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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"Love is of all passions..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: Love is of all passions the strongest...

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses."






A quote about love is very unlikely to be from Lao Tzu. He had no treatment of it in its conventional sense, that of two people connecting. In my version of Tao Te Ching the word appears only twice - one of them about loving oneself as much as the world (chapter 13) and the other about rulers loved by their subjects (chapter 17). Passion is not mentioned even once. This was simply not a subject Lao Tzu covered.

       Furthermore, the perspective of how a passion "attacks" a person, be it the head, heart, or senses, Lao Tzu would probably find revolting. His idea was calm acceptance of the way the world works.


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.


       The oldest book I found, at first, with this exact quote is World's Wit and Wisdom from 1936, reprinted in 1945, by Norman Lockridge (page 142). He ascribed the quote to the French 18th century philosopher Voltaire, without specifying the source. The book also contains three pages of Lao Tzu quotes, again without stating the source.

       Lockridge's reference led me to Voltaire's Thoughts, Remarks, and Observations, a translation from the French, published in 1802. That was just 24 years after his death. The collection of Voltaire comments and thoughts was compiled after his death, from unpublished material he left behind. The exact words of the quote are there (page 9).

       The first book I have found accrediting the quote to Lao Tzu is Chinese Sexual Astrology from 2006, by Shelly Wu (page ii and the back cover). She gave no source to her claim. Other books would follow with the same accreditation. And of course, web pages and memes in great numbers.

       From one great thinker to another, two thousand years backwards - that is quite a journey for a quote.

Stefan Stenudd
September 17, 2020.



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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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