Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tao te Ching: 71

To know that you do not know is the best.
To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.
Only when one recognizes this disease as a disease can one be free from the disease.
The sage is free from the disease.
Because he recognizes this disease to be disease, he is free from it.
Note the similarity to Chapter 56. Additionally, I've found a quote from the Analects of Confucius that agrees with this.
Say that you know when you do know and say that you do not know when you do not know.
Analects 2:17
Interesting that, for once, they agree. Confucianism is ultimately a pragmatic philosophy, so it is a small wonder that Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity all seem to agree on this point.


  1. Very good chapter. I'm not sure that Christianity agrees with it though. The versions of Christianity I was a part of seemed to praise the concept of "pretending to know."

  2. I refer you back to Chapter 56 and the following Proverb:

    Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:28

    There are a lot of "Christians" who have very little knowledge or relation to the Bible itself. There's some good stuff in there.