even though they have armor and weapons, they will have no reason to              them. Make sure that the people return to the use of the knotted cord."
the knotted cord was a way of keeping track of things before there was writing
so Laozi seems to be saying to go back to before we had writing, get rid of                 
we don't need to count to more than about 20, to just keep track of our chickens and our eggs, a knotted cord is going to be enough
how to get people to accept this simple life style
why do we have large states?
the reason is excessive desire
Deodejing Ch. 46
"There is no greater crime than having too many desires. There is no greater disaster than not being content. There is no greater misfortune than being                 ."
excessive desires drive greed, greed drives aggression, and aggression and greed together leads to endless               , selfish elites, and inequality
it goes back to a problem in human beings in which we have too much desire
how do we get rid of desires?
where do desires come from?
the Deodejing does think that they come from our nature
socialization and learning cause us to have desires
Deodejing Ch. 12
"The five colors blind our eyes. The five notes              our ears. The five flavors deaden our palates."
we don't need                            culture
sophisticated culture confuses us
"The chase and the hunt madden our hearts. Precious goods impede our activities."
socialization creates new products which lead to new tastes which is where excessive desire comes from
it doesn't come from our             , it comes from the fact that we live in a society that has created all these shiny objects that we can start to chase after
"This is why the sages are for the            and not for the eye. And so they cast off the one and take up the other."
the word for belly is the seat of your real, natural natural desires
what nature has given you
relatively modest needs
the basic picture is that human nature is         
society creates things that create desires
this is the opposite of Confucian who wants to improve the unhewn wood, carve it
the Deodejing doesn't mention                      by name
but the Deodejing is aware of the metaphors that were used in the Analects
one of the metaphors that Confucius uses in the Analects is carving
Confucian metaphor: self-cultivation as carving
Analects 1.15
Zigong said, "Poor without being                     , rich without being arrogant--what would you say about someone like that?"
The Master said, "That is acceptable, but it is still not as good as being poor and yet joyful, rich and yet loving ritual."
Zigong said, "An Ode says: As if cut, as if polished, as if card, as if ground. Is this not what you have in mind?"
The Master said, "Zigong, you are precisely the kind of person with whom on can begin to discuss the Odes."
this has to do with carving and polishing bone and jade
two very difficult to work substances
takes a long time to work on them
but that is what self-cultivation is like: taking crude and shaping it into something beautiful
argues the opposite
we should become          unhewn wood
become the uncarved block
we want to be like the simple mass of honest to goodness wood
Chapter 37
the nameless unhewn wood is but freedom from desire
our basic desires are simple
in this way, Laozi is directly aiming against the carving                  of the Confucians
Confucian metaphor: self-cultivation as a journey
Analects 9.11: "The more I look up at it the higher it seems,the more I delve into it, the harder it becomes. Catching a glimpse of it before me, I then find it suddenly at my back."
the goal of self-cultivation is always off beyond the               
"the way is long and the burden is heavy"
for Confucius, to become a Confucian gentleman takes 70 years
the Deodejing says, "let's        the journey, turn around and go back"
for the Deodejing, the metaphor is switched from the journey to a destination, replaced by the metaphor to turn around and come         
and then don't go out again
shut the doors
down look out
there are many metaphors of "going home and shutting doors and               "
go back to your home base
chapter 47:
"Without going out the door, one can know the whole           ."
you don't need to travel
"Without looking out the window, you can see the Way of             ."
heaven is here with you, it is not something you need to go look for
"The further one goes, the less one knows."
the farther you go on your journey, the less authentic language you have
"This is why sages: Know without going abroad, name without having to see, and perfect through                    (wu-wei)."
Laozi is the philosopher who uses wu-wei in the closest to its literal sense, i.e. nonaction, or doing nothing and                  nothing, and he thinks that the Confucians do too much

Spelling Corrections:


Ideas and Concepts:

Wisdom of Laozi via this morning's Ancient Chinese Philosophy class: "There is no greater crime than having too many desires. There is no greater misfortune than being covetous. There is no greater disaster than not being content."
From the Ancient Chinese dichotomies department via this morning's Ancient Chinese Philosophy course: "Confucius says:A human being is a hard substance like bone or jade which must be cut, ground, hewn, sculpted and polished to perfection. Laozi says:Become the uncarved block."
The Definition of Religion
Mind/Body Dualism and Cognitive Control
Deontology, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Ethics
Wu-Wei, Dao, Tien and De
The Shang Dynasty (1554-1045 BC)
The Beginnings of Written Chinese History
Eastern Holistic Thinking and the Paradox of Virtue
The Golden Age of the Western Zhou (1046–771 BCE)
Philosophical and Conceptual Innovations in Zhou Thought
Confucius and the Analects
Confucius: I Transmit, I Do Not Innovate
Confucius' Use of Ritual as a Tool
Confucius' View on Learning vs. The Enlightenment
Confucius and Holistic Education
Confucius and the Art of Self-Cultivation
At Home in Virtue
Non-Coercive Comportment, Virtue, and Charisma of the Zhou
The Transition to Becoming Sincere
The Primitivists in the Analects
Laozi and the Daodejing
Laozi: Stop the Journey and Return Home
Laozi and The Desires of the Eye
Laozi: He Who Speaks Does Not Know
The Concept of Reversion
Laozi on Shutting Down the Prefrontal Cortex
The Guodian Laozi
Mozi and Materialist State Consequentialism
Mozi's Idea of Ideological Unity
Mozi's Doctrine of Impartial Caring
Mozi's Anti-Confucian Chapters
Mozi's Religious Fundamentalism and Organized Activism
The Language Crisis in the Warring States Period
Yang Zhu and Mid-Warring States' Focus on the Body
The Guodian School of Confucianism
Qi and Self-Cultivation