Raymond M Smullyan was a mathematical logician. Not the first thing you would think of when considering Eastern philosophy. He was also a magician, musician, Taoist and philosopher.
“The Tao is Silent”, first published in 1977, is a rambling, whimsical collection of short essays on Taoism. Each essay can be read on its own, and they range from half a page to a few pages long, so it’s a good book to have lying around for when you have five minutes to spare.
The book is divided into four parts: what is the Tao?, the Tao is good but not moral, the Tao is leisurely, and the Tao is a delightful paradox.
Sometimes there are quotes from zen texts, sometimes there are poems, but mostly it is prose, musing on life. The essay titles include such gems as “Does the Tao exist?”, “Yes, but does the Tao exist?”, “On selfishness”, ” Crazy philosophy and sensible philosophy”, and “Do you see the point?”.
Spoiler alert: if you do think you see the point, then you probably haven’t understood this book.
To see the pointRaymond M Smullyan, The Tao is Silent.
Is to miss it completely!
I would recommend this book to people who want to read for five minutes and then have that thought surface randomly in six weeks time to unexpectedly change their perspective on life.