Do without doing.
Act without action.
Savor the flavorless.
Treat the small as large,
the few as many.
with the power of goodness.
Study the hard while it’s easy.
Do big things while they’re small.
The hardest jobs in the world start out easy,
the great affairs of the world start small.
So the wise soul,
by never dealing with great things,
gets great things done.
Now, since taking things too lightly makes them worthless,
and taking things too easy makes them hard,
the wise soul,
by treating the easy as hard,
doesn’t find anything hard.
In a sense, Lao Tzu is telling you to cut things off at the pass.
All of the biggest problems in the world begin small. Pick any example and it starts with one or a few people. Even the slave trade began small. When the Dutch found out they could get away with it and make profit, it erupted.
Had someone stepped in while it was still small, world history might be different.
A more recent example is the War in Iraq. The moment the Democrats found out that it was started under false pretences, they should have begun impeachment processes. Or, even before that, they should have demanded actual proof instead of undisclosed opinions from undisclosed experts. Trusting the opinion of anonymous intelligence officials should always cast a fair amount of doubt on any given topic, and yet here we are all over again.
Donald Trump should have been stopped long before he got anywhere near the presidency, but now that he’s there, he should have immediately been brought up on impeachment charges for, like, a dozen different offences.
This partly shows how worthless the Democrats are and have always been, but it also exemplifies this poem.
By not dealing with problems when they’re small and easy to manage, we allow them to fester, bloom, and take root all over the place. And now the problem is large and difficult to deal with.
It’s like a weed in your garden. When there’s one, it’s a simple and easy problem. But if you let it grow and proliferate, it may ruin your whole garden.
No one will remember all the tiny victories, and that’s fine. Because you took care of problems when they were small, they’re hardly worth mentioning. And it’s better to win a thousand such tiny victories than force the whole world to fight for one large victory.