February 24th, 2013

  • trevoke


Great accomplishment seems imperfect,
Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.
Great fullness seems empty,
Yet cannot be exhausted.

Great straightness seems twisted.
Great intelligence seems stupid.
Great eloquence seems awkward.

Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Stillness and tranquillity set things in order in the universe.
The greatest achievements
may look like mistakes,
but you will always be able
to build upon them.

The fullest reserves may seem empty,
but you will always be able
to draw upon them.

The straightest line looks crooked.
The most skilled people
come off as clumsy.
The most eloquent people
are usually silent.

When it's cold,
you can move around to stay warm.
When it's hot,
you should keep still and stay cool.
But whatever the weather,
if you stay calm,
the world will sort itself out around you.

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

Chapter 45

45.1 Great completeness seems incomplete;
       its use is never exhausted.
       Great fullness seems empty;
       its use is never ended.
       Great directness seems restrained,
45.2 great skill seems inept,
       great eloquence seems inarticulate.
45.3 Movement overcomes cold,
       stillness overcomes heat.
       Clear stillness is right for the world.
Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation