“those who talk do not know, those who know do not talk”


“Those who talk do not know and those who know do not talk” is found in the Tao te Ching which although there is some disagreement, was probably written by Lao Tzu.

This basically means that once you start talking about something, you are in the state of “knowing” and when you are “knowing” something, you are no longer ‘learning’ about it. This is significant because the TRUTH cannot be apprehended or KNOWN by our limited minds, it can only be EXPERIENCED.

Lao Tse wasn’t talking about ‘knowing’ for instance, how to scramble eggs. He wasn’t saying that “those who talk about scrambling eggs, don’t know about scrambling eggs,” that wasn’t his concern. He was talking about TRUTH, which is eternal and constant. Truth or God is beyond our limited mind to fully comprehend. So there is only the state of experiencing truth or not. There is no way to say “I know everything about truth now.” (Also, sometimes talking about a limited aspect of truth can skew someone’s thinking and be just as misleading as a falsehood.)

This leads to the difference between KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE, which will be the subject of another post. However, it is worthwhile to mention the difference between faith and belief. FAITH is a living state, whereas BELIEF is a form of knowlege or knowing. Faith is the state of being open to the TRUTH, whatever it is and belief is saying “I know the truth is this,” (insert whatever your beliefe is). When you say “I BELIEVE,” you’re basically saying “I KNOW” only usually it’s about things you cannot prove. But in both the I believe and the I know cases, the significant thing is you have stopped learning because you’ve rested on some knowledge. In both cases you are no longer open to the TRUTH and are thus no longer learning about it. Faith is a process of learning. People also use the word faith when they could say confidence as in “I have faith in God” you’re basically saying “I have confidence in God,” like “I believe God will protect me” or feed and clothe me or whatever. These are legitamite thoughts, but for FAITH to have it’s own meaning we must eliminate all that can be also described by other words and then we will have what faith is. So when someone has faith, this means they maintain an openness to TRUTH or God or whatever you wish to call your higher power.

There is another layer to Lao Tse’s comment, which is that people who go around offering their knowledge are usually the ones that aren’t experts. You will usually hear an expert in the context of an interview or some type of lecture or something, but when someone really offers you some information in an unsolicited way, they often are not expert in that subject and may not be worth listening to. Why is this? Probably because experts don’t feel the need to prove their knowledge. They may even remain silent when something is being discussed around them until they are asked directly. So when someone is spouting off about something or readily goes on and on about something, you can bet he really doesn’t know it too well.

Further, when it comes to Truth, those who really know remain silent until they notice someone ready to hear about it, which doesn’t happen very often and even then, the best they can do is hint around until the student asks for the Truth because otherwise, telling them is a waste of time.

Back to Truth. Real knowledge of Truth is an experience. It’s in your heart too. It changes you. You don’t merely know it like you know your phone number. You can only experience Truth. You can only be a valve for letting Truth flow. You can say the Truth as you learn it, but you must be learning it and remember that your mind cannot be learning it and knowing it at the same time. So you are either turning towards God and listening, or you are turning away and knowing. You are either learning or knowing. You can never know it all about Truth or God.

Lastly, people who offer unsolicited advice or opinions about life, “happiness” or spiritual development are usually either feeling good or bad, and when you are actually going with the way or God or Tao, you don’t tend to have much to say. You just ARE.

So for all of the above reasons, Lao Tse said “those who talk do not know and those who know do not talk” to make you stop and think about all this. I believe its called an iconoclastic writing style. This makes you stop and wonder, which opens your mind.

About J.A.P.

intending to live a life free of regret, learn the Truth/truth and align with it. focused on spiritual development and having fun. maybe something i have to say here will help you on your path of growth and living in peace and joy.
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