Mentally Ill;163620 wrote:
I'm writing an essay right now and I could use some alternative viewpoints.
My topic is this:
a. What is the Tao? What kind of metaphysical thing is it? Be sure to quote text and give a description of what it is (or rather how it influences everything)
b. Explain Plato's two‐worlds theory. What is true reality according to Plato? Be sure to explain his analogy of the line.
c.Compare Plato's theory with Taoism.
I'm not asking anyone to answer these questions for me, for that would defeat the purpose of me writing this essay, but if anyone has any particular insights into the Dao or the Forms, how they are related or how they differ, I'd like to read them to supplement my own understanding.
It's my view that while Laozi acknowledges nothingness as a form of existence, Plato does not. The Dao, conceptually, is both substance and emptiness existing simultaneously. Nothingness is eternal and substance is transitional.
Plato, instead, supposes that there are eternal forms, like Beauty or Tableness, with Goodness being the ultimate form. Substance in his Reality is, not exactly an illusion, but a misrepresentation of the forms somehow, and if we could perceive the forms as they truly exist, we would look back on this world the same way that the man who escaped Plato's cave would look back on that existence.
While Laozi's theory implies that there is nothing beyond this world, Plato's implies that there is a realm of existence that humans are unable to perceive.
Do you think my assessment is accurate so far?
From my understanding, the Tao is an endless pool of consciousness, and an existence of which we could never perceive. It is the totality of everything that transcends all opposites, thus absolutely whole. As recon mentioned above, an existence which can't be understood, obviously cannot be discursively reached by talking about it, for there are no words to describe it.
Many read Plato as two-world, but I find it to be much more rational throughout his entire philosophy to consider a more one-world approach to him. He does speak of a realm of forms, but he makes it clear that these forms are manifesting within our own worlds, or lack there of. I think his view is that the realm of the forms is the only real
world, and all of ours (the many) are just illusions of the One true reality. They are definitely illusory, because that is the justs of the cave allegory, as only once you get out of the cave, does true reality present itself. If his entire world rests on the this One, then its hard for me to believe he was talking of a two-world existence, as I see what would be the other world, ours, as existing of many different worlds, and I think Plato realized this.
To compare the two, I would start of with Plato's One true reality, and compare it to the nature of the Tao. The Tao transcend all opposites making everything One, thus allowing for differences to become similarities.
The other important aspect of Plato's philosophy, the forms, consisted of the One true form of everything that existed. It was away for him to intuitively
grasp the differences between things, by relating himself to the thing itself. We didn't need any outside knowledge to understand things, because all things already existed in relation to us. This is very similar to the Tao idea that a things difference is
its similarities. Or in other words, a boundary between two things are shared by both.
The Tao means the way, and from Plato's perspective, the Forms were the way
to Truth. They were reason, which is the way to any Truth.
Also, as for Taoism, the Tao is both being and non-being. They are in fact One.
For Plato, i think his view on being would also hinge on how you wish to read him. I would think either being was the One, which meant all others were not being, or that all our worlds are being, and the One true world is beyond-being or non-being. That would make for a very interesting discussion though.