(Those who) possessed in highest
degree the attributes (of the
Tao) did not (seek) to show them, and therefore they possessed them
fullest measure). (Those who) possessed in a lower degree those
attributes (sought how) not to lose them, and therefore
they did not
possess them (in fullest measure).
(Those who) possessed in the highest degree those
nothing (with a purpose), and had no need to do anything. (Those who)
possessed them in a lower degree
were (always) doing, and had need to
be so doing.
(Those who) possessed the highest benevolence
were (always seeking)
to carry it out, and had no need to be doing so. (Those who)
possessed the highest righteousness
were (always seeking) to carry it
out, and had need to be so doing.
(Those who) possessed the highest
(sense of) propriety were (always
seeking) to show it, and when men did not respond to it, they bared
the arm and marched
up to them.
Thus it was that when the Tao was lost, its attributes appeared;
when its attributes
were lost, benevolence appeared; when benevolence
was lost, righteousness appeared; and when righteousness was lost, the
Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good
faith, and is also
the commencement of disorder; swift apprehension is
(only) a flower of the Tao, and is the beginning of stupidity.
it is that the Great man abides by what is solid, and eschews
what is flimsy; dwells with the fruit and not with the flower.
thus that he puts away the one and makes choice of the other.
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