The Book of Virtue

“A state is governed through regular means,
A war is conducted through irregular means,
But it is through doing nothing that one seizes the universe.
How do I know this is so?
The more taboos and prohibitions rule,
The poorer the people become.
The more one relies on good tools,
The more disorder rages.
The more ingenious minds there are,
The more frivolous luxury develops.
The more ordinances multiply,
The more bandits swarm.
That is why the sage says:
‘I do nothing
And the people improve.
I remain silent
And the people govern themselves.
I undertake nothing
And the people grow rich.
I desire to be without desires,
And the people rediscover simplicity.'”

An old lesson for our world from one of the great Ancients, Lao Tzu.


Steve Jobs, Lao Tzu, and Goethe

The following are some great quotes I’ve come across, thanks to a certain friend.

“Nothing is more revolting than the majority; for it consists of few vigorous predecessors, of knaves who accommodate themselves, of weak people who assimilate themselves, and the mass that toddles after them without knowing in the least what it wants”
– Goethe

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs

The other day, I was at a discussion about a passage from the Tao:
“In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.”

In IM, my friend and I got talking about it and this was what he said. I have to say I agree completely, and it seems that many people forget this about Lao Tzu.

In response:
“Well, realize that Lao Tzu is discussing the Te. He’s not saying you shouldn’t do anything. He’s saying you should do everything as if it were nothing (not in a narcissistic sense, but in the sense that all things are easily done).”

Just wanted to share, thanks for reading!