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The Tao Teh King: A Short Study in Comparative Religion, by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, [1905], at

p. 119


The highest attainment is to know non-knowledge. 1 To regard ignorance as knowledge is a disease. Only by feeling the pain of this disease do we cease to be diseased. The perfected man, because he knows the pain of it, is free from this disease. It is for this reason that he does not have it. 2

He who wills to do the Will, must know THAT which is beyond knowledge; he must ascend into the regions of the supersensuous. Listen to a few of the simpler sayings of the Master. "Resist not evil"; "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth"; "Take no thought … what ye shall eat or drink." Such sentences appeal to the heart but not to the head. They land us in the region where intellectual machinery is worth little more than old iron. Nevertheless, as Lao-tzu says, ignorance of this indicates disease, for Truth, whether a philosophy or a life, is

"The Somewhat which we name, but cannot know,
 Ev’n as we name a star, and only see
 His quenchless flashings forth, which ever show
 And ever hide him, and which are not he."


119:1 "Non-knowledge in the sense of absolute knowledge. Everything that is absolute appears to us as nothing because all we know we know relatively."

119:2 "To know what it is that you know, and to know what it is that you do not know—that is understanding."—Confucian Analects ii, 17.

"If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know,"—Paul. (I Cor. viii, 2.)

Next: Chapter LXXII