October 19th, 2009

Chapter thirty-six: The small dark light

What seeks to shrink
must first have grown;
what seeks weakness
surely was strong.
What seeks its ruin
must first have risen;
what seeks to take
has surely given.

This is called the small dark light:
the soft, the weak prevail
over the hard, the strong.

*Fish should stay under water
the real means of rule
should be kept dark

Lao Tsu and Ursula Le Guin

*this last verse is not included in Le Guin's interpretation.  She felt it was unworthy of Lao Tsu in both style and content and was probably added by someone else.
  • trevoke


That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.
To make something smaller,
you need to appreciate its size.
To make something weaker,
you must recognize its strength.
To get rid of something,
you need to hold it tight.
To take something,
you must give it up entirely.

To put it another way:
Sensitivity and weakness
overcome unfeeling strength.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.