The Taoist Trader: Tao Te Ching (Chapter 4, Part 2)
The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!
Blunt the sharpness,
Untangle the knot,
Soften the glare,
Merge with dust.
Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
I do not know from whence it comes.
It is the forefather of the gods.
( By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
“Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!” This line means that the Tao is the source of all things making up the world. The Tao is the source of everything. From a Jungian perspective, the lines “Blunt the sharpness,” “Soften the glare,” and “Merge with dust” show the Tao as feminine. The sharpness (the masculine) is decreased (made more feminine); the glare is softened (made more feminine); and the dust is merged with by becoming more humble (smaller) through taking a feminine perspective.
“Untangle the knot” suggests paradoxically that by becoming less sharp (using the intellect as a knife), by becoming softer and by becoming more humble, life becomes less entangled and somehow clearer. “Oh, hidden deep but ever present!” suggests the Tao is hidden deep in the feminine part of the psyche in unknowingness and mystery (“I do not know from whence it comes”). The Tao is the mother of the archetypes (“It is the forefather of the gods”).
The Tao, the Feminine and Trading
Chapter four of the Tao Te Ching portrays the Tao as feminine. What does this have to do with trading? Nothing (a Taoist joke). Actually, everything … everything important, that is. How can you study trading and simultaneously keep your mind “an empty vessel?” Trading is hard (tough). How can you remain soft? You’re supposed to be sharp when trading. How can you retain an edge with an unfocused mind? How can you merge with the knot and untangle the dust? When the mind stops, the Tao is born.