Eric Woon

The Doctrine of wuwei

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In astronomy, big bang is explained as the rapid expansion of matter from a state of extremely high density and temperature which according to current cosmological theories marked the origin of the universe. In simple word, big bang is an accepted theory.

Assumed Wuwei is a theory. How was it explained? Sadly, Laozi (BC 601 - unknown) wrote it, but did not leave an explanation. Who else could explain it?

Was he, Zhuangzi?

Zhuangzi (BC 369BC 286) was born 230 years late. It is ridiculous, and beyond all common senses to accept his explanation for Wuwei.

What about Confucius (BC 551BC 479)?

Historical records showed that as a young man, Confucius met Laozi. Did Laozi explain or better still, teach him everything about DaoDeJing? Yes, most likely. If this hypothesis holds water, how did Confucius explain Wuwei?    

The Doctrine of Wuwei* as defined by Confucius: He is pleasantly joyful in spirit, disinclined to fame or wealth, does not bother to think about general issues that the common folks are seeking for some form of an action or bemused with, and hence, least likely to take them up as a political affair**. Meanwhile, with a heart of steel he steadfastly keeps an indifferent attitude towards these commonplace pursuits.

If something aroused his interest, he quickly invites capable and virtuous individuals to carefully study the issue, breaking it down to its finest details and determine with clarity, the reasonable development or in-thing that his country or people should do in order to strive towards a better future, be it discarding the old ways of life and quickly establishing in its place, a new order of things or reform, or new set of rules for the good and advancement of society.

Remark*: Source of the definition for The Doctrine of Wuwei*** is obtained from the I Ching (or Yi Jing) of the Zhou Dynasty, also known as Zhou Yi. In the English language, it is known as The Classic of Changes or Book of Changes, which is an ancient Chinese divination text reference, and is one of the oldest of the Chinese classics.

Remark**: He is still fully in-charge of national politics and should not be slow on the uptake of an issue as a piece of actionable political affair. As he is running a huge public organization, there may be a lot of things that he needs to do with urgency. However, in the execution of his duties, first and foremost, he must make wise decisions, then differentiate which are the trivial matters that should not be dealt with, and what are the compulsory action plans that must be executed immediately.

Note***: In Dao De Jing, the original phrase is易无思也,无为也,寂然不动,感而遂通天下之故 Yì wú sī yě, wúwéi yě, jìrán bù dòng, gǎn ér suì tōng tiānxià zhī gù. This were the exact words in which Confucius defined Wuwei.




The concept Governance by Wuwei**** shall be translated as: hold fast to The Doctrine of Wuwei, and selflessly devoted to the implementation of government policies related to The Doctrine of Virtuous Governance. Most important of all, never ever rely on the use of threats to force the people into submission through fear.

Note ****: In Dao De Jing, the original phrase is无为而治 (Wúwéi ér zhì).

Edited by Eric Woon
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The inaction that Taoism talks about is closely related to inner cultivation.

If you break away from inner cultivation and take the Taoist teaching of Wuwei as a philosophy, you will make the biggest mistake.

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I think everyone innately knows that good action is its own reward. That is the heart of the "theory" of wu wei. As soon as we expect results from our actions, we've lost it. 


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