Saturdao 29

Dao De Jing, verse 18

15 translations.

1. James Legge:
When the Great Dao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed,
benevolence and righteousness came into vogue.
(Then) appeared wisdom and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy.
When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships,
filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell into disorder, loyal ministers appeared.
2. Archie Bahm:
When people try to improve upon, and thus deviate from, the way Nature itself naturally functions, they develop artificial codes of right and wrong.
When knowledge becomes highly abstract, men are deceived by mistaking abstractions for realities.
When instinctive family sympathies are replaced by rules for proper conduct, then parents become “responsible” and children become “dutiful.”
When corruption replaces genuine benevolence in government, then loyalty oaths are demanded of officials.
3. Frank MacHovec: [verse 18 omitted in MacHovec]

4. D.C. Lau:
When the great way falls into disuse
There are benevolence and rectitude;
When cleverness emerges
There is great hypocrisy;
When the six relations are at variance
There are filial children;
When the state is benighted
There are loyal ministers.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
When the great Dao is forgotten,
Kindness and morality arise.
When wisdom and intelligence are born,
The great pretense begins.
When there is no peace within the family,
Filial piety and devotion arise.
When the country is confused and in chaos,
Loyal ministers appear.
6. Stan Rosenthal: “The Decay of Ethics”
When the way of the Dao is forgotten,
kindness and ethics need to be taught;
men learn to pretend to be wise and good.
All too often in the lives of men, filial piety and devotion arise only after conflict and strife,
just as loyal ministers all too often appear, when the people are suppressed.
7. Jacob Trapp: “Decadence”
When men cease to follow Dao,
The need arises for public charity
And severe law-enforcement.
With the complications of these
Come cleverness, hypocrisy, favoritism.
With the weakening of family ties
Come more elaborate codes of filial piety.
When the land falls into misrule and chaos,
Then there are special encomiums
For honest and loyal public servants.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
When the great Dao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body's intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.
9. Victor Mair:
When the great Way was forsaken, there was humaneness and righteousness;
When cunning and wit appeared, there was great falsity;
When the six famly relationships lacked harmony, there were filial piety and parental kindness;
When the state and royal house were in disarray, there were upright ministers.
10. Michael LaFargue:
When Great Tao vanished
we got ‘Goodness and Morality.’
When ‘Wisdom and Know-how’ arose
we got the Great Shams.

When the six family relationships fell into disharmony
we got ‘Respect and Caring.’
When the states and the great families became all benighted and disordered
we got ‘Loyal Subjects’.
11. Peter Merel: “Hypocrisy”
When the Way is forgotten
Duty and justice appear;
Then knowledge and wisdom are born
Along with hypocrisy.
When harmonious relationships dissolve
Then respect and devotion arise;
When a nation falls to chaos
Then loyalty and patriotism are born.
12. Ursula LeGuin: “Second bests”
In the degradation of the great way
come benevolence and righteousness.
With the exaltation of learning and prudence
comes immense hypocrisy.
This disordered family
is full of dutiful children and parents.
The disordered society
is full of loyal patriots.
13. Wang Keping:
When the great Dao is rejected,
The doctrines of Ren and Yi will arise.
When knowledge and craftiness appear,
Great hypocrisy will also emerge.
When the six family relations are not in harmony,
Filial piety and parental affection will be advocated.
When a country falls into chaos,
Loyal ministers will be praised.
14. Ames and Hall:
It is when grand way-making is abandoned
That authoritative conduct (ren) and appropriateness (yi) appear.
It is when wisdom (zhi) and erudition arise
That great duplicity appears.
It is when the six family relationships are disharmonious
That filiality (xiao) and parental affection (ci) appear.
It is when the state has fallen into troubled times
That upright ministers appear.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
When the inner truth of the Dao is lost,
The outer code of morality comes into being.
When cleverness reigns in the world,
Hypocrisy becomes rampant;
When discord arises in the family,
Filiality is emphasized;
When chaos befalls the nation,
Respect is accorded to loyal subjects alone.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Great Dao rejected: Benevolence and righteousness appear.
Learning and knowledge professed: Great hypocrites spring up.
Family relations forgotten: Filial piety and affection arise.
The nation disordered: Patriots come forth.

* * *
You can say, Decay that only worsens the decay.
You can say, In a period of decline "philosophers arise to proclaim the obvious, and in so doing, ironically exacerbate the problem by institutionalizing an artificial alternative that suffocates natural unmediated sentiment."
Yeah, you can say that. Ames and Hall did.
Laozi didn't.
Or, instead, you can say, the Great Dao generates the corrective it temporarily needs.
Moral codes, hypocrites, chatter about filiality and loyalty:
these are the Dao's antibodies.
Fake it til you make it.
* * *
Next: Saturdao 30.
Previous: Saturdao 28.
Beginning: Saturdao 1.
* * *
Note: Of course, it's doubtful whether Laozi could have said anything in the language that he spoke that translators would have been at all likely to render into English as:
"Philosophers arise to proclaim the obvious, and in so doing, ironically exacerbate the problem by institutionalizing an artificial alternative that suffocates natural unmediated sentiment."
When I had "Google Translate" translate that sentence into Chinese (Traditional), and then directly back into English, it came back as:
"Philosophers appear obvious announced, and in doing so, the irony is intensified through institutionalized an artificial alternative, of suffocation natural intermediary emotional problems."

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