|1.||Thirty spokes join the wheel nave|
|2.||And make of void and form a pair,|
|3.||And a wagon's put to use.|
|4.||Clay is thrown to shape a vase|
|5.||And make of void and form a pair,|
|6.||And a vessel's put to use.|
|7.||Door and window vent a room|
|8.||And make of void and form a pair,|
|9.||And a room is put to use.|
|10.||Thus the value of what is|
|11.||Depends for use on what is not.|
COMMENT This stanza is built around the terms wu (negation, what is not, void) and you (what is, becoming formed) in a spatial context, and like stanza 2, it illustrates the interdependence of wu and you.
Wu and you first appear as cosmic categories in stanza 1, where wu is the name for heaven and earth as yet unborn, and you the name for the mother of the ten thousand after their birth. In stanza 2 wu and you begin the list of opposites that define and depend on each other in the everyday world. In this stanza Laozi uses three commonplace items to make his point: one should heed the unseen, the negative aspect, of anything, for that is the secret of its usefulness. Dao itself is the negative as philosophical principle, the negation that precedes and follows all existence and the constant (chang) alternation of wu and you.
In this stanza, as in stanza 5, artisanal works serve as metaphors—a probable reference to Mozi. Mozi's key term, li (what-