Re: Tao Te Ching LO1277

david swenson (
Wed, 17 May 95 14:01:18 CST

Replying to LO1098 --


No argument with you that different cultures interpret things differently.
However, different interpretation doesn't particularly mean that it
doesn't have significant meaning to the new interpretor. Secondly, many of
the interpretations are made by people fluent in both languages and
cultures, so it may not be too far off. Finally, the thrust of the Tao de
Ching, I Ching, T'ai Chi Classics, etc., are on the process of change--I'm
not sure that the language matters. As one sage used to suggest
(paraphrased), when someone is pointing at the moon, don't look at the
pointing finger.

I also wonder sometimes that switching to another culture's metaphors
allows us to shift our own model. For example, when I really get stuck in
my typically linear mode of problem solving, I browse the I Ching and
reflect on one of the patterns presented so consider what I've missed.
Seems to work.


On Sun, 07 May 95 23:04:44, Jack wrote:

>I have been completely overwhelmed by a couple of the threads here of
>late, especially the storytelling thread, to which I intend to contribute
>just as soon as I can "collect" my thoughts. In the meantime, I was
>struck by the exchanges surrounding the quote from Lao Tse on "doing
>nothing". I am always a little puzzled by conversations which revolve
>around translations from a foreign language, especially when - as in this
>case - the material under discussion is so fundamental to a "different"
>culture. (What in the world do we think we're talking about?)
>On this particular topic, I would like to call attention to page six of
>the Millennium Whole Earth Catalogue, where several translations of Lao
>Tse are compared. It's useful, I think, to look at how the Chinese
>original "means" very differently to translators, and it puts disputation
>around any particular translation into quite a different light.

David X. Swenson Ph.D. (
Associate Professor of Management
College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, MN 55811