Wise Words – Lao Tzu Shows us the Wisdom of Uncertainty

“The farther you go, the less you know.”

Lao Tzu


Wisdom loves to startle us.  She often shows up in contradictions that surprise the logical part of our minds. That is what happens to me when I read Lao Tzu’s words from chapter 47 of the Tao Te Ching.

Logic would say that as you go through life, you acquire knowledge and experience, so you should know more, right?  But life is not an equation and logic is not the only way of understanding.  Lao Tzu knew that you also acquire other things as you go:  biases, filters, false premises, assumptions, prejudices, and opinions that become increasingly narrow and rigid.  All of these distort our view and constrain our thinking. 

And along the journey you also gain this:  perspective.  The store of available knowledge is an ocean compared to the tiny teacups we hold in our brains.  The more you know, the more your realize there is to know. The sparkling wit of Lao Tzu calls us to humbly question our expertise and be open to new ways of seeing and thinking.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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