From: Curtis Johnson
To: Ken Teel
Date: Jan 12 1998 3:01:05 am
Subject: doubting gods
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-=> Quoting Ken Teel to Curtis Johnson <=-

JS> Are you sure???  (Perhapts we are all butterflys dreaming)
JS> Something from the late 60's early 70's...

KT> It's actually an ancient Chinese (Taoist to be precise) saying.

KT> Much older than that.

CJ>  There's actually a name (sorry, can't remember) of the
CJ>  man who dreamt that he was a butterfly, then when he woke,
CJ> asked  how he could be sure that he wasn't a butterfly
CJ> dreaming that he  was a man.
CJ>  Actually, there do seem to be tests to distinguish between
CJ>  the two states.  I rather doubt that one can solve a
CJ> moderately  complicated mathematical problem in a dream, for
CJ> instance.

KT> It's an ancient Chinese saying.

KT> If memory serves (sometimes it doesn't), this is attributed to Lao
KT> Tzu:  the alleged author of the Tao Te Ching (perhaps 3000 years ago).
KT> There is some debate as to whether Lao Tzu actually existed.  There
KT> are several good translations of the Tao with historical notes that
KT> suggest that "Lao Tzu" was a fictitious character and that the Tao is
KT> simply a collection of ancient Chinese wisdom.  The name Lao Tzu
KT> (according to the texts I have read) means "The Old Master" and cannot
KT> be linked to a specific person.

IIRC, it *wasn't* Lao-tse.  Definitely Taoist, though.
You're correct about there being some question as to whether
he existed--but then that really isn't important to Taoism.

CJ>     Of course, this butterfly/man/dream is not at all the
CJ>  response to Fred Rice's "The existence of life is evidence
CJ> that  life exists"--in either case, there is a dreamer doing
CJ> the dreaming.

KT> Is there actually a dreamer?  <g>

KT> Where is the evidence?  <ducking>

That you ducked?

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