TNT: Dao

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.


This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering a topic that is confusing. It’s all about the Dao!

What is Dao?: It is everything, it’s all encompassing, and everything is a part of the Dao. It is also the way of learning to understand where one is in the grand scheme of things. I’ve probably already lost you already, but that’s okay, because the Dao is unexplainable. How do you describe the color Blue? It just is Blue.

Okay now really what is the Dao?: Well I actually just gave you a pretty good answer, but if you want the definition from someone else let’s take a look at it from the Encyclopedia Brittanica “The word for this concept, dao, indicates a “way” in the sense of a road or a path. Owing to the contextual nature of Chinese languages and depending upon its use in a sentence, dao can function as a noun or a verb. It may indicate the road upon which one travels, the act of wayfaring or traveling down a road, or even the act of way-making by leading someone down or constructing a road. It may also refer to speech, especially in philosophical or moral education. In the latter sense, dao may refer to a philosophical tradition: a thinker’s disciples maintain his dao, which they subsequently transmit (in both speech and writing) to their own students, and so forth.

You probably need another example, let’s take a look at something a bit more modern and from one of my favorite book series, the Kingkiller Chronicle. In the book The Wise Man’s Fear we learn about the Lethani, which is essentially the Dao with a few things changed to suit Mr. Rothfuss’s purpose. However the biggest change is that the Lethani is for doing things the right way, not necessarily according to law or social standards but to the Adem’s own moral standards. The Dao is very similar, except that what most people call the concept of Evil is also a part of it. Being Evil is not the most peaceful path, or even rewarding, but it is a path through life and a way of understanding the Dao.

Okay Mr. Know-it-all, if you get this what is your understanding of the Dao?:  Well for a more personal example I believe that I follow the Dao of Stories and the Dao of the Wind. Wind is a no brainer for me, when I’m in a windy place I feel at ease and one with the world. It calms me and assures me. I have never been afraid of windstorms for example, in fact I revel in them and love to just stand out in an open area and take it all in. As for the Dao of Stories it’s a bit more complicated. Stories are how I best learn and come to understand things, tell me a good story and I’ll either learn something new or reinforce my understanding of a situation or concept. I’ve touched upon this before, and writing that post actually lead me to starting to understand myself a bit better. When I share or talk about stories it helps me condense and formulate them into solid concrete concepts, to myself at least, that help me gain a better understanding of the world.

Hopefully this all makes a bit more sense and that’s all I have for you this week, but feel free to comment down below, or do some research of your own.

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