Verse 39 Then and Now
In ancient times, all entities had their own integrity and function.
The sky was clear and endless.
The earth was calm and firm.
The gods were charged with spiritual powers.
The wells were clean and full.
The 10,000 creatures were healthy and fecund.
Leaders were elected to plan the work and defense of the community.
How wonderously concordant!
If the sky were not endless, it could have fallen.
If the earth were not firm, it could have burst.
If the gods did not exercise their spiritual powers,
they would have been abandoned.
If the wells were not full, they could have dried up.
If the 10,000 creatures were not productive,
they could have become extinct.
If the leaders did not plan the work and defense of the community,
they would have been replaced.
In this way, each entity had its own essentiality,
each part complementing every other.
Nowadays, when the privileged among us identify themselves
with the orphan, the widower and the hungry one,
it may be an opportunistic appeal for the support of the lowly,
or a realization that loudly trumpeting self-glory negates itslef,
or a premonition that shining like jade, and resounding like stone chimes
attracts the desperate adventurers among those deprived of hope,
inviting disaster among those who create these deprivations.
“The Tao Te Ching, A New Translation”
By: Ralph Alan Dale
Published by 'Sahy' It Aloud