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by Lao Tze


Printed in 1891 Tao Teh King (Tao Te Ching): Sacred Books of the East Vol. 39


20


1. When we renounce learning we have no troubles.
The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'—
Small is the difference they display.
But mark their issues, good and ill;—
What space the gulf between shall fill?
What all men fear is indeed to be feared; but how wide and without end
is the range of questions (asking to be discussed)!

2. The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a
full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone seem
listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of
their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look
dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to. The multitude of
men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost
everything. My mind is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of
chaos.

Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be
benighted. They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull
and confused. I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as
if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action, while
I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. (Thus) I alone
am different from other men, but I value the nursing-mother (the Tao).

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