When the Master governs,
the people are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.
The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done, the people say,
‘Amazing, we did it, all by ourselves!’
Lao Tzu - (Tao Te Ching, chapter 17, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Today’s chapter is a welcome break for me. Like I said yesterday, we have been chewing on a lot of meat with these chapters from the Tao Te Ching. And, because I am always getting new followers (and that means people who are new to philosophical Taoism), I feel a special need to try and help with the chewing, so to speak, by explaining what I think Lao Tzu is saying. Today’s chapter is different, though. It is much easier to understand. It is one of those chapters, which I could probably get away with just posting, without any commentary at all; it is that self-explanatory.
But, here I am, still typing away. Sorry, friends, I guess I just can’t resist saying something. A lot of my reasoning has to do with the fact that I faithfully tag each chapter quote as “libertarian”, even though many of these early chapters seemingly have nothing to do with governing. But, I realized something some time ago, libertarian doesn’t just have to do with governing. It is so much more than just that. It relates to how we interact with every being in the Universe. For instance, it is never okay to initiate violence. That is a libertarian principle, which doesn’t only apply to governing. Don’t force, don’t try to control. Yes, we like to apply those to our leaders; but, we can’t very well expect anything from our leaders, we don’t expect from ourselves.
Of course, today’s chapter does specifically talk about the art of governing. It is only the second time Lao Tzu has mentioned it in these early chapters. The first time was in chapter eight, where he mentioned it as part of a rather comprehensive list of ways to be virtuous, in being like the Tao. “In governing, don’t try to control.” Short and sweet. It actually says everything Lao Tzu is going to go on to say about the art of governing. Yes, many more chapters are to follow on the art of governing. But that is the one takeaway.
Today’s chapter offers us two things about the art of governing. First, he lists four kinds of leaders. Second, he tells us, pretty explicitly, what the art of governing is.
It is the presidential election season in the United States. A time I can only bear, because I believe in mocking the illusion of choice we are always offered; but, in 2016, it is all the more clear. One of the things that make the choice between these candidates (I would call them clowns, but that is disparaging to the noble clown profession) an illusion, is that we only have three choices to choose from. What? Three choices? Don’t I mean two? There are two major parties. But within those two major parties there are a myriad of choices, so what do I mean by three?
Well, I am referring to Lao Tzu’s four kinds of leaders. He first talks about, when the Master governs. That would be one. And then he goes on to talk about the one who is loved, the one who is feared, and the one who is despised. That makes a total of four; but, we never get that first option. The Master is never on the ballot. It is always a choice between one who is loved, one who is feared, and one who is despised. What really makes it confusing is that whoever ends up getting the nomination in those two major political parties, will likely be considered all three by various observers of the spectacle. I know people who love Bernie Sanders, and I know people who love Donald Trump. I also know people who fear and/or despise one or both of those choices. They love, fear, and/or despise other alternatives we have, as well.
Sanders and Trump are getting all the press right now, because they won the first primary, in New Hampshire. And, I might as well get this out of the way, I do understand the appeal of Sanders and Trump to their supporters. I talked about it just a bit in my commentary, yesterday. They appeal to our sympathies; our hopes, and our fears. The same is true for all the candidates. I understand it; though I don’t share the enthusiasm.
I was talking to a Bernie Sanders supporter on Facebook earlier, about a video of Sanders he had posted where he quoted John F. Kennedy “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Sanders is all about making his campaign a peaceful revolution. Ha! I insisted to my friend that voting is not a revolutionary act. Voting has never, does not now, and will never, result in the “peaceful revolution” that I assume Kennedy was referring to. Voting is an act of conformity. If we live in a democracy, like the establishment insists we do, then by voting, we are merely giving our consent to a process, which can only result in the tyranny of a majority.
But, I kind of like how the Declaration of Independence phrases things, when it says that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. No where in the Declaration of Independence does it say anything about majority rule. It has to be unanimous consent. And, I don’t consent to be ruled! I don’t want the person you love! Even if you fear and/or despise the other choice. It may come as a shock to some people, but there are quite a few of us that fear and/or despise the one you love. What about our consent? Oh, but that is why they insist, I must vote. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Forget that! I will complain all I want, as long as there is some semblance of freedom to complain; and beyond that, to when they lock me away in some FEMA camp. And, I will mock your candidates, mock your electoral process, and mock you, for being so stupid as to think you really have a choice.
