Daoist Symbolism

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Daoism is a philosophy that uses images and allegories to explain its concepts of balance and harmony, two of it’s main aspects. By understanding the analogy of the wheel, one can better understand Daoism and many of its principles. The image of the wheel symbolizes the Dao: the ultimate being of perfect harmony, egolessness, and fullness. The wheel represents the way that the Dao substantially stays the same, but moves and changes places. It incorporates aspects of typical Daoist compliments: it is made up of the hub and the spokes, and both function in different ways to complete the substance of the wheel. The spokes, many in number, surround the hub equally and physically. Because they are made of materials, they can potentially fade or wear away. The spokes all connect to the middle of the wheel and meet at the center place called the hub. Unlike the spokes, the hub is empty and contains nothing. Although this lack of material cannot be defined positively, it has significance in its emptiness, stability, cohesiveness, and singularity. The wheel as a whole never changes, only moves, and its two parts, the hub and spokes, function differently. Moeller says, “The hub does not move the spokes, the spokes rather turn around the hub” (pg. 36). One can relate the static aspect of the hub to a Daoist ruler, and how the people- the dynamic spokes- act on their own accord and move themselves. These two aspects together represent the ideal Dao, and the wheel as a whole constitutes as a model of the harmonious state of being that we should aim to achieve. The Ancient leaders would try to align themselves with the hub and become like it in order to more closely resemble the Dao and be the center of power. Daoist rulers also aim to be like water because of its humble and low-lying, yet energetic and flowing aspects. The theory is that ideal ruler will be like water in these ways, and therefore will be the source of life, the giver of Qi. The word “qi” can be translated...
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