Chapter Three of Daodejing

This chapter deals with how to govern as a sage leader.


Commentary

Laozi's model of governing is drastically at odds with most modern forms of government. In the United States, society is centered on obtaining wealth and achieving notoriety. And look at the result--a nation in chaos. People care more about their social media fame or becoming rich than living simply and in connection with their community. And who benefits from this upside-down version of Laozi's model? The wealthy and those in power. By keeping everyone stuck on an economic treadmill, those at the top sit upon piles of wealth far greater than anyone in Laozi's time could even imagine.


Laozi could see even in his time, that keeping society simple was also the route to maintaining harmony and satisfaction. Our society sickens people, keeps them unhappy because of tiresome work so that they may buy material goods to substitute for meaning. People are isolated and the country is on the brink of hating each other to the point that often the thought of civil war arises. Clearly, the neoliberal form of governing is a complete failure and will yet persist in it's model until there is total collapse.


Translation

Don't esteem status and the people will not contend with each other.

Don't prize difficult to obtain goods and the people will not steal.

Don't display desirous things and the people's hearts won't be chaotic.

Therefore, the sage governs by emptying the people's hearts yet filling their stomachs;

And by weakening their aspirations yet strengthening their bones.

Consistently keep knowledge and desire from the people and stop those who know from daring to act.

Interfere as little as possible, then nothing is without governing.


Simplified Chinese

不尚贤,使民不争。

不贵难得之货,使民少为盗。

不见可欲,使民心不乱。

是以圣人之治,虚其心,实其腹,弱其志,强其骨。

常使民无知无欲,使夫知者敢为也。

为无为,则无不治。


Pinyin

bú shàng xián,shǐ mín bù zhēng。

bú guì nán dé zhī hùo,shǐ mín shǎo wéi dào。

bú jiàn kě yù,shǐ mín xīn bú luàn。

shì yǐ shèng rén zhī zhì,xū qí xīn,shí qí fù,ruò qí zhì,qiáng qí gǔ。

cháng shǐ mín wú zhī kě yù,shǐ fú zhī zhě gǎn wéi yě。

wéi wù wéi,zé wú bú zhì。





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