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What impression does this passage from the Tao Te Ching leave you with?

The river carves out the valley by flowing beneath it.
Thereby the river is the master of the valley.
In order to master people
One must speak as their servant;
In order to lead people
One must follow them.
So when the sage rises above the people,
They do not feel oppressed;
And when the sage stands before the people,
They do not feel hindered.
So the popularity of the sage does not fail,
He does not contend, and no one contends against him.


  1. Generally it leaves the mellow feeling the Tao Te Ching usually leaves me with, but not as much as usual, as the preferential states of rulers really isn’t relevant to my life.

  2. to me that says that to be a leader you have to not talk down to people, you can’t act like you’re above them.
    you have to speak as one of them.
    personally my favorite part is:
    The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honorable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man;–he uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory (by force of arms) is to him undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men; and he who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.

  3. I have a more accurat translation from china, well it’s in the library. I don’t like yours, it’s not accurate.

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