Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 17

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 17

  • Looks like it's time for the TTC's opinion on what makes a good ruler.
  • The best rulers are so subtle and good at what they do that the people don't even notice them.
  • The next best are not as subtle, but they're still good, so they get mountains of praise from the people.
  • Things start going seriously downhill when a ruler rules though fear.
  • And we've hit rock-bottom when a ruler is totally incompetent and despised.
  • The TTC advises us to have no trust in rulers who don't have any trust in themselves.
  • The rulers who are seriously the best of the best do things calmly and are careful with their words.
  • They get things done in such a natural, unassuming way that the people think they got everything done all by themselves.

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