The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-One

A strong military, a tool of misfortune
All things detest it
Therefore, those who possess the Tao avoid it
Honorable gentlemen, while at home, value the left
When deploying the military, value the right

The military is a tool of misfortune
Not the tool of honorable gentlemen
When using it out of necessity
Calm detachment should be above all
Victorious but without glory
Those who glorify
Are delighting in the killing
Those who delight in killing
Cannot achieve their ambitions upon the world

Auspicious events favor the left
Inauspicious events favor the right
The lieutenant general is positioned to the left
The major general is positioned to the right
We say that they are treated as if in a funeral
Those who have been killed
Should be mourned with sadness
Victory in war should be treated as a funeral

                                                                                         Lao Tzu

I dream of the day when we can lay down our weapons, end the conflict and release the hostages. I believe it is possible to make the workplace and Battle Free Zone. The more thought I’ve given to the resolution of horizontal violence the more I think that the conventional approach of having everyone just talk it out is not working and needs to be shelved for now.

What I have noted is that this approach only adds fuel to the fire and offers a platform and far, far too much attention to the aggressor. Our need to fix this is resulting in energy and light being placed on the wrong thing, the negative behavior = aggression.

Workplace aggressors typically use two weapons. The weapon of words = gossip and the weapon of terror = withholding information or assistance to a co-worker in need. We all know it, we all see it; and occasionally we all go there. So I propose a different approach championed by one of the greatest examples of human potential to ever walk this planet, Gandhi. We can simply, respectfully adopt a position of peaceful non-cooperation.

When you are approached with the latest from the grapevine, smile, excuse yourself and busy yourself elsewhere. When you witness a co-worker being left to fend for themselves, offer assistance. No need to make a big deal of any of it. Just make a better choice and incorporate this demeanor into your work style. Cultivate a habit of peace while keeping in mind that weeds can only grow in fertile soil.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets~J.K. Rowling,

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for too long, and we are now reaping our reward. Spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ~J.K. Rowling

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. Spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ~J.K. Rowling


10 thoughts on “The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-One

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