1. Practical aspects of Wu Wei applicable to City Dwellers
Wu Wei is a Taoist philosophy whose principle is the creation of a state of mind that appreciates, learns from, and works with everyday life situations or occurrences (Guoqing, & Veenhoven, 2008). An idea of Wu Wei philosophy applicable to the situation of life of city dwellers is the concept of the “inner nature”. This stipulates that everything exists for a specific function and has its correct place. In Relation to this concept, a person must recognize their place and function in life. In the modern city life of the western societies, people find themselves in misplaced positions. It could be a wrong kind of marriage, house, or work. In accepting the Inner Nature, persons are able to realize that they are in wrong positions in function or place.
The other useful concept of the philosophy defines personal limitations. So many activities in the city life require a judgment of the limitations of specific actions. Example is weight management a sensitive issue in urban life. Achieving body weight perceived as appropriate has limitations both in the requirements of time and methods. Realization of limitations of nature helps one evade the agony of life in forms such as depression that come as a result of disappointments.
2. Is Wu Wei a reasonable way of life
The Taoist philosophy of Wu Wei has concepts essential to harmonious living (Guoqing, & Veenhoven, 2008). Practicing concepts such as the “inner nature” enable persons to be aligned to the natural systems of life. Therefore, a person is less likely to be in conflict with natural occurrences. We are able to live with rather than question life events. However, it is not reasonable to embrace it and entirely depend on it because there are crucial situations that require resistance and reaction to natural cycles such as global warming and diseases. These examples of natural events require a change in behavioral structures that contribute to changes to the natural cycle. It is not applicable to me because to survive in the current world, I need a job. Unemployment is a problem in the modern world. This requires a greater adaptability to existing opportunities regardless of the choice.
3. The “Paradox of Wu Wei”
The paradoxical concept of Wu Wei is “action of non action” or “trying not to try” in this case. In definition, it is the creation of a mental state in which actions, without effort, align with the ups and downs of the elemental trends of the natural world (Guoqing, & Veenhoven, 2008). Moving along in the natural flow, we can perfectly respond to situations of life without even having to try. The phenomenon is occurs with exceptional ease and awake-ness.
The principle of Wu Wei is the manifestation of the highest form of spontaneous virtue. It is the expression of actions without the sense of self. An example from personal experience is the practice of kindness. I have learnt to help people without conditions. It has become part of my mental state such that it is difficult not to help when in a position to. In the example it is clear how the mind consciously try not to try to avoid the virtue of kindness i.e. helping. In such kind of mental state a person is preconditioned to respond to situations.
a. Superior Person
Confucius’ Superior Person embodies a hero with total regard to moral principles. In essence the person would embrace relationships that subscribe to common social values. The superior person is a kind of person who would lead people in equality. People would have an equal right to common resources. The world would be governed by the principles of religion. The person would combat evil through the creation of a system of human coexistence founded in social and moral values. Evil cannot thrive in such systems because there is no room for injustice. Religion would be his/her super power.
Mother Teresa is a modern example of a Superior Person. She lived her life with exceptional conscience of the situation of the people around her. She believed in social justice and a right to equal status of life by all people. She abandons the comfort of wealth in her native
Guoqing, Z. & Veenhoven, R. (2008). “Ancient Chinese Philosophical Advice: can it help us
Find happiness today?” Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(1): 425-443