The Sayings of Lao Tzŭ/Chapter 9
LAO TZŬ ON HIMSELF
Alas! the barrenness of the age has not yet reached its limit.
All men are radiant with happiness, as if enjoying a great feast, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone am still, and give as yet no sign of joy. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled, forlorn as one who has nowhere to lay his head. Other men have plenty, while I alone seem to have lost all. I am a man foolish in heart, dull and confused. Other men are full of light; I alone seem to be in darkness. Other men are alert; I alone am listless. I am unsettled as the ocean, drifting as though I had no stopping-place. All men have their usefulness; I alone am stupid and clownish. Lonely though I am and unlike other men, yet I revere the Foster-Mother, Tao.
My words are very easy to understand, very easy to put into practice; yet the world can neither understand nor practise them.
My words have a clue, my actions have an underlying principle. It is because men do not know the clue that they understand me not.
Those who know me are but few, and on that account my honour is the greater.
Thus the Sage wears coarse garments, but carries a jewel in his bosom.
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