Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 55

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 55

  • The most virtuous kinds of people are like newborn babies.
  • We figure this means they exist in a state of simplicity, not that they scream all night and poop themselves.
  • These virtuous types get all kinds of benefits.
  • They aren't stung by insects, clawed by beasts, or attacked by birds.
  • We're guessing this isn't meant literally; otherwise, it would be totally okay to let babies run wild in zoos.
  • No, instead these animals are probably symbolic of all the bad stuff in human interactions: lies, greed, jealously, etc.
  • These types of people handle things gently, but they still get things done.
  • The key is being in harmony with the Tao, which gives you the clarity you need to be simple and virtuous.
  • The main thing to avoid is being too aggressive.
  • If you spend all your energy in one sudden burst, it quickly runs out.
  • Doing this is contrary to the Tao, and things that are contrary to the Tao quickly fade away.

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