Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Fake Lao Tzu Quote
This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:
"To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go."
Indeed, if you want to grab something you must start with an open hand. A fist can hold on to nothing. The paradox is in "let go." So you hold on just to let go? Well, it is the only way to get hold of something else. Still, this is a strange message. It seems to say: always let go, so that you can hold anew. Perpetuum mobile.
Letting go, though, was something Lao Tzu felt strongly about and recommended as a basic principle of reaching wu-wei, non-action. Chapter 48 of Tao Te Ching says (my version):
The source to this quote is not from the Far East but from 'far out.' It can be found in Psychedelic Monograph II from 1966, with a new edition called Psychedelic Prayers and Other Meditations in 1997, by the psychologist, writer, and psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary (1920-1996). The book consists of "psychedelic prayers" based on the first 37 chapters of Tao Te Ching. In the foreword, Leary described the Chinese classic as a "psychedelic manual" and Tao as an "energy process" (page 37).
The quote is part of a poem called "Take In — Let Go." The whole poem reads (page 64):
Psychedelic Prayers and Other Meditations is still in print. So is his book Start Your Own Religion, containing the same poem (page 99).
On Goodreads, the quote examined here, ascribed to Lao Tzu, got its first like in November, 2008, which was the year after the website was launched. With that exception, the oldest web page I found with an ascertained date, containing the quote, is from October 2010, also ascribing it to Lao Tzu. On Facebook, the quote seems to have started to appear in 2012.
September 22, 2020.
More Fake Lao Tzu QuotesThere are many more fake Lao Tzu quotes examined on this website. Click the header to see a list of them.
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