Use honesty to govern the country,
Use surprise when using weapons,
Use non responsibility when seeking all under heaven.
How do I know so? Because of this.
The wider spread the taboos, the poorer the people.
The sharper their tools, the more a country’s confusion grows.
The more clever they are, the more strange things appear.
The more laws multiply, the more conspicuous the robbers.
For this reason, the holy person says,
I do nothing and the people change themselves.
I love stillness and the people straighten themselves.
I am without responsibility and the people thrive themselves.
I am without desire and the people simplify themselves.
I finished the ‘work in progress’ project last month and didn’t know where to go from there. I discussed all this in last month’s post for the final Chapter 56. As I said then, I have addressed all the Issues and made all the necessary Commentary? Of course, I say this with huge tongue in cheek. Still, life goes on, so the question remained, where do I go from here?
At the end of last month’s meeting, I suggested we tackle one chapter per month. That would mean it would take us about seven years to cover all 81 chapters. So that’s the new project here. I’ll post one chapter a month, starting where we left off, and add a smidgen of current reflections if I’ve anything to add (which I always seem to have).
Chapter of the Month
This chapter’s English still works for me. The notion of non responsibility is one of the more radical in this chapter. We are taught from childhood onward to be Responsible. Of course, this traces right back to the notion of free will, which pushes the ideal that we can have control over our lives. We desperately want control over life… to master our fate. Certainly, at first glance, we seem to have a lot of control. Heck, at the push of a button we can do all sorts of powerful things, up to even launching a nuclear war.
Looking deeper however, it is simply a need (or a fear) to either do or not do, that drives our action or inaction. We just don’t discern the process that carefully. The ego, “I”, thinks it is in control. This is abundantly clear when there is something we imagine we ‘should’ do or not do, which is not supported by a true visceral need. We dwell on it, but never act. Thinking we have free will, we beat ourselves up for not being ‘strong enough’ to be responsible.
Judging our lives this way doesn’t stop at the edge of our skin either. We expect other people to have this power of free will, to be responsible even as we continue to fail to live up to our highest ideals of perfection and personal responsibility. This chapter reveals how nature actually works, which is often very different from how we wished it worked. Ironically, the only folks who can fully appreciate this chapter’s revelation are those who already know it… at least at some intuitive level (i.e., we only understand what we already know).