Tao Te Ching (Chapter 20)
Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
O.K let’s get the humor out of the way first. Check out three newly translated lines from this chapter: “Is there a difference between Google and evil?”; “Like a newborn babe before it learns to Google”; and “I am alone, without a place to Google.”
The line “Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles” refers to giving up your societal conditioning and letting yourself be taught by the Tao (“I am nourished by the great mother”). If you are a trader who has extensively studied trading literature, then you need to give up much of what you have learned. Extensive mental study focuses only on developing the mind and can leave the heart and spirit dried out and empty. Only water from the Tao can revive them.
The line “. . . I drift like the waves of the sea” can be a guide to the trading mind. If you’re not “clear and bright” or “sharp and clever,” then your mind’s not cemented in certainty. If your mind can rest comfortably in ambiguity or turbulence, then the market’s next direction can reveal itself to you.