Taoism is an advancement on the tribal and animist. Instituted by the mythical sage Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC – writer of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ – the practice concerns the ‘tao’, or the ‘way’.
It formalizes the hidden principles of the universe and a code of behaviour that lays emphasis in harmonious interaction with the environment rather than good deeds.
Many critics see this as amoral, with no notion of right or wrong. But this ignores the holistic nature of Taoism. People are part of the environment, so in laying emphasis on harmony, right deeds guarantee such harmony.
Taoists meditate to find unity with universal forces, based around the essence known as Ch’i, with its 2 components, Yin and Yang, the opposing feminine and masculine forces which echo destruction and creation, the watery and solid, the moon and sun. Opposites, in all things harmony comes through their balance. Often a paranoia mentality can arise to keep this balance. Well known spin-offs are acupuncture and feng shui, disciplines which keep forces in balance in the body and the environment. The I Ching is also related, where the throwing of Yarrow Sticks decide the actions to be taken in life, taking destiny away from the person and investing it in forces other than individuality.
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