Not exalting cleverness causes the people not to contend. Not putting high prices on hard-to-get goods causes the people not to steal. Not seeing anything to want causes the mind not to be confused. Therefore the government of sages empties the mind and fills the middle, weakens the ambition and strengthens the bones, always keeping the people innocent and passionless.
It makes the sophisticated not dare to contrive; action being without contrivance, nothing is disordered
Forcing one’s so called knowledge on another forces a reaction. People tend to contend when confronted with the supposed knowledge of another. Perhaps feigning ignorance instead of faking knowledge would go along way towards forging peaceful social relations on all levels…
Restricting is a form of hostile invitation. By denying some, and supplying others, the “have nots” are invited to steal. Perhaps supplying to all would go along way to forging peaceful social relations on all levels…
By never denying anyone their dignity, in both the realms of knowledge and commodities, there is never confusion as to what to say or what to do. Not forcing another into the postion of defending a position or stealing a possession would go along way towards forging a society not confused by issues or intentions…
Wise leaders remove ambition towards wrong thinking and wrong doing by supplying substances over which people are proned to contend.
Perhaps “I dont know” and “yes you may” are the two most practical of phrases to state and the wisest of philosophies to adopt.
Then again, perhaps not. For, frankly “I dont know”, and if you wish to think otherwise, then “yes you may”.
These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 3