Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Fake Lao Tzu Quote
"Your own positive future..."
This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:
"Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here."
Whether positive of negative, where else could your future begin but at this moment? That is the very definition of the future, just as the definition of the past is what happened before the present moment.
The second sentence is equally self-evident, since we can say nothing for certain about the future, and the past is already gone. But it also tells us that at any moment we can redirect our lives, at least to the extent circumstances permit — which leads to the third sentence.
I am not sure that every goal is possible, but most of them are at least possible to strive for. In other words — few goals are definitely impossible, as long as we stay within the borders of what natural law permits and a human being can muster.
What Lao Tzu was really pointing out was not the vast scope of opportunity at each moment, but the fact that things are so much easier to deal with at the outset and when going carefully step by step. It is not an equivalent of the popular American expression that you can be anything you want to be. Instead it speaks, as Lao Tzu often did, about being perceptive and careful. The first part of the chapter makes it clear (my version):
One example of linking chapter 64 to the message of the quote discussed here is in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life from 2007, by Wayne W. Dyer (page 303):
The earliest ascertained Internet occurrence of the quote I have found is on the Goodreads site, where it is ascribed to Lao Tzu and got its first like on June 28, 2009. On Facebook the first occurrence of the quote seems to have been on July 5, 2012, with a post that was soon shared 18 times and reached 54 likes. The quote was written in both English and Spanish, and accredited to Lao Tzu.
I have not been able to find where this quote originated, or if it did so already from the start ascribing it to Lao Tzu. My best guess is still that it somehow was extracted and distorted from chapter 64 of Tao Te Ching — or from Dyer's interpretation of it, mentioned above.
For more on Wayne W. Dyer and his Lao Tzu quotes, see the chapter Every human being's essential nature.
September 23, 2020.
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