He who knows how to guide a ruler in the path of Tao
Does not try to override the world with force of arms.
It is in the nature of a military weapon to turn against its wielder.
Wherever armies are stationed; thorny bushes grow.
After a great war, bad years invariably follow.
What you want is to protect efficiently your own state,
But not to aim at self-aggrandisement.
After you have attained your purpose,
You must not parade your success,
You must not boast of your ability,
You must not feel proud,
You must rather regret that you had not been able to prevent the war.
You must never think of conquering others by force.
For to be over-developed is to hasten decay,
And this is against Tao,
And what is against Tao will soon cease to be.
This passage is very clear and really doesn’t require much interpretation on my part. In the United States, our leaders love to declare war on anything that they want to change: War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on _____. You can basically fill in the blank. And in spite of the failures of these self-proclaimed wars, we continue to wage war against that which we want to change. It never works out the way we hope.
So how does one foster change? Because there are certainly things we need to change in our society and in the world. I believe that in order to change the world, you need to change yourself. Then allow the ripples to spread outward and affect others. For example, rather than railing against others about environmental issues (a cause that is very dear to me), I teach through example. I drive a fuel-efficient car, I buy energy-efficient appliances, I compost, I grow my own vegetables when I can, I buy organic, I recycle, and so forth. I cannot force others to believe what I believe, or do as I do, but I can perhaps inspire others to take the first steps in becoming more conscious of their actions, and if I do that, then I have been successful.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.