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There is no single definition of Taoism in the Tao de Ching The reader realizes that she will not find one in the text after seeing the first sentence By saying that whatever can be described of the Tao is not the true Tao its author Lao-tzu establishes his first premise the Tao is a force beyond human explanation However this assumption does not mean that he cant attempt to describe it Using the literary tools of contradiction parallel structure and metaphor Lao-tzu discusses the Tao in language regular people can understand Contradiction In the beginning the Tao gave birth to both good and evil Ch 5 and along with that came all of the other pairs In Chapter 36 Lao-tzu discusses action and reaction If you want to shrink something you must first allow it to expand If you want to get rid of something you must first allow it to flourish If you want to take something you must first allow it to be given This excerpt ties into the statement in Chapter 30 that for every force there is a counter force which is applicable to political situations For example if a ruler noticed an uprising of disgruntled subjects it would be wise of her to let them organize or expand and state their grievances as a whole before she individually addressed their complaints Lao-tzu also uses contradiction in Ch 22 If you want to become whole let yourself be partial If you want to become strait let yourself be crooked If you want to become full let yourself be empty If you want to be reborn let yourself die In
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