Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 3

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 3

  • Now, we get some advice on how to run a society.
  • The TTC claims it's a bad idea to make a big deal about overachievers.
  • If we do, then everybody starts fighting because they want to be a big deal too.
  • It's also a bad idea declare things that are hard to find as valuable.
  • If we do this, everybody starts stealing the hard-to-find stuff.
  • A sage ruler will free the people from all these bogus desires, while also keeping the people's bellies full and their souls satisfied.
  • The TTC declares that if society is basically free of sneaky schemers, then the few sneaky schemers out there won't dare to sneak and scheme.
  • (Let's all take a second to imagine a Washington, D.C. run by sages.)

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