Books That Inspire 2001


This is a book of remarkable poetry and depth of thought. Ironically, its central theme is to ridicule the self-aggrandizing importance that we place on both language and thought. I wrap myself in words and thought perhaps more than most other people – it’s a professional hazard. Because of the power that words can have, especially in the deft fingers of philosophers, it’s easy for me to think too highly of myself, my profession, and ultimately my species. It’s too easy to for-get that as humans we are often like “the praying mantis waving its arms angrily at the approaching cart,” unable to appreciate our actual powerlessness against the vast flow of the universe. The book of Chuang-Tzu plucks me out of my pretensions and slaps me silly each time I read it.
Manyul Im
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and International Programs