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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"Highly evolved people..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: Highly evolved people have their own conscience as pure law.

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"Highly evolved people have their own conscience as pure law."






I don't hesitate to admit that I find this quote, supposedly from Lao Tzu, very objectionable.

       Highly evolved people? That's social Darwinism, the repulsive idea that some people are more developed than others, as if natural selection by mutation would create people superior to their own species. It does not work that way. And if people assumed superior would use their own conscience as pure law, it simply means that they claim to be above the law of ordinary men.


Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Now it's a book, too!

90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.


       My impression of Lao Tzu and his thoughts is that he would object to it just as strongly. Instead he stated repeatedly that those who were sage put themselves below others, like water flows to the lowest places. Modesty and discretion were his ideals, not presumption.

       The quote is definitely not from Tao Te Ching. Unfortunately the mistaken accreditation of it to Lao Tzu is somewhat supported in a book containing both his words and those of a much later text falsely claiming to transmit his words: the Hua Hu Ching, probably composed no earlier than the 4th century CE. The exact quote can be found in The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching and Hua Hu Ching from 1979, by Hua-Ching Ni (page 199).

       I have serious doubts also about the English wording of this quote, supposedly from Hua Hu Ching. Neither "evolved" nor "conscience" are concepts fitting Chinese thinking that far back. Anyway, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Lao Tzu.

       For more on Hua Hu Ching, see my chapter Embrace all things.

Stefan Stenudd
September 14, 2020.



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Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. 389 quotes from the foremost Taoist classic, divided into 51 prominent topics. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.


Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Fake Lao Tzu Quotes

Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. 90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.



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