Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 80. Standing alone

Chapter 80. Standing alone

If I had a small kingdom and only ten or hundred able men, I would not use them for government.

I would teach the people to view death as a high thing and then they would not go abroad to seek it.

Even if they had ships and carriages, they would not leave with them.

Painting of 2 women mending a fishing net
“Improve the present hour” by Winslow Homer depicting two women mending a fishing net. Uploaded by Davepape. PD-life-plus-100

Even if they had war gear they would never have an opportunity to wear them. The people would return again to using yarn and knots (instead of writing).

They would notice coarse food to be palatable, keep their simple clothing beautiful, see their houses as places of rest and would enjoy their simple entertainments.

Even if nearby there was another state and from there the crowing of the roosters and barking of the dogs sounded, my people would grow old and die without needing to socialize with them.

Own translation from 1925 Finnish translation by Pekka Ervast (ISBN 951-8995-01-X) with kind permission of Ruusu-Ristin Kirjallisuusseura ry.

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