Paradox in Sharing Knowledge

He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.
Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 56
by Lao Tzu
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Here is a whimsical letter of self-exploration about the seeming paradox in sharing one's truth through words.

Blessings to you, who explore!

Do you recognize the paradox of the two above lines having been spoken? I had a little fun with it here.  If you dare to find out more about it, read the discussion I had with myself below.  I hope, it is of benefit to you.


you say that those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know.

You have just spoken.

By reason of your own statement you do not know. To spell it out again, you said those who speak do not know. Well, you just spoke.

Then, how do you know the truth of what you have spoken?

If you do know however, then speaking it disproves that 'those who speak do not know.'

This is the point, where some might call you a liar. Of course, how did they determine that you did not know, these judges of your being?!

Those less judging might say you might know. By speaking, you invalidate your own statement, at which time they may hand you a wet noodle to give yourself a good old self-hateful lashing.

Then there are those who realize that you may just have spoken the unspeakable hinting at something beyond words by having the logic of those spoken words cancel each other out. If you are one of them, congratulations! You just figured it out. This means, my writing this to you has been useful. Thank you.

Now shhh, do not tell the judges of your being, because speaking the unspeakable is of course forbidden, heretical, and deserving of the severest punishment. Further, rest easy knowing that you do not know and henceforth they might be right just as much as they might be dead wrong. Count your blessings for not living in their world! Their world is not as deliciously confusing. Personally, between you and I, it might be a bit boring, but then who knows -- right?

Those not so judging, if they are still with you, may now realize that you have lost your sanity. Their precious practical side tells them that speaking the unspeakable is nonsense, bless their dear hearts. You might consider smiling at them benevolently. They also might just be the ones that were instrumental in putting bread on the table for you so you can write all this stuff.

You are still with me. That counts for something. I may not have much to give you, but you most certainly deserve praise for your diligence and perseverance at reading this. I want to give you a gift:

Empty yourself of all these thoughts and enjoy the wonder of the unfathomable and ineffable! Browse my sight this way! Should anything here disturb your sincere appreciation and wonder, please e-mail me about it. I would then wish to review that part of what I may have posted in order that I might not offend you.

Copyright © 1997 by Georg W. Koester

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