“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 69” by Lao Tzu

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The strategists have a saying:
I dare not be a host, but rather a guest;
I dare not advance an inch, but rather retreat a foot.

This is called marching without moving,
Rolling up one’s sleeves without baring one’s arms,
Capturing the enemy without confronting him,
Holding a weapon that is invisible.

There is no greater calamity than to under-estimate the strength of your enemy.
For to under-estimate the strength of your enemy is to lose your treasure.

Therefore, when opposing troops meet in battle, victory belongs to the grieving side.

I must confess, when I first read this, I was not sure I would have much to say about it. Military strategy is not really my thing. But I thought a little about the principles expressed through the passage, and I realized it is applicable to our broader society.

There is a socio-political trend right now which is to oppose anything that is contrary to one’s beliefs, and to staunchly refuse to compromise or give in on anything, regardless of how trivial it is or whether the opposing viewpoint has merit. This is a problem, and it is contributing to the stark divide in our society. No matter what the issue is, both sides seem poised to dig in and not give an inch. A society cannot function in this way, nor can a government. There has to be compromise, and compromise needs to be on both sides, not the version of “compromise” where we demand the other party change their views to align with ours.

Eventually, things will have to change. We will either learn to work together with respect and consideration, or our social structure will collapse. I personally am hopeful for the first option.


Filed under Literature, Spiritual

4 responses to ““Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 69” by Lao Tzu

  1. I’m with you on hopefully society will work together at one point.

  2. It’s almost as if the objective of the divide has become division itself, rather than the issues of the division.

    I see the media having a vested financial interest in sustaining the divide. It keeps the audience in want and anticipation of more.

    • Hi! You are 100% correct. The media makes money be feeding individuals a constant stream of possible scenarios intended to fuel fear and anxiety and keep people coming back and clicking. They portray “the other” as some nefarious force seeking to take something from you or to somehow harm you. Which is why I filter my news. I scan headlines for important articles, but anything with the words could, might, may, speculate, predict, etc., I completely ignore because it is all junk.

      Hope you have a blessed day, and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. 😀🙏