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Sincere with those who are insincere

不善者,吾亦善之﹔德善。信者,吾信之﹔不信者. This is from verse 49 of the Daodejing. Legge begins his translation, "To those who are sincere with me, I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere with me, I am also sincere....” Other translators use the word “faith,” but it seems to be in the sense of “in good faith,” or truthful.

The final phrase, 吾亦信之, is translated differently, in part because of the ambiguity of 之, which Kunst, in his gloss on page 482 of The Original Yijing..., shows as “it,” while other translations use “him" or “all.” Thus, Legge translates it "and thus (all) get to be sincere,” while other translators in essence write, "as a result, I get more sincere."

Truth has become a funny thing in our society, too often having more to with identity politics and our own motives than anything else — see the Atlantic Article:

While we hold on to our group, our desire to support our group, our heart's-desire, looking from the Heaven’s, we cannot but observe that there are other groups, other heart’s desires abounding on the earth. What are we to do if we wish to strive to be “one with it."

The I Ching, which embodies the Dao and teachings of Confucius, asks us to identify with something bigger than ourselves or our peer group. To get more sincere is to get closer to the truth of the Dao, or similarly, to get closer to the Word, the Logos, of the Gospel of John.

While our finite minds will never fully grasp unchanging whole the Dao, nor the infinite divine mind of the God portrayed in the Gospels, I find it good to remember that “open mind” isn’t me asking it of others, but asking it of myself, the hard question, difficult to follow, but worthwhile when I accomplish it: always being willing to change what I thought to be true, holding onto what I have found to be true, and sincerely trying to discern the difference.

1 Comment

Steampunk Moog
Steampunk Moog
Mar 22, 2019

Sincere = Authentic, valuable when traveling.



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