Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Those who know, do not speak. Those who speak, do not know.
-Lao Tzu

This quote from Lao Tzu is a paradox to me. If it is indeed true (and what is truth), then by speaking it, Lao Tzu admits he doesn't know and therefore the statement can't be true. And if you understand it and say so, you are really admitting you don't understand it.

So maybe I don't understand the statement, but I agree with it. Most people I hear speaking with authority on topics don't know squat about the topics. I have often railed on "experts" who, when asked their sources point vaguely at some article they read in People magazine or some page they Googled on the Web.

A vast majority of what experts spout seems to me to simply be opinion. And there is a vast difference between fact and opinion. It is the difference between thinking something and knowing something.

Of course, this is my opinion. It has taken me a long time to learn that my opinion is just an opinion. The problem is, I no longer know when I know something. Because too often I have discovered that my absolutely knowing something turned out that I absolutely knew nothing.

The hardest part about my learning about my self-delusion has been accepting I am not who I thought I was. And I am definitely not who I thought people thought I was. I am not as witty as I thought people thought I was and I am not as charming as I thought people thought I was. And I am not as talented as I thought people thought I was.

I am not sure who I am. But that is a good thing. If you think you know who you are, I don't think you can know who you are.

Maybe Lao Tzu did know what he was talking about after all. You know?


Karen said...

I thought I knew who I was too but unfortunately I was mistaken :) So are you saying it's good I don't know who I am because that probably means I know myself better than I think I do? Are you as confused as I am yet?

Time said...

The ignorant are blissful for a reason. They think they know everything and wouldn't accept the truth if presented to them with chocolate sprinkles on top. So by not knowing who you are, you are open to discovering who you are. The part I'm a bit fuzzy on is how you know who you are when you do discover who you are.

But then again I believe we often are changing who we are according to who we need to be. Bottom line is that I think it is okay to be confused.