Tao Te Ching #75: “Only those who do not contrive to live are wise in valuing life”

When people are starving,
it is because their governments take too much,
causing them to starve.
When people are hard to control,
it is because of the contrivances of their governments,
which make them hard to control.
When people slight death,
it is because of the earnestness
with which they seek life;
that makes them slight death.
Only those who do not contrive to live
are wise in valuing life.

– Thomas Cleary


The reason people are hungry
is that those above levy so many taxes
this is why they are hungry
the reason people are hard to rule
is that those above are so forceful
this is why they are hard to rule
the reason people think little of death
is that those above think so much of life
this is why they think little of death
meanwhile those who do nothing to live
are more esteemed than those who love life

– Red Pine


The people lack for food
When those above them overtax;
That is why they lack.
And the people can’t be ruled
When those above them serve themselves.
That is why they can’t be ruled.

And when the people death defy
It is but to make their lives secure—
That is why.
Worthier far than living royally
Those who live not for themselves.

– Moss Roberts