|Tao, illustration by author|
"The Tao which Taoism knows, and with which art is concerned, is a seamless web of unbroken movement and change, filled with undulations, waves, patterns of ripples and temporary 'standing waves' like a river. Every observer is himself an integral function of this web. It never stops, turns back on itself, and none of its patterns of which we take conceptual snapshots are real in the sense of being permanent even for the briefest moment of time we can imagine. Like streaming clouds the objects and facts of our world are to the taoist simply shapes and phases which last long enough in one general form for us to consider them as units. In a strong wind clouds change their shapes fast. In the slowest of the winds of Tao the mountains and rocks of the earth change their shapes very slowly - but continuously and certainly. Men simply find it hard to observe the fact."
From Tao: The Chinese Philosophy of Time and Change by Philip Rawson and Laszlo Legeza. © 1973 Thames & Hudson Ltd., London. Reprinted by kind permission of Thames & Hudson.