Simplicity Blossoms When Coercion Dies

Govern a state with predictable actions.
Fight a war with surprise attacks.
But the universe becomes ours
only by eliminating coercive acts.
By not doing, nothing lacks.

How do we know these lessons?
By tuning into our Essence.

The more taboos and prohibitions there are,
the poorer the people become.
The more deadly weapons there are,
the more our fears turn us numb.

When craftiness spreads far,
the more bizarre what is done,
The stricter the laws there are,
the less the robbers run.

Therefore, the wise know
to make no one a foe.
The less coercing we do,
The more tranquilities grow.

When harmony reigns,
and we rule ourselves with felicity,
everyone gains,
and we’ll all live in simplicity.

Tao Te Ching
Lao-tzu (abt.551-479 BCE)


verse 57 as translated by Ralph Alan Dale 2002 ISBN 0-7607-4998-1