Taoteching 17

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Those of the Golden Age were receptive to the nameless way

Those of the Age of Silver endorsed it

Those of the Bronze Age looked for it

Those of the Age of Steel ignore it

If your actions lack integrity no one will believe your words

Let your words be in short supply and they will be in high demand

When others are trumpeting the sage's deeds as their own, the sage remains silent, and lets her deeds speak praises of her.


"Why are you a woman of so few words, Xena?"

"Your chatter flows from your nature, Gabhopper, but the silence of a warrioress flows from her understanding. When you release a flood of words, there is a greater chance that you may inadvertently utter something that you did not intend to say, and this will reveal your foolishness to all."

"If the wise speak like fools then they are fools," Gabhopper objected.

"A foolish woman may be considered wise, if she but closes her lips. Long ago most people walked my path and they did what needed to be done with few words. Then, as many began to leave my path they invented writing and recordkeeping and history. Today, few walk my path, and we are overrun by speechmakers and long-winded politicians with their solutions for this or that crisis, when all of these problems could be solved by letting things freely reach their natural balance."

"But then the politicians would not get credit for saving the day, Xena, and people would begin to think such parasites were not needed at all."

"You have hit very close to the mark, Gabhopper."

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