Quotes from the Tao Te Ching #4

80       Freedom

Let there be a little country without many people.

Let them have tools that do the work of ten or a hundred,

and never use them.

Let them be mindful of death

and disinclined to long journeys.

They’d have ships and carriages,

but no place to go,

They’d have armor and weapons,

but no parades.

Instead of writing,

they might go back to using knotted cords.

They’d enjoy eating,

take pleasure in clothes,

be happy with their houses,

devoted to their customs.

The next country over might be so close

the people could hear cocks crowing

and dogs barking there, 

But they’d get old and die

without ever having been there.


Le Guin says: Lao Tzu thinks the materialistic dualist, who tries to ignore his body and live in the head, and the religious dualist, who despises the body and lives for a reward in heaven, are both dangerous and in danger. So enjoy your life, he says; live in your body; where else is there to go? Heaven and earth are one. As you walk the streets of your town, you walk the way of heaven.

Questions: What are you waiting for? Where are you living?

This entry was posted in Being Human, make your own world, mindworks, my museum of inspiration, Other peoples words, philosophy, poetry, thinking in words, whereever you go there you are and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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