Taoism’s Aimlessness vs Western Purpose

In the West there is an emphasis on purpose and the need for purpose to fulfill our so-called empty lives. But this perspective is diametrically opposed to the essential teaching of wu-wei in Taoism. In the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi there is a focus on aimlessness as a method for creating healthy and sane individuals. Purpose, on the other hand, is thought of as a blind alley that can lead to all sorts of psychological problems from the Taoist perspective. In this episode of Ask Jason, I will answer a few questions about whether or not purpose can fit into the art of wu-wei (effortless living/non-doing/non-interference) and whether or not we should have a goal or goals in life and on the spiritual path.

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  1. Delia Webster - April 14, 2021

    I just watched this video and what an epiphany! I have been so plagued with guilt and shame about my “purposeless” existence. 58 years old, never married, no children, unsuccessful career, etc. I felt like the very air I breathed was a waste of oxygen that could support someone more “useful”. I don’t have to have a purpose! How liberating!!! THANK YOU!

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