the bow

The way of heaven
is like a bow bent to shoot:
its top end brought down,
its lower end raised up.
It brings the high down,
lifts the low,
takes from those who have,
gives to those who have not.

Such is the Way of heaven,
taking from people who have,
giving to people who have not.
Not so the human way:
it takes from those who have not
to fill up those who have.
Who has enough to fill up everybody?
Only those who have the Way.

So the wise
do without claiming,
achieve without asserting,
wishing not to show their worth.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

How is it that a poem 25 centuries old remains radical? How is it that none of this has ever been implemented?

Is it truly the human way to steal from the poor to line your own home with treasures?

How is it still a radical idea that we should care for the poor? That we should help those who can’t help themselves?

Why is it so painful for us to give up some of our wealth, some of our comfort, so that others can survive? So that others can live humanely?

I wish I had answers. In the US, it’s staggering how much support there is for capitalism, even during and after watching capitalism crush the world economy. We imprisoned none of the people responsible, but plenty of those who were taken advantage of.

It’s a sickness.

The Way may not be the only way, for many have preached about helping the poor and needy, but the Way offers a new perspective to look at this problem that seems to be unsolvable.

That unsolvable problem is this: How do we instil enough empathy in people to make them actively care for those who suffer?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s