The Tao of Pooh Book Review

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Philosophy is a complicated subject. Since the beginning of human existence, many tried to come up with theories about life, happiness, reality and knowledge. From philosophical ideas different beliefs sprung, and existence of different religions followed. Every theory raised by a philosopher attracted different followers. In today's modern society aside from major religions, there are thousands of others that suggest that their explanations to universal questions are the only accurate ones, and all of these religions seek to gain more followers to join their "way". One of these religions is the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Taoism has it roots in China, where the founder of Taoism Lao-Tse was searching for a way that would avoid the constant feudal warfare and other conflicts that disrupted his society during his lifetime. The result was his book: Tao-te-Ching. Lao-Tse described Taoism as a path or a way which one must follow in order to reach inner serenity and peace. In order to reach these inner goals one must live in harmony with nature and natural process that creates the balance in the universe.

The novel, written by Benjamin Hoff embodies the spiritual beliefs of Taoism, through the famous cartoon character of Winnie-the-Pooh. In this novel, Hoff shows that the character of Pooh is amazingly consistent with the principles of Taoism. He brings about explanations of Taoism through Pooh and explanations of Pooh's behaviour through Taoism, which eventually shows that Taoism is not simply an old religion or ancient philosophy, but a practice that can be used by every individual here and now in

their every day lives. In this novel each major principle of Taoism is followed by an explanation made though a humorous story staring Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends.



The first main principle of Taoism that is presented in this novel is the idea that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily contaminated and lost when that simplicity is altered. This principle is also known as the Uncarved Block. Winnie-the-Pooh is very significannot in this principle of the Uncarved Block, because he illustrates the perfect example of an individual that follows this principle. Pooh always exists in his "natural state", he is always still, calm, reserved and happy under any situation or condition. His simplicity makes him a perfect candidate to follow the principle of the Uncarved Block, therefore he is the true hero of this story. The second principle of Taoism that is presented in this novel is the belief that "The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise". This principle can be simply explained by the fact that although intellect may be useful for rationalizing and analyzing certain things, deeper spiritual matters are beyond intellect's grasp. Every day people try to use knowledge and come up with ideas that interrupt with the natural order of things. They fail to recognize the fact that everything has its own place and function. Everyone have their limitations that they need to accept and be aware of, which if ignored will only cause them to fail. Pooh illustrates this principle, by the fact that he never tries hard to be something that he is not. He recognizes the fact that he can't fly or live under water, therefore instead of trying to ignore his natural abilities and recognize his weaknesses he enjoys his every day life as a bear in the forest, eating honey exactly how nature intended him to be. The third principle of Taoism described in this novel is the principle of Wu-Wei, in other words


Taoism in action. This principle states that actions should evolve from inner sensitivity and be a part of the natural rhythm of things. In order to practice Wu-Wei one must learn to work with his inner nature and the surrounding natural laws operating around him or her. Pooh practices Wu-Wei through the fact...
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