In the old days, those who were well versed in the
practice of the Tao did not try to enlighten the
people, but rather to keep them in the state of simplicity.
For, why are the people hard to govern? Because they
are too clever! Therefore, he who governs his state
with cleverness is its malefactor; but he who governs
his state without resorting to cleverness is its
benefactor. To know these principles is to possess a
rule and a measure. To keep the rule and the measure
constantly in your mind is what we call Mystical
Virtue. Deep and far-reaching is Mystical Virtue! It
leads all things to return, till they come back to Great
First off, I have to say it feels a little strange to hear someone referring to “the old days” in a text that was written around 400 BC. But what this says to me is that people are always nostalgic about the way things used to be. I think that says something about human nature.
In this passage, Lau Tzu encourages leaders to govern through simplicity and with “Mystical Virtue.” Doing so will return a nation to a state of “Great Harmony.” Clearly, this is advice that many of our modern leaders could benefit from. When I look at the world, it seems to me to be the antithesis of a Great Harmony.
There is really nothing that I can add to this short passage. I hope you found it as insightful as I did. Thanks for stopping by, and keep on reading.
5 responses to ““Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 65” by Lao Tzu”
The world is a mess Jeff that’s for sure. Hopefully things will eventual sort themselves out.
Hey Deke. The world has always been a mess, if you think about it. A big difference though is we expect things to be better than they are, which is an indicator that we may be moving in the right direction. But change is always met with resistance. It is part of the process. Hope you and the family are well. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Your right Jeff. World has been a mess not it’s just a huge mess!
Thanks for the passage! It’s a good reminder for myself to take a breath and focus on the keep it simple philosophy of life. My dad likes to say “nothing’s so simple as it can’t be made complicated.” Yes, we like to over complicate things. I like better when my mindset or way of engaging in the world is simple. And there’s a deeper cleverness in that when it’s something one chooses I think.
Hi Genna. I’m glad you enjoyed the passage. Keeping things simple is a good philosophy. And thanks for sharing your dad’s saying. He sounds like a wise soul. Cheers!