道信精 Tao Believe Exact #20
© Tao Believe Exact - bone structure of Daodejing #36 (English commas added).
Copyright ©2019 May 25, 2019
Regardless that irrational words like 'same', 'equal', 'identical', and 'exact' point to things that cannot possibly be real in this Reality, still the words are very commonly used within conversational English.
Conversational English is as cultural slang, the words being relative to the present era's environment, and varying generation to generation. By how an individual uses the words, the use also illustrates the individual's knowledge of the topics being spoken of.
A translator of Daodejing, of whom had been given one of the highest social statuses attainable within modern English-speaking cultures, had, literally, repeatedly written and implied early within his translation's Foreword, that some, or all, of the ancient Chinese words had been translated "exactly".
It is not so much as possible for a modern English-speaking individual to "exactly" interpret another person's modern English words, and it is far less possible to "exactly" translate a foreign language from an unknown ancient culture. The claim, of the translator, to be able to translate a word "exactly", illustrated that the translator possessed no understanding of English, no understanding of Chinese, no understanding of cultures, no understanding of the mind, no understanding of Nature, no understanding of one's own life, no understanding of philosophy, no understanding of science, no understanding of physics, no understanding of mathematics, no understanding of much of anything, and a complete absence of an understanding of all of the topics within Daodejing.
And from where did the translator arrive at his conclusions of translations? The man had written descriptions of from where his own words had arrived... the descriptions, described, that he had memorized words... he had memorized dictionary words... he had memorized other people's words about other people's beliefs of popular opinions (hearsay)... he copy-pasted other people's words into his own translation, while claiming that he himself did the translation... the man, had no thoughts of his own.
For over two-thousand years, western philosophy has debated words like 'ethic', 'morals', and 'virtue', without yet discovering an "exact" meaning of any word... not so much as one single word... and not yet does science know what love is, nor what beauty is, nor what emotions are, nor what thoughts are, nor what memories are, nor what consciousness is, nor anything else related to life and Nature... and, so, why then do many people believe that they can translate ancient Chinese words "exactly"?
Upon what grounds can a man, who does not know what 'virtue' means in English, claim to "exactly" translate the Chinese word 德, which itself has numerous definitions of synonyms and is not so much as "exactly" understood within the Chinese language itself? The grounds, are, the man's own beliefs, plus his absence of learning, plus his absence of self-thinking.
Several hundred times, the translation used the unknown English words... 'love', 'virtue', 'know', and others... without first understanding what any of the English words mean. There was nothing within the translation that was "exact"... the Foreword's claims of 'exactness', all untrue.
The English word "exact" is as an idiom, a figure of speech, slang, sometimes becoming habitual for individuals who believe in and devote excessive time to scholarly things, but the word does not relate to anything real in this Reality. A quick glance at another of the author's papers, covering a different topic, also found the "exact" word being repeated. Perhaps the author did not recognize that his use of the word "exact" was improper and incorrect, and though the word usage within conversational and scholarly English is usually acceptable, it is not acceptable when used within any context that relies upon accuracy, nor when related to topics that relate to what is real within this Reality.
A quick glance at a specific section within the man's translation of Daodejing, of a word that is known throughout Asia as perhaps one of the most common words, known even to little children... and yes, the man merely copied what most other translators had previously written... which was nothing... the man did not so much as hint of the word having been present within the original text, regardless that the original Chinese character was included beside the English within the man's translation.
The man had made numerous claims that were not true... not possible to be true... proven untrue by his own words, written by his own hand.
Belief... people believe many things, often things that are impossible and make no sense, but still the people too often believe that their belief is 'exactly' correct.
To use a modern example, one that is self-observable by most everyone on earth, is to ask an individual to draw a simple electrical wiring diagram of a common flashlight. The wiring diagram does not have to be drawn prettily, just be marked sufficiently well enough to illustrate that the individual comprehends how a flashlight works. Electricians and electronic technicians might chuckle at how simple the diagram is, but of most all other people, they might not be able to draw the easy thing, because, the individuals do not know how a simple flashlight works (reminiscent of some MIT graduates allegedly not being able to make light with wire, bulb, and battery).
Then ask people to draw a schematic of a flashlight... still childishly easy to electronic technicians, but not to all electricians, and less possible by other people.
Then ask people to draw a sketch of electromagnetic wave harmonics at different frequencies and different distances... almost no one at all can do it.
Then ask people if the electromagnetic waves are safe for living beings. Almost everyone on earth will say yes, because, the people believe what they have been trained to believe... trained by the individuals with 'one of the highest social statuses attainable within English-speaking cultures'...
