Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 31

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 31

  • Looks like the military is in for another bashing from the TTC.
  • Here, it says that all things hate a strong military.
  • It tells us that the military is not a tool for honorable men.
  • When honorable men are forced to use violence, they only do it out of necessity.
  • They remain detached from the whole thing and don't find any glory in victory.
  • The TTC points out that people who enjoy killing are never going "to achieve their ambitions upon the world" (31.14).
  • This might be referencing the fact that all the great conquerors and great empires in history have eventually failed.
  • In the end, we're told, everyone who dies in war should be mourned.
  • Even victory should be treated like it's a funeral.

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