Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wen Tzu - Verse 154, Part IV

from Verse One Hundred Fifty-Four
When you win by killing and wounding people, do not glorify it. Thus it is said that brambles grow on a ground where people have died; weep for them with sadness, lay them to rest with the rites of mourning. This is why superior people strive for the virtue of the Way and do not set great store by the use of the military.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
It would be more than easy to launch into an exposition about nations and war. However, one of the things I like about the words of Lao Tzu is that his message is conveyed on two tracks simultaneously: the collective and the individual. So, in this post I will focus on the latter.

We can and do symbolically slay and wound people with our words. Heck, I've been known to do this very thing in the comments section of this blog!! When we speak or write in a vicious and/or violent manner, it does little to further civil dialog. All it does is put other people on the defensive or causes them to decide to leave. When either of these things occur, it makes it nearly impossible to find common ground or, at the very least, respectfully to agree to disagree.

Of course, the Tao person diligently works to avoid arguments and debates. He/She realizes the futility of turning conversations into an adversarial process. Rather than seek verbally to go on the offensive, the wise make their case in non-argumentative and non-confrontational ways.

I have a long, long way to go in this arena!

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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