Essay about Lao-Tzu

Submitted By llittle20
Words: 983
Pages: 4


Mr. Bentley

English 1020

6 February 2012

Doubts in the Tao

In the Tao-te Ching, Lao-tzu describes the guidelines for an extremely hand on form of leadership. However, this type of government is not, under any circumstances, feasible in a modern society. Today’s society is based on taking initiative. “Practice not-doing, / and everything will follow into place” (3 14- 15), if we were to relax and let things take their course as Lao-tzu says; we would get steeped on by other nations. Being idle does not achieve great results. Many people will tend to do things that are not morally correct. A leader following Machiavelli’s action-based instructions is guaranteed to have a long-term role in government. Machiavelli has a much more realistic approach when dealing with military matters, people, and being loved or feared. His book, The Prince, provides great instructions for not only the prince, but for leaders everywhere. Machiavelli believes a leader’s mind should never stray from preparing for war. “He must, therefore, never raise his thought from the exercise of war, and in peacetime, he must train himself more than in time of war; this can be done in two ways: one by action, the other by mind” (40), our military leaders use several different means to train out soldiers physically and mentally. Our country uses the military not to bull, but to help other struggling countries. “And even though the next country is so close that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,/ they are content to die of old age/ without ever having gone to see it” (80 16-20), Lao-tzu shows selfishness in these words by saying he ignores others and cares only for himself. Following Machiavelli, a country shows selflessness by helping our neighbors and then is looked up on by other countries. As Machiavelli suggests, out military is always well disciplined and ready for war. The duties of a prince and the duties of the leaders in the military do not have many differences, and the information Machiavelli shares of the prince’s military matters is proven beneficial to our leaders today. Lao-tzu and Machiavelli have completely different views when dealing with people. Lao-tzu says, “Trust them; and leave them alone” (75 6), following this would make people fell neglected. While Machiavelli does not have much trust in his people, he at least cares for and listens to their problems and tries to help. “Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him” (27), Lao-tzu believes if he thinks he is great then the world will just accepts his greatness. However, today, we are judged on what the world thinks of us not on what we think of ourselves. When Machiavelli says, “I say the all men, when they are spoken of, and particularly princes, since they are placed on a higher level, are judged by some of these qualities which bring them either blame or praise” (42), people are reminded of the same way we put our leaders on pedestals and judge them. Our leaders are judged on the praiseworthy things they have done in their past as well as the blame. Those leaders with more blame never become our leaders, and it proves the judgment we give them. Machiavelli presents a more down-to-earth way of dealing with people than Lao-tzu. When it comes to being a loved or feared leader, Lao-tzu and Machiavelli are complete opposites. “Best is a leader who is loved. / Next, one who is feared. / the worst one who is despised” (17 3-5), Lao-tzu believes the best leader is loved while Machiavelli believes the best leader is feared. Throughout history there are examples of people who adored their leaders and those who lived in terror. More often