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Deciphering Quotes Assignment
Pages 9 (2259 words)
Deciphering Quotes. 1 Lao-tzu: “throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. Throw away morality and justice and people will do the right thing, throw away industry and profit and there won’t be any thieves.” This quotation does not seem to make sense on first reading but after a time of reflection it begins to reveal a deeper meaning than the surface contradictions.
This eternal failure depresses people. The whole area of morality and justice involves official laws and courts, which can constrain people with more and more detailed prohibitions. Perhaps officialdom brings out the worst in people, and laws which are intended to be helpful are often used as weapons for people to humiliate and punish each other in public, rather than sorting out their differences in an informal discussion. The last statement about industry and profit is a very good one for our present times because it highlights the danger that comes when people build up huge amounts of wealth and possessions. This enrages people who are poor, and encourages them to steal from the rich, because the gap between rich and poor is so extreme. It seems that Lao-tzu recommends a quiet and modest life, in which each person lives by his or her own conscience, looking after self and others in a gentle way, rather than chasing after high ideals or great wealth which do not make people happy. ...
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