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Encephalon

Taoism = Anarchism

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Yep, some Taoism was anarchist. Kang Xi, one of the "seven bamboo sages" wrote some essay called "why Kings and Nobles are a nuisance to the people" (not sure of the exact title, but that's the idea).

 

The guy ended executed, quite obviously...

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Neat!

 

I've never lived under either a Taoist nor an anarchist state of affairs so I don't know enough about what it might be like. I think what screws things up is taking people living under one extreme model and transitioning them too fast into something else they haven't been conditioned for. IMO until we can heal the previous system's wounding of people then the same sh$t may just continue whatever "system" is newly appointed and then people may say the new system doesn't work either. And that would IMO be unfortunate. I'd like to suggest getting "democracy" right before attempting larger feats. You know, like in meditation, laying the foundation.

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A very interesting subject which gives much food for thought Encephalon

On an individual basis using Taoist thought then yes, anarchism can be both vibrant and positive.

Unfortunately on a national level it will generally replace that which it overthrows with something far worse.Communism and Maoism are perfect examples.

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it is but a dream. a dream that i share.

it would require that folks would be self-responsible. self-reliant. self moderating(like here on TTB!:lol:)

it would require that folks genuinely cared about and for their neighbors.

 

not exactly anarchy proper, but a useful model imo is the Iriquios Confederation.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/294660/Iroquois-Confederacy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroquois

 

did they have a perfect system? perhaps not.

was it workable? yeppers.

 

-K- does make some good points that would need considered.

 

seemed the iriquois were thriving until those (us) darned europeans started involving themselves into the mix.

 

smaller scale intentional community may be the way to go.

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A very interesting subject which gives much food for thought Encephalon

On an individual basis using Taoist thought then yes, anarchism can be both vibrant and positive.

Unfortunately on a national level it will generally replace that which it overthrows with something far worse.Communism and Maoism are perfect examples.

 

This point is why I chose to list my assumptions first, framing a Taoist/anarchist model in a hypothetical post-industrial future. I think it's very easy, using both eastern and western thought, to underestimate the goodness of human nature. The eastern psychological model claims that nurture is the greater determinant of human personality, in the west, nature. I prefer the eastern model; at least it gives us a chance.

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...in an intellectually hygienic manner. I'm not sure it can be done in here. In fact, I'm highly suspicious, but what the hell... :lol:

 

My personal assumptions are that American society couldn't possibly be any further from a taoist/anarchist ideal unless we scrapped the Constitution and the Bill of Rights altogether and implemented our fascist drift into a corporately controlled theocracy. I do subscribe to those post-oil social theorists who posit a quasi-Taoist/anarchist social order after the collapse of the oil-fed consumer culture and its state-supported power structures.

Enjoy. Taoist communes, unite!

 

From The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism (2002), pp. 222-224

 

Tao Then, Tao Now -

"Anarchism means not the bomb-in-the-pocket stuff, which is terrorism, whatever name it tries to dignify itself with, not the social-Darwinist economic 'libertarianism' of the far right, but anarchism as prefigured in early Taoist thought … its principal moral–practical theme is cooperation (solidarity, mutual aid). It is the most idealistic, and to me the most interesting, of all political theories." -- Ursula K. Le Guin

 

WHAT IS ANARCHISM?

 

If you wanted, you could trace anarchism back to Laozi and also to people like Henry David Thoreau (who wrote "that government is best which governs not at all").

 

Anarchism is the political theory that holds that dominance, authority, and hierarchy are not necessary to a harmonious society. Anarchism advocates a cooperative approach to social organization that excludes government altogether.

 

A much maligned and deeply misunderstood system of thought, anarchism us usually considered to be a fairly recent movement, one attached mostly to Western societies. The bad taste is created by recent versions of Marxist or Maoist anarchism which glorified violence to take down society. This, of course, is far from the Taoist approach – which would be more likely to promote simple disengagement. The difference may stem from the non-individualist basis: Many Western anarchists, starting with extreme moralistic claims about individual rights, have justified taking up arms to defend those extreme rights. Taoists can justify only getting away.

