A Solipsistic Taoistian

Photo courtesy of Tauno Tohk. From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/toehk/4080079150
Photo courtesy of Tauno Tohk. From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/toehk/4080079150


Teacher Yu asks, “ What do you think Taoism is about?”

Solipero replies, “Doubtlessly, it’s about the Tao.”

Teacher Yu then adds, “What does that entail? Though ‘great understanding’ need not words and even words may be insufficient for such understanding, you should also understand that imperfect speech doesn’t mean an imperfect message. Speak by spirit and I will know what you mean. So I ask you: What does ‘about the Tao’ entail?

Solipero stammers and ekes the answer, “…Master Zhou wrote that the Tao gathers in emptiness. With an empty mind, one can follow the Tao. This would be our goal. But the way I see it—the Tao and the mind are one. Essentially, the Tao is related to everything and the following of the Tao is dependent of the mind, which fosters spirit…”

“Hold it. Before you proceed, you do understand the difference in following the Tao and the Tao itself, correct?”

“Yes, I will not attempt to explain the Tao, because we both understand it… let’s just say that it makes what is be and it’s properties are transitive and mutually arising. Following the Tao is the fasting of the mind which allows one to act harmoniously with nature. But, as I was explaining, the Tao’s relation to everything centers on the biconditionality of the mind and instantiations of relations as they arise from the Tao. This is to say that ‘the mind needs fasting to follow the Tao if and only if an arbitrary relation can arise.’ I say that the mind and the Tao are one because the Tao does relate to everything in the way that is necessary for there to be a mind as the operator.”

“Basically, you are saying that the Tao is not above the mind and spirit.”
“Perhaps, but it’s certainly not below.”

This is a view that I can see as plausible for a Taoist to have, but I’ll leave you, the reader, to form your own view about this one. And if you enjoyed this post, and find yourself interested in some of the many topics brought up in this post, then either consider following TaoPracticed or refer to our earlier posts/influencing readings page.

Italics (because WP won’t let you add footnotes):

Solipero: Named as such due to his solipsism, which Google says is the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.

Master Zhou: a.k.a. Zhuangzi or Chuang Tzu

harmoniously with nature: This is a phrase of Burton Watson in his translation of The Zhuangzi, and it is basically virtue in the Taoist sense. More info in Our Understanding of The Zhuangzi.

relations: Maybe ambiguous, but very much apt for my meaning. By relations, I mean the Tao’s unity in anything (and everything). For example, the mutual arising of love and hate is one such relation.


Published by

Hui Ho

I attend the University of Rochester and plan on majoring in philosophy. I try to talk to many people about Taoism to see their perspective, but that often can't be done because most don't know what Taoism or eastern philosophy teach. So, I contribute to taopracticed.wordpress.com to help others know the merits of eastern philosophy, and more specifically the philosophy of Zhuangzi.

5 thoughts on “A Solipsistic Taoistian”

    1. Spot on! It does refer to meditation, an ideal state in itself, though a person can still follow the Tao without meditating every minute (through nondistinction, acting with inaction, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

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