against war

Even the best weapon
is an unhappy tool,
hateful to living things.
So the follower of the Way
stays away from it.

Weapons are unhappy tools,
not chosen by thoughtful people,
to be used only when there is no choice,
and with a calm, still mind,
without enjoyment.
To enjoy using weapons is to enjoy killing people, and to enjoy killing people
is to lose your share in the common good.

It is right that the murder of many people
be mourned and lamented.
It is right that a victor in war
be received with funeral ceremonies.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

This is perhaps the clearest poem in theĀ Tao Te Ching. As such, I don’t have much to add.

But this poem is deep inside me, though I also never think there’s a time for weapons to be used. But that’s just me. I talked more about this after that Nazi got punched on television.

And today, while I drive from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, I’ll be thinking about this poem while I listen to Masha Gessen’s book on Pussy Riot.