The Taoist Trader: Tao Te Ching (Chapter 12)
The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels
And not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
The Material World
A line in Chapter 12 of Madonna’s Tao Te Ching could say “’Cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mister Right” exemplifying “precious things lead one astray.” Then in the MTV video a group of distinguished older Chinese ladies performing Tai Chi in a park in a city in China would abruptly stop doing their graceful forms and start singing “’cause we are living in a material world and I am a material girl’ while performing fast jazz-dance steps in unison. Then the lovely older ladies could segue back into their beautiful Tai Chi forms.
This sequence could illustrate not only that life is a dance but that different steps (attitudes) are needed for different phases and interludes of life. Older ladies making such an abrupt change in dance styles could further illustrate that attitudinal flexibility can continue into old age, dispelling the stereotype that old age is a time of rigidity and lack of vitality. Furthermore, the abrupt dance-step change can lead us to laugh with life (the Tao specializes in this) with this surprising and unexpected dance and song sequence.
The Taoist Sage
I would like to think that the Taoist sage (illustrated earlier by the distinguished older Chinese ladies) would not only be “guided by what she feels and not by what she sees” but be able to function and live fully in both the spiritual and material worlds. A sage needs to go further than “living in the world but not being part of the world.” I envision Jesus (or a wise, older Chinese lady) with hearty laughter and good fellowship embracing each person physically and spiritually who comes across His or her path.
The Trader Sage
Of course, as a trader it’s important to not be “blinded,” “deafened” or “dulled” by the “five colors,” “the five tones” or “the five flavors.” Another way of putting it would be to not be blinded by the red and green candlesticks, to not be deafened by the CME’s “squawk box” and not be dulled by our abundant supply of Hershey (or Venezuelan) chocolate bars. As a trader it is important to use our intuition and not be fooled by our senses: “…the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.” However, it is just as important to not lose the ability to laugh at our losses and laugh at our wins.