Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

For this assignment I have chosen to discuss Lao Tzu philosophy about what a human being in reality is and how he should become in order for the society to function smoothly. He wrote a short book consisting of 81 Chapters that are a great guidelines for humans to follow in order to find the way to become a greater being who is beneficial to humanity and self. The book is called Tao Te Ching. The Tao means “The Way”, Te means “Virtue” and Ching signifies a “Book” in old Chinese. We might elaborate the name of the book in simple English to be “The book of the way and virtue”. Lao considered the human actions to be selfish and full of desires. He believed that a real human is the one who has the ability to overcome desires and learn to live in peace and harmony.

Why we should be good?

According to Tao Te Ching, chapter 37, Lao Tzu argues that if the human beings remove all the desires the world will come into harmony. It points to the fact that the humans have higher desires. These desires overcome humans and compels them to do things like theft and harm that are non-ethical and non-human. Human chose the convenient ways get things that others poses. In chapter 3 talks about how evil desires are originated. These could well serve as guidelines to answer the question of why we should be good. Lao Tzu asks the humans to be generous and not treasure goods that are hard to obtain by the ordinary people. This in my opinion is one of the reasons there is an imbalance in the society. A minority possess the wealth of the world and majority is frustrated by it. If people start sharing and caring there is no doubt that the class differences could be minimized and the majority would have access to the least basic necessities of a human life.

The Basis on which we make moral decisions

According to Lao Tzu, the basis behind human’s moral decisions is ambition, desire and competitiveness. He thought that humans think that they can control everything. Humans try to achieve power by using others lower than them as a form of a foundation and nothing else. This type of moral judgment leads to a life that has low standards of human dignity and tranquility. The rulers in such societies believe they can attain honor by violating the rights of others. They forget that this is no the natural way. They will be toppled as a consequence of the immoral judgement they made about the common people. According to Lao Tzu, the right path that leads to a moral and ethical life is simple and easy for the virtuous and difficult for the lower and selfish people. In chapter 41 it is mentioned that “the higher people hear of the Tao, they diligently practice it. The lower people hear of the Tao, they laugh loudly at it.”

Excellent human being and just society

According to Lao Tzu a perfect human being is the one who has control over his/her nature. They have control over their desires. They do not feel frustrated when they see that others have worldly possessions and they don’t have it. Excellent human being is not power hungry. The hunger for power initiates a chain reaction where there is no limit to the desire to have more power. The teachings of Lao Tzu advise us to control our restlessness for attaining peace and harmony. He said that the feeling of restlessness about desiring good is in itself a negative thing. According to Lao Tzu, nature has an embedded balance mechanism. For the society to function properly, it is important that not and try to control everything in order to bring harmony. A human must know when to stop. In chapter 32 of the Tao Te Ching, it is mentioned that we should stop to control the environment around us. There is a mention of all the streams flowing to the river. The river is not forcing the stream to come to it. When humans stop their efforts to control the world, the natural selection brings harmony and balance.

The teachings of the Tao Te Ching have a universal meaning. They are not restricted to a specific culture or religion. These teachings are for the greater good of humanity. Practicing these teaching can enable us to first know our own self and find the way that leads to a harmonious life and then lead others on that way. It provides us food for thought to confront our own self about the evils that exist inside us and clean them.