September 24th, 2009

Chapter eleven: The uses of not

Thirty spokes
meet in the hub.
Where the wheel isn't
is where it's useful

Hollowed out,
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot's not
is where it's useful

Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn't
there's room for you.

So the profit of what is
is in the use of what isn't.

Ursula Le Guin, 1998.
goban
  • trevoke

11

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.
-
-
A wheel has spokes,
but it rotates around a hollow center.

A pot is made out of clay or glass,
but you keep things in the space inside.

A house is made of wood or brick,
but you live between the walls.

We work with something,
but we use nothing.
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.