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BookReview: The Tao of Politics: Lessons of the Masters of Huainan
by Thomas Cleary, Shambala, Boston, 1990, ?

[p21] The behavior of sage kings did not hurt the feelings of the people, so even while the kings enjoyed themselves the world was at peace.

The evil kings denied the truthful and declared them outlaws, so as the kings enjoyed themselves everything went to ruin.

When like and dislike began to have their say, order and chaos went their ways.

[p21] Culture is a means of joining people. Feeling are inner connections with an impulse to act outwardly. Obliterate feelings by culture, and you lose feeling. Destroy culture by feelings, and you lose culture.

When culture is orderly and feelings are communicated, this is the peak of human development.

This means that it is a virtue to take an overall view.

[p25] The world can be gained but not taken; rulership can be accepted but not sought. Rely on intelligence, and people will contest it; rely on power, and people will fight it.

It is not possible to render people completely ignorant, but it is possible to render them unable to use there intelligence against you. It is not possible to render people completely powerless, but it is possible to render them unable to use their power against you. These two things are always in the long view

[p28] If you ride on the knowledge of the multitude, it is easy to gain dominion; if you only use your own mind, you cannot even preserve yourself.

[p28] When there is overt public acceptance of what is still only an idea in the mind of the leadership, it means truthfulness has hit its mark.

[p29] When manners and habits are changed without any commands or directives being issued, that can only be by the influence of kindness--laws and punishments are insufficient to bring it about.

[p29] The abilities of one man are insufficient to govern a single household; but follow the measures of true reason, based on the nature of the universe, and the whole world is equal.

[p30] The way of the ruler is round, revolving endlessly, with a nurturing spiritual influence, open and selfless, harmonious, always in the background and never in the forefront.

The way of the minister is square, deliberating on what is right and applying appropriate measures, initiating suggestions for action, keeping to the job with distinct clarity, thus achieving success.

Therefore, when ruler and minister differ in their ways, there is order; when they make their ways identical, their is disorder. When they each manage to do what is appropriate for them and handle their own responsibilities, then superior and subordinate have the means to work together.

[p34] Useful suggestions should not be rejected just because they come from people in low positions, nor should useless suggestions be followed just because they come from people in high positions. Right and wrong are not a question of social status. Enlightened leaders listen to their ministers: if their plans are useful, the leaders do not look down on them because of rank; and if what they say is feasible, the leaders do not care about how they say it.

Ignorant rulers are not like this. As far as their familiars and associates are concerned, even if they are dishonest, the rulers cannot see it; and when it comes to strangers and people of lowly status, even when they are diligent and loyal, the leaders cannot know it. Those who have something to say are badgered about their choice of words, while those who have criticisms are punished as if they had committed a crime. If you want to illumine a land and sustain the communities this way, that is like covering your ears to listen to music or covering your eyes to look at a painting--even if you have good hearing and eyesight, you will still be far off.

[p54] When culture has but a superficial influence, power has a limited effect. When virtue is liberally applied, authority's reign is extensive.

[p71] If you focus on people's shortcoming and forget about their strengths, then it will be hard to find worthy people in all the world.

[p72] A way that can be spoken of is not an eternal way; a name that can be named is not a permanent name. What can be written down or passon on to others is the dregs.

[p73] For those in prison the days are long, but for those condemned to die the days are short. The length of days has its own measure, but they seem long in one place and short in another. So there is unevenness in the heart.

[p73] Something that is kept inside and never divulged, something in the feelings that never sprouts--no one ever heard of this.

[p74] Outwardly go along with the flow, while inwardly keeping your true nature. Then your eyes and ears will not be dazzled, and your thoughts will not be confused, while the spirit within you will expand greatly to roam in the realm of absolute purity.

[p75] We may see the tip of a hair while failing to hear a peal of thunder, or hear the melody of a song while failing to see a mountain. Why? A small fixation of attention results in a large measure of heedlessness.

[p75] When people bring up your flaws, you resent them for it; but when a mirror reflects your ugliness, you consider it a good mirror. If people can deal with others without getting the ego involved, they will avoid being dragged down.

Via Rob 1992