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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsTrickle Trickle Euro-Tao Perhaps the finest allegory of "Instead of contending with things, it prefers to dwell where no one would like to stay." In a way, this is how Taoism trickled down onto the various layers of European society –unobtrusive and seemingly effortless. But it also means that Tao changed very little in terms of society's structure. Taoism as a religion daojiao is far less popular in Europe than its philosophical Taoism daojia.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds At the center of philosophical Taoism we have its terminologies and concepts: yin and yang, dao, wu-wei, and so on. A third, very significant approach to Taoism is the study of Taoism as an academic discipline daoxue. All three approaches to the Tao in Europe shall be discussed in this chapter, in order to see their various impacts on European society, if any. Although Taoism originated in China, of course, it is now part of world history and thus, I hope, considered global knowledge. Therefore, your author refrains from giving European translations of Chinese words; except where he believes it easies the flow of the argument considerably.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds That said, the less we treat Taoist, or any other Chinese terms as second-class to Western ones, the better.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds‘Yin and Yang' is probably one of the single most important cultural imports to the European humanities. It is universally understood to represent two opposing yet complementary forces, acting upon each other, and taking turns. Ultimately, however, they are one.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds The simplicity and beauty of it has infinite applications: it may refer to nature, to cosmos, or to human society. It could be used to describe anything really, from peace and order, to spiritedness, dialectics, and our drive for perfection. The yin and yang symbol is so popular that it can be spotted in Europe not only decorating the covers of books, but also engraved onto skins, I am talking about tattoos, molded into jewelry, printed on caps and shirts, and used as thumbnails and collages throughout the internet.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsTaoism comes from ‘Tao' of course,

Skip to 2 minutes and 59 secondssometimes spelled: Dao, and its most common English translation is ‘the Way'. That ‘Way' could be anything –the path to enlightenment, perhaps; or an instruction manual on how to become a gentleman, a sage, or spiritual master; hence Taoism has conquered space in Western esoteric book shops and the self-help industry. In Europe in particular, Taoist elements are often mingled with other Asian traditions such as Buddhism - mostly Japanese Zen or Tibetan Buddhism, both of which are popular with consumers. While none of the Far Eastern traditions in Europe has set "the rivers on fire," they are precisely admired for their peaceful composure, their passivity, and their deep humanism.

The trickle trickle Euro-Tao

This week, Thorsten Pattberg will take you to have a look around views in European thoughts and how Taoist themes enter Europe’s mainstream.

Although Taoism originated in China, of course, it is now part of world history and thus considered global knowledge. ‘Yin and Yang’ is probably one of the single most important cultural imports to the European humanities. It is universally understood to represent two opposing yet complementary forces, acting upon each other, and taking turns.

About this week's educator

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German philosopher and cultural critic. He has written and published extensively about Global language, the Competition for terminologies, and the End of translation. He discovered the Shengren as a unique, untranslatable, non-European archetype of wisdom; is the founder of Language Imperialism; and is actively promoting Eastern thought, in particular Chinese terminologies, on a global scale. He studied as a research fellow at The Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University.

This video is from the free online course:

Taoism and Western Culture

DeTao Masters Academy