Because the Master is never on any ballot. And, even if, by some awesome bending of reality, someone in perfect harmony with the Tao was on the ballot, I don’t think the majority could be counted on to be intelligent enough to vote for them.
I didn’t say all of that to my friend on Facebook. But that was still the gist of what I was trying to get across. His last question to me was whether that meant I believed violent revolution was now inevitable.
Why, yes, of course; if I don’t believe in Sanders’ peaceful revolution through the ballot box, I must mean violent revolution is inevitable. No! That is so not what I meant. Oh, but we have been conditioned to think only a certain way. We live in a democracy! We vote our consent to be governed. Yada, yada, yada. No, my friends, peaceful revolution is still possible. And by peaceful revolution I mean from the bottom up, not the top down. Individuals are going to have to unlearn their reliance on the government to provide essential services, we can more inexpensively and more efficiently provide for ourselves. We can’t trust our government to provide us with one of the most basic human needs we have, clean water. How can they be trusted with anything else?
I could go on and on with my rant; but, this is the perfect time to segue into what the art of governing is, when the Master governs.
Notice, when this one governs, we, the people, are hardly even aware they exist. They don’t talk, they act. And when their work is done, the people will rightfully say, “Amazing, we did it all by ourselves!”
See, that is what governing, legitimate governing, where the people have given unanimous consent to it, looks like. It is like we the people did it all by ourselves. Coming up with our own solutions to basic needs like food, like water, like clean air, even health care, education, and any number of other things we have been conditioned to believe we can’t do, without some ruler in charge.
But, how did we get in the mess we are in today? The powers that be don’t trust us. That is it, in a nutshell. They don’t trust us; and so, they have made us untrustworthy. So they say, look, the people can’t be trusted to solve all these problems. You need us! But, the only reason we can’t be trusted is because you don’t trust us.
The Master does, and would. That is why being governed by the Master is the only form of government I will consent to. Then, we will be led by example. Not by force and control.
Is peaceful revolution still yet possible? I want to believe it is. Still, I know, there are those who are working hard to make it impossible. And, if they succeed, violent revolution will then be inevitable. That is not an outcome I want to have happen. I will continue to mock those who push back against us, in the hopes that enough people will join with me in the peaceful revolution I am all about.
I called this, me taking a break; but, it really is just me being feisty. I happen to like feisty me.
“You know how there are two kinds of charisma – one that is sharp and one that is soft. Onew has a really soft charisma. As the leader, he never thinks of himself as having a position higher than the rest of us, Instead, he puts himself in the middle of the group and makes us stronger.” - Choi Minho
get to know me meme: [1/9] babys » Kim Taeyeon “
Taeyeon what I’ve recently feel from you is that you have changed a lot compared to the past, and I like that change. I don’t know how to put it into words, but you’re different, it’s like your heart opened up! So I love that and you’re always ‘stay-home'member with me, watching TV- let’s study what we could do outside that’s fun
it breaks my heart to see kpop fans fighting about jinki winning best leader. from what i heard, the idols themselves voted on who should win best leader. it is ridiculous to see people attacking shawols for him winning. yes, i’m biased as a shawol, but i would have been beaming no matter who won. do you know why? because that shows all those talented people, idols themselves, idolized someone.
they surpassed boundaries by entertainment companies. we should be able to surpass boundaries by fandom. if they can idolize each other, why can’t we idolize members from other groups without being attacked?
jinki winning does not make your group’s leader poor or inefficient. your group’s leader not winning does not make them a bad leader. no, they were honored up on stage too.
don’t argue with the fans who celebrate. they weren’t the ones voting.
i can’t speak for everyone with this, but i can certainly speak for myself.
Dedicating all his efforts for the group Shinhwa, for such a long time, even on the expense of his own solo activities. & Before he sys yes to a solo project, he firstly seeks to take the agreement of all the members. That’s Shinhwa’s considerate, selfless & thoughtful leader, Eric Mun. “Eric is really like an otaku. After we left our first agency, as the leader of Shinhwa, he became the otaku of Shinhwa. Even now, he worries a lot for Shinhwa and is also in charge of dealing with external matters. He is a leader I’m thankful to and can trust.” - Kim Dongwan.