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February 1st, 2013

Reading:

29.1 Should you want to take the world, and contrive to do so, I see you won't manage to finish.
29.2 The most sublime instrument in the world cannot be contrived. Those who contrive spoil it; those who cling lose it.
29.3 So creatures sometimes go and sometimes follow, sometimes puff and sometimes blow, are sometimes strong and sometimes weak, begin sometime and end sometime;
29.4 Therefore sages remove extremes, remove extravagance, remove arrogance.

30.1 Those who assist human leaders with the Way do not coerce the world with weapons, for these things are apt to backfire.
30.2 Brambles grow where an army has been; there are always bad years after a war.
30.3 Therefore the good are effective, that is all; they do not presume to grab power thereby:
30.4 they are effective but not conceited, effective but not proud, effective but not arrogant. They are effective when they have to be, effective but not coercive.
30.5 If you peak in strength, you then age; this, it is said, is unguided. The unguided soon come to an end.

31.1 Fine weapons are instruments of ill omen: people may despise them, so those with the Way do not dwell with them.
31.2 Therefore the place of honor for the cultured is on the left, while the honored place for the martialist is on the right.
31.3 Weapon, being instruments of ill omen, are not the tools of the cultures, who use them only when unavoidable.
31.4 They consider it best to be aloof; they win without beautifying it. Those who beautify it enjoy killing people. Those who enjoy killing cannot get their will of the world.
31.5 The left is favored for auspicious things, the right for things of ill omen: so the subordinate general is on the left, the top general on the right. That means when you are in ascendancy of power you handle it as you would a mourning.
31.6 When you have killed many people, you weep for them in sorrow. When you win a war, you celebrate by mourning.
32.4 Start fashioning, and there are names; once names also exist, you should know when to stop. By knowing when to stop, you are not endangered.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation

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