Revere the Fundamental and Dismiss the Specific
This term deals with the relationship between the fundamental and the specific. In interpreting Laozi, Wang Bi put forth the idea of “revering the fundamental and dismissing the specific,” as opposed to the idea of “revering the fundamental and keeping the specific unchanged.” The fundamental here means Dao which is shapeless and nameless, while the specific refers to man-made things in various forms and names. The term “revere the fundamental and dismiss the specific” is meant to give full rein to Dao and void so as to maintain the inherent nature of all things and at the same time stop the pursuit of all kinds of man-made things in various forms and names. Politically, “revere the fundamental” means that a sovereign should govern on the basis of Dao and do nothing that goes against nature. At the same time, he should dismiss the rigid inculcation of moral values and rules and stop all false and pretentious rhetoric and behaviors.
Saying simple ideas and doing practical deeds rather than following sagacity and dogma, rejecting the pursuit of selfishness and resisting the temptation of trickery and vanity: this is what revering the fundamental and dismissing the specific is about. (Wang Bi: An Outline of Laozi)