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Taoism and the Tao Essay


Taoism is an ancient philosophy which describes Chinese relation to the universe, to people, to nature and to the whole life in general. Those who understand the main idea of Taoism can easily consider the place of objectivity and subjectivity within the philosophy. According to the main principles of Taoism, Tao is central notion for the philosophy which is often related to as “the Way”.

Tao is something that has no shape, no form, no name, no subject and no object. It is everything and at the same way it is nothing. It may be considered as a paradox, but Tao is a “formless form” and an “imageless image (Tzu 14). Only those who manage to understand this can fuse the universe and remain ever-living, like water which is “ever flowing, ever changing” (Tzu par 2).

The main idea of the essay is to define the Taoism relation to objectivity and subjectivity, to apply the philosophy to how individuals should live, to relate it to nature. The problem of the difference in Taoism and western view of the world will be also considered via the parable “three in the morning”.

Objectivity and Subjectivity

The main idea of objectivity is to be unlimited by any restrictions and objects. In other words, to become objective is to become free from restrictions and objects, to be free from everything. And to be free is the main concept for Taoism.

People got used to be subjective. It is a human nature to treat everything on the basis of the personal considerations. The main idea of Taoism is to avoid subjecting treatment of different things and events. Those who want to live according to the rules and principles of Taoism should remain action-less. Only having reached the harmony with the self and the universe one may become absolutely objective and free.

Tzu states that “the Tao appears empty, but its fullness cannot be exhausted; like a bottomless bowl, it is the grandfather of everything that is. The Tao blunts all sharpness, loosens all knots” (4). Only people who can frustrate from world subjects can understand the main idea of this expression, and only human mind free from subjectivity can see something which abstract and at the same time so material.

This is the idea, the Tao is invisible but people look at it, knowing that the Tao is speechless, people listen for it, being ware of the fact that the Tao is intangible, people still grope for it (Tzu 14) and this is the main idea of Taoism and its objectivity. Everything in the world is objective and the sooner a person will be able to reach it, the faster he/she will appear in the unity with Tao.

Individual Life and Relation to Nature

Taoism philosophy states that “all things depend on the Tao for their life, and it refuses them not” (Tzu 34). This is one of the main explanations of the philosophy to human individual life. Thus, the main philosophy of Taoism is to become free and objective, but, if one depends on the Tao, he/she will never become free.

This is the reason why refuses this dependence. The Tao has created everything, but at the same time, the Tao does not possess what it has created and does not control what it has risen. His is one of the main virtues of Taoism. If people want to reach the same condition as Tao, if they want to unite with it after the death, people should try to become free. According to Taoism people are immortal, like the universe.

People are microcosms and when they die, they unite with macrocosm, the universe. Universe in its tern is endless and that does not have time frames. The Tao existed before the Earth and the Haven and when it comes through its endless circle it returns to the source starting its unnamed and invisible existence form the very beginning.

“Three in the Morning”

Considering the difference between Taoism and western view of the world it is possible to state that these two religions are similar, but people do not understand this similarity due to the difference in vision and perception. This is like the parable “Three in the morning” where monkeys were dissatisfied with the fact that they were offered three nuts in the morning and four in the evening.

The offer of four nuts in the morning and three nuts in the evening was exactly what they wanted. But, the general number does not change. The same is with the western vision. Trying to change the main idea of the world, the universe and searching for other God, they just change the succession, the cover, but the general idea remains the same.

Thus, it may be concluded that Taoism and the Tao is the philosophy which tries to prepare a human being to unite with the universe. People should be free to be ready for this. People do not stop living after the death, and just unite with the universe and the Tao which is the same.

Works Cited

Tzu, Lao. The Way of the Universe.

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"Taoism and the Tao." IvyPanda, 25 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/taoism-and-the-tao/.

1. IvyPanda. "Taoism and the Tao." December 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/taoism-and-the-tao/.


IvyPanda. "Taoism and the Tao." December 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/taoism-and-the-tao/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Taoism and the Tao." December 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/taoism-and-the-tao/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Taoism and the Tao'. 25 December.

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