Taoism follows a much different idea of the "chain of being," than that of the other major religions (i.e. Hinduism, Judeo-Christian, Islam), which is very important in consideration of the ecological sensibility which stems from it. As opposed to a God-over-man-over-nature view of the world, Taoism states: Human beings follow the Earth.
Earth follows Heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
The Tao follows the way things are. (Tao Te Ching, 25)
This is important, for humans are urged by Taoist thought to place themselves below all else, especially the world, but also other people. The wise person will put another person's needs before their own. Within this frame of mind, selfishness must be eliminated in order for life and nature to be in order.
The passivity that is spoken of in the Tao Te Ching is not to be confused with inactivity or laziness. I equate it more with the idea of potential energy. The concept of potential energy asserts that all matter, although at a state of rest, possesses...