Opposites Create Each Other “Tao Te Ching”, verse 2 for Artists

by | Mar 1, 2014 | 0 comments

Verse 2


When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away


We as artists know well, that if we try to create something too beautiful, it will turn out to be ugly. To paint something delicate, with just having “delicate” in mind, will produce lifeless painting. One cannot paint a “dark” painting without having the light contrasting it. It seems when you go too much one way, then the opposite emerges…It’s the nature of everything, but so frequently we think (naively) we can control it.
Sometimes when painting, the artist doesn’t know when to stop, so by adding more and more, the artwork becomes overloaded. So adding more, creates less , but too little asks for more. It is that delicate balance that is needed to be applied when creating, to result with a harmonious artwork.


We have to learn to create from the place where there is room for beauty and ugliness, easy and difficult, good and bad….where the opposites exist together within the same artwork. 


As Master Artists, we have to be in harmony with the natural, we have to leave the everyday chatter of desires and control of the mind. We have to let go of the ownership/attachment to our creation, result and success. We have to let go of all that we strive for, because it is from letting go we will keep it.
 Please leave comments and your own interpretations below.


 * From  http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm
**Art and creating are interchangeable with life and living.



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