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Back in the sixth century BC there was a mythical figure by the name of Lao-tzu. Lao-tzu was what the Chinese would like to call a sage as he was a person of profound wisdom. The wisdom of Lao-tzu was so philosophical that the Chinese actually gave it a name and that name was called Taoism. However, during this time there was another great sage known as Confucius, whose advice came as somewhat of a contrast to that of Lao-tzu’s.
Although Confucianism and Taoism have much in common, such as the fact that both encourage wisdom, focus on minimalist concepts and advise positive ways of life, and are a process of change over time, the views contrast in a lot of ways as well. Taoism was usually regarded as less explicit and more mystical, while Confucianism emphasized the social and moral order of things, with the elimination of an interest in natural phenomena. By contrast to this, Taoism treated the natural and social orders as if they were continuous. As was stated by Joseph Needham, a great scholar, “Confucianism was masculine and managing: the Taoists condemned it and sought after a feminine and receptive knowledge which could arise only as the fruit of a passive and yielding attitude in the observations of Nature.” This leads us to what is known as Tao. Tao can be translated into “the way”, which refers to the ways in which the Universe works. Taoism emphasizes the virtue of a passive observation of nature and the Taoist view is compared by many scholars to that of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus due to his infamous quote, “You cannot step into the same river twice, for other waters and yet others go ever flowing on.”
Many have come across the “I Ching”, or “Book of Changes”, which has many similarities to the ideas and views of both Confucianism and Taoism. Despite the I Ching traditionally being used to tell fortunes, many western scholars such as G.W. Leibniz and C.G. Jung find the I Ching to be very fascinating due to its use of the yang and yin as a codification scheme that involves what would later be known as a binary number system. It used these codes as a way to make predictions on possible future outcomes. It also gives off a conception of historical change being cyclical, which leads many to consider the question of whether or not the history of psychology involves more repetition than progress. Moreover, the circular structure helps emphasize the representation of how phenomena can be changed over time. Circular models, known as circumplexes are quite common in the history of psychology. The most pervasive circumplex model in Western psychology has been Galen’s typology of temperaments, as it has influenced many psychologists such as Martindale & Martindale, and Miller.
Within Taoism it carries the general sense of being good but is different in the way where as you do not have to provide good actions within your life, what I mean is that they are generally good but rather than provide for others they live at peace with all things and people. Confucianism is a very standard approach to most values of religions, they put simply just do good and act in time of need for those less fortunate.
And the last great form of ethical values is the forms at which they take within each religion have the five precepts that embody what is expected by a follower, Taoism has the term Wu Wei (non-doing) a base for their lack of actions on society, and Confucianism utilizes the Rén (humaneness) which reflects their epithetic nature. All of these are expected of a strong believer and reflect positively in the end on a community.
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