Unintended consequences

Actions trigger reactions: more often than not ones that lead to unintended consequences. Hence, the more strictly a government tries to control its people, the more likely they are to resist it.

Life also has a habit of not turning out as you expect it to. One moment everything is going perfectly, only for disaster to strike the next. That’s why the wise remain alert at all times and understand that a blessing can be a misfortune in disguise.

「其政悶悶,其民淳淳;其政察察,其民缺缺;禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏;孰知其極,其無正。正復為奇,善復為妖。人之迷,其日固久,是以聖人方而不割,廉而不劌,直而不肆,光而不耀。」
When a government is open and fair,
The people are honest and sincere.
When a government is repressive and intrusive,
The people are crafty and cunning.
Fortune is rooted in misfortune;
Misfortune lurks beneath fortune.
Who knows what the ultimate result will be?
There is no fixed definition of what is normal.
Normal can suddenly turn into abnormal;
Good can suddenly turn into evil.
The people have been confused for a long time.
Therefore the wise are:
Pointed but do not pierce;
Sharp but do not cut;
Straightforward without being offensive;
Bright without dazzling.

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