The Taoist Trader: Tao Te Ching (Chapter 2)
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other;
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease.
Creating, yet not possessing,
Working, yet not taking credit.
Work is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
“All can know good as good only because there is evil” speaks to the problem of evil (theodicy) in Christian theology. One argument states that in order to allow people to have free will, God allows evil to exist. This condition allows people to make moral choices for character development or soul-making. Also, this position allows God to retain His goodness despite evil in the world. Of course, moral choice couldn’t exist unless a person could choose either good or evil.
However, many of the lines in chapter two of the Tao Te Ching refer to opposites being needed to create form and structure in your mind and in the world. Carl Jung talks about opposites being needed for individuation to take place. Jung’s work suggests holding any opposites (with which you are struggling, e.g., win/lose) in your mind without making an ego decision or an emotional decision in favor of either one, in essence, suspending your will. Thus, a new attitude is, eventually and at the right time, created via the transcendent function.
“… the transcendent function was seen by Jung as uniting the opposites, transforming psyche, and central to the individuation process” (The Transcendent Function by Jeffrey C. Miller, p. 141). “The transcendent function is a participant in the constant process of psychological transformation that proceeds, whether inside or outside the consulting room, independent of one’s conscious will” (ibid. p.137).
While “the ten thousand things rise and fall without cease” (the markets rise and fall), “… the sage goes about doing nothing …” (acting as a vehicle for the Self, the Tao). Thus, the trading ego is “working, yet not taking credit.” And the learning and fulfillment gained from trading from this state of mind (work forgotten, ego forgotten), “… it lasts forever.”