 

In truth, it has a pedigree that extends back thousands of years to the Taoists of ancient China. Many modern anarchist organizations appeal proudly to their Taoist heritage.

 

The English word anarchy derives from a Greek expression meaning "without a ruler" or "without authority." Anarchy can be understood to reflect a desire for all social groupings to proceed along a cooperative, yin-based, receptive model, rather than along an authoritarian, yang-based, hierarchical model.

 

Taoists were anarchists in the Chinese context because they denied the necessity of a "final authority" on matters of the way of life. The absence of such an authority is the best recipe for progress in ways of life. Historically, however, Western anarchists have focused most of their energies on the task of convincing people that government, organization, or the rule of law violates people's natural individual rights to absolute liberty.Although the ancient Taoists did not have a clear theory of rule of law, Taoism's effect of reducing punishment and giving people clear guidelines within which to pursue their own conceptions of the good life is one that would probably make constitutional democracy appealing. This approach is quite consistent with "moral authority anarchism" of the Taoist type.

 

Beyond the Stereotypes

 

People tend to react emotionally, and negatively, to the word anarchy because it has become strongly attached, for whatever reasons, to the notions of chaos and violence. The stereotype of the scheming, black-suited, bomb-throwing anarchist goes back to the silent film era – but anarchy's lineage as a subtle, intellectually rigorous political theory deeply distrustful of government goes back to ancient China.

 

Anarchism is a fascinating intellectual tradition worth considering on its own merits, rather than on the basis of the stereotypes that have been linked to it. Specifically, the stereotypes miss the fundamentally egalitarian, spontaneous, and mutually supportive impulses of anarchism.

 

The Most Misrepresented Ideas in Political Theory

"Anarchism and anarchy are undoubtedly the most misrepresented ideas in political theory. Generally, the words are used to mean 'chaos' or 'without order,' and so, by implication, anarchists [are seen as desiring] chaos and a return to the 'laws of the jungle.' This process of misrepresentation is not without historical parallel. For example, in countries which have considered government by one person [monarchy] necessary, the worlds 'republic' or 'democracy' have been used precisely like 'anarchy' to imply disorder and confusion."

 

 What is Anarchism?" (www.anarchyfaq.org)

Anarchy, as we have said, was a politically powerful and deeply influential tradition in ancient China. Modern anarchist movements take many forms and include both nuanced intellectual arguments and hormone-driven exchanges that flirt unconvincingly with both reason and insanity.

 

When viewed in the proper historical context, with Taoism as its founding philosophy, the idealistic, mutually supportive approach of anarchism become both clear and intriguing.

 

Very nice. I enjoyed this immensely.

 

Aaron

 

edit- I should also add that I was unaware at the time I became an anarchist, that it had it's roots in Taoism and ancient China, even though I was reading the Tao Teh Ching at the time. The philosophy, as it was taught to me by my professor at the time, was one I could not only embrace, but ultimately convinced me of the errors of socialism and democracies.

Edited by Twinner

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One thing that I haven't much seen addressed in Taoism is socio-economics.

 

An interesting economic structure I've only come across recently is Mutualism as favoured by Proudhon, the father of Anarchism.

 

I have yet to find any Proudhon translations, but Bakunin, otherwise the beginning of the Anarchist movements, was essentially socialist (as I realized while writing this, like a yin yang of right leaning libertarianism, and left leaning socialism).

 

 

"Deep in his heart every worker aspires to a full life, of material well being and intellectual development, based on justice or equality for every human being longing to live and work in an environment of freedom."

-Bakunin, 1869

 

 

Part of Anarchism's raison d'etre is for freedom of the workers.

 

 

So how do people work at equal pays for mutually owned companies?

 

Close consensus among partners in small groups...

 

Right now it's small groups of people employing other people when the company has gotten beyond the capacity for consensus.

 

Anarchism should function without government; so, the "grass roots" needs to help people start small start-ups, and maybe take a small percentage to keep their own work circulating. I just don't think large corporations can fully exist with Anarchist principles. There isn't that much consensus.

 

People have to open their businesses together and become equal partners on smaller ventures and hopefully the inspiration will catch on and more people will be able to do it.

