Men of the world who value the Way all turn to books. But books are nothing more than words. Words have value; what is of value in words is meaning. Meaning has something it is pursuing, but the thing that it is pursuing cannot be put into words and handed down. The world values words and hands down books but, though the world values them, I do not think them worth valuing. What the world takes to be value is not real value.None of us can adequately explain any experience in words. Language is nothing more than a proximate placeholder for those things we understand in the depths of our being. We err when we think that words are the same thing as reality.
What you can look at and see are forms and colors; what you can listen to and hear are names and sounds. What a pity! - that the men of the world should suppose that form and color, name and sound are sufficient to convey the truth of a thing. It is because in the end they are not sufficient to convey truth that "those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know." But how can the world understand this!
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.