There’s a saying: Man plans and God laughs. If ever there were truer words, find them for me.
My children live in a different country. I’ve been an avid reader forever. I’ve owned many books. I decided if I got rid of them, it would be easier for my kids when I need to move or pop off. If I decide to do something, I usually do.
I gave away books — many books.
Well, I’m hunkered down for the duration of COVID:19 and the libraries are closed. I’ve finished the few books waiting around to be read, so what next?
Going through my half-empty shelves, I saw ‘Zhuangzi: Basic Writings’, a textbook from a Chinese philosophy class I audited at UBC some 20 years ago. What the heck. It had been interesting, so I decided to revisit it.
What I found most fascinating were my own notes. This class had followed another I took about Western Philosophers, which included people like Freud, Nietzche, and even a contemporary well-known Canadian thinker, Charles Taylor.
‘Woman was God’s second mistake.’ Nietzche.
In my notes on Zhuangzi, I’d noticed how similar his written thoughts and those of Nietzche were, who came along hundreds of years later. Could it be? Had Nietzche read the ancient Chinese thinker and borrowed from him? Perhaps. Probably. Well, I, for one, thought so….
We stand on the shoulders of those who come before us.
‘The noble person uses things, the lesser man is used by things.’ Xunzi. (Actual birth date unknown.)