1. There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it; — for there is nothing (so effectual) for which it can be changed.
2. Every one in the world knows that the soft overcomes the hard, and the weak the strong, but no one is able to carry it out in practice.
3. Therefore a sage has said, ‘He who accepts his state’s reproach, Is hailed therefore its altars’ lord; To him who bears men’s direful woes They all the name of King accord.’
4. Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.
[su_spoiler title=”Derek Lin” style=”fancy”]
Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong
This is because nothing can replace it
That the weak overcomes the strong
And the soft overcomes the hard
Everybody in the world knows
But cannot put into practice
Therefore sages say:
The one who accepts the humiliation of the state
Is called its master
The one who accepts the misfortune of the state
Becomes king of the world
The truth seems like the opposite
[su_spoiler title=”Peter Merel” style=”fancy”]
Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water,
Yet nothing can better overcome the hard and strong,
For they can neither control nor do away with it.
The soft overcomes the hard,
The yielding overcomes the strong;
Every person knows this,
But no one can practice it.
Who attends to the people would control the land and grain;
Who attends to the state would control the whole world;
Truth is easily hidden by rhetoric.