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Abortion and Lao Tzu’s Philosophy in Taoism: a Critique Essay

Taoism was founded by Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism. Lao Tzu believes that Tao is the Way which means that it is the Way of the ultimate reality; it is the Way of the universe; and it is the Way of human existence. Tao as the Way of the ultimate reality, can never be comprehended, described, perceived nor expressed. It can’t be comprehended by any mind. It can’t simply be described by mere words. It can never be perceived by any of our senses. Tao is the cause or the source of everything that exists.

() Tao is too great to be spoken about that only those who really understand would not speak of it and that those who have talked about have not really grasped the true meaning of it. Tao as the Way of the ultimate universe is revealed in nature for it is beyond of our control. Nature has its own way that no one would be able to control its progressive move to change. According to Lao Tzu, the law of reversion is the fundamental law of change.

This law implies that if there is a highest point there would also be a lowest point and vice versa just like if there is a beginning there will be an end or every ending has a new beginning. This law justifies that Tao has a “reversing movement” Lao Tzu further elaborates this reversing power through Yin and Yang, two opposing principle. Yin indicates darkness, femininity, and coldness while Yang indicates lightness, masculinity and hotness. These opposing forces could not attract each other without the help of the reversing movement of Tao.

Therefore this lead to Lao Tzu to say that the Tao produces the one, that the one produces the two, and that the two produces the three. This means that the one is the Tao, the two is Tao and Yin, and the three is Tao, Yin, and Yang. (1) Tao as the Way of the human existence, Tao requires man to harmonize with nature. This is through practicing wu-wei-wu. This means “non-doing” or “do nothing” or in our modern expression “go with the flow”. But this meaning does not simply mean doing nothing it only implies to not intervene with nature’s own course.

Through this practice of wu-wei-wu, man can harmonize with nature. However there are instances that people misinterpret the true definition of wu-wei-wu which is “doing nothing” and instead of harmonizing with nature it could lead to destruction of that harmony. Therefore people should further understand that you could actually do something but making sure not to disrupt nature’s natural course. In our world today, the application of Lao Tzu’s doctrine of Tao would be difficult since man has done much of overdoing that have lead to the destruction of nature.

Man has succumbed to his obsession of trying to defy nature’s course of action especially in the field of science and technology. For instance, cloning, sperm implantation, sex change, and artificial contraception such as birth control pills and IUD. Therefore to summarize everything, Lao Tzu simply teaches that in Taoism man should learn to be one with nature and follow its course through the full understanding of Yin and Yang and its relation to Tao’s reversing movement and by practicing wu-wei-wu. ABORTION What is abortion?

According to the dictionary, it is the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus. It can happen spontaneously or induced by human intervention. A spontaneous abortion or simply known as miscarriage occurs when a pregnant woman would experience some complications during her pregnancy. It could also happen possibly because of natural causes, accidents that may have caused a severe trauma to the abdomen or sometimes because of environmental factors. Miscarriages usually happen during the early stages of pregnancy and sometimes without the awareness of the mother.

The risk for spontaneous abortion decreases after the 10th week from the last menstrual period. ()( ) An induced abortion is the type of abortion that we now simply call abortion. This is the type of abortion wherein there is already human intervention. This could be done in various ways depending on the gestational age of the embryo or fetus. There is therapeutic abortion which is done in order to save the life of the mother or to prevent any physical or mental risks.

Also elective abortion which is done at the request of a woman for reasons other than maternal health or fatal disease. () However the type of abortion I am referring to as a social problem is the type where a woman chooses to terminate her own pregnancy simply because she doesn’t want the baby. It can’t be denied that there some people that would engage in something without even knowing the possible result of such action and if they are not prepared to face that consequence they would simply turn to this option, abortion.

Abortion is the most convenient choice for those people who are not prepared or who don’t want to have a child for their own certain reasons. They refused to accept the responsibility they need to accomplish. Abortions have become prevalent in our country today as evidenced by news reports about embryos or fetuses found together with the garbage, street alleys and sometimes even comfort rooms. There are many different ways that could be chosen to make such deed possible. An example would be the use of pharmaceutical drugs that are dangerous to the baby causing it to be aborted.

