Attain emptiness; maintain equilibrium.

Ten thousand functions are called; I only watch them return.
Objects proliferate; each returns its resources to the root.
Returning resources is necessary to maintain equilibrium;
maintaining equilibrium is mandatory
for the essential functions of the system to run continuously.

Implementing essential functions requires insight;
failure of essential functions will cause an error.
Errors in the essential functions of the system will cause disaster!

If the essential functions can run continuously, they can be integrated;
once integrated, the system is functional.
A functional system can be delivered;
delivery is the Way.

Follow the Way, and your works will live on
long after you are hit by a bus.


chapter notes:

I have mercilessly abused this long, chaining chapter to make it applicable to software development, with a combination of low punnery and gratuitous analogy.

Some people read the Dao De Jing as a pointer towards physical immortality. Besides incorporating a common saying from its new context, the final verse is an explicit repudiation of this.