Taoism enlightenment: Absolute Happiness.

Hi Hieu and welcome. I see your points in your first post, I believe in relativism myself though I can’t use the saying “good is bad. Bad is good”. That saying sounds more incorrect to me than correct. You got to think when we talk about bad or good in different cases there will always be a reflection of those words. Specially in the world outside which is not exactly following the concept of ‘Relativism’.

Taoism preaches that goverment shouldn’t interfer with the economics, that it should regulate itself, but that usually ends up in cartels and now world economical crisis. A goverment should always do minior regulation to an economy.

And sillier still is to make comment without the slightest understanding of what has been said. What taoist11 is attempting is to show a cosmology, a way of thinking that is quite different than typical western thought. Your dismissal and off-the-mark comments are a perfect example of the ignorance of any perspectives beyond western philosophy.


While you have made a valiant effort, I would point out that your attempt to share wisdom must of necessity bring ignorance as well, no? The internet makes it possible for Taoists to discuss among Taoists, but is a poor venue to introduce the philosophy to the uninitiated western head. That which is Tao is of wordless teaching and is but a whisper in a place that is nothing but words.

From what I’v read and what you have presented, it’s like medival nonsens, filled with superstition and illogical babble and unreasonable views.

Taoism is a very old form, and if it was so superior to anything, why isn’t it dominating world? Maybe because it doesn’t work?


(My first time with the eyeroll thing. Wanted to find just the right place.)

So any thought system that doesn’t advocate a mixed economy is a recipe for “terrible dictatorial regimes, torture and mass murder”? I think that case is yet to be made.

There are all sorts of good ideas that aren’t dominating the world, and all sorts of reasons why they’re not doing so.

Please let’s all ensure we keep the discussion civil.

That is out of context, please don’t instigate anything by deraling things.

What I said about dictatorial regimes is that by the claim of evil is good, it’s a pretext for inhuman behaviour.

As for economy I just answer that ealier.

That’s the context you gave it in:

And the Taoist can claim that good can come from inhuman behaviour, just as evil can be done with the best of intentions. You’re criticising them as being wrong on your terms, which begs the question as to whether your terms are any better.

It did dominate the world for a long time. When Wu Di fused Daoism/Confucianism/Legalism, he produced a stunningly progressive state for his time (the Iron and Salt debate helps demonstrate this). But for circa 100 BCE, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better government model out there. So that had a good 700 year run before the Tang came to power and the civil service examinations became the standard means of recruitment. 618 CE! Again, I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a more model and effective government at the time.

The problem is that the progressive march of history makes a government that was stunningly progressive in 618 CE incredibly primitive and regressive come the 19th Century. Despite that, China still had the world’s largest GDP until the Brits made the world safe for drug dealers everywhere and the Imperialists had their way with China. So even the horribly moribund system that had experienced relatively few changes since 618 was fine under steady-state conditions, it just couldn’t deal with change terribly effectively.

Kinda reminds me of the US government right now. The US Constitution presents a stunningly progressive vision circa 1787. But in 2008 its age is beginning to show and we would do well with some serious tinkering if not a complete overhaul.

It is terribly important for us to question our heroes and be willing to move on when necessary. I think the civil service examination is more progressive than what Confucius intended, but it is a good realization of his vision, limited by his time though it was. Far more dangerous is to think that Confucius, Zhuangzi, or Buddha, or Jesus, or Jefferson, or whomever, had a perfect vision that was somehow corrupted. Guess what: they didn’t. Their visions contained at least as many flaws (but my personal guess is that they probably contained more) as the system that came to represent them. That’s OK, they are people. Mistakes happen. Let’s not idolize them in a way unbecoming their status.

Another rather critical element is to consider both “which” and “whose” Daoism as well as the context that the ideology occurred in. While it is possible to argue that a Daoist government is non-interventionist I’d argue that such an analysis is rather shallow. An obvious example would be Zhuangzi’s sword parable. I mean, heck, the freakin’ Legalists are a type of Daist and those guys are as interventionist as it gets! Likewise, Wang Bi argued the importance of a powerful government. Lasseiz-faire this ain’t.

Could you please link, there isn’t any such specific thing on google.

Besides, yes it worked on a minor scale, where big world wide cooperations couldn’t form cartels, where money mongers simply didn’t have the critical amount of money in order to tyrranize the market.
Where people had reasonable selfrespect and stardards in trade.

I belive OP described Taoism for a modern world, whch imo Taoism is unsuited for, but yes, Taoism was indeed good for it’s time.

Zhuangzi, Chapter 30 That’s the Legge translation which is very old so the Romanization might seem a little strange to you but otherwise it is pretty solid.

But I still think you are aligning Daoism with the Free Market and while such an interpretation is possible it has never been the dominant (or even terribly significant) interpretation of Daoism. Also, I’d hardly call Imperial China “small” or devoid of cartels that could (and did) exert a great deal of control. One thing to keep in mind is that within traditional Chinese thought merchants are thought of very poorly because they don’t actually produce anything. A necessary evil but that is the extent of it. I think we could stand to have more of that sort of thought in our modern life.

Thanks for link.

Could you please elaborate on your anti-merchant view?

The basic jist (which I more-or-less agree with) is that merchants are necessarily parasites. Farmers and artisans create a product. All merchants do is fascilitate getting the product from the people creating it to the people consuming it. An important step, granted, but no where near as important as the actual generation of the product. I got into a short discussion with Faust about my views in this thread.


Uhmmm, as I see it, you object against merchants because of a great national debt, how is it the mechants fault, when it’s due to incompetent goverment?
Havn’t you just defeated your own arguments for Taoism?

My objection to merchants is that they are parasites. They don’t produce or even properly consume products but rather facilitate consumption. The increase in efficiency they bring is a necessary evil but I don’t think they should be valued in the way they are in modern society. Basically, the value we place on merchants is out-of-whack with the service they provide.

You need to use more specific examples in order to sway me, instead of generalisation and vague arguments.
Please specify.

Take beer, for example.

We have the producer, the brewer and the consumer, the beer drinker. Right now “nanobreweries” are a fad in craft beer where a one-or-two man operation makes and sells the beer directly to consumers. That, right there, is what all breweries boil down to: the producer and the consumer. The next step up, you’ve got brewpubs where there is a server in between the brewer and the ultimate consumer. This frees up a lot more time for the brewer so they can further specialize (which is important) but the server themselves exists only as a function of the brewer and the consumer. Beyond that, you have larger breweries that sell their beer to distributors who sell them to realtors adding another level.

Brewer → Beer drinker

Brewer → Server → Beer drinker

Brewer → Distributor → Server → Beer drinker

It keeps ballooning from there, with other specialties. While offering many advantages, everything inbetween “brewer” and “beer drinker” is essentially parasitic.

But the wages earned don’t always reflect that. For example, the average wage for a Brewmaster in the US is $41,600/year while the average wage for a regional sales manager is $45,000/year. The parasite earns more than the producer! I think that sort of arrangement is just plain strange.

It gets even stranger when things like financing and stock get involved. . .

It’s a system based on practicallity, and I would love to see a better system for that excat system.

I think you’ve missed my point. I haven’t argued against the system itself, just how the members within the system are valued.

Even so it’s irrelevant which value they are given, it’s a system which works, nor do I see how your explenation and critique was relevant to previous post of yours.