Re: Wisdom LO996

Tobin Quereau (
Mon, 1 May 1995 08:29:56 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO988 --

On Sat, 29 Apr 1995, Chas. A. Barclay wrote:

> Gia fu Feng's translation translates poorly into english:
> ... [snip]
> When nothing is done, nothing is left undone, is nonsensical.
> Anything not done is left undone. Think about it--its like the
> sound of one hand clapping--try it, its not as loud but it still
> makes sound when it occurs.
> LaoTsu did not recommend laziness or inactivity. That's the
> problem...[snip]
> Taoists are peculiar people, I know a few and they are extremely
> powerful with what they know--they are hardly non-doers. They are
> instead controllers of natural forces unknown to most people. The
> good ones are healers and teachers. Luckily, I haven't met evil
> Taoists. [snip]

Thanks for the response, Charles, the translation, I'm sure, leaves
something unclear--and I'm certainly not familiar with the original! The
point I get from frequent re-reading of this text is not that we should
retire from activity and engagement with the world. Actually, it is
somewhat the other way around. I think (and feel) that it is our
"efforting" that often keeps us separate from what "is" in the world and
condemns us to our limited "mental model" of it more rigidly. To throw out
one verse of the Tao te Ching by itself is probably unfair to the reader.
I recommend taking a few moments to look at the text as a whole, then a
more in-depth awareness of the essential message can be stimulated.

I would say that Lao Tsu's message is one of the closest I have read to a
true "Leavers" perspective to use Daniel Quinn's metaphor from _Ishmael_.
It doesn't seem to fit with our "civilized" notions of humankind, but is
no less valuable (and maybe more...) because of that.

Any other reactions??

Tobin Quereau