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The heavy is the root of the light;
equilibrium wins out over agitation.

Therefore, the Consultant, in his travels
does not check his laptop, but keeps it by his side.
Even when he gets to the hotel
he will still take reasonable precautions.
Why should the master of ten thousand programs
risk exposing his data to the world?

Take security lightly,
and you will lose root;
let them see you sweat,
and you will lose your credibility.


Ultimately, it’s all about the information….

chapter notes:

This was one of the earliest mistranslations to present itself, and it’s still one of my favorites.

This correspondence has been used extensively to manipulate the original, rather than as any kind of consistent analogy. The best connections are (Heaven -> Net) [Heaven as a transparent medium], and (Earth -> Market) [the Market as a worldly enterprise].

Frequently, tiandi is translated to its original idiomatic meaning: “the world”, with connotation “the entire world”.

Something was born of chaos, before the Net.
Silent and empty,
solitary and eternal,
pervasive and unceasing,
it might be the mother of the Net.

I do not know its name,
though some call it the Way.
If I must choose a name,
I would call it the Great:
to be great is to be connected;
to have connectivity is to be far-reaching;
that which reaches far returns to its beginning.

The Way is great;
the Net is great;
the Market is great;
the CEO is great.
In this world there are four Greats,
and the CEO is one of them.

The people follow the Market;
the Market follows the Net;
the Net follows the Way;
the Way follows only itself.


As foundations of the Consultant’s world, “the Market and the Net” substitute here for “Heaven and Earth” in the original text.

chapter notes:

Besides the virtue of sheer silliness, working the birth of the Net into a putative cosmogony helped solve the riddle set by the second verse: how to make the chained phrases relevant in the new context. Once I knew to turn “to(proceed/pass/go on)” into “to be connected”, everything fell into place.

Standing tiptoe is an unstable posture:
Promote yourself, and you will not stand out.
Showing off just looks bad.
Bragging does not promote success.
Pride goes before a fall.

In view of the Way,
all these are indulgent and unnecessary;
even those who indulge in these things
cannot stand them in others.


chapter notes:

This chapter is another straightforward translation. Note the congruence here between the ancient scholar-Sage and the modern Consultant: in order to find a post or a contract, they each need to be known somehow. Apparently, obnoxious self-promoting behavior was as common back then as it is today.

Speaking without voice:
the problems with grandstanding are self-evident.
A tempest is brief; a deluge does not endure:
if Nature cannot sustain a storm, how can you?

To complete the task:
follow the Way and you will gain credibility;
pursue Virtue and you will be effective;
lose them, and you are lost.

Pursue Virtue, and find the Way;
abandon Virtue, and lose it.


chapter notes:

For my chosen target for this chapter, presentation, the Dao provides two resources:

  • the advice that that there is nothing as boring or unpersuasive as a clearly egotistical speechgiver
  • a mental discipline that can aid in reducing the self-consciousness that, for some, may lead to catastrophic self-amplification.
December 2009

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