Lao Tzu Notes

  • Three Chinese philosophers
    • Sun Tzu - art of war
    • Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching
      • Name means old wise one
      • Supposedly wrote the tao
  • Kon Tzu - Analects
  • There is a lot of war - economic/social
  • The Analects are a collection of his teachings - he did not write them down
  • There are 20 books
  • Books 16-20 are probably not him
  • There are four different kinds of relationships
    • State and the governed
    • If there is chaos, there should be order
    • Parent-child
    • Elder-younger brother
    • Friend
  • No power dynamic - equal
  • The individual is less important than the society and the culture
  • What matters is the society/culture not the individual (Kon Tzu)
    • Peaceful, stable, long-lived
    • The choices and actions that are taken by a ruler and his government apparatus influence that society for hundreds of years
    • An aphorism is a saying that encapsulates a truth
    • Paradox
  • Something that contradicts itself
  • Usually a hidden truth within it
  • Analects
  • Strong emphasis on humility - you do not claim to be good at something
  • Someone who is good will never truly recognize themselves as good because to do so would make them not good
    • Everyone has the strength - it only takes a small amount of strength to devote yourself to goodness
    • A lot of the aphorisms deal in some way with government
    • If you are going to do good, there has to respect and intent behind it
    • (Jesus) - you have to care about people who do not like you, who even hate you or it is pointless because there is no intent behind it
    • You want to recognize the worth in other people before you recognize the worth in yourself
    • Ritual - correct form of behavior, respect
  • It all comes back down to a personal relationship
  • If you do not have respect, a virtue becomes a vice (bravery turns into getting into fights and prudence turns into cowardice)
    • If you have respect, you can be honest (tact) without being hurtful
    • Honesty becomes cruelty when it is not coupled with respect
    • We should not really be concerned with the outcome - we should be concerned if we as individuals are worthy of that
    • Children have to be taught to altruistic
    • Western golden rule - do to others what you want done to you
    • Con tzu said to build the society
    • Lao Tzu said to build the individual

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