天之視而精 We all find purpose in communion with nature. 四辟而知情 We all find meaning in the rhythm of life. 壤土而與生 We all receive life from the bounty of the earth. 能若夫風與波乎 唯其所欲適 Can we be as wind and waves whose only desire is peace?
故子而代其父 曰義也 臣而代其君 曰篡也 When children take over the family business, I think they must be good children, but when citizens take over capitol buildings, I think they must be traitors.
篡何能歌 But can a traitor be a hero?
武王是也 I think George Washington was one.
故曰 庸能去辯與巧 而還與眾人同道 He was a hero because he refused to engage in partisan politics and because he lived by the golden rule.
故曰 思索精者明益衰 德行修者王道狹 臥>頤名利者寫生危 He was a hero because he understood that progress grinds to a halt when reformers feel the rush of power, that legitimacy crumbles to dust when conservatives cling to power, and that innocent lives are lost when tyrants take power.
知周於六合之內者吾知生之有為阻也 By studying his life and times, we realize that actions have consequences. 持而滿之乃其殆也 Taking power and not letting go is a disaster. 名滿於天下不若其已也 Supporting a tyrant is a fatal mistake. 名進而身退天之道也 Regular, free and fair elections follow a universal principle. Good citizens step up when they're needed. They step back down when they lose.
滿盛之國不可以仕任 滿盛之家不可以嫁子 George Washington wasn't a power-hungry politician, so he wouldn't bend the knee to a power-hungry family. 驕倨傲暴之人不可與交 He just wouldn't support such spoiled, arrogant, cruel, violent people.
I started looking at this passage because I was struck by how close it is in theme and vocabulary to Daodejing chapter 9.
King Wu, not George Washington, was the great hero who overthrew his tyrannical lord and set the stage for a new golden age.