Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Christianity and Wu Wei

Wu Wei 无为 is one of the fundamental concepts of Taoism. The literal meaning of Wu Wei is "without action" and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing".

From Wikipedia: "Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world they disrupt the harmony that already exists. This is not to say that a person should not exert agency and will. Rather, it is how one acts in relation to the natural processes already extant. The how, the Tao of intention and motivation, that is key.
Wu Wei has also been translated as "creative quietude," or the art of letting-be. This does not mean a dulling of the mind; rather, it is an activity undertaken to perceive the Tao within all things and to conform oneself to its ‘way.‘"

But in reflecting about Christianity, I think there is a fundamental difference. As a Christian, we emphasize on action. We do not seek to maintain status quo or to abide with the natural flow of things. We seek to transform the situation and find a breakthrough in what we perceive as a corrupted state of matters. However, it is not 为所欲为 (Action for selfish desires) but rather it is 见义勇为 (Action for God's justice).

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