Sunday, October 23, 2016

Research unearths the darndest things

It's funny the things you dig up when you're looking for something else. I was doing research for a paper on the Tang Dynasty for my Chinese history class when I found this quote, which not surprisingly resonated with me. It's printed in Chapter 7 of Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield:
"There is no rest for the one of intellect and refinement in his locality, so leave your homeland.
Travel, and you will find a replacement for that which you left, and exhaust yourself for therein is the sweetness of life.
Verily I saw water become putrid in its stagnation, and become sweet when it flows.
And the lions would not be fierce if they didn't leave their grounds, and the arrow would not strike if it didn't leave the bow.
And if the sun stayed in its place in the universe, people would have grown tired of it,
And if the moon did not disappear every now and then, the anticipating eye would never spare it a glance.
And raw gold is as good as the dust that covers it, and the staff covered in dust is mere firewood.
In leaving your destiny will change, and in emigration you will become precious, like gold."

Imam Al-Shafi'i (767-820 CE)
I don't know about calling myself "one of intellect and refinement", but the rest rings pretty true. For all the difficulties I've experienced since leaving Nebraska, aside from a couple costly financial decisions, I'm not sure there's much I would do differently.