When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess, acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.      
              Verse 2, Stephen Mitchell New English Version



Laura Novak
02/29/2012 09:21

This one I chose for Mistah Charley, PhD. I wish you all peace today.

mistah charley, ph.d.
02/29/2012 10:32

Thank you, Laura. May peace be with us all. John Heider's translation of this passage is:

All behaviour consists of opposites or polarities. If I do anything more and more, over and over, its polarity will appear. For example, striving to be beautiful makes a person ugly, and trying too hard to be kind is a form of selfishness.

Any over-determined behaviour produces its opposite:
- An obsession with living suggests worry about dying.
- True simplicity is not easy.
- Is it a long time or a short time since we last met?
- The braggart probably feels small and insecure.
- Who would be first ends up last.

Knowing how polarities work, the wise leader does not push to make things happen, but allows process to unfold on its own.

The leader teaches by example rather than by lecturing others on how they ought to be.

The leader knows that constant interventions will block the group's process. The leader does not insist that things come out a certain way.

The wise leader does not seek a lot of money or a lot of praise. Nevertheless, there is plenty of both.

and here is Witter Bynner's version
02/29/2012 10:38

People through finding something beautiful
Think something else unbeautiful,
Through finding one man fit
Judge another unfit.
Life and death, though stemming from each other, seem to conflict as stages of change,
Difficult and easy as phases of achievement,
Long and short as measures of contrast,
High and low as degrees of relation;
But, since the varying of tones gives music to a voice
And what is is the was of what shall be,
The sanest man
Sets up no deed,
Lays down no law,
Takes everything that happens as it comes,
As something to animate, not to appropriate,
To earn, not to own,
To accept naturally without self-importance:
If you never assume importance
You never lose it.

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