Wow. So, I’m a month behind on these. Awesome. Normally this is the part where I’d make elaborate excuses about not having enough time, and blaming the children and Life In General, but really….I just forgot. I’ve been ahead on actually reading the books so far, and because I was ahead for so long, I did the reviews early on, and then…stopped. Part of that was because reviewing this particular book is going to be difficult. I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m still not sure.
Into the breach!!
For week 22, I read the Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (or Laozi). I’m linking to Wikipedia here, because the version I read is no longer in print, and there are a bajillion editions and translations and interpretations out there, and I can’t very well recommend one over another.
Right. So. The Tao Te Ching is an ancient text purportedly scribbled down by Lao Tzu on his way out of the Court and out of town to go live the way he thought was closer to nature. I’m going to be honest, here; I have no idea how to properly review this book. It’s philosophy and spirituality and all sorts of very complex ideas in a rather different format (and language) than I’m accustomed to reading.
Actually, I started this book shortly after deciding to do the challenge; it just took me until mid-May to make it through the introduction, explanations, historical contexts and various analyses of the text. The text itself is fairly short; my copy was perhaps thirty pages in poetry-format, so not dense at all. Don’t let the brevity of the actual words fool you into thinking it’s a quick read, however. The subject matter is plenty dense.
This book is one of those you re-read many times throughout your life, gleaning different aspects each time. The idea of Taoism is interesting, and appealing in certain parts, but I don’t know if it’s a way of life I could fully embrace. That said, just because it isn’t going to be my personal philosophy doesn’t mean I can’t learn from it. I would definitely recommend everyone at least read it once. Give it a try. See what comes up when you do.