My Way

You can find Lu-Tze here

You can find Lu-Tze here

The death of Sir Terry has started me thinking about his creations, particularly his characters since DEATH has been getting a mention in so many of the media reports. My two favourite Discworld books (Thief of Time and Night Watch) both feature the character of Lu-Tze and I am very fond of him. I think that this is mainly because of his unique perspective on life.

Lu-Tze is a History Monk (they have the responsibility of ensuring that anything happens at all on the Discworld). Throughout life, he follows his Way. He explains its discovery to his apprentice Lobsang, as follows:

‘Have you seen the visitors we get here?’

‘Yes,’ said Lobsang. ‘Everybody laughs at them.’

‘Really?’ Lu-Tze raised his eyebrows. ‘When they have trekked thousands of miles seeking the truth?’

‘But did not Wen say that if the truth is anywhere, it is everywhere?’ said Lobsang.

‘Well done. I see you’ve learned something at least. But one day it seemed to me that everyone else decided that wisdom can only be found a long way off. So I went to Ankh-Morpork, They were all coming here, so it seemed only fair.’

‘Seeking enlightenment?’

‘No. The wise man does not seek enlightenment, he waits for it. So while I was waiting it occurred to me that seeking perplexity might be more fun,’ said Lu-Tze. ‘After all, enlightenment begins where perplexity ends…

… ‘But why Ankh-Morpork?’ said Lobsang.

‘Look in the back of the book.’ said Lu-Tze.

There was a yellow, crackling scrap of paper tucked in there. The boy unfolded it.

‘Oh, this is just a bit of the Almanack,’ he said. ‘It’s very popular there… It’s just an advert for the Ankh-Morpork Guild of Merchants… “Ankh-Morpork Has Everything!” He stared at the smiling Lu-Tze. ‘And… you thought that —’

‘Ah, I am old and simple and understand. Whereas you are young and complicated. Didn’t Wen see portents in the swirl of gruel in his bowl, and in the flight of birds? This was actually written. I mean, flights of birds are quite complex, but these were words. And, after a lifetime of searching, I saw at last the opening of the Way. My Way.

(Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett 2001)

And as a result Lu-Tze found Mrs Cosmopilite, a dressmaker (not a seamstress). He carefully records her wisdom: gems such as ‘How do you know you don’t like it you haven’t tasted it?’, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’,  and ‘It does you good to get out in the fresh air’, along with the over-arching explanation ‘Because’. And these form the basis for his Way in life.

I think I could follow a Way based on the wisdom a dressmaker with some common sense… what about you?

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. I certainly could too, especially if is was based in these three statements — experiment and take risks, be respectful of all others and appreciate the environment. Pretty good things to live by!

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  2. Yes. I think everyone has their own way, they need courage though to walk it. ❤

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  3. Yes, a dressmaker with common sense could well be my guide but I might also wonder what the seamstress had to offer……….
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Reply
  4. Night Watch is my absolute favourite. And recently Snuff, a valuable lesson on not judging people by their appearance.

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  5. I have to admit, whenever anyone asks me who my favourite Discworld character is, I have to say ‘all of them’. As I read each book (and I started doing so in 1983), the characters come so alive for me that they are my favourites of that moment – something I’m sure Lu-Tze would understand immediately 🙂

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  6. I had that dressmaker as a grandmother. I have had some of my most profound moments reading Diskworld books. Mr Pratchett wasn’t just a storyteller, he was someone who had the peculiarly precious talent of being able to give a running social commentary with humour. It’s so VERY rare to have someone like that deliver a piece of literary work that when someone comes along and dumps a whole world of them into your lap you feel like you have won every countries lottery all at once and I have been known to caress my Diskworld books in their little bookshelf as I walk past them. Every single one of them has touched my heart and soul in some way.

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  7. I just worked out what to make you for your “square” for your quilt. I had been having a VERY hard time but now I just “know” :).

    Reply
  8. I haven’t read it but it sound like my cup of tea. Will have to look for it.

    Reply
  9. Friends here in Melbourne organised a weekend of drinks, shared food and story swapping about what Terry Pratchett has meant to us. He has informed so much of how we docode and cope with the world.

    Reply

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