The highest perfection is like imperfection,
And its use is never impaired.
The greatest abundance seems meager,
And its use will never fail.
What most straight appears devious,
The greatest skill appears clumsiness;
The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering.
Movement overcomes cold,
(But) keeping still overcomes the heat.
Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )
Lao Tzu said, “something that is complete or perfect is like a defect, but its function is still there, and it will not disappear.”
Things that are full are like they are empty, but their function is not exhausted.
In the same way: the big straight thing seems bent; great coordination seems to be clumsy; and great eloquence seems to be dull.
So he says clearly: peace is better than agitation, cold is better than heat, and quiet and calm can be used as a model for the world.