Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Fake Lao Tzu Quote
"If you do not change direction..."
This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
Accrediting this quote to Lao Tzu is insulting to his intellect. It is pure nonsense in a presumptuous form. If you don't change direction, where else would you end up but where you are heading?
Actually, the quote makes a mistake in tenses. Even if you change direction, you end up where you are heading, but not where you were heading before changing direction.
So, double nonsense.
The oldest book I have found with this exact quote is The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Loving Fully, Living Freely, by Alan Cohen, from 1981 (page 355). Already there, Lao Tzu is accredited with it — without any source, to no surprise. Cohen is a successful writer of so-called inspirational books.
Among his many books is one called The Tao Made Easy from 2018. There, the excerpts from Tao Te Ching he used are from the Gia-fu Feng and Jane English version in the 2011 edition. The quote discussed here, though, is not to be found in their book.
The same quote, just replacing "may" with "will," is found in several books, most of them calling it a Chinese proverb. None of them is older than that of Cohen. So, they may have gotten it from his book, and paraphrased it.
September 16, 2020.
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