I’ve been accused now and then of being a sage, in so many words. Granted, I am ‘lao tzu’ (老子 – father, old man), but a sage? As they say, he who points one finger of accusation has four other fingers pointing back at him. In other words, what we see ‘out there’ is nothing other than a reflection of what is ‘in here’. We only see what we want to see; we only understand what we already know. In this case, it takes a sage to know a sage. Now while that may be a flattering idea at first glance, further pondering shatters that. For example, I am sure those who followed Hitler thought him to be a sage, so to speak.
This is an interesting upshot of our social instinct. It binds people together… to each other and to their leaders. It continues to amaze me why we don’t see this more clearly. Perhaps a fear driven social need to conform to hierarchy — love heroes, loathe villains — blinds us. As they say, love is blind. I’d also say hate is blind. Finally, let’s not forget chapter 19’s Exterminate the sage, discard the wise, And the people will benefit a hundredfold.