Chapter 49, 64-66

Part 17= Requirements for Philosophers and Philosopher-Kings

September 12, 2021

Chapter 49: Equipoise

1 The sage has no invariable mind of his own. He makes the mind of the people his mind.

2 I am good to those who are good to me and to those who are not good to me. Thus, all get to be good.

I am sincere to those who are sincere with me and to those who are not sincere with me. Thus, all get to be sincere.

3 To the world, the sage has an appearance of indecision, and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all. The people all keep their eyes and ears directed to him, and he deals with them all as his children.

Chapter 64: Good Intention

1 A thing at rest is easily kept hold of. It is easy to take measures against it.

  • That which is brittle is easily broken.
  • That which is very small is easily dispersed.

Action should be taken before a thing has made its appearance. Order should be secured before disorder has begun.

2 The large tree grew from the tiniest sprout.

  • The tower of nine storeys rose from a small heap of earth.
  • The journey of a thousand steps commenced with a single step.

3 He who acts with an ulterior purpose does harm. He who takes hold of a thing in the same way, loses his hold.

The sage does not act so, and therefore does no harm. He does not lay hold so, and therefore does not lose his hold.

But people are constantly ruining others when they are on the eve of success. Those successful people should be careful from start to end, to avoid being ruined.

4 Therefore, the sage:

  • desires what other men do not desire
  • does not prize things difficult to get
  • learns what other men do not learn
  • turns back to what the multitude of men have passed by

Thus, he helps the natural development of all things. He does not dare to act (with an ulterior purpose of his own).

Chapter 65: The Knowledge of Worldly Things

1 The ancients who showed their skill in practising the Tao or True Nature did so, not to enlighten the people, but rather to make them simple and ignorant.

2 The difficulty in governing the people arises from their having much knowledge.

  • He who governs a state by his wisdom is a scourge to it.
  • He who does not do so is a blessing.

3 The knowledge of these two things leads to a model for governance. ‘The mysterious excellence of a governor’ is the ability to know this model.

Such mysterious excellence deep and far-reaching. It shows its possessor as opposite to others, but leading them to a great conformity to him.

Chapter 66: The Sage-Ruler is Humble Before the People

1 Rivers and seas are able to receive the water from the valleys by being lower than them. If water were homage and tribute, then the rivers and seas would be the kings of the valleys.

Likewise, the sage-ruler, wishing to be above men:

  • puts himself by his words below the people
  • places his person behind them

2 In this way, men do not feel his weight or feel injured even if he has his place above them.

3 Therefore, the world delights to exalt him and are not weary of him. Because he does not strive, no one finds it possible to strive with him.