The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the challenges people have coping with modern day life, and Verse 65 of the Tao Te Ching may provide valuable insight in managing these difficult times. Translation from the “The Way of Life according to Laotzu” copyright 1944 by Witter Bynner.
Tao Te Ching Verse 65
Sound old rulers, it is said,
Left people to themselves, instead
Of wanting to teach everything
And start the people arguing.
With mere instruction in command,
So that people understand
Less than they know, woe is the land;
But happy the land that is ordered so
That they understand more than they know.
For everyone’s good this double key
Locks and unlocks equally.
If modern man would use it, he
Could find old wisdom in his heart
And clear his vision enough to see
From start to finish and finish to start
The circle rounding perfectly.
In applying Verse 65 and our present view of the pandemic and our divided government, it seems to me that not only does the modern world provide access to much information and misinformation, it makes it very difficult to tell which is which. I think to see clearly in the modern world we must learn to look at mass media’s use of double speak, spin, and self-serving agendas that are used to get us to argue over differing views/opinions instead of looking for the facts (truth). In closing, a very wise person once said to me: “In search of knowledge to try to learn something new each day, but in search of wisdom forget something each day.” (Lao Tsu said some very similar in verse 48 of the Tao Te Ching.)