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Taoist Philosophy - Chapter 80

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How Great The Difference


Agreement and angry rejection;
How great is the difference between them?
Beautiful and ugly;
What’s it like;
The difference between them?
Between “good” and “evil”;
How much difference is there?

The one who is feared by others,
Must also, because of this,
Fear other men.
Wild, unrestrained!
It will never come to an end!
That which men fear
is indeed to be feared;
For, alas, distant yet is the dawn of awakening!

On The Practice Of Kindness And Humanity

The Sage met one of his disciples who was the teacher of the Emperor, and asked him, “Where are you going?”
“I’m running away from the Emperor.”
“What do you mean?” asked the Sage.

“The Emperor is so anxious to practice kindness and humanity,” replied the disciple, “I am afraid he is going to be the laughing-stock of future generations. Centuries from now, we are going to see cannibalism. It is not difficult to get the people to live peacefully with one another. If you are kind to them, they will be close to you, and if you rule for their benefit, then they come. When you encourage them, they all like to do good, and if you force what is hateful on them, then they disperse. Those who can forget about humanity and justice are few and those who exploit the virtues of humanity and justice are many. When the doctrines of humanity and justice prevail, hypocrisy follows. Then we resort to devices to induce the people to do good, and it becomes possible for one man to decide and impose on the world what it regards as desirable, which in effect is like surveying a given situation with one wink of the eye. The Emperor knows what good the wise man can do to the world, but he does not realize what harm he can do. Before his reign the people did right without inducement or reward, and they avoided the path of evil without threat of punishment. Now he has started promotions and punishments and the people have lost their natural humanity. Henceforth, man’s Character declines and punishments are instituted. This is going to be the beginning of world chaos.”

Prejudices Result In Hypocrisy

Humanity and righteousness are principles of human nature. Human nature undergoes changes and is different past and present. If one takes a temporary adobe in a thing and then moves on, he will see the reality of things. If, however, he stops and is confined to one place, he will develop prejudices. Prejudices will result in hypocrisy, and hypocrisy will result in many reproaches.

Edited by Marblehead

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