When the country is ruled with a light hand,
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.
Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man’s bewitchment lasts for a long time.
Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English )
Picture is taken by Wing at the Sea Galilee.
If we govern the country without playing tricks, playing smart, and do everything slowly and gradually, the people will be simple and honest. On the other hand, if government scrutinizes the people’s every move, burdens the people with restrictions, and intrudes upon their life, it creates an environment where people are forced to become tricky and cunning.
Lao Tzu tells us the truth that woe and blessing have a cause and effect relation. When one is proud, one must know that it is the beginning of disappointment. The feeling of gain and loss in life depends on the opinion of each person. Indeed everything is unpredictable; it changes by the passing of the time and environment so it can be very confusing for anyone to know what to do.
Fortunately, by following the Tao, we will not go astray. Here is what the Tao guides us to do:
Be sharp and pointed but not offending or hurting others.
Be straightforward without being ruthless.
Be illuminated without being flashy and blinding others.