Those who are on tiptoes cannot stand.
Those who straddle cannot walk.
Those who flaunt themselves are not clear.”TTC- chp. 24 (Derek Lin)
The opposite of humility is arrogance and the Tao Te Ching does not mince words about living arrogantly.
I have lived a life of trying to find a way to only stand on my tip toes so that I can be taller and seem bigger than I was created.
In highschoool I tried to be recruited to play football in college, and I literally put lifts in my shoes and would be on my toes when meeting new coaches.
I had a clear fear of not being accepted at my current height and thinking my stature would keep me from being over looked, because my play was obviously so good.
Well, the truth is, I wasn’t that good regardless of height or size, but I didn’t want to believe that.
My arrogance and presumption of ability, I did not possess, caused me a lot of pain and still can if I’m not careful.
Walking on tip toes may get me on the ride, but there is a height limit for a reason and that reason is usually safety.
As is with arrogance, pretending to be something I am not, I put myself in a dangerous position, and while I may make it for a while, eventually probability catches up and I get what I get. The Tao Te Ching is expressing this.
My favorite way of defining humility is, “when the idea of myself and the reality of myself match up. Because, bringing these two identity’s together make a clear image of who we are, with distinct capabilities.
Earlier I was showing my kids one of my very first YouTube videos, and they were making fun of me for how bad it was. Which, it definitely was bad.
But, I told them people don’t need to see perfect, they need to see you just as you are. There are enough people out there pretending to be perfect. Be the perfect version of your flawed self.
As I’m telling them this they stumble upon a comment, saying how inspired someone is to do their own video after watching mine.
The truth of the matter is, if I want to truly serve people I have to be willing to take a chance and possibly look stupid. We don’t serve others by being bullet proof. The “Hero” is the “Hero” because they jump in front of the bullet knowing they will most likely die and that is what saves “US” not, taking a bullet, but showing that life is more important than fear of death.
“The “Hero” is the “Hero” because they jump in front of the bullet knowing they will most likely die, and that is what saves “US”, not taking a bullet, but showing that life is more important than the fear of death.”Thoughts and Such – (Matthew Whiteside)
We can spend our entire lives “straddling” the fence and never make it anywhere because we decided to never decide on a direction.
I relate to the first part of this chapter so entirely it is speaking directly to my greatest flaws.
Arrogance, indecision and pride.
“Those who presume themselves are not distinguished Those who praise themselves have no merit Those who boast about themselves do not last”TTC- chp. 24 (Lin)
The Tao Te Ching, doesn’t tell us not to behave in this manner, instead it simply says, these things do not last, while the other stuff we mentioned about the Sage’s and the Master’s, that stuff is eternal.
So, there is the truth. What we do with the truth is completely up to us.
It does give a pretty damning depiction of the ways these behaviors are viewed by those following the Tao.
“Those with the Tao call such things leftover food or tumors They despise them Thus, those who possesses the Tao do not engage in them”TTC – chp.24 (Lin)
Left over food makes me think of waste. So practicing these things can be seen as a waste.
A tumor can be described as an over abundance of useless or deadly growths on ones self. So, these things are dangerous.
So, followers of the Tao do not practice these things for that reason. It is like Day 12’s writing, The practitioners live in creation not in loss, thus practicing things that are finite is an empty game.
Well there you have it, another day another Tao Te Ching studied and expressed.
I really found great insights today simply from enjoying my day with my kids and all this stuff popped up throughout. Which, in many ways is living the Tao, it can’t be understood simply from a book it must be lived.
2 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching Day 13: Arrogance”
Great article Matt!
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Thank you 🙏 for reading it. I fixed a bunch of things I missed I think it makes more sense now.
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