He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft,
its muscles are weak,
but its grips is powerful.
It doesn’t know about
the union of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.
The Master’s power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 55, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
I didn’t mark this post nsfw, I think that is supposed to be used for images that you wouldn’t want your boss seeing popping up on your dashboard as you’re scrolling down, while you are supposed to be working. So, don’t worry, no images here. But, there is an erect penis.
I used to try and scroll past the erect penis while I was adding my commentary. But, I finally gave in. Lao Tzu thinks that erect penis is important. Who am I to disagree? So, today, we are going to talk about the erect penis, giving it the attention, Lao Tzu thinks it deserves.
So, stop your giggling. This is serious business. Lao Tzu has something serious to say in today’s chapter. That erect penis is there to illustrate the vital power inherent in being in harmony with the Tao.
Come on, you knew already that a newborn’s erect penis is not about anything sexual. Newborns don’t know anything about the union of male and female. It isn’t about sex. But it does point (no pun intended) to what brings about harmony in all things. And, that is the union of female and male, yin and yang.
I know that many libertarians come across as being anti-baby. I see posts from time to time on my dashboard quoting Murray Rothbard saying all sorts of horrible, and largely laughable, things about babies. I give them a good chuckle, before pausing to think of why it is that Lao Tzu has such a great appreciation for newborns. And, why we should, too.
Sure, babies are pretty much useless things… They are totally dependent on someone else to take care of them. They can’t feed themselves. They can’t clean up after themselves. They are constantly soiling themselves. And that means they require constant maintenance. Do babies, therefore, suck? Well, yes; and, no.
Because there is so much more to them than meets the eye. Or rather, it takes a special kind of looking at them to notice these things that we may tend to scroll right past, in our mock disgust. Yes, their bones are soft and their muscles are weak. But, just feel how powerful their grip is. And no, we don’t like it when they scream their heads off all day. But consider this. Not only can they do that; they can do it, and never get hoarse. And, then there is that erect penis. We can’t forget that. Lao Tzu didn’t know it in his day, but they even get erect in utero. That is fascinating for a whole lot of reasons, and not one of them sexual.
So, there are plenty of reasons to hold up the newborn as an example of being centered in the Tao. They illustrate harmony. Harmony? Yes, harmony. They are the very picture of one who is in harmony with the Tao. A newborn. The primal state. Our beginning. And, our end. You think endlessly caring for newborns is a pain? Wait until you are taking care of your aging parents or grandparents. You will be saying the same things about them, that you said about the newborn.
But I don’t want to get sidetracked with dealing with our aging population. Today, we concentrate on newborns. What is the Source of their power? Because, they do have power. That is what we have been talking about, as we have described their firm grip, their incessant screaming without getting hoarse, and that erect penis. We are talking about vital power.
The power to let things come and go, effortlessly; and, without desire. That is what the art of living is all about. The Master understands this. We need to learn the lesson from newborns. Letting things come and go. Letting, requires no effort. In fact, all your efforts only muck up the process. So, don’t interfere. Just let them come. And, let them go. Then, what of all those desires? We need to let them go, as well. Our desires only serve to blind us to the eternal reality.
Do newborns even have the capacity to have expectations? I think not. With all their wailing and crying, do you think they are expecting someone to come and take care of them? I really don’t think so. I witnessed my own newborns crying when they had every possible need and desire met. And yet, they still cried. What did they want? They can’t tell you. They don’t expect any particular result when they cry. They just cry, because that is what babies do.
Don’t miss the point, here. They do what babies do. They are acting without expectations. And, because they aren’t expecting anything, they are also never disappointed. Be like the newborn. Return to that primal state. That is a spirit that is never disappointed. And, a spirit that is never disappointed is a spirit that never grows old.