How can we have a better world without anyone lacking? The answer is obvious. Takes from those who have excess and give to those with lack. But we don't do it easily. We want paybacks and recognition for our efforts. You must earn it. What about those that could not? Lao Zi shows us the better way of Dao is to share it, from those who has to those who has not. DaoDeJing 77DsoDeJing Chapter 77 Text and Translation:
The Dao/Way of Heaven is like stretching the bow [and aiming at a target]!
If we aim too high, we lower it. If we aim too low, we lift it higher.
(Another way to see the bow is the top of the bow will be lowered and the bottom higher when a bow is stretched). From those who have too much, He takes away to fill up those who don't have enough.
The Way of Heaven is to take from the excesses to fill up the lacks.
(Achieving fairness and equality, balancing, to ensure all can have a share in the blessings.)
The way of men is different. It is about taking from those with needs to give to those who already have excesses. (The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It is the economic system that we have.)
Who then can use his excesses to give the rest of the world? Only those with Dao within.
Therefore, the sages act without being presumptuous, accomplish without claiming credits, because they do not want to be known and considered as better than others.
The Contrast of Giving and Earning
The Dao/Way of Heaven is mercy --- giving and benefiting everyone without conditions and having to earn it. Nature exhibits such self-balancing behavior to ensure continuity of life. Matthew 5:45 .... He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Waters on top of mountains will flow down the valleys and rivers to water the rest of the earth. Water from the seas will rise up and clouds and collects on mountain tops. It is taking from those with excess to fill up the lack of others.
The economic system of the world is about earning it and owning it. Money flows to those who know how to create value and work for it. The able and rich will get richer as they can re-invest in education and processes to create more. Those who are outside the system, who do not have the education and ability will be left out in the cold. It is not the fault of the economic system because it is created to work that way. We need to add on additional systems, social systems, and taxation systems to help balance out. But it is not easy for men. How we hate to pay taxes and we even pay people to help us to pay as little tax as possible. Such strange taxation systems that can result in the very rich paying less taxes than the normal salaried employees! It is I earn it, I deserve it and I own it. We seldom give any credits to the 'unknown' natural world, environment, the stable political and social systems and the many others that make our money making business possible.
The Simple Answer that We want to Avoid
The solution for a better and fairer world is simple, share it - those who have should share it with those who have not. What excuses do we normally give? I can't because I don't know. I don't have enough money to give. etc....
The Deeper Meaning of Sharing - Don't Think of It as an Earning but as a Gifting
The first part of this chapter is about using the excess to fill the lack.
The 2nd part is about those who are able and have should also do and give quietly.
Then Lao Zi asks us to apply this principle to our own life.
- What about you?
- Are you able?
- Do you have much?
- What are you doing with your ability and wealth?
- Do you have the attribute of Dao?
- Do you use them quietly or do you demand payback and recognition?
If we think of our ability and wealth as gifts from God, and be grateful that we are given so much, and know that the purpose of our life is not about hoarding of material goods, but about fulfilling our life purpose in the context of others, then perhaps, we may realize that we do not earn and own the wealth. Our ability and wealth are most meaningful when spent in the serving of others of which world we are a part of. Fight not to hold it but freely give away may make us a happier person with much lesser stress.
Lim Liat (c) 27 Oct 2016