The way that can be spoken is not the essential Way;
the name that can be chosen is not an essential name.

The nameless is the origin of ten thousand programs;
names are the source of the ten thousand programs.

To understand the subtleties, be truly objective;
to outline the requirements, be truly subjective.

These two come forth together, but are named differently.
Together they are called Design:
blackest of the black arts,
gateway to many mysteries.

Finally, I’m rolling!

This is the introductory chapter of _The Way of the Consultant_. As in the original _Dao De Jing_, it starts framing the most essential concepts of the philosophy, while leaving more detailed explanation for later. The opening lines are among the most famous of the entire book, and have been rendered faithfully (that little programmers’ pun notwithstanding…).

chapter notes:

In addition to introducing some of the more important terms of mistranslation here, I have introduced “Design” de novo; the original lines are something like: “Together they are called obscure: the most obscure of the obscure”.