& Lao Tsu's Ultimately Aristocratic Notion of Non-Action

(from "The Path of Cinnabar")




[...] Lao Tzu's notion of 'non-action' was certainly contrary to any philosophically immanent identification of subject and act, or of act and fact - an identification which I came decidedly to oppose, both in itself and in its historicist application. The (ultimately aristocratic) principle of non-involvement and impassibility is what stood at the centre of Lao Tzu's doctrine. By imitating a divine model, the 'Perfect One' - the 'true man' or 'transcendental man' of Taoism - never identifies himself with external reality. By never acting directly, by not externalizing his own ego through self-affirmation, and by, instead, actively renouncing to 'be' and to 'act' in a direct and conditioned way, the Perfect One achieves what is truly essential. Thus, he enters the Way and makes himself intangible, inexhaustible, invulnerable and insusceptible to any external attempt to subdue him or render him impotent. By virtue of such a process, the Perfect One also becomes capable of acting in a subtle, invisible and magical way: this is the meaning of the expression wei-wu-wei ('to act without acting'), which is also defined as the virtue (té) of the Way (Tao).

I was to discuss the principles of Taoism, as described by Lao Tzu, in a more faithful and precise manner about thirty-six years later, in 1959, when I was encouraged by a friend to write a second introduction to the Tao-té-ching. [...]

It is only in my later commentary on the text that I clearly emphasized how Taoism is defined by a kind of 'immanent transcendence': by the direct presence of non-being (in its positive sense of supra-ontological essentiality) within being, of the infinitely remote (the 'Sky') in what is close, and of what is beyond nature within nature. Only then did I clearly point out that Taoism is equally remote from both pantheistic immanence and transcendence, as it is founded on the direct sort of experience which underlies the specific existential structure of primeval humanity. [...]



click here to return to JuliusEvola.Net /text archive