Not to honor men of worth will keep the people from contention; not to value goods that are hard to come by will keep them from theft; not to display what is desirable will keep them from being unsettled of mind.

The first two sentences, do they mean the following:

People will stop contending if they stop honoring worthy men.

Valuable goods will not be stolen if they are not appreciated.

In the last sentence, "them" is referred to what? And what does "unsettled of mind" mean? And what is the gist of the whole sentence?

1 Answer 1


Yes. The two sentences you suggest are correct interpretations. But the 2nd sentence could be more clearly stated in the same way as the 1st :

People will not steal scarce goods if they do not appreciate the value of those goods.

In the last sentence - as well as in the 2nd - "them" refers to "the people". "Unsettled of mind" means having troublesome thoughts, such as thinking about stealing something - while also thinking that it is wrong to steal things.

The gist of the whole is a warning that materialism causes social strife.

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