Taoism’s Theory of Knowledge and its Comparisons to Confucian Beliefs
Taoism is the Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that emphasizes on the harmonious living with the tao. Taoism played an instrumental role in shaping the culture of the Chinese over centuries.
It influenced the theory of knowledge and the manner in which parents inculcated knowledge and obedience into their children. The theory of knowledge asserts that individuals were supposed to be excessively wise in their decisions in order to represent a high sense of understanding. Notably, Taoism emphasizes on themes of the Zhuangzi and Daodejing, which include spontaneity, naturalism, simplicity, wu-wei and detachment from evil desires. Confucianism is a philosophical and ethical Chinese system that emanated from the wise teachings of Confucius. It evolved as ethical-sociopolitical teaching during the spring and autumn period and became widespread in the Han Dynasty.
Additionally, Confucianism became the official state ideology in China, when Legalism was abandoned after the end of the Qin Dynasty. Confucianism held the belief that human beings have the capacity to be taught, improved and perfected through communal and personal efforts. It emphasizes on the maintenance of ethics in all operations within the society. This essay gives a critical analysis of the theory of knowledge and explicates similarities between Taoism and Confucian beliefs. Taoism’s theory of knowledge asserts that knowledge is less distinct among individuals all over the globe.
This assertion is positive because it implies that knowledge does not change from one point to another. The concepts defining knowledge would always remain constant among individuals, because knowledge is a conventional ideology. In line with this, it is vital to note that parents all over the globe inculcate almost similar knowledge and principles of obedience into their children. They hold almost similar inclinations on the significance of quality behavior among their children as they interact with different people (Hansen 102). This assertion is reinforced by the manner in which children all over the globe tend to exhibit similar values in relation to the obedience and sources of knowledge. More so, the reiteration that knowledge is less distinct is positive because of the similarity of methods using in passing knowledge from one individual to another.
Parents all over the globe have adopted almost similar methods of ensuring that their children are obedient through disciplinary actions and continuous counseling. Therefore, it was believed that knowledge makes a erson decent and enables one behave according to established ethical standards. The assertion that knowledge is immeasurable is also worthwhile. It is difficult to determine the exact amount of knowledge that is possessed by different individuals all over the globe. The Taoism theory of knowledge asserts that individuals would always differ in levels of knowledge, but no one can predetermine the exact level borne by each person. Therefore, knowledge is an immeasurable gift that is transferred to individuals by their surroundings, starting from parents, teachers and even happenings in their surroundings.
The presence of knowledge eliminates ignorance, which is perceived as the way to evil in the world. Knowledge plays an effective role in ensuring that individuals behave in the manner required by the society. This is brought about by daily teachings from parents and even teachers who act as parents at given instances. All these assertions play an instrumental role in highlighting the effectiveness of knowledge among individuals and for the betterment of the society (Hansen 130). It is in place in order to bring about the order by eliminating evil among individuals.
Taoism and Confucian beliefs are similar in the sense that they originated from China and permit the use of statutes and pictures in worship. The central point of origin for both of these beliefs is China. Confucian beliefs were derived from the wise teachings of a Chinese philosopher known as Confucius and Taoist beliefs emanated from Laozi who was also a popular Chinese philosophy. These beliefs are also similar in the manner in which they permit the use of images in the worship of gods. Individuals have the right to make images, which act as a representation of gods or several deities in order to promote their worship in shrines. Additionally, these images were permitted for use, because they ensured that there was spiritual closeness to gods and deities.
This similarity is related to knowledge in the manner it provides for creativity and the choice of the best course of action for people. On the other hand, Confucianism provides for the belief in one God while Taoism provides for the belief in numerous deities. Notably, Confucian beliefs emphasized on the belief in one God commonly referred to as Tien. Ancestors could be worshipped at some instances, hence providing for the remembrance of individuals who existed earlier on. This belief encouraged individuals to understand that they could effectively serve one God with an immense dediccation and belief. The one God, whom they trusted, could also answer their prayers.
On the contrary, Taoism provided for the worship of several deities. This means that individuals had to dedicate their faith in different deities who effectively served them at different instances. The highest among the deities was the Jade Emperor to whom they paid tribute (Coogan 100). This difference is related to the theory of knowledge in the sense that individuals are supposed to act wisely in society in relationship to teachings of their parents. The obedience of parents and God is the start of wisdom and the elimination of evil deeds. Confucianism involved the use of sages and bureaucrats as intermediaries between people and one God, while Taoism involved the use of priests, nuns and monks to mediate between people and many deities.
It was vital for individuals in the early Chinese community to be represented to their God. Their prayers could effectively reach their God in cases where there was an adequate mediation from the community (Coogan 134). Therefore, Confucian intermediaries were referred to as sages and bureaucrats, and they ensured that prayers were effectively executed. Taoism involved the use of nuns, priests and monks to provide spiritual guidance to individuals. This difference relates to the manner in which knowledge is supposed to be transferred. Parents have to play an instrumental role in guiding their children through the correct path and ensuring that they act in the required manner.
This will be effective in enhancing obedience among children and the growth of society.In conclusion, Taoism is the Chinese religious and philosophical tradition that emphasizes on harmonious living with the tao. It influenced the theory of knowledge and the manner in which parents inculcated knowledge and obedience into their children. The Toism theory of knowledge asserts that knowledge is less distinct, and that knowledge is immeasurable among individuals. Confucianism is a philosophical and ethical Chinese system that emanated from wise teachings of Confucius.
It evolved as ethical-sociopolitical teaching during the spring and autumn period and became widespread in the Han Dynasty. Confucianism became the official state ideology in China when Legalism was abandoned after the end of the Qin Dynasty. Parents are instrumental in ensuring that children acquire knowledge and obedience in their relationships in society. This is vital in promoting ethical actions among individuals and eliminating any instances of evil actions.