People believe many things, beliefs in exactness, and yet not know anything about the topics that the people claim to have exact knowledge of. Similar to the flashlight wiring diagram, countless questions could be asked people, and it could easily be proven that the people possess almost no knowledge of anything related to what is real within this Reality.
It is popularly believed that the human body functions by electrical currents, but what biologist can draw a flashlight schematic, and describe the electrical currents within the body? Likely none, and yet people will still believe in biologists... believing that the biologists know how the body works... and still believe that the spirit of electricity dwells within the human body. Believe this, believe that, all beliefs, all believed to be exact, while not knowing anything about the topic...
'Laozi' described a simple thing... he even used little two-dimensional descriptions that are very easy to read... but still no known public translation could read what he wrote... and yet, the translators still believed that they knew everything about everything that 'Laozi' wrote... all beliefs... all imaginary... and all believing in 'exactness'.
The following are six public domain translations of the last sentence within Daodejing's section #31:
"He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief; and the victor in battle has his place (rightly) according to those rites. " (James Legge 1891)
"If he take delight in them, it would mean that he enjoys in the slaughter of men. He who takes delight in the slaughter of men cannot have his will done in the world." (Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904)
"The slayer of multitudes should bitterly weep and lament. Having fought and won it is as if he were presiding at a funeral." (Spurgeon Medhurst 1905)
"He who enjoys the slaughter of men will most assuredly not obtain his will in the empire." (D.T. Suzuki & Paul Carus 1913)
"He who has killed many men should weep with many tears. He who has conquered in battle should stand in the place of mourning." (Isabella Mears 1916)
"The killing of men fills multitudes with sorrow; we lament with tears because of it, and rightly honor the victor as if he was attending a funeral ceremony." (Dwight Goddard 1919)
The following is a rough (and purposefully incorrect of synonyms) word-per-word draft of the last sentence within section #31: 'Kill people it multitude use grief melancholy weeping it battle victorious use funeral social-custom place it'.
The "exactly" translation, it used 24 words for the 16 original words... the "exactly" translation rearranged the sentence's words, invented a new scholarly paraphrasing, fully missed the sentence's topic, fully ignored the section's previous sentences that were directly related to the last sentence, ignored the Chinese language itself, and the translation became but one more rambling nonsense within the many hundreds of similarly nonsense translations.
The "exactly" translator, he may have written what he believed to be "exactly" right scholarly words, but the words were 'exactly' wrong for many reasons.
Many people do claim to know what Daodejing is all about, but if asked, it is confident that none could 'draw a diagram' of what the book speaks of, nor draw a diagram of what 'Laozi' wrote of. Using the common translations as guides, what do they speak of? What is the purpose of Daodejing? What is Daodejing's central theme? What does Daodejing point at? What message does Daodejing deliver? Why does Daodejing continuously contradict itself throughout the book? Why do many people believe in Daodejing, and yet so few people know what Daodejing is?
What "exactly" does 'Tao' mean? If not able to precisely describe 'Tao', then not able to know what Daodejing speaks of. Describe what 'Tao' is, not as an imagined belief, and not from the memorization of other people's words, but with a description from the firsthand point of view...
If an individual believes that they know Daodejing's topics, then pick at random a sentence from any common translation, and then describe what the sentence is speaking of. "Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith, and is also the commencement of disorder; swift apprehension is (only) a flower of the Tao, and is the beginning of stupidity." (random sentence taken from section #38, translation by James Legge 1891) Please describe, coherently, what the sentence means, and do so 'exactly'.
Faulty translations of Chinese are not alone... similar is for all languages... college children believing and claiming that they are experts of speaking Greek, claiming to be able to speak Greek 'exactly', but still not understand what any Greek word means, and not able to write a coherent sentence, nor able to describe what any Greek sentence points at.
Some individuals, who with scholarly backgrounds, have publicly voiced a displeasure of seeing English-speaking people refer to Chinese words as 'symbols'... but all words are symbols, no word is the thing itself... all words point to another thing... all words are symbolic of the things pointed to. The scholarly individuals, believe that they are exact with words, but still the individuals do not understand what words are.
One plus one is 'exactly' two within the language of mathematics, but there does not exist a real 'exact' two in all of Creation, and therefore the 'exactness' of the language is itself wrong. Similarly, regardless of language, whether it be English, Chinese, or any other, it is eternally impossible for any words to be "exactly" the same as any other.
People are not equal, not the same, nor identical... and neither are the meanings of their words.
To form a good general concept of what is pointed at within each section of Daodejing, it is enough, and it is the best that can be hoped for. Accuracy of translation... exactness... is not possible, and any claim otherwise, is merely imagination coupled with a belief that words are not symbols.
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Updated May 25, 2019
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