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Wei Wu Wei:
Action Without Action

Has anyone ever told you: "Just act natural"?  It's impossible of course.  If you're acting, it can't be natural.  Lao Tzu makes the same point several times in the Tao Te Ching when he recommends wei-wu-wei, literally, do-don't-do.  This is a central concept in The Tao.

boats on rivers are a great symbol of going with the flow.

Go with the flow
Briefly, it means to follow the flow of nature, without trying.  Rather than constantly trying to fight situations and control them, which is unnatural and self-defeating, it is better to understand the true nature of the Tao, behaving completely naturally and in tune with the natural order of things.

What happens to 'Control Freaks'?
People often try to control countries or companies with rules, regulations and policing.  This feels like it should work since we can control our car or build structures with principles, checking etc.  

The problem is that people are not inanimate objects.  When we try to control them (action, wei) they react and often retaliate.  So our action creates a neutralizing reaction.  If we understand the Tao, we can act according to its principles, avoiding the resistance of people and working with the support of the law of nature rather than against it. 

Famous Quote
A relevant, famous quote from the Tao is "Ruling a country is like frying a small fish".  A good chef will tell you that, when frying a fish (especially a small one), if you keep moving the frying pan and flipping  the fish, it will fall apart and become tasteless.

More Quotes
"The more rules you make, the more thieves are created."

"The world can be ruled by letting things run their course; it cannot be ruled by interfering"

 

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