Nov 272000

Yesterday I cleaned two book-cases and re-discovered several treasures. One was “The Tao of Power”, a translation of the Tao Te Ching by R. L. Wing. Opening it a random I read:

When the world possesses the Tao.
Even fast horses are used for their dung,
When the world is without Tao,
War-horses are raised in the suburbs.
There is no greater misfortune
Than not knowing what is enough.
There is no greater fault
Than desiring to acquire.
Therefore know that enough is enough.
There will always be enough.

To me this feels like a blessing. It came after I had just filled a box with dearly beloved books to be given away.

What does it mean “Even fast horses are used for their dung”? That lesser men will cease to ride on the back of their brilliant and highly productive brethren? Or that men will grant animal rights to our creatures? It means both. For when the world possesses the Tao, greed and exploitation will cease. Meanwhile I try to ignore the hidden message in “Knowing Enough”.

According to legend, the Classic Guide to Leadership, Influence and Excellence was written by Lao Tzu when the keeper of the Han Ku Pass stopped his passage and would not let him pass until he had written down all he knew.

So he set up camp and composed the five thousand character Tao Te Ching. Looking at a drawing called “Lao Tzu passing the barrier” my eyes fell on the ninth Tetragram opposite which says:

Holding to Fullness
Is not as good as stopping in time.

Sharpness that probes
Cannot protect for long.

A house filled with riches
cannot be defended.

Pride in wealth and position
Is overlooking one’s collapse.

Withdrawing when success is achieved
Is the Tao in Nature.

Therefore (says the explanatory text) evolved individuals do not linger to experience the inevitable cycle of decline. They never stop growing and never accumulate social or material burdens to slow their progress. When their work is done, they move on to the next task. In this way, they develop greatness and power.


This is what you may call synchronicity: The solution to yesterday’s CryptoQuip “You cannot have everything! Where would you put it?”

On the web (power to share only) I just discovered Proverbs from various parts of the world. Number two on the list of Chinese proverbs is “A book holds a house of gold”.