It is observed by the commentator Kwei Kän-khüan that one idea runs through this Book:--that the most sage and wise men have ministered to theft and robbery, and that, if there were an end of sageness and wisdom, the world would be at rest. Between it and the previous Book there is a general agreement in argument and object, but in this the author expresses himself with greater vehemence, and almost goes to excess in his denunciation of the institutions of the sages.
The reader will agree with these accounts of the Book. Kwang-dze at times becomes weak in his attempts to establish his points. To my mind the most interesting portions of this Book and the last one are the full statements which we have in them of the happy state of men when the Tâo maintained its undisputed sway in the world, and the names of many of the early Tâoistic sovereigns. How can we suppose that anything would be gained by a return to the condition of primitive innocence and simplicity? The antagonism between Tâoism and Confucianism comes out in this Book very decidedly.
The title of the Book is taken from two characters in the first clause of the first paragraph.