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Whoever undertakes to rule the kingdom and to shape it according to his whim – I foresee that he will fail to reach his goal. That is all.
The kingdom is a living being. It cannot be constructed, in truth! He who tries to manipulate it will spoil it, he who tries to put it under his power will lose it.
Therefore: Some creatures go out in front, others follow, some have warm breath, others cold, some are strong, some weak, some attain abundance, others succumb.
The wise man will accordingly forswear excess, he will avoid arrogance and not overreach.
–Laozi (??), Daodejing (???) No. 29 (4th century BCE)(following the Richard Wilhelm transl. 1911)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”