Taoism and Western Moral Philosophy Essay

3937 Words16 Pages
Taoism presents a moral philosophy that at first seems very different from most western moral philosophies which, though very different, usually understand morality as a set of restraints on behavior or a common set of principles (common virtues). Western moral philosophy, in general, emphasizes constraining behavior that stems from desire. Taosim's emphasis is dealing directly with controlling ones desire by eliminating them. Taoism and western moral philosophy deal with desire but Taoism deals with it directly and western morality often only tries to stem the effect of desire. Both systems see in man that he does not naturally desire the good and true or the Way. Desire is the root of evil. Only when we desire something bad do we act…show more content…
Just as "Thirty spokes will converge in the hub of wheel; but the use of the cart will depend on the part of the hub that is void" (pg.63), so can we never isolate the Way. It is functional like the part of the hub that is void, yet though it can't be isolated, you can't live without it. We can try to give names to the Way or Tao but we can never know the Tao's secrets; it just is. Taoism is self evident and personal, i.e. the Tao is different for everyone and is a "Way of life" that requires a deep psychological inspection of the self. Rather than to try to justify or explain the grounding for Taoism, it would be far better to look at how living the Taoistic life can affect an individual's life, or rather how it has affected my life, even though I never tried to follow a Taoistic philosophy, in particular the Wei Wu Wei. We are asked what the passage, "Those who would take over Nature and shape it to their will, never succeed. . ." means and what are its implications for my behavior are. Essentially, the meaning of the above passage is that you can't move a mountain and you shouldn't try or desire to. There are many immutable things in nature that we as humans can't hope to change, so instead of trying to control nature, just give up the desire to, then you will be free and will be, without trying, following the Wei Wu Wei--action without acting. To follow the Wei Wu is to accomplish the same thing as
Open Document