Proper Governing Practices and Laws. Obedience.

When the master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is the leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised. (...) Tha master doesn't talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, "Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves! Tao Te Ching 17, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.156.

If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao. Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. Tao Te Ching 57, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.158.

All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people you must learn how to follow them. The master is above the people and no one feels oppressed. She goes ahead of the people, and no one feels manipulated. The whole world is grateful to her. Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her. Tao Te Ching 66, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.160.

The basis and aim of a democracy is to bring men as far as possible under the control of reason, so that they may live in peace and harmony. If this basis is removed, the whole fabric falls to ruin. It will perhaps be thought that we are turning citizens into slaves, for slaves obey commands and free men live as they like; but this idea is based on a misconception, for the true slave is he who is led away by his pleasures and can neither see what is good for him, nor act accordingly; he alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason .... I think I have now shown sufficiently clearly the basis of a democracy. I have especially desired to do so, for I believe it to be of all forms of government, the most natural and the most consonant with individual liberty. In it no one transfers his right so absolutely that he has no further voice in affairs; he only hands it over to the majority of the society, whereof he is a unit. Thus all men remain, as they were in the state of Nature, equals. Barukh Spinoza (1632-1677, Holland), Theological-Political Tractate, Ch.16, quoted in: Michael Shire, The Jewish Prophet, P.79.

Men belong to the realm of the State and to the realm of God. Which law shall they obey when a conflict occurs? The hour may come when one is forced to opt for the temporal of the eternal. To opt [for the eternal] means to be ready to be a martyr, to recognize the primacy of religion and its commandments, its primacy in everything. Leo Baeck (1873-1956, Germany), quoted in: Michael Shire, The Jewish Prophet, P.97.

(...) One may well ask, "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "An unjust law is no law at all." Now what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a a man-made code which squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. (...) Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segragation distorts the soul and damages the personality (...). Martin Luther King (1929-1968), Letter from the Birmingham City Jail, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.277.

Be a rooster, conscious of time and the leader. Don't change your rooster to a hen. Bend and sit crookedly, but tell the straight truth. Truth is enough. I am the Friend, your spirit. Why look for someone else?

Rumi, Furuzanfar # 2465, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.135.

What seems reasonable and convincing to the inexperienced is not necessarily correct. The skilled craftsman judges things quite differently from the unskilled man, for the first is guided be precise knowledge, the second by what seems to him probable. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.228.

He who has achieved inward self-renunciation and has subjected his flesh to the spirit no longer needs to submit himself to other men. Such a person obeys God's word and law like a grateful servant. But we who are still engaged in the war between body and soul must be subject to someone else; (...) St. Theognostos (VIII Century of the C.E. ?), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.361.

Last updated: 2007/03/30

See the related subjects: Discipline, Duty, Freedom, Justice, Responsibility, Service, Will, Wisdom.