Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's in a quote?

Ok, here's a quote that everyone knows:

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
 
How about this translation instead:
 
 "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

    Although the first quote is the popular form of this quotation by Lao-tzu, the Chinese philosopher who lived around 600 BC, the second one is a more correct translation from the original Chinese. Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lau Tzu regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness. Another potential phrasing would be: “Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”  [Quotation notes from Michael Moncur, 2004]