Taoism & Confucianism


At first glance these two approaches would seem diametrically opposite, but in fact both are leading to the same place, and developed out of each other.


First you had Taoism, which stresses no moral code whatsoever, but instead relies developing an internal ethos through the practice of daily meditation, which increases your natural empathy for the sanctity of life of those around you.


And from this empathy comes decency and all the noble virtues that we need to live in harmony with each other.


Whereas the Confucianist approach developed when the Taoist methods were reaching the royal courts and it was necessary to learn a refined way of being, a protocol that would work in polite society. 

Confucius was actually a Taoist. He was a practitioner of Taoism and he took his basis from that, but made his focus on how you behave.


In other words, imposing an external set of rules if you like to govern your behavior in society.


The two work really well together. If taken to the extreme, neither is perhaps the way to be, but somehow blending the two. The eastern approach to reality is a trialectic one, rather than a dialectic one. So that rather than it be it’s either this, or it’s that, it tends to be it’s this and it’s that, as it turns out to be in most cases of reality. 

So the Confucianist approach developed a very extreme way eventually of governing your manners, your way of operating, the way that you conduct yourself in society.


The Taoist approach emphasised the idea of sitting like young Carl Jung, not seeking any social importance, not doing anything for personal gain whatsoever, and if you looked like an idiot in the process, you looked like an idiot, so what.


Whereas the Confucianist approach is very much about looking like you can conduct yourself properly in society and therefore gaining the respect of people on the superficial level, that’s required to operate effectively in the market place, for want of a better word.