Laotzu's Tao and Wu Wei, by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, , at sacred-texts.com
That which has a tendency to contract must first have been extended; that which has a tendency to weaken itself must first have been strong; that which shows a tendency to destroy itself must first have been raised up; that which shows a tendency to scatter must first have been gathered.
This is the explanation of a seeming contradiction: the tender and yielding conquer the rigid and strong (i.e., spirit is stronger than matter, persuasion than force). The fish would be foolish to seek escape from its natural environment. There is no gain to a nation to compel by a show of force.