 

Equal contribution is needed for equal pay, so I guess it would be done in percentages.

 

 

At huge levels of co-operation, there has to be leaders with authority. I guess they have to be pinnacles of virtue, truly "sons of heaven" who keep the Tao in order

and harmony while nurturing and allowing the smaller organic entities (Feng Shui could be well employed in modern enterprise) to flourish in harmony with the rest of the garden.

 

What we need is a national gardener to help plant and nurture the social garden; keeping weeds and destructive foliage from ruining the rest, while allowing everything to grow as unimpeded as possible. Right now it's like squirrels and racoons are the only ones tending to the garden.

 

This marriage of right and left is the yin & yang of economics I think... hmmmm.. never thought of that...

 

 

"I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation"

-Bakunin

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Very nice post indeed,unfortunately my English is bad and my writing can't follow my thoughts.Let me make a try..

It is very common for people of West to make a parallelism with Taoism and Anarchism as these two systems,in theory are based in real equality between people.

In theory Anarchism could be the ideal system as it excludes any government to organize the way of living.Although Proudhon considered the father of anarchism we mustn't forget the thoughts of Kropotkin and Malatesta.From all those mentioned before only Bakunin made a real try to apply anarchism in practise ,organizing small revolutions from place to place and tried to crate small communes using force.Actuallly he never tried to orginize this communes to involved in a universal communa but more as individual self preserved cells.

From the other hand Taoism as described in Tao te king,has some seeds of Comfucianism in it ,and preserves values of aristocracy on it.

In my believe is using the accepted form : "everyone is equal but some are more equal than the others".

As a follower of mo - tzu and his " universal love" doctrine ,( there is an Oxford publication on it, also you can find information in Wiki),I tend to conclude that community by it's self is organizing and adapting a more primitive self present style that we can find in the success of capitalism.,( " I will eat you before you eat me" ).

Although with the Hippies movement back in 60's for the first time we had seen a real will of a large portion of people to change things in this word ,and some change, we don't have to forget that most of this guys are ruling us today with a more fistful hand than in the past ,and actually how many of us in the every day life we behave as Taoists?

Taoism and anarchism remain in the romantic sphere of our dreams such as " universal love" due to the lack of proper educational background.

In the future things will be worse since although the technological boom,we don't follow with a boom in our way of thinking,and in our base we don't differ so much than the primitive human that was struggling only for his physical survive in the past.

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Anarchy works best among people who do not value universalized trade objects, I.E. money.

 

The work that gets done provides the resources and amenities to live from.

 

Balancing survival with living.

 

When we attribute arbitrary value denotations to objects, places, and activities or services, they become covetable. When the objects, places, and activities or services are just as they are, we see them in terms of necesity rather than want. and by removing the "wantemptation" we have a ground for anarch prosperity. Or even any political prosperity at all.

 

It's not an easy sell. It's a damned near impossible sell... but then again, im not trying to sell it, but to give it away freely for the betterment of all Humankind.

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Very interesting. I am 21 now but back a few years when I was around 18, I had read the TTC a few times and had actually moved away from it because I had realized that it was putting anarchy into my head. As an 18 year old in a western society bombarded with hormones and nagging future questions (let alone stress and peer pressure), anarchy was an added word I just didn't want to deal with. I thought I was alone.

 

Guess I wasn't. ^_^

 

I had moved away from Taoism because I was afraid of what I was thinking I was being taught by it: anarchy. Though the original post and comments have taught me much, I am still pretty "afraid" of that word and really don't support it or carry any stock in it and don't support such a system.

 

But now thanks to this I am very much less afraid of it and am becoming more knowledgeable of anarchism in Taoism.

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Ursula Le Guin is a Daoist anarchist, and has worked that into some of her books, notably the Dispossessed.

I haven't read it, but I found an article analyzing her as an anarchist. Her book "The Lathe of Heaven" is her most Daoist novel; the title comes from an archaic translation of the Daodejing, and it's a warning against over-meddling.

 

Post-Modern Anarchism in the Novels of Ursula K. LeGuin

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