The great difficulty in interpreting this and similar texts for the European mind is due to the fact that the Chinese author always starts from the central point, from the point we would call his objective or goal; in a word, he begins with the ultimate insight he has set out to attain.

The Chinese character is made up of the character for 'head', and that for 'going'.  'Head' can be taken as consciousness, and 'to go' as travelling a way, thus the idea would be: to go consciously, or the conscious way.

That which exists through itself is called the Way

A Video introduction of the Tao Te Ching

Tao can be anything. I use another word to designate it, but it is poor enough. I call it synchronicity.

The condition of Tao is the beginning of the world where nothing has yet begun - and it is also the condition to be achieved by the attitude of superior wisdom.

The first 6 chapters of the Tao Te Ching (of 81) give a sound executive summary of what is Tao.  Reading them alone will give an excellent introduction and  understanding of: Taoism.


(How) does such a secret pattern become the basis for the word “Li” – reason?  One must naturally think in Chinese terms.  You know that all the cultural patterns in China were obtained, according to the myth, from the meandering of the big Chinese rivers.  They sketched the map, and these patterns stand for the cultivated surface of the Chinese earth.  So for China, consciousness would be an awareness of the secret pattern of nature, which is what I spoke of before.  The Chinese, the Eastern peoples – and, strangely enough, to a certain extent, the Germanic people – are not interested in causal rationalism.  Instead, the natural tendency is toward becoming aware of the patterns of Tao, an awareness of synchronicity and of image analogies. 

"The scholar learns something every day, the man of tao unlearns something every day, until he gets back to non-doing."

                                                                                    Lao-tzu – The Tao Te Ching