more from Lao Tzu

Single Idea 6320

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 2. Leaders / a. Autocracy]

Full Idea

The best of all rulers is but a shadowy presence to his subjects; next comes the ruler they love and praise; next comes one they fear; next comes one with whom they take liberties.

Gist of Idea

The best rulers are invisible, the next admired, the next feared, and the worst are exploited


Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching [c.350 BCE], I.XVII.39)

Book Reference

Lao Tzu: 'Tao Te Ching', ed/tr. Lau,D.C. [Penguin 1963], p.73

A Reaction

This fits our understanding of football referees to perfection. It might apply to anyone doing a vital adminstrative job, such as compiling a school timetable. It is hard, though, to accept anonymity as a mark of success.