[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 72

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David Hinton 2002


When the people stop fearing the fearsome something truly fearsome will descend upon them.
Don't hem them in
and choke their lives with oppression.
That's all.
Just let them be,
and they'll never tire of you.
A sage sees through himself without revealing himself,
loves himself without exalting himself,
always ignores that and chooses this.


Dwight Goddard 1919

When people are too ignorant to fear the fearsome thing, then it will surely come. 
Do not make the place where they dwell confining, the life they live wearisome. 
If they are let alone, they will not become restless. 
Therefore the wise man while not understanding himself regards himself, while cherishing he does not overvalue himself. 
Therefore he discards flattery and prefers regard.


Bradford Hatcher 2005

(When) the people do not heed the imposing
Then great impositions come to pass
Do not constrict the places where they live
Do not overtax their means of living
Only when there is no oppressing
Will there then be no oppression
This is how wise ones know themselves
Without displaying themselves
Love themselves
Without venerating themselves
And so dismiss That to choose This


Wing-Tsit Chan 1963


When the people do not fear what is dreadful, Then what is greatly dreadful will fall upon them. 
Do not reduce the living space of their dwellings. Do no oppress their lives. It is because you do not oppress them that they are not oppressed. 
Therefore the sage knows himself but does not show himself. He loves himself but does not exalt himself. Therefore he rejects the one but accepts the other. 

Gu Zhengku 1993


When the people are not afraid of the threatening might of the authority,
The great tumult will soon ensue.
Do not harass their living places;
Do not deprive them of their means of livelihood.
If you do not oppress the people,
The people will not be tired of you (the ruler).
Hence the sage knows himself but does not praise himself;
loves himself but does not honor himself.
That is why he discards the latter and takes the former.

Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904


If the people have no fear of their ruling authority, still greater fear will come.
Be sure not to give them too narrow a dwelling;
Nor make their living scanty.
Only when their dwelling place is no longer narrow will their dissatisfaction come to an end.


Flowing Hands 1987
When men forget the care of all things in their hearts, disaster will follow.
Be aware of your actions and remain constant.
By being constant, there is little room for change.
By not changing, man will not lose his way.
When man has lost his way, the Dao is furthest from his mind.
Do not interfere or intrude upon others.
By interfering, things change, and so imbalance will come about.
Therefore the Sage remains at one, he lives his life in harmony with nature.
By not changing or interfering with the Earth and the Ten Thousand Things, he does not
upset or cause imbalance.
Therefore he lets go of this and chooses that.

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All of these translations, with the exception of Flowing Hands, begin by pointing to some separste or outside force or authority that will wreak havoc on peoples lives if not heeded. This seems to make the statements about living, livelihood and imapct on peoples lives be seen as an externally caused affliction. Easily understood in the context of dominion ... by government or even god ... over people.


Flowing Hands interpretation suggests that problems might be self-inflicted ... through their own attitudes and behaviours being out of harmony with the natural flow of life.


The difference in interpretation is striking.


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