The philosophy founded by Lao-Tzu, and expressed in the book sometimes called by the same name, and also known as the Tao Te Ching (‘Classic of the Way’), a combination of mysticism, philosophical reflection, and poetry. Unlike Confucianism, Taoism stresses the unity of humanity and the universe. It is the loss of that unity that is responsible for desire, competition, and the unsuccessful attempts to regulate the resulting strife by means of ethics and moral law (see also Rousseau ). Lao-Tzu considered that ‘When tao is lost only then does the doctrine of virtue arise’. As a practical philosophy Taoism is therefore based on the suppression of desire in favour of natural simplicity and tranquillity.

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