"Know male but keep to female."
This version of the Tao Te Ching is my extrapoloation of Lao
Tzu's premise that wise development of Psyche means down-
playing ego's role. Ego is an illusion that must not be allowed
to throw Psyche off balance. Ego is selfish--egoista, as they
say in Spanish--and soon becomes a tyrant. In a patriarchy
this is especially true of men.
At one level Lao Tzu is addressing patriarchal men and
announcing that the macho ego is the ruin of the Spirit:
"Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine."
Lao Tzu uses a telegraphic style, a kind of Basic Chinese.
Collating a dozen or so English translations gives a sense of
their common origin. Once we identify the Chinese character
Lao Tzu has used, the question becomes, "How do we under-
stand that concept, Chinese or no Chinese?" If Lao Tzu writes,
"Know male, but keep to the female," what does this mean in
terms of Psyche?
Indeed, when Lao Tzu speaks of the "sage" or "wise man,"
what does he have in mind? The present version of the Tao
Te Ching explores a fresh answer, for I believe that Lao Tzu
had a vision of "wisdom" that the patriarchal scholar easily
disregards: ego- transcendence in favor of the Creative
Translators of Lao Tzu are of two general classes--extravert
and introvert, to borrow Jung's distinction. Both are valid
according to the reader's temperament. Some see the Tao Te
Ching as a book about ego interacting with Psyche, i.e.,
individuating. I call this the evolution from yang-yin mind
to yin-yang mind.
--from The Yin-Yang Journal: An Alternative Reading of the Tao
Te Ching by RC Allen (Inner Eye Press, Tuscon, Arizona)