The potter says, "I'm good at handling clay! To round it, I apply the compass; to square it, I apply the T square." The carpenter says, "I'm good at handling wood! To arc it, I apply the curve; to make it straight, I apply the plumb line." But as far as inborn nature is concerned, the clay and the wood surely have no wish to be subjected to compass and square, curve and plumb line. Yet generation after generation sings out in praise, saying, "Po Lo is good at handling horses! The potter and the carpenter are good at handling clay and wood!" And the same fault is committed by the men who handle the affairs of the world!Society says, "We know the definition of success!" And so, they spend their time instructing people that outward beauty, youth, power, money and material possessions are what each person must strive for. If you don't strive for these things, then you are a loser.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
Yet, for all this striving for external measures of success, most people are really damn miserable. They suffer from constant stress and tension. No matter how much they accumulate, they believe they haven't quite acquired enough to be deemed a genuine success.
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