Others could also purposely apply trauma to their abdomen disrupting the grip of the baby in the mother’s womb. Sometimes some would also prefer having the baby to be surgically removed from the uterus. The cause of these abortions is mainly centered on fear resulting to not accepting the pregnancy. Fear of the responsibility of having a child especially in terms of financial needs. Fear of what their parents or other people would say especially if they are not married. Fear to experience the hardships brought by 9 months of pregnancy and fear of the pain when giving birth.

Sometimes the cause could also be anger or hatred because the child is the fruit of a horrific experience such as rape or maybe because hatred towards the father of the child. ABORTION AND LAO TZU’S PHILOSOPHY IN TAOISM: A CRITIQUE What is the relation of abortion with Lao Tzu’s Taoism? It’s simple. Lao Tzu’s teachings about Taoism is that it requires man to be in harmony with nature, to understand the concept of yin and yang and to let the course of nature continue and not interfere and abortion contradicts that teaching.

Abortion, as I have observed, has become a common practice and mostly because some people simply could not accept the great responsibility that would lie ahead if they chose to continue the pregnancy. Some perceived it as a problem especially for teenagers who have engaged in premarital sex and are not yet prepared to face such responsibility. However if they’ve only seen in a different light just like Lao Tzu’s Taoism and its concept of yin and yang in relation to the Tao’s reversing Movement. In Taoism, the Tao as the Way of the ultimate universe have established that the fundamental law of change is the law of reversion.

Therefore if you think that being pregnant is a punishment for something you were not supposed to do then it could also be a blessing that you should accept and be thankful for and not just merely end what is supposed to be a gift of life. Abortion should not be a choice unless the reason is for the welfare of the mother. This also brings us to the concept of yin and yang and the reversing movement of Tao. As stated before, Tao produces the one, the one produces the two, and the two produces the three and that the one refers to Tao, the two refers to Tao and yin and lastly the three refers to Tao, yin and yang.

To translate this in relation to my problem, the Tao as the God in Taoism sometimes gives people a time of hardship for them to mature and this certain hardship which is unwanted pregnancy is yin. However if these two would be combined or connected in a certain way then maybe in time those people would be able to surpassed such hardship and continued the pregnancy amidst the possible difficulties ahead then they would feel a sense of fulfillment which is the yang.

Now if only most people who have unwanted pregnancy would try to further understand their situation and let nature simply have its way and not turn to abortion as a solution then most would have enjoyed the joy of having such a beautiful blessing which is having a child. As for the concept of wu-wei-wu in Taoism which entails that man should do nothing to interfere with nature’s own course, abortion directly contradicts the idea because last time I checked being pregnant is only a natural response of a certain deed done by two people with opposite sex.

Choosing to abort and terminate pregnancy disrupts nature’s way. It interferes with what is supposed to be natural. All and all, abortion contradicts Taoism because it would break the harmony of man with nature. Therefore to avoid such, we should simply accept what was supposed to be an expected result our action. We need to perceive our problems in a different light and try to solve it by doing what is right and not by choosing the fastest solution available.

For people who have unwanted pregnancy, there are other options that could be considered other than abortion such as adoption. If their only fear is that they can’t handle the responsibility of being a parent then they could always try finding couples who wants to adopt at least with this option they did not only gave the baby a chance to live they have also given other people a chance to experience the joy of parenthood and with this option the harmony between man and nature could still be maintained. ().

——————————————– [ 2 ]. Eddie R. Babor, The Human Person: Not Real, But Existing, 2nd ed. Quezon City: C & E Publishing, 2007 [ 3 ]. ^ a b “Q&A: Miscarriage”. BBC. 2002-08-06. http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/health/2176898. stm. Retrieved 2009-04-07 [ 4 ]. ^ Nilsson, Lennart; Lars Hamberger (1990) [1965]. A child is born. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 91. ISBN 0-385-40085-3. OCLC 21412111 [ 5 ]. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, (2007), Vol 26, p. 674. [ 6 ]. Taryn Hodgson, Joy! Magazine, May ed. (Volume 16, Issue 3).


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