Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Knowledge and Wisdom

By Lao Tzu

Knowledge and Wisdom

Here's a little irony for you... even though the Tao Te Ching is considered by a ton of people to be one of the wisest books ever written, the book itself totally criticizes the wisdom of seeking wisdom. To the TTC, simplicity is the best way to find oneness with the Tao, and complex intellectualism is just a bunch of hooey that stands in the way of true enlightenment.

So maybe next time you don't bring your homework into class, you can tell your teacher that you were too busy finding oneness. Yes, that probably wouldn't work, but to a Taoist the pursuit of knowledge takes on a much different look than the way we usually think of it.

Questions About Knowledge and Wisdom

  1. What does the Tao Te Ching say is the danger of pursuing knowledge?
  2. Why does the TTC advise against traveling to seek wisdom?
  3. To the TTC, what's the difference between an intelligent person and an enlightened one?
  4. Why does the TTC think it's usually better to be silent than to speak?

Chew on This

If everybody followed the Tao Te Ching's advice on seeking knowledge, our society would be backward and ignorant.

The Tao Te Ching is correct when it warns that over-intellectualizing can obscure the simple truths that are all around us.

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