Re: Tao of Physics - fun claptrap (was religion bashing)

Robert Owen (
Sat, 23 Oct 1999 16:57:40 -0400

Clint O'Dell wrote:

> >Taoists are not under any sort of direction from "god", for one thing, do
> >nothave a concept of "god" the word Tao means the "way"...
> >the 'way' is aloof from us, yet we find more harmony when we try to act
> >in accordance with it... like -- not going upstream, or something like that.

> Sounds like religion to me when phrases like "totality of being" are used,
> assuming they mean transcendental or "spiritual".
> Sounds like philosophy if they are defining a way of life without
> consequence in a next life.
> Yet, sounds like lunacy if they claim there is a next life.

Here is one translation of Chapter 1 of the "Tao Te Ching":

Tao means how: how things happen, how things work. Tao is the single principle underlying all creation. Tao cannot be defined, because it applies to everything. You cannot define something in terms of itself. If you can define a principle, it is not Tao.

Tao is a principle. Creation, on the other hand, is a process. That is all there is: principle and process, how and what. All creation unfolds according to Tao. There is no other way.

Tao cannot be defined, but Tao can be known. The method is meditation, or being aware of what is happening. By being aware of what is happening, I begin to sense how it is happening. I begin to sense Tao. To become aware of what is happening, I must pay attention with an open mind. I must set aside my personal prejudices or bias. Prejudiced people see only what fits those prejudices.

The method of meditation works; principle and process are inseparable. All process reveals the underlying principle. This means that I can know Tao.

Translation by John Heider, l985

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA