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Single Idea 6331

[catalogued under 19. Language / F. Communication / 1. Rhetoric]

Full Idea

Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful.

Gist of Idea

Truth is not beautiful; beautiful speech is not truthful


Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching [c.350 BCE], II.LXXXI.194)

Book Reference

Lao Tzu: 'Tao Te Ching', ed/tr. Lau,D.C. [Penguin 1963], p.143

A Reaction

A sharp disagreement with Keats ('Ode to a Grecian Urn'). A deep and important question, especially in relation to Plato's discussion of rhetoric (where he is very ambivalent). Great mathematics is beautiful. Truth can harsh. On the whole, I disagree.