17

Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tze

17

1. In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that there

were (their rulers). In the next age they loved them and praised

them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them.

Thus it was that when faith (in the Tao) was deficient (in the rulers)

a want of faith in them ensued (in the people).

2. How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by

their reticence) the importance which they set upon their words!

Their work was done and their undertakings were successful, while the

people all said, ‘We are as we are, of ourselves!’