Dao De Jing – 80

A small country has fewer people. Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man, they are not needed.

Dao De Jing – 80
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Standing Alone - Version One

In a little state with a small population, I would so order it, that, though there were individuals with the abilities of ten or a hundred men, there should be no employment of them; I would make the people, while looking on death as a grievous thing, yet not remove elsewhere (to avoid it). Though they had boats and carriages, they should have no occasion to ride in them; though they had buff coats and sharp weapons, they should have no occasion to don or use them. I would make the people return to the use of knotted cords (instead of the written characters). They should think their (coarse) food sweet; their (plain) clothes beautiful; their (poor) dwellings places of rest; and their common (simple) ways sources of enjoyment. There should be a neighbouring state within sight, and the voices of the fowls and dogs should be heard all the way from it to us, but I would make the people to old age, even to death, not have any intercourse with it.


Standing Alone - Version Two

A small country has fewer people. Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man, they are not needed. The people take death seriously and do not travel far. Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them. Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them. Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing. Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple, their homes secure; They are happy in their ways. Though they live within sight of their neighbors, And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way, Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.

References

  1. James Legge (1891). Tao Te Ching. Lao Tsu, Chinese Text Project
  2. Gia-Fu Feng (1972). Tao Te Ching. Lao Tsu