This is what the world honors: wealth, eminence, long life, a good name. This is what the world finds happiness in: a life of ease, rich food, fine clothes, beautiful sights, sweet sounds. This is what it looks down on: poverty, meanness, early death, a bad name. This is what it finds bitter: a life that knows no rest, a mouth that gets no rich food, no fine clothes for the body, no beautiful sights for the eye, no sweet sounds for the ear.Striving -- always wanting more -- is the downfall of our species.
People who can't get these things fret a great deal and are afraid - this is a stupid way to treat the body. People who are rich wear themselves out rushing around on business, piling up more wealth than they could ever use - this is a superficial way to treat the body. People who are eminent spend night and day scheming and wondering if they are doing right - this is a shoddy way to treat the body. Man lives his life in company with worry, and if he lives a long while, till he's dull and doddering, then he has spent that much time worrying instead of dying, a bitter lot indeed! This is a callous way to treat the body.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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