The ancient Masters
didn’t try to educate people,
but kindly taught them to not-know.
When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don’t know,
people can find their own way.
If you want to learn how to govern,
avoid being clever or rich.
The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all people the way
back to their own true nature.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 65, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Back With More Unsolicited Advice
After taking a two day break from the art of governing, we are back at it today. Which is just as well, I guess, since President-Elect Trump is going to need all the unsolicited advice I can offer him.
Yesterday, you will recall, Lao Tzu talked about the Master learning to unlearn, and I said, if we were to learn to unlearn, we would know we don’t know, and that would be quite liberating as we advance in our understanding.
Today, Lao Tzu explains how the ancient Masters didn’t try to educate people. They kindly taught them to not-know. That goes back to what we were talking about yesterday.
When they think they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. But, when they know they don’t know, they can find their own way.
So, you may be wondering what this has to do with the art of governing. And, the answer, of course, is everything. The unsolicited advice I have been offering isn’t going to be heeded if President-Elect Trump thinks he already knows all the answers. But, if he sincerely wants to learn how to govern, he will avoid being clever or rich, realize that the simplest patter is the clearest, and show people, by his own example, how to be content with an ordinary life, bringing the people all the way back to their own true nature.
Now, I am not holding my breath expecting any of my unsolicited advice will be heeded. But, I won’t let that stop me from continuing to put it out there.