course hero Lao-Tzu- Plato essay

course hero Lao-Tzu- Plato essay - 1 Different Paths to an...

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1 Different Paths to an Unattainable Wisdom Every individual has their own idea of what the ideal human should be, a trend clearly shown between Plato and Lao-Tzu. Socrates is used as a vessel through which Plato’s opinions are transported, in which he explains that a fulfilling life consists of knowledge. In comparison, Lao-Tzu feels life is more about transcendence and purity, an opinion he expresses through short readings. While they both strive for the same goal, wisdom, they do so in different ways. Lao- Tzu feels a more natural path is appropriate as one stays in touch with their surroundings and themselves while Plato actively searches for wisdom. They also share in their compassion in spreading their beliefs to benefit others. Yet their definitions of wisdom differ greatly as Lao-Tzu sees it as more personal and natural while Plato sees wisdom as abstract and one-sided. From the start, Lao-Tzu and Plato both claim to search for wisdom, yet their differences in the definition cause them to also differ in the methods they use to search for this wisdom. Lao- Tzu expresses his opinion when he writes “Banish learning, discard knowledge; People will gain a hundredfold.” (Lao-Tzu 19). He feels that learning is most effective when an individual experiences situations first-hand rather than being taught by books and teachers that constrict learning. He then goes on to say that, “Knowing others is intelligent. Knowing yourself is enlightened” (33), and “Knowing what is enough is wealth” (33). He explains that wisdom is found in understanding others, oneself, and the concept of moderation. Wisdom is obtained through experiencing life through social interaction, introspection, and consciousness of one’s actions and surroundings. In comparison to Lao-Tzu, Plato suggests another idea of wisdom, one that lends to the theory that knowledge is innate. Standing strongly by his theory in Phaedo , he states that when “anyone recollects anything, he must have known it before” (Plato 23) and that people “possess
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2 the knowledge and the right explanation inside them” (22). Through his support of the immortal soul he suggests that knowledge is fact and can only be thought of in one way, leaving no room for interpretation. Both portray wisdom through acquiring knowledge, but Lao-Tzu advocates an
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course CORE 101 taught by Professor Mercer during the Fall '08 term at Richmond.

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course hero Lao-Tzu- Plato essay - 1 Different Paths to an...

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