Home > Commentaries on TTC > 74 – The numerological value of both Jesus and Lucifer in English. Ooohhh!

74 – The numerological value of both Jesus and Lucifer in English. Ooohhh!

Come, friendly bombs

If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only cut your hand. Lao was such a slacker! How is this slogan any different from the t-shirts that read, If you don’t try, you can’t fail? It’s a bloody marvellous quotation, in my humble opinion.

Many people regard this chapter of the TTC as a chapter that deals with dying and death. If people aren’t afraid of dying, says Lao, what’s the point of threatening them with death? If, on the other hand, people never think about anything else than the terror of death, then you can threaten them with death if they break the law. But if you do that, the chances are that you will end up hurting yourself.

But tao is about more than any one thing, we are told. So, it must be more than just about death and dying. In our context, perhaps it refers to how to manage a classroom. How frightened are students of failing English? In my experience, they are remarkably ambivalent to the idea so I can’t use it to force them to do their homework. But even if they were frightened, would I really gain an awful lot by banging on incesantly about the prospects for failure? Of course I wouldn’t. I’d have to ensure that they were constantly reminded of their potential to fail. And, needless to say, this is only likely to ensure that many of them will actually fail. Take your worst fear, Lao appears to be saying, and entirely disregard it. If you’re not really frightened of it, it can’t hurt you. And if you let your life be dictated by your fear, then it will ruin your life anyway. Language learning should be a carefree frivolity. There. I’ve said it. What we do is not important. What we do is remarkably straightforward. MAs, PhDs, BAs, Certs and Dips – are they needed? Surely language learning and language teaching are among the most unacademic endeavours that are known to humanity? Your thoughts are welcome.

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