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ENGL 124 Cuyamaca College Foundational Texts for The Power Discussion


Lao-Tzu’s Thoughts from the Tao Te-Ching

The Tao Te Ching, one of the foundational texts for the power of non-action, and the interconnection between the energies of the universe. The Tao encourages harmonious living through objectivity, observation, and balance. Tao Te Ching is basically a handy guide for everyone. Its chapters cover The Pathways and explain all the main ideas of one of the oldest school philosophies in the world. Tao Te-Ching, Lao-Tzu stated that one should not hold anything back and should surrender to what is. Lao-Tzu encouraged the master to surrender to the present moment with the ability to know the difference between what is not in his control and what lies under his control. Here, the master acknowledges that death will always be the outcome; thus, he has no reason to fear it (Meachan 10). Instead, the master surrenders to it while preparing to face it because he accepts that it may come from any point. Further, in his statement, Lao-Tzu implies that the master should not go to sleep while holding any grudges.

Lao-Tzu also urges people to find out their mistakes by how they judge others and through self-observation, “A great nation is like a great man:When he makes a mistake, he realizes it” (Jacobus 241). Here, Lao-Tzu reveals that when the master is at fault, he realizes it and admits his mistake. The master does not feel bad or get offended when other people point out and correct his mistakes. Instead, the master treats those who point out his mistakes as generous teachers. The master treats his faulty realizations as opportunities for increasing self-awareness and becoming better, rather than an excuse of feeling down. Moreover, the master takes a keen observance at how he judges others. “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them, if you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them” The above quote speaks about how to treat people and not use authority to push them around benefit you. This means to lead the country you have to understand they needs and what they believe in so that we can have a world that’s compassionate, happy and productive. It helps to create harmony and peace. I can relate to this as we are living in a world were voting for election is compulsory and our leaders generally do what they feel is right rather than stepping down to the congregation and listening what they want.

Lao-Tzu’s first statement suggests that one should not hold anything back and should surrender, speaks to the people who have difficulties accepting their fate in the modern world. In the modern world, people develop fights over various rankles, and, in most times, they hold the grudges to their death. Lao Tzu’s statement encourages this person to let go and be free before death kicks in. Today, most leaders fight to acquire power, and, in the process, they develop hate and resentment towards each other. In his statement, Lao-Tzu encourages masters to be ego-free, accept all fates, and always make peace with their rivals.

Lao Tzu’s second statement suggests that people should seek their faults by judging others, and self-observation speaks to judgmental and narcissistic people. In the modern world, people bash out several leaders for misleading them. However, most of these leaders do not take criticism positively (Eubanks and Antes 4). This is because they believe in their leadership and power and cannot stand to be corrected. Lao-Tzu directs his statement to such leaders by urging them to admit their faults and work towards improving themselves.

Lao Tzu’s first statement urges people to surrender to what it is, whereas the second statement suggests that they should admit their faults. Lao-Tzu draws strong connections in these two statements in that one can surrender to one mistake. One only surrenders to something when they have admitted to something.Even if the truth hurts, these two statements urge people to accept and surrender to receive peace in return. Moreover, the first statement urges people not to hold onto grudges, whereas the second statement urges people not to judge others in the wrong way. These two statements connect such that If people hold grudges, they will judge others in the wrong way.

Lao-Tzu’s thoughts from the Tao Te-Ching presents two significant statements that interconnect with each other. The first statement advises the master to surrender and accept the fate of death. On the other hand, the second statement urges the master to seek mistakes and correct them. These statements connect with the modern context. Leaders in the world today do not take criticism from the people positively and develop grudges among themselves for power and leadership.

Works Cited

Eubanks, Dawn et al. “Criticism and Outstanding Leadership: An Evaluation of Leader Reactions and Critical Outcomes.” IEEE engineering management review 39.3 (2011): 34–63. Print.

Jacobus, Lee. A World of Ideas. Bedford, October 18, 2019.

Meachan, Bill. “Tao Te Ching Ontology” (2017):1-19.


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