Non-Action of Laozi

Topics: Human, Meaning of life, Complexity Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: November 18, 2007
The predominant theme in Laozi seems to be the theory or idea of implementing nonaction into our lives. Simply put, it means to "do" but with ease and without effort. This is evidenced throughout the book but more specifically in chapter 63 where it states "Act, but through nonaction." Perhaps a better example would be in chapter 37 "The Way does nothing, yet nothing is left undone." Obviously for something to not be "left undone" some sort of action needs to occur but the idea is that it is done with such ease that it appears that there is no action taking place. But more importantly, to me, is the idea that nonaction also means not to overdo or do in haste. Laozi expresses how doing in haste or overdoing something always leads ultimately to some destruction. In chapter 64 it reads "People often ruin things just when they are on the verge of success." I believe that this is true in most cases because very often people tend to see the end result of their actions (success) and become so anxious to reach that point that they finish hastily which makes them overlook details that ruin the task and negate all the effort enforced. I feel that the key element of this theory is desire in that it leads to action or "over action" which then leads to evil or destruction. Having desires is a selfish that is usually about possessions, power, greed, and even knowledge. The desires for these things motivate people to receive more knowledge on how to act upon obtaining them possibly leaving chaos during the process or as the end result. Perhaps Laozi said it better when he mentioned "The chase and the hunt (for the desires) madden our hearts" (chapter 12). An example of this would be the deep desire of early settlers in America to gain profit through production. This desire for profit could only be gotten through increased production therefore they enslaved an innumerable amount of African people – thus destroying their lives. This is somewhat described in chapter 77 as "The way...
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