XII – “The sage is for the belly”

The five colours make man’s eyes blind;

The five notes make his ears deaf;

The five tastes injure his palate;

Riding and hunting

make his mind go wild with excitement;

Goods hard to come by

Serve to hinder his progress.

Hence the sage is

For the belly

Not for the eye.

Therefore he discards the one and takes the other.


We should look to fill our bellies rather than tantalise ourselves by our senses. Eyes on the prize: rhetoric and revolution make our minds go wild. We should attend to our belly’s contentment and observe its peace. The truth of things reaches us through the belly, not the senses, which promise much but offer the soul no real nourishment.


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