How Daoism Can Be for the World An Autobiographical Essay

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Ronnie Littlejohn


This essay is a brief story of one comparative philosopher’s journey that led to an understanding of  Daoism and how it can serve the world and not simply an indigenous Chinese minority community. In Daoist contemplative experience, the practitioner does not gain some suprarational knowledge, but he/she is changed by the practices in which he/she engages. The person is remade, becoming like an infant or a newborn (Daodejing 10, Zhuangzi 22).  The point is not that the experience leads to some new cognitive truth about the world but rather what the experience itself consists of; that is, transformation. The Daoist practitioner acts/moves in a certain sort of way (i.e., as wu-wei), not according to something he/she knows, but by means of something he/she has become.  Only a transformation of being can overcome the nature of humans to problematize life and tie themselves into knots.  Daoism is designed to heal the central challenge of the will, and that is the ultimate remedy Daoist practice offers to global humanity. The way of Daoism does not rely on transcendent power or sources but on a person’s own ability to transform himself/herself by following its practices.

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Littlejohn, R. (2023). How Daoism Can Be for the World: An Autobiographical Essay. Journal of World Philosophies, 8(1). Retrieved from
Intellectual Journeys