"I will tell you how the Three August Ones and the Five Emperors ruled the world! They called it `ruling,' but in fact they were plunging it into the worst confusion. The `wisdom' of the Three August Ones was such as blotted out the brightness of sun and moon above, sapped the vigor of hills and streams below, and overturned the round of the four seasons in between. Their wisdom was more fearsome than the tail of the scorpion; down to the smallest beast, not a living thing was allowed to rest in the true form of its nature and fate. And yet they considered themselves sages! Was it not shameful - their lack of shame!"Other than being the 8th month of the year, august means inspiring awe or admiration; majestic. What I think the author is pointing out is that we humans tend to be awed by the wrong things! We are awed by people who appear to be in control or exercise great power, instead of by those who lead by example or those who don't try to force the issue.
Tzu-kung, stunned and speechless, stood wondering which way to turn.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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