|1.||Knowledge knows others|
|2.||But wisdom the self.|
|3.||Power conquers others|
|4.||But strength the self.|
|5.||To know contentment is wealth,|
|6.||To act with strength resolve. 1|
|7.||Long as those who do not lose their place may last,|
|8.||Timeless those who die but perish not.|
COMMENT A number of Confucian passages treat the cultivation of the self as the basis for knowledge (zhi) of others, which is in turn necessary for holding an official position. In this stanza Laozi reverses the dynamic: the objective is knowledge and mastery of the self; knowledge and mastery of others is either secondary to or not the goal of mastery of the self.
The closing word of this stanza, shou (timeless, immortal) is found in Analects 6.21, which says that the humane (ren) embody fixed principles and thus transcend the span of mortal life (shou). This Analects passage is built on the integration of knowledge and humaneness, likening the former to water and the latter to mountains. Confucius's purpose is to make the functional (knowledge) dependent on the ethical (humanity), the transitory dependent on the constant. In this stanza, by contrast, knowledge is an independent faculty.
This stanza is not found in the Guodian manuscript.