The Tao Teh King: A Short Study in Comparative Religion, by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, , at sacred-texts.com
When knowledge compels me to practice the supreme Tao, the danger lies in putting it into action. 1
The supreme Tao is a vast plain, yet the people prefer by-paths. The palace is magnificent, but the fields are full of weeds; the granaries are empty, but elegant clothes are worn; sharp two-edged swords are carried, fastidiousness in eating and drinking is displayed, many useless things are amassed—this is robbery and swaggering. 2
This is not the Tao! 3
90:1 Translators differ widely.
90:2 If, says Han Fei Tzu as rendered by Giles in his Remains of Lao Tzu, "If accumulation of property prevail in the State, the ignorant masses will naturally take to chicanery in imitation of their betters, and thieving will come into vogue. The lower classes respond to the higher precisely as the lesser musical instruments of a band follow the leading instruments."
A lesson for modern times. Extravagance now-a-days is common, where there should be economy, economy is practiced where there should be extravagance. There is much extravagance in the glory and swagger of war, and too much economy in the impartation of the economic science and the fine arts.
90:3 The Tao is Simplicity. vid. chap. 32.