I feel like a child who has inadvertently wandered into an old dilapidated castle where nothing but shadows of ghosts still haunt. The glorious grandeur of the place is still evident—the large halls and high ceilings adorned still, with the remains of what must have been magnificent furnishings and fixtures, their colors faded and aged to various shades of greys and browns. The walls are sagging and the floorboards are rotted through. Dust and decay is thick, and the dank smell of long dead history stagnates about the place.
I find myself wandering into what must have been a magnificent library with shelves that go up to the ceiling and piled high with musty tomes of old forgotten lore. I walk to the nearest book to read the name on the spine. Unfortunately, it is written in an ancient language I cannot understand. I run my fingers across the spines of the books directly in front of me, taking away centuries of grime and filth, revealing for the first time in ages, the true colors of the binding—bright reds, blues, yellows, greens. All perfectly preserved and all written in the same cryptic language that I cannot decipher. My soul cried out with anguish. Such unapproachable treasures…
Such is what I face at this point in time. I am within the proximity of a treasure trove, but because I cannot read the inscriptions, the treasure is useless to me.
So I pull out my handy dandy Star Trek universal translator and I am back in business!!!
We Taobabes have power. We Taobabes have the www force on our side. We Taobabes rock!
We Taobabes also know that there is more than one way to skin a cat. History can be found, not just in the written accounts but also in many other places. But I can’t take credit for that thought. I actually did a divination and asked about this, and to my surprise, I got Hexagram 21 – Biting Through.
Now, normally, I would go through an entire posting and delve into the meanings and the wordings behind the divination, but not this time. This time, I am simply going to take the short cut and give you the divination in one sentence, and then I am going into the meat of this posting. If I go into the details, it would take at least three postings to finish this train of thought, and I am trying to cut corners here. This posting is about the enigma of Lao Tzu, so I am going to keep it as focused as I can.
In the interest of keeping things short, I have one thing going for me.
There is hardly anything to be found about the man at all.
This, in itself is very strange. If there is one thing I know about the Chinese historians, it’s that they are real sticklers for historical details. Their history goes back to the Shang Dynasty at least (circa 1700–1046 Bc), and is very well documented. So well-documented in fact that even lesser figures are described and annotated quite clearly.
So—why is it then that one of the greatest, most influential men in Chinese history, one that actually held a position within a king’s court, would be relegated to such obscurity that he would be lacking in such basic details as birth date, real name, and even death date? Why would the recounting of such a person be so shadowy as to cause a famous Japanese historian by the name of Sokichi Tsuda to throw up his hands and proclaim that the man is a mythological construct and cannot be a real human being?
Hmmmm…inquiring minds wanna know…