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.
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.