clout.jpg

Clout

In the old days, the best influencers were a bit mysterious, strangely reasonable, definitely inscrutable. In fact, being inscrutable is what made them so popular.

They were careful, like a winter crossing, and reserved, like respectful neighbours. They were as serious as they were popular, but chill, like melting ice. They were as true as timber, as wide as valleys, as messy as mud.

Who else would quietly clean up by calming us down, and who else would quietly steady us by keeping us moving?

These days, people like that don't care about clout. In fact, they don't flex because their superpower is making a difference without making it about themselves.

Notes

There's a lot of variation in this one between different versions, especially in the sayings. Words have double meanings, definitions specific to Daoism, and entries in the Yijing, so it's obscure, like the inaudible, invisible, ineffable influence it describes.

I've been trying to wrap my head around , and for a long time, and the only constant I've found is that contrasts of the previous saying, and it's something like the difference between patience and good will () and the arrogance and idealism of power ().

Vocabulary

口 30 + 2
old, classic, ancient
zhī
丿 4 + 3
marks preceding phrase as modifier of following phrase; it, him her, them; go to
shàn
口 30 + 9
good, virtuous, charitable, kind
wèi
火 86 + 5
do, handle, govern, act; be
shì
士 33 + 0
scholar, gentleman; soldier
zhě
老 125 + 4
that which; he who; those who
wēi
彳 60 + 10
small, prefix micro-, trifling
miào
女 38 + 4
mysterious, subtle; exquisite
xuán
玄 95 + 0
deep, profound, abstruse; Kangxi radical 95
tōng
辵 162 + 7
pass through; common; communicate
shēn
水 85 + 8
deep; depth; far; very, extreme
一 1 + 3
no, not; un-; negative prefix
口 30 + 2
may, can, -able; possibly
shí shì
言 149 + 12
recognize, understand, know
大 37 + 1
man, male adult, husband; those
wéi
口 30 + 8
only; yes
攴 66 + 5
ancient, old; reason, because
qiáng
弓 57 + 8
strong, powerful, energetic
róng
宀 40 + 7
looks, appearance; figure, form
豕 152 + 9
relaxed, comfortable, at ease
八 12 + 2
exclamatory particle
ruò
艸 140 + 5
if, supposing, assuming; similar
dōng
冫 15 + 3
winter, 11th lunar month
shè
水 85 + 7
ford stream, wade across
chuān
巛 47 + 0
stream, river; flow; boil
yóu
犬 94 + 9
like, similar to, just like, as
wèi
田 102 + 4
fear, dread, awe, reverence
囗 31 + 2
four
lín
邑 163 + 12
neighbor; neighborhood
yǎn
人 9 + 20
grave, respectful, majestic
八 12 + 6
his, her, its, their; that
huàn
水 85 + 9
scatter; scattered, dispersed
bīng
冫 15 + 4
ice; ice-cold
jiāng
寸 41 + 8
will, going to, future; general
shì
釆 165 + 13
interpret, elucidate; release
dūn
攴 66 + 8
esteem; honest, candid, sincere
木 75 + 12
simple, honest; plain; rough
kuàng
日 72 + 15
extensive, wide, broad; empty
谷 150 + 0
valley, gorge, ravine; Kangxi radical 150
hùn
水 85 + 8
to mix, blend, mingle; to bumble along
zhuó
水 85 + 13
muddy, turbid, dirty, filthy
shú
子 39 + 8
who? which? what? which one?
néng
肉 130 + 6
to be able; can, permitted to; ability
人 9 + 3
by means of; thereby, therefore; consider as; in order to
jìng
靑 174 + 8
quiet, still, motionless; gentle
彳 60 + 7
slowly, quietly, calmly; composed, dignified
qīng
水 85 + 8
clear, pure, clean; peaceful
ān
宀 40 + 3
peaceful, tranquil, quiet
jiǔ
丿 4 + 2
long time (ago); time passage, grow late
dòng
力 19 + 9
move, happen; movement, action
shēng
生 100 + 0
life, living, lifetime; birth
bǎo
人 9 + 7
protect, safeguard, defend, care
止 77 + 2
this, these; in this case, then
dào
辵 162 + 9
path, road, street; method, way
欠 76 + 7
desire, want, long for; intend
yíng
皿 108 + 4
fill; full, overflowing; surplus
艸 140 + 12
cover, hide, conceal; shelter
xīn
斤 69 + 9
new, recent, fresh, modern
chéng
戈 62 + 2
completed, finished, fixed