Lao-tzu proclaims a Principle

First sign of Lao-tzu as a philosopher came as a surprise in his proclamation of a principle in his teachings. It was totally unexpected. In Chapter 70, he claims: “All teachings have their principles and all efforts have their guiding rules.”[1] After more than 10 years, we finally come to a grip of this principle in the text of the Tao Te Ching. As we finally have discovered, Lao-tzu observed on Nature with a philosopher’s mind.

In our final stage of formulation, we begin by assuming that the Tao Te Ching is a genuine philosophical text and Lao-tzu has a principle that transcends time and space. We also avoid finding justifications for the current views about Tao. For example, we do not associate the intended meanings of the Tao Te Ching with the turmoil of the Warring States (403 – 221 bce).[2] We do not take the words of Lao-tzu as anti-Confucian rhetoric.

[1]     Chapter 70: 言有宗,事有君。

[2]     It is very common that the “paradoxical” thoughts of Lao-tzu are taken to be the results of the turmoil in the Lao-tzu’s era. On the contrary, we seldom attribute the thoughts of the Presocratics or Socrates to the wars and turmoil of their era.

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