Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/153

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119

 

CHAPTER XI.

On Letting Alone.

Argument:—The natural conditions of our existence require no artificial aids—The evils of government—Failure of coercion—Tao the refuge—Inaction the secret—The action of Inaction—Illustrations.

THERE has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind.

With success.

Letting alone springs from fear lest men's natural dispositions be perverted and their virtue laid aside. But if their natural dispositions be not perverted nor their virtue laid aside, what room is there left for government?

Of old, when Yao governed the empire, he caused happiness to prevail to excess in man's nature; and consequently the people were not satisfied. When Chieh

See p. 40.

governed the empire he caused sorrow to prevail to excess in man's nature; and consequently the people were not contented. Dissatisfaction and discontent are subversive of virtue; and without virtue there is no such thing for an empire as stability.

Virtue, here in its ordinary sense.