Daodejing 38

The wise do not strive
and are therefore effective.

The lackluster never stop striving,
and therefore achieve little.

The wise never force, knowing
force gets nothing done.

The wise bring compassion
because they aren’t thinking about it.

The wise create justice
because they don’t worry about it.

Those concerned with appearances
have good reason to coerce others.

Those concerned only with ritual
must use brute force.

So, only in not striving
are we followers of The Way;

only in not forcing
do we lead appropriately;

only in not coercing do
we encourage ritual.

Ritual is, after all,
only a show
of commitment;

a pretense toward The Way,
and a foolish one at that.

This is why the wise
pay attention to the real,

keeping watch on the fruit,
not the flower–leaving

the one, taking the other.



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