道可道非常道 – The Tao that can be explained is not the everlasting Tao

The first line of the Yi Jing is so simple in terms of language that almost all students of Chinese will know the meaning of the words, and yet last year when asked to explain what it meant I was completely unable to do so.

After a few months of thinking I have reached the conclusion that it means something along the lines of: ‘You can’t put true understanding into words.’  However there is a contradiction here, as I am attempting to use words to explain the concept, and possibly what Lao Zi really meant was that as I continue to ponder this idea I may reach a different conclusion.

This morning I was watching a lecture by David Eagleman about uncertainty on the School of Life website (http://www.theschooloflife.com/), he starts off by describing the discovery by The Hubble Telescope that staring deeply into one pin prick of dark sky revealed dozens of galaxies, each with billions of stars, and to scan the whole sky to this resolution would take a million years.

What does this have to do with New Mobility?

Well to begin with don’t expect me to be able to use words to explain it, so the first lesson I guess is that we all need to think carefully for ourselves.

However my own personal understanding is that while there are many really excellent academics, practitioners and activists, each with fantastic solutions to our urban and transport planning challenges, they tend to believe that if only they could convince everyone that they were right, we could solve all of the world’s problems. This of course is a fantasy, as we are actually attempting to plan for human behaviour, which itself is constantly changing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s