Chapters 70-74

Part 19= Knowledge, Laws, and Justice Icon

September 10, 2021

Chapter 70: Laws Should be Understandable

1 My words are very easy to know, and very easy to practise. But there is no one in the world who is able to know and able to practise them.

2 There is an originating and all-comprehending principle in my words, and an authoritative law for the things which I enforce. It is because they do not know these, that men do not know me.

3 They who know me are few. This rarity makes me more prized. This is why the sage wears a poor garb of hair cloth, while he carries his signet of jade in his bosom.

Chapter 71: Knowledge vs Opinion

1 The highest attainment is to know and yet think we do not know. The highest disease is to not know and yet think that we do know.

2 It is simply by being pained at the thought of having this disease that we are preserved from it. The sage does not have this disease. He knows the pain that would be inseparable from it, and therefore he does not have it.

Chapter 72: Ignorance

1 When the people do not fear what they should fear, their great dread will come on them.

2 Let them not thoughtlessly indulge themselves in their ordinary life. Let them not act as if weary of what that life depends on.

3 It is by avoiding such indulgence that such weariness does not arise.

4 Therefore, the sage knows these things of himself, but does not parade his knowledge. He loves, but does not set a value on himself. Thus, he prefers humility over exhibition..

Chapter 73: Divine Justice

1 He who defies the laws boldly is put to death. He who defies the law discretely lives on.

  • The bold criminal appears to be injurious
  • The sly criminal appears to be advantageous

But Heaven’s anger [karma] smites the correct one. On this account, the sage feels a difficulty as to what to do without such action of Heaven.

2 It is the way of Heaven:

  • not to strive, and yet it skilfully overcomes
  • not to speak, and yet it is skilful in obtaining a reply
  • not to call, and yet men come to it of themselves

Its demonstrations are quiet, and yet its plans are skillful and effective. The meshes of the net of Heaven are large and far apart, but lets nothing escape.

Chapter 74: Death Penalty

1 If the people do not fear death, why would anyone try to frighten them with death?

If the people were always afraid of death, then no one would do wrong if all the wrongdoers could be caught and be put to death.

2 An executioner is like a great carpenter. He cuts wood without cutting his own hands!