Tao Te Ching
One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know.
Block the openings;
Shut the doors.
Blunt the sharpness;
Untangle the knots;
Soften the glare;
Let your wheels move only along old ruts.
This is known as mysterious sameness.
Hence you cannot get close to it, nor can you keep it at arm's length; you cannot bestow benefit on it, nor can you do it harm; you cannot ennoble it, nor can you debase it.
Therefore it is valued by the empire.
Govern the state by being straightforward; wage war by being crafty; but win the empire by not being meddlesome.
How do I know that it is like that? By means of this.
The more taboos there are in the empire
The poorer the people;
The more sharpened tools the people have
The more benighted the state;
The more skills the people have
The further novelties multiply;
The better known the laws and edicts
The more thieves and robbers there are.
Hence the sage says,
I take no action and the people are transformed of themselves;
I prefer stillness and the people are rectified of themselves;
I am not meddlesome and the people prosper of themselves;
I am free from desire and the people of themselves become simple like the uncarved block.
When the government is muddled
The people are simple;
When the government is alert
The people are cunning.
It is on disaster that good fortune perches;
It is beneath good fortune that disaster crouches.
Who knows the limit? Does not the straightforward exist? The straightforward changes again into the crafty, and the good changes again into the monstrous. Indeed, it is long since the people were perplexed.
Therefore the sage is square-edged but does not scrape,
Has corners but does not jab,
Extends himself but not at the expense of others,
Shines but does not dazzle.
In ruling the people and in serving heaven it is best for a ruler to be sparing.
It is because he is sparing
That he may be said to follow the way from the start;
Following the way from the start he may be said to accumulate an abundance of virtue;
Accumulating an abundance of virtue there is nothing he cannot overcome;
When there is nothing he cannot overcome, no one knows his limit;
When no one knows his limit
He can possess a state;
When he possesses the mother of a state
He can then endure.
This is called the way of deep roots and firm stems by which one lives to see many days.
Governing a large state is like boiling a small fish.
When the empire is ruled in accordance with the way,
The spirits lose their potencies.
Or rather, it is not that they lose their potencies,
But that, though they have their potencies, they do not harm the people.
It is not only they who, having their potencies, do not harm the people,
The sage, also, does not harm the people.
As neither does any harm, each attributes the merit to the other.
...Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching
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Daily Words of Wisdom
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