Zhuangzi’s crooked tree
Zhuangzi, the Taoist philosopher, lived in
over 2,300 years ago He taught the Tao, or way, an approach to life based on effortlessness and harmony with one’s nature. He was down to earth and had a tongue in cheek sense of humour. He made fun of ritual, dogma, and pretentious moralizing. His epigrams and parables praised those who achieved mastery through constant practice of a skill, following their own inclinations, He scorned complicated explanations and theories.
Zhuangzi’s famous story about the crooked tree appeals to me for many reasons. Being in the forest industry, I know that a crooked tree is not suitable for making standard commodity lumber products, but it can make high quality decorative products which feature its natural beauty and individuality.
People who follow their natures and pursue their own path to language learning will be happier and more successful than learners who try meet goals set for them by others. A true language learner must be like the crooked tree of Zhuangzi, not seeking perfection of form, but prospering by taking advantage of surrounding resources. Think of the crooked tree. Please read this book to learn how to take advantage of the abundant language resources and opportunities for communication that surround you. And most of all just enjoy yourself!
This was in the introduction to my book, The Linguist, A Personal Guide to Language Learning which I wrote a few years ago. I cannot stress enough the importance of being an independent individual in order to achieve success in language learning.
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