Lao Tzu

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Stone carving of Lao Tzu in Fujian provnce, China.
Thinking hardly
or hardly thinking?

Icon philosophy.svg
Major trains of thought
The good, the bad,
and the brain fart
Come to think of it
Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu (or Laozi in Pinyin) is a legendary philosopher from Imperial China. He supposedly wrote "The Way and the Virtue" (Tao Te Ching), before departing to the west to withdraw from this world. According to legend, the guard at the border, recognizing Lao Tzu's wisdom by his long ears, asked for a record of Lao Tzu's wisdom. Lao Tzu quickly wrote the Tao Te Ching, and wandered off into the sunset. His name translates into "Old Master", and many scholars today believe he probably wasn't real and that the Tao Te Ching had multiple authors.[1]

During the Han Dynasty, there was a particular variety of Taoism referred to as Yellow-Lao Taoism, which venerated Lao Tzu and the mythical Yellow Emperor as deities.

Studying the "Way and the Virtue" can consume a whole lifetime, even for someone with a strong grasp of Classical Chinese. It can also be quickly yoinked to make your own half-baked philosophy sound important and mystical.

In modern times[edit]

Barrington Hall (a residence hall at the University of California at Berkeley) coopted Lao Tzu's quote to be the Hall motto, purportedly attributed to a mythical Onghh Yaangh, "Those who say don't know. Those who know don't say." In 1989 a lawsuit was filed against Barrington Hall for being a center of drugs and crime. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1991 that the gangster-inspired Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was applicable to the case, in part because the Hall motto implied a "code of silence".[2][3] The RICO charge was overturned on appeal in 1992.[4]

External links[edit]