Friday, June 24, 2011

Written in the Fourth Century BCE

"The point of a fish trap is the fish: once you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. The point of a rabbit snare is the rabbit: once you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. And the point of a word is the idea: once you've got the idea, you can forget the word.

How can I find someone who's forgotten words, so we can have a few words together?" --

Chuang Tzu, translated by David Hinton, appearing in the introduction to a Counterpoint book published in 1997,
The Inner Chapters. I would like to believe the first paragraph, but don't fully -- how can we moderns separate words from ideas? (How can I know what I think until I hear what I say?) But the question he ends his parable on is worthy of deepest consideration.

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