Daodejing 17 (on leadership)

In the early days
people did not know
they had rulers.

Then they noticed
but still had respect.

Next leaders were feared;
then despised.

When leaders do not follow
the way of the creative universe
people do not trust them.

How unsure those ancient
leaders appeared, because
they took their own words seriously.

They achieved what they did
because people said,

“We are doing what we wish.”

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