Monday, September 1, 2008

Lao-tzu On Leaving The People Alone

The other day I was doing what I sometimes do when I feel I need an extra "oomph" or some hope and inspiration, picking a page at random from some important book or other in my library to see what it has to tell me. This time the book I chose was the Tao Te Ching, the Stephen Mitchell translation. Stephen Mitchell is a poet and a foreign language genius whom I have had the privilege of meeting. The Tao Te Ching, although rather short, is a book I have only taken piecemeal, perhaps because each selection in it requires a very great deal of contemplation in order to appreciate, so I an unable to run right through it like I might a light novel.

The selection that I opened to was number 57:

"If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes as common as grass."

Wow, that was written 2,500 years ago by one of the top four or five wisest men ever, and yet we STILL have to battle Marxism/Leninism and Fascism (which people still think are "new, enlightened" ideas), right here in the United States of America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcme back!

And after too long, pitbull is back on the net. How are things going; were you able to change what you wanted to about your life? If you were, I say a heartfelt congrats, because, at this stage of mine, I don't think I could change a thing.

Steph (camcat@comcast.net)