Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 72


民不畏威,則大威至。
無狎其所居,無厭其所生。
夫唯不厭,是以不厭。
是以聖人自知不自見;自愛不自貴。
故去彼取此。
When people no longer fear force
They bring about greater force

Do not limit their place
Do not reject their livelihood

Because the ruler does not reject them
Therefore they do not reject the ruler

Therefore the sages:
Know themselves but do not glorify themselves
Respect themselves but do not praise themselves
Thus they discard that and take this
(Translation by Derick Lin)

Kings and princes in general, after having power, usually show conspiracy or high pressure. People are often treated with severe punishments and harsh laws. If the people are forced to fear no authority by that policy of coercion, they will rise up and resist, and they will take risks and fight with the regime. This is how revolutions are made. The coups in history and the change of the dynasty are like this.

Thus the wise ruler would not attempt not to let the people live in peace. Nor would the wise ruler deny the people their means of livelihood. If the ruler does not oppress the people in these ways, the people also will not forsake the leadership.

Therefore, a sage is not only self-aware but also self-respect. A sage is neither self-praise nor self-glory. Consequently, we must abandon the latter (self-praise, self-glory) and keep the former (self-awareness, self-respect).

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