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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.

Line 1  大上下知有之

Line 2  次親譽之

Line 3  其次畏之

Line 4 其下侮之

Line 5   信不足 案有不信

Line 6   猷呵 其貴言也

Line 7   成功遂事





The 4 Kinds

of Leaders


     Things around us are forever changing. Seasons are always changing or course. Our kids, inching taller and taller.  Technology is changing too, happily enough in most cases. And scientists are gaining more and more knowledge about the world we live in. But have people changed? Have lust, infidelity, and greed been vanquished once and for all?  Have courage and daring disappeared, or are there still those men and woman who strive and defend in the face of adversity?

     Human nature hasn't changed. The same human problems that existed in Lao Tzu's time are still with us. The same human virtues too.  Our conditions have changed: Better medicine. Bigger houses for many. We have air conditioning now, cruise control, and great GPS systems that tell where to turn. But we haven't changed at all. That's why Lao Tzu can still speak to us today.

     Politics is human, so it is no different. There are leaders who fail us and themselves. And there are those with backbone and valor. Here Lao Tzu addresses the four types of leaders of his time. We recognize them immediately because they are still with us today.


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Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary


The best leaders are those

whose subjects only

know of their existence.







Next come the leaders
who are loved and praised.



Then come the

leaders who are feared.






The lowest are leaders

whose subjects ridicule them.







When a leader's words

are unreliable, the people

will have no trust.






To lead, the people

must value their words.






When the best rulers

fulfill their duties well,

then everyone says

"It just happened like this. "




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