When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body’s intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
The great Tao fades away
There is benevolence and justice
Intelligence comes forth
There is great deception
The six relations are not harmonious
There is filial piety and kind affection
The country is in confused chaos
There are loyal ministers
(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
There is no Code of Ethics,
And there never was.
There is no kindness; no morality.
There is no genius.
Loyal sons and dutiful workers