- When people are born, they’re supple and soft;
When they die, they end up stretched out firm and rigid;
When the ten thousand things and grasses and trees are alive, they’re supple and pliant;
When they’re dead, they’re withered and dried out.
Therefore we say that the firm and rigid are companions of death,
While the supple, the soft, the weak, and the delicate are companions of life.
If a soldier is rigid, he won’t win;
If a tree is rigid, it will come to its end.
Rigidity and power occupy the inferior position;
Suppleness, softness, weakness, and delicateness occupy the superior position.Lao Tzu