Taoism and Contemporary Environmental Literature Page: 55
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clever debating as a substitute for wisdom. For Lao Tzu, true knowledge is not the
analytical study of facts or logical argumentation, but the intuitive synthesis of facts
based on experience and Tao.
Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good
words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good. He who knows
has no wide learning; he who has wide learning does not know.56
The Simple Life in Deep Ecology Literature
Arne Naess's Deep Ecology platform and accompanying list of attitudes
emphasize many elements of "the simple life." These goals include the following:
1. Use of simple means to reach an end or goal-avoid unnecessary or
2. Appreciation of accessible and plentiful goods
3. Absence of "novophilia"-the love of what is merely new-cherish old and
4. Depth and richness of experience instead of intensity
5. Cultivating life in a community rather than a larger society
6. Participation in primary production of goods
7. Satisfaction of vital needs rather than desires.
9. Reduction in population
10. Anti-consumerism and minimization of possessions.57
There is a striking similarity between Naess's list and the idealized lifestyle promoted by
Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. Whereas Lao Tzu says to "reduce the size and population of
the state"58 Naess states, "Deeper positions opt for a population sufficient to sustain
cultural, economic and other activities, and diversity.... All that is sought is a large
enough population to provide sufficient variety in significant respects, but not excess."59
Contrary to some interpretations, Naess does not advocate the "culling" or mass
56 Ibid., p. 143.
Naess, "Deep Ecology and Lifestyle," pp. 259-60.
58 Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching, p. 142.
59 Naess from Sylvan and Bennett, Greening of Ethics, p. 118.
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Kane, Virginia M. Taoism and Contemporary Environmental Literature, thesis, December 2001; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3047/m1/64/: accessed March 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .