Sunday, May 29, 2011

The This Or The That

I'll let you in on a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when I see a book, article or blog post that is entitled, The Tao of ______. In this type of grammatical structure, the author is suggesting that there is a particular or specific way of viewing whatever subject matter the book, article or blog post the person has written about.

To me, this flies in the face of Taoist philosophy. It suggests that there is one path and that certainly isn't the message I derive from Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu (among others).

It would be one thing if the author entitled something like this: The Tao of Bill Jones As It Pertains to Snorkeling. That would provide a clear indication that this is the path Bill Jones has taken. It would also suggest that anyone else's path might be different than that of Bill Jones.

But when Bill Jones simply states that he has discovered THE way of snorkeling, it sounds to me like an egotistical pronouncement that his way is the ONLY way and, if you or I choose a different path, then we are snorkeling in a wrong way.

I would much prefer -- in keeping with Taoist philosophy -- if such works were rendered as A Tao of ________. This would more clearly denote that it is the author's way of doing or dealing with the subject matter and that their way isn't necessarily superior or inferior to anyone else's way.

1 comment:

  1. Aloha,
    The Baroness (or Madame Xiong, as a master was wont to call me) has arrived home from the Middle Kingdom. So would it piss you off if I talked about the Tao of Travel?

    In Chinese, it would never be expressed this way, anyway. We might say "Snorkel Tao" or "Cha Tao" or "Blog Tao."

    Wow, three weeks of RT to catch up with...


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