English 101: Prof. T
December, 17th 2013
The Way: Unspeakable knowledge
“Not to understand is to understand? To understand is not to understand? Who understands the understanding that does not understand?” The writing style in “Knowledge Wandered North” is full of unanswerable questioning thoughts, as many ancient Chinese writings are, which I enjoy. That being said, the use of monikers like “Knowledge, Do-Nothing-Say-Nothing, and Wild-and-Witless” instead of actual names helps to put the type of questioning into perspective. A clever way to make the answers you seek be the silence you receive. There are some good comparisons throughout the writing. “Life is the companion of death, death is the beginning of life. And if life and death are companions to each other, then what is there to be anxious about?” We don’t usually tie life to death in this way yet they are the only certain things, you’re born and you will die at one point or another. As for us being anxious, it is a state of mind based around the idea that we do not know when the death portion will seek us out. We want control of what we perceive to be ours. Chuang Tzu does a very good job simplifying an in depth and very drawn out philosophy. The writing is also full of repetition. “The ten thousand things, The Way, The Path, Silence, and Understanding” being among the most repetitive. Many views of each being only slightly different in context, because not everyone sees everything in the same “light”. This is not something the western culture is used to but something that is none the less helpful in understanding the simplified answers that are given. In the American culture one would reply “Yeah, you said that ten times already”. The overall writing does an amazing job at make you think and question life without giving a final straight answer to the main question, how does one find and follow the path of the way? If you read deeper into the writing I suppose you could glean some glimpse...
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