Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 17

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 17

"In the highest antiquity people scarce knew
That rulers existed among them;
In the next age attachment and praise for them grew,
In the next people feared they might wrong them; 
And then in the next age the people despised
The rulers whom fate set above them,
For when faith by the rulers no longer is prized,
The people no longer can love them.
Those earliest rulers! what caution they had
In weighing the words they were using;
How successful their deeds! while the people all said
We are what we are by our choosing.
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 17

"In the first age of mankind the people recognized their superiors.
In the second age they served and flattered them.
In the third age they feared them,
In the fourth age they despised them.
Where faith is lacking it does not inspire confidence.
How careful were they in their expressions!
When they had done a good thing they would say, "How very natural we are!" "
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 17  

"The Ruler of the People ...
As for him who is highest,
The people just know he is there.
His deputy's cherished and praised;
Of the third, they are frightened;
The fourth, they depise and revile.
If you trust people less than enough,
Some of them never trust you.
He is aloof, as if his talk
Were priced beyond the purchasing;
But once his project is contrived,
The folk will want to say of it:
"Of course! We did it by ourselves!""
-  Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 17 

"Of the best rulers
The people (only) know that they exist;
The next best the love and praise;
The next they fear;
And the next they revile.
When they do not command the people's faith,
Some will lose faith in them,
And then they resort to oaths!
But (of the best) when their task is accomplished,
their work done,
The people all remark, "We have done it ourselves.""
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 17

"The wise leader does not intervene unnecessarily. The leader's presence is felt, but often the group runs itself.
Lesser leaders do a lot, say a lot, have followers, and form cults.
Even worse ones use fear to energize groups to overcome resistance.
Only the most dreadful leaders have bad reputations.
Remember that you are facilitating another person's process. It is not your process. Do not intrude. Do not control. Do not force your own needs and insights into the foreground.
If you do not trust a person's process, that person will not trust you.
Imagine that you are a midwife; you are assisting at someone else's birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening rather than what you think ought to be happening. If you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge.
When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: "We did it ourselves!""
-  Translated by John Heider, 1985, Chapter 17 

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

No comments:

Post a Comment