A very long time ago, somewhere around the 4th to 6th centuries BC, someone wrote down some ideas. This became known as the Tao Te Ching, and Lao Tzu is credited with writing it (though I’d expect he’d never take credit for writing it).
There are many, many translations of the Tao Te Ching, but they are all really interpretations. Being that the document is so ancient, and was intentional metaphoric in the first place, a direct translation really isn’t possible.
There’s a lot of good wisdom in this book, and as such a bunch of people have used it (and other texts) for a basis on how to live life. I can’t blame them. It’s a good idea. But it’s clear to me that Lao Tzu (or whoever originally wrote this stuff down) wasn’t trying to tell us how to live life. They were trying to tell us how to develop software.
This site will contain my interpretation and thoughts as attempt to reveal the true meaning of the Tao Te Ching to the world.
- No, I don’t know how to read ancient Chinese.
- No, I’m not a religion major.
- My interpretation will be based off of other interpretations I read, and will be therefore naturally modified from the original text. If you want to learn about the Tao, you’re better off looking literally everywhere else.
- For this project I’m referencing a few translations. The primary one I’m referencing is the S. Mitchell translation.
- Software development is complex and nuanced and has many, many, very specific “gotchas” depending on your situation. If you want to learn about software development, you’re better off just going and doing it.
This is a living document, as my interpretations change and improve I will be updating the posts.
What about the title?
“Tao” is literally “Way” or “The Way”
“Te” translates to concepts like “virtue,” “inner strength,” and “integrity”
“Ching” translates to “great book” or “canon”
Mashed together, you get “The great book of the Way’s virtues” or something similar.
This project of mine certainly is not the great book itself, it’s just my interpretations of it. As such, Tao Te Dev could be taken to mean “The Way’s Virtues (applied to) Development” or perhaps “Development Integrity via The Way.”
Also ‘taotedev’ just rolls of the mental tongue nicely.