Am I simply appreciating the steps on my journey – or counting and analyzing them? Well this week it’s time for me to be a Dowist and take some counts to see what you’ve appreciated over the past year.

With so many ways to count things – total impressions, engagement, likes, retweets, shares and the rest, I could easily develop a case of paralysis by analysis [an occupational hazard from all those years in media]. But I won’t, because I’ve got better things to do. As I expected, a few of my favourites weren’t yours. And a few of your favourites surprised me.  Aside from a clear choice of number one, popularity tended to occur in bunches, with lots of ties or rankings separated by one or two readers out of thousands. Not bad, considering that there are over 300 images on the website with about half appearing in social media.

So…here goes –

Number one, with no other image even coming close, was a quote from a Qing Dynasty commentary on the Tao, showing that fake news isn’t a new phenomenon. The same commentary gave us a second member in the top ten, showing that Goebbels’ Big Lie is not only common currency today but thrived thousands of years ago. At least the ancient Chinese didn’t have to deal with today’s media environment.

Numbers two, three and four also reflect today’s political life, not only ranking high in total readership but also in retweets and engagement [clicks, comments and similar involvement beyond just looking].

In the middle of the pack, at five, six and seven, we find postings that reflect what many people think of the Tao – thoughts reflecting spirituality and behavior. While these are definitely part of the Tao, they’re only one part of it. The Tao’s 81 chapters are much, much more than a collection of life-affirming aphorisms. They’re an ironic, sarcastic series of metaphors that only fools took literally. Because of the times and political context of the Tao’s origin, much of its meaning was forced to live between its lines. Through the years [as with many other things] quite a few of these verses have lost their context. Think, for a minute, of the saccharine “journey of a 1,000 miles/steps” posters that pollute the web and New Age stores. Would they have the same impact if people realized that it was really a veiled warning to get your butt out of town because the emperor’s men were coming for you? Need a more current example?  How many people going to a production of Wicked know that the wizard in the 2003 premiere was intentionally modelled on Dick Cheney? Sort of puts a different spin on it, don’t you think?

Anyway, enough commentary. Here are the rest of the 2017’s top ten. Hope you enjoy them. And, if you’d like to see more, you can go to the website or to the Tao-not-Dow on FB for weekly posts or on Twitter for daily ones.

Happy whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year.