WHEN all the world recognises beauty as beauty,
this in itself is ugliness.
When all the world recognises good as good, this in
itself is evil.
Indeed, the hidden and the manifest give birth
to each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short exhibit each other.
High and low set measure to each other.
Voice and sound harmonize each other.
Back and front follow each other.
Therefore, the Sage manages his affairs without ado,
And spreads his teaching without talking.
He denies nothing to the teeming things.
He rears them, but lays no claim to them.
He does his work, but sets no store by it.
He accomplishes his task, but does not dwell upon it.
And yet it is just because he does not dwell on it
That nobody can ever take it away from him.
In the act of defining right and wrong you create disharmony.
In fact, all things arise from unity and can be returned to unity.
Therefore, act minimally and by example, not edict.
Lead, do not manage, and manage by allowing others to lead.
Do your work knowing it is ephemeral and sets no precedent,
That it can be claimed by others or seen as arising naturally.
Seek the thing and it can be taken away.
Seek the way and it will be yours.