Tao Te Ching

The philosophy of Taoism, which heavily contrasts the common beliefs upheld by the majority of modern western society, serves as an ideological landmark of a time in history where worth (self or otherwise), was entirely independent of superfluous things and accomplishments. In chapter twelve of Lao Tsu's “Tao Te Ching,” the prototypical Taoist value of material simplicity as the cornerstone of internal focus is communicated through the use of repetition, as well as both ambiguous and concise diction.
The syntax of each sentence in thefirst stanza of chapter twelve are relatively similar, they start with commodities, “…colors…tones…flavors…racing and hunting…precious things,” and then go on to describe the adverse effects of such luxuries, “…blind the eye…deafen the ear…dull the taste…madden the mind…lead one astray.”The repetition serves to emphasize how the usually harmless unnecessary products of society detract from quality of life rather than furthering it.
The deliberately underscored number of colors, tones, and flavors (only five) accentuates how even the smallest amount of excess can be extremely detrimental.Exposure to just five varieties of seemingly benign senses could result in blindness, deafness, and tastelessness. The implication of these lines is that once having experienced commodities, acuteness of the most obvious senses is stripped of a layer that can never be reconstructed.In Taoism, awareness of surroundings is especially valued; to strip away layer of sensitivity is to take away a level of virtue.
The second stanza establishes the value in conducting life without the unecessary things.It states that the sage, a philosopher or master, leads his life by what he “feels and not by what he sees,” implying that in order to achieve any level of virtue, one must find
value internally, because it's impossible to accurately judge anything by its external appearanc


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