Wei Wu Wei
July 1, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Terence Gray was an English born aristocrat of an Irish family. He tried his hand at Egyptology, drama and theater, but gave it up to keep the family vineyards in the Monaco. He owned the winner of the 1957 Ascot Gold cup. He also became a mystic.

Writing as Wei Wu Wei, he produced 8 little books between 1958 and 1974. They are articulate, witty, and above all informed by a vast knowledge of Zen, Taoist and Hindu intellectual tradition. Beholden to none, he makes increasing sense in a modern context. Many of his insights are very close to some current views within cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. But cognitive science has flirted with Buddhism before.
posted by fcummins (9 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

Years ago, I had a vanity plate for my car. Because "WU WEI" was taken, I had them do "WU WEI 1".

For years, I used this plate and had the very occasional comment or smile from someone who recognized the words.

Then one day, some redneck asked me "Hey, whatcha win??"

I was confused. "What??"

"Yer car! It says 'Woowee, I won!'"

I dropped the plate the next year.
posted by Narual at 1:33 PM on July 1, 2008

Hey, some of this stuff is good! Thanks.
posted by RussHy at 1:33 PM on July 1, 2008

Wow. This is fascinating stuff. I've often seen interesting quotes attributed to Wei Wu Wei, but I never knew the story behind the guy. Thanks fcummins.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:48 PM on July 1, 2008

Thanks for the links -- I read some of his books years ago, and this is a good reminder to go back to them for another look. Douglas Harding is another interesting, Western, perspective on some aspects of Zen.
posted by findango at 2:18 PM on July 1, 2008

His books are like short, pithy kicks to the head... Ask the Awakened is a good start. This is not westernized, pop-zen. Everything you know is wrong. Even that...
posted by njohnson23 at 2:19 PM on July 1, 2008

See J. Krishnamurti for a more lucid rendering.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on July 1, 2008

That Douglas Harding link looks great. Thanks.
posted by fcummins at 2:42 PM on July 1, 2008

Also similar: Nisargadatta Maharaj
posted by goethean at 3:15 PM on July 1, 2008

Harding also has a website.
posted by sneebler at 6:13 AM on July 2, 2008

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