The Tao in Politics

The Tao Te Ching is a mysterious and elusive text written by Lao Tzu that cannot be directly criticized. The author does not explicitly state the text’s meanings in the text. After the development of some assertion, the writings are inserted in such a way that a complementary contrary is iterated. The author’s writing style is a part of the message that is conveyed. Lao Tzu starts the text by distinguishing between the meanings of various aspects of the Tao. The Tao is defined as superseding everything in the text.
Language is a complex item that issues a mastery illusion to the individuals that speak it. Lao Tzu with the incorporation of a poetic form of iterating knowledge creates a style of writing that undermines the tendency to misunderstand language. However, the use of opposite ideology just after asserting an idea creates slipping experience that confuses the reader before the message begins to become clear.

The teachings of Lao Tzu are against the quest for dominance, wealth, authority, and power are evidently indicated in the first section of the text. He iterates, “Always without desire, we must be found (Laozi 1).” Lao Tzu elaborates the disregard for materialism and perceives wealth and possession as laden evils of the soul. He elaborates that the materialistic things of the world created by the quest for power are trivial and meaningless and hence an individual that seeks freedom should completely disregard them.

After the creation of the above assertion, Lao Tzu proceeds to develop a support for inaction to the political players that seems to contradict his message. However, a keen understanding of his text elaborates that politicians are allowed to intercede in different aspects but in necessitated situations. Further, Lao Tzu iterates “the master acts without doing anything and teaches without doing anything,” elaborates that leaders should avoid activities that are useless and of no benefit to the people and themselves.

Progressively, the Lao Tzu teachings elaborate the minimization of state power more so in the oppressive activities of the leaders. He states that “stop trying to control let go of fixed plans and concepts and the world will govern itself (Laozi 57).” Lao Tzu explains the concept of freedom of an individual by providing an assertion that a wise leader would provide for the people they govern and not annoy them with empty promises that do not have any basis for better leaving. Lao Tzu in his statements argues that people achieve maximum benefits for themselves when they are governed without being informed each time that they are under governance. He iterates in the form; “if you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao (Laozi 57).”

Additionally, self-governance requires independence of individuals to carry out their businesses and financial activities without any restrictions. It is a principle that allows for institutions to let the markets to balance themselves without any leadership interference that could result in a predetermined result for the benefit of a few individuals. The concept of self-governance by Lao Tzu also could be an avenue for elaborating the much importance of democracy and the absence of manipulation in democratic processes.

The existence of the manipulation of the outcome of a democratic process with the advancement in technology results in major differentiation and disputes. Lao Tzu in his statements issues advice to the political players to avoid the urge for the compulsory quest for power and support the democratic process to output the leadership by the people, for the people and with the people. He continues to iterate that, “if a country is governed by repression, the people are depressed and crafty” (Laozi 58). Depression of the people in a country results in an underperforming country of dictatorial or anarchy leadership. Citizens do not have the freedom to exercise their duties to their country freely. The results of the oppressive leadership could be the rise of rebellion and groups who want to fight for their rights.

Rebellion causes conflict between the leaders and the rebels and hence violence could erupt in a country causing deaths and forceful eviction of people from their regions. Peace is one of the main themes of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching; hence leaders should avoid the resulting conflict by desisting from oppressive leadership.

Lao Tzu iterates ethical education to individuals in the writing of the text. Politicians should uphold ultimate ethical behavior in their undertaking since they are the leaders that guide their people by running the government. “The self is the other and the other is the self”. Lao Tzu uses these statements to guide over the understanding of ethical behavior. The self-being the other means that the self can manifest itself or actualize it’s being within a field and hence result to becoming what it is due to the environment and external interactions of the entity. Since the self is the other, the entity recognizes that it is not the origin of its manifestation but the environment determines partly the existence of the entity.


Laozi. “Tao Te Ching.” Print.

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