Lao Tzu's Concept Of Knowledge

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Andrew Mikkola Professor Bradford Ways of Knowing October 16, 2011 Lao-Tzu’s concept of Knowledge Few philosophers exist who have had a greater impact on society than Lao-tzu. Even though The Tao Te Ching was written thousands of years ago, his works remain relevant to modern society. His thoughts on personal action within society and society itself have had a dramatic impact on philosophy and have helped shape human thought. In America, his philosophy is often disregarded due to the profit motive of the capitalistic economy. However, the Tao goes much deeper than personal gain, and gives lessons on “the master”, the example of perfect human life and thought. One hundred years before Plato was born in 428 B.C.E. (The European Graduate School) Lao-Tzu wrote his great work. He was born around 570 B.C.E. and was the keeper of empirical archives in Luoyang, the ancient capitol of China (Friedler). It is rumored that when the kingdom was failing, he tried to leave the country and was stopped by a guard. The guard asked Lao-Tzu to transcribe some of his wisdom so they may have it permanently; the result was The Tao Te Ching (Friedler). Lao-Tzu’s Tao dealt with many different aspects of life that all came together to turn the reader into “the master”, or the best person they could be. One important concept of the Tao is the strength of softness and flexibility, “The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid” (Mitchell, 78). In the famous Pierre Burton interview, Bruce Lee echoed Lao-tzu’s words “Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” This concept can be seen in the natural world quite easily, and is not just a philosophical
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