The Tao Te Ching, Chapter
Feng and English:

Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.

Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.

These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one's true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.

Le Guin:

Raw silk and uncut wood

Stop being holy, forget being prudent,
it'll be a hundred times better for everyone.
Stop being altruistic, forget being righteous,
people will remember what family feeling is.
Stop planning, forget making a profit,
there won't be any thieves and robbers.

But even these three rules
needn't be followed; what works reliably
is to know the raw silk;
hold the uncut wood.
Need little,
want less.
Forget the rules.
Be untroubled.

Peter Merel:
19. Simplify

If we could discard knowledge and wisdom
Then people would profit a hundredfold;
If we could discard duty and justice
Then harmonious relationships would form;
If we could discard artifice and profit
Then waste and theft would disappear.

Yet such remedies treat only symptoms
And so they are inadequate.

People need personal remedies:
Reveal your naked self and embrace your original nature;
Bind your self-interest and control your ambition;
Forget your habits and simplify your affairs.

Tao Te Ching Back Next

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