The Tao

Play Audio | Get the Book | Del.icio.us

About Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching

People assume that the Tao Te Ching dates back to the 6th century before Christ and also that the writer is unknown. Lao Tzu namely means ďThe Old SageĒ and itís obvious that it is a collection of wisdom passed on verbally for centuries and written down somewhere in history. Right there lies the treacherousness of the written word. For only the elite, the schooled, the learned, the clergy and the rulers mastered script/writing. They have mastered the Tao Te Ching and changed the contents intentionally, possibly unconsciously, so that it suited their objectives. What was supposed to be a pearl of clarity, they have consequently made into a complicated and most incomprehensible story to justify their interests, their status and positions. The bizarre thing is that it is the learned, about whom Lao Tzu says "they are not wise", who reflect their interpretations of the Tao Te Ching, colored by their follies, and so they make up their minds without understanding the true meaning. ďTraduttore TraditoreĒ, is an old Italian saying, which means that one can only translate a writing correctly by understanding the aim of the writer and therefore one must be committing treason to this moral if he doesnít. That is to say, everybody who translates a script, translates it through his own point of view and so adds something to the writing which he thinks the writer must have meant. And because everybodyís view is colored by his or her interests, prejudices and convictions, there are as many possible translations and interpretations as there are people, and none of those translations are able to reflect what Lao Tzu really meant. Itís obvious that no scientist dares to read therein that he is a fool himself; no leader, that he is an upgraded ignoramus, and no philosopher that he is telling but nonsense/bullshit.

What did Lao Tzu mean to convey in the Tao Te Ching?

In essence Lao Tzu is a ringer. He is someone who first asked himself what he was really doing. He turned himself away from the world and as an outsider he suddenly saw that all his fellow men are occupied by their daydreams. Caught up in their own head-trips they follow leaders, which donít know as well as they themselves do, stuck in many silly traditions and habits, talking about nothing, ruled by fear, not knowing who they are, anxious about everything and nothing. They are slaughtering each other, attached to their possessions, locked up in their houses, villages, cities, states; involved in labor and day-to-day routines, and last but not least, they accept all this. He incites them to free themselves from those chains, to stop the nonsense with which they weary themselves, not to trust flattery from others anymore, not to follow their leaders anymore and to just enjoy life. Men, dare to live!

Whatís the weak spot in the Tao Te Ching?

The Tao Te Ching continues as an unfortunate mixture of wisdom sayings and inadequate descriptions about experiencing reality and the way Creation comes to expression; in other words, about the creating process. And thatís exactly what cannot be said in words, and every attempt at it ends in mystical abracadabra. Wittgenstein writes about this in his Tractatus Logico-philosophicus: ďWhereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silentĒ.

Whatís the difference between this version and all others?

Understanding Lao Tzu means: live like Lao Tzu. Living like Lao Tzu means: escape from the world, have no opinions and convictions anymore, have no interests at all and don't be tied to anything. To live like Lao Tzu is to not believe anything anymore, to realize you canít really know a thing, to have no point of view anymore, to have nothing to lose and therefore nothing to defend. The consequence of all this is that youíll consider possessions as totally superfluous and youíll no longer need anything or anyone. Then you wonít try to force life to conform to your ways anymore, but you will let yourself flow with it instead. Only this opens the gate to unconditional love towards your fellow men. This version of the Tao Te Ching is the result of a similar experience. We have carefully removed all contradictions, all compromises and inconsequentialities that have defiled this simple, anarchistic and revolutionary wisdom-script during the last 2500 years, just like one cleans centuries of dust from a diamond so that it can sparkle again in its original shining simplicity.

Next Page