Thursday, November 11, 2004
Quote of the Day
The Tao Te Ching is sufficiently obscure that every Chinese translator wants to have a go at it. So I'm giving the Quote of the Day in three flavors—
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 18
The most literal—
When the great dao declined,
jen and i arose, "humanity and righteousness."
Next, when brightness and know-how came in vogue,
the great pretence fully started.
When the six family relationships are not in harmony
There's open talk of "kind parents," "dutiful sons" and deep love to children.
A confused country enmeshed in disorder praises ministers in chaos and misrule.
The most readable—
When the Way is forgotten
Duty and justice appear;
Then knowledge and wisdom are born
Along with hypocrisy.
When harmonious relationships dissolve
Then respect and devotion arise;
When a nation falls to chaos
Then loyalty and patriotism are born.
And the hippest—
When people ignore Tao,
they start talking about "righteousness" and "sanctity".
When they forget what's true,
they start talking about "self-evident truths".
When they do not respect each other,
they start talking about "political correctness" and "family values".
When the nation is unstable,
they start talking about "patriotism".