When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
If you don't trust the people,
You make them untrustworthy.
The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!"
are hardly known to their followers.
Next after them are the leaders
the people know and admire;
after them those they fear;
after them, those they despise.
To give no trust
is to get no trust.
When the work's done right,
with no fuss or boasting,
ordinary people say,
Oh, we did it.
With the highest kind of rulers, those below simply know they exist.
With those one step down ― they love and praise them.
With those one further step down ― they fear them.
And with those at the bottom ― they ridicule and insult them.
When trust is insufficient, there will be no trust in return.
Hesitant, undecided! Like this is his respect for speaking.
He completes his tasks and finishes his affairs,
Yet the common people say, "These things all happened by nature."
1. The best government, the people know it is just there.
The next best, they love and praise it.
The next, they fear it.
The next, they revile against it.
2. When you don't trust [the people] enough,
Then they are untrustworthy.
Quiet, why value words?
3. Work is accomplished, things are done.
People all say that I am natural.
Top to bottom:
- Tao Te Ching: A New English Version ~ by Stephen Mitchell, 1988
- Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way ~ by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1997
- Lao-Tzu: Te-Tao Ching: A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-Wang-Tui Texts ~ by Robert G. Henricks, 1989
- The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary ~ by Ellen M. Chen, 1989