When a life of achievement is considered best,
They won’t approve of your lifestyle.
When good men and thorough are thoroughly trusted,
Shorts can be slid down with impunity.
Amateurs and achievers are two poles of manhood,
Businessmen and bums both have two pairs of testicles,
Complex and simple get down to cases,
Fair and foul are both over the line,
Strikes and gutters are results of the roll,
Reactionaries and pacifists are both concerned about basic freedoms,
Ups and downs are a dance in the cycle.
So the Stranger controls without authority,
And teaches without cuss words.
He lets all things take ’er easy,
Watches the semifinals, but does not interfere,
Drinks sarsaparilla without seeking something stronger,
And takes comfort where he can.
Tao Te Ching: 2
Once beauty is identified as precious,
Ugliness is seen everywhere.
Once the good is held up as an ideal,
The commonplace is considered bad.
Difficult and easy,
Long and short,
High and Low,
Sound and Silence,
Before and After—
Each of them are complementary parts of a bigger unity,
But our conditioned minds don’t perceive it that way.
We drive each aspect as far apart as possible from its complement,
And increasingly obsess over their division.
Therefore, the sage acts without struggle or coercion
And teaches by example and allusion rather than rote and rule.
Things come and he welcomes them.
Things go and he bids them adieu.
He helps with no expectation of gain,
Works with no expectation of reward,
Performs with no anticipation of results,
Completes projects but takes no credit.
Since he takes nothing from the World,
The World takes nothing from him.
And his impact upon the World long endures.