Tao Te Ching 20

Abandon books – end grief!

   Respect or scorn?
     How can you really tell what people think of you?
   Good or bad?
     What's the difference?
Yet I'd be a fool to ignore the common people's superstitions.

How isolated I am;
   how vast the gulf between me and those unaware of their mortality.
They are excited as before a party
   or when climbing to the terraces in springtime.

I watch alone like a forgotten child,
   as weary as a refugee.
They all have abundant energy:
   I alone am lacking.

Oh I have the heart of a fool.
   For all my vaunted knowledge I have learnt nothing.
They're happy: I'm confused.
   They're canny: I'm dumb.

What strange contrasts there are in the world:
   Looking at a beautifully peaceful sea, who could imagine a tornado? 

The populace work steadily for material goals;
   I sit figuring it all out, possessing none of what they take for granted.

I know I don't belong -
   yet I feel the pulse of eternity.

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