March 26th, 2013



Why are the people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do the people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take death lightly.

Having little to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.
People starve
because the government
taxes them to death.
People rebel
because the government
tries to run their lives.
People act like life is meaningless
because the government
takes everything they have.

People who know how to enjoy life
are wiser than people who value their lives.

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

Chapter 75

75.1 When people are starving,
       it is because their governments take too much,
       causing them to starve.
75.2 When people are hard to control,
       it is because of the contrivances of their governments,
       which make them hard to control.
75.3 When people slight death,
       it is because of the earnestness with which they seek life;
       that makes them slight death.
       Only those who do not contrive to live
       are wise in valuing life.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation