government without its correlative, misrule,—they do not apprehend the great principles of the universe nor the conditions to which all creation is subject. One might as well talk of the existence of heaven without that of earth, or of the negative principle without the positive, which is clearly absurd. Such people, if they do not yield to argument, must be either fools or knaves.
"Rulers have abdicated under different conditions, dynasties have been continued under different conditions. Those who did not hit off a favourable time and were in opposition to their age,—they were called usurpers. Those who did hit off the right time and were in harmony with their age,—they were called patriots. Fair and softly, my River friend; what should you know of value and worthlessness, of great and small?"
- It is therefore quite unnecessary to teach you where to fix the limits of that of which you know nothing.
"In this case," replied the Spirit of the River, "what am I to do and what am I not to do? How am I to arrange my declinings and receivings, my takings-hold and my lettings-go?"
"From the point of view of Tao," said the Spirit of the Ocean, "value and worthlessness are like slopes and plains.
- A slope to-day may be a plain to-morrow.
To consider either as absolutely such would involve great injury to Tao. Few and many are like giving and receiving presents. These must not be regarded