Tao Te Ching (Chapter 25)
Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and earth.
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
I do not know its name
Call it Tao.
For lack of a better word, I call it great.
Being great, it flows.
It flows far away.
Having gone far, it returns.
Therefore, “Tao is great;
Heaven is great;
Earth is great;
The king is also great.”
These are the four great powers of the universe.
And the king is one of them.
Man follows the earth.
Earth follows heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
Tao follows what is natural.
(By Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
The Ramblin’ Tao
“This chapter is the ultimate discussion of how the Tao embodies shapeless shapes, imageless images, nameless names, and nonexistent things” (The Tao of War translated by Ralph D. Sawyer, p. 131).
Perhaps there is “nothing” to talk about? This chapter talks about the creation of the world: “Perhaps [the Tao] is the mother of ten thousand things.” Creatively rephrased, it could say, Perhaps the market is the mother of ten thousand candlesticks. But it could be considered blasphemous to equate the market with the Tao.
“Well I’m ramblin’, ramblin’ round; I’m a ramblin’ guy, whistling and banjo notes” (“Rambin’ Man” from comedy CD Let’s Get Small by Steve Martin).
The Wild and Crazy Tao
The real question is: Is Steve Martin mad at the Tao? Of course, the Tao is “the mother of all things.” Martin philosophizes:
“I’m so mad at my mother. She’s 102 years old. She called me up the other day and wanted to borrow ten dollars for some (scornfully said) food. I said, “Hey! I work for a living” (“Mad at My Mother” from comedy CD Let’s Get Small by Steve Martin).
And if is Elvis is “the king,” was he one of the “four great powers of the universe”? “These are the four great powers of the universe. And the king is one of them.”
Laugh Out Loud
I would like to propose a replacement line for “The king is also great.” The movie The King’s Speech is also great. And Hollywood is one of the “four great powers of the universe.”
“When a foolish man hears of the Tao, he laughs out loud. If he didn’t laugh, it wouldn’t be the Tao” (Chapter 41, lines 5-8 of the Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell).
And aren’t we all foolish men and women?
The Tao of Gann
“History repeats itself” (The Tao of Power: Lao Tzu’s Classic Guide to Leadership, Influence, and Excellence translated by R. L. Wing).
Wing is referring to the line “Having gone far, it returns.” Could the sage, Lao Tzu, have presaged the birth of Gann? Or did Gann study the Tao Te Ching? The mystery remains. In an article by Gann Management, Ltd., a subcategory is titled “History Repeats Itself” and the text goes on and states: “[Gann] believed that human psychology was constant and that this manifested itself in repeatable price patterns.” Gann’s methodology can be somewhat esoteric, so it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff.