Two of the known Daoists philosophers are Lao Zi and Yang Chu. They have been very influential when it comes to Daoism as they have been said to be the leading proponents of the said school of thought. Daoism has been said to be a Chinese school of thought or a philosophy that have risen during the Period of Warring States in the history of Ancient China wherein it has been known to be a period of turmoil and chaos, people have tried to look of peace and solutions.
The research material that have been gathered through for this particular paper only shows a similarity in the concept or philosophy of Lao Zi, who has been known to be the founder of the school of thought of Daoism and Yang Chu, who has been known to have come as a philosopher of Daoism during the second phase of its growth. The similarity of both philosophers can be seen in the concept where they have both discussed and dwelled on the Importance of Self.
Yang Chu has philosophized on the idea that the word should not be altered nor should the integrity of one’s body be harmed. (Daoism). He looked at life as a totality and not fragmented. According to him, an incomplete person yields no complete happiness. (Co, 1992) He further added that external possessions are replaceable while the body is not. (Co, 1992) This has made him to be known as the Daoist philosopher who preached on the doctrine Everyone for himself. (Co, 1992) While he focused more on the self, he also introduced the utilitarian concept of pleasure.
Deriving from his belief of everyone for himself, he has dwelled on the notion that the true goal of man is the attainment of pleasure. Accordingly, what the will wishes to achieve is freedom and leisure and if these are denied, then one’s nature is restricted. He has further dwelled on this by giving examples of what is Natural and Unnatural in the desires of man. Lao Zi’s concept on the Importance of Self can actually be read through his discourses / writings in the book entitled Ch’un-Ch’iu.
Since he has been the founder of Daoism, a lot of writings and books that showed and discussed on The Way, The Dao, etc. has been attributed to him. In the said book, he says our life is our own possession and its benefit to us is very great. (Villaba, 1996) He further discusses and puts a demarcation on how important our life is by comparing it saying, when it comes to dignity, the norm of being an emperor could not compare with it; on importance, the wealth of possessing the world could not be exchanged for it; on safety, one who lose it could never bring it back.
(Villaba, 1996) How important is the Self according to Lao Zi, simply putting it, it is valued and given importance more than what we may actually think of. Looking at the philosophy of the two philosophers, the writer can actually say that both are similar when it comes to the school of thought that they have grown into, both of them believed in the eternal Dao, The Unnamed, etc. but if we were to go deeper into their actual philosophical treatise or theories, we would find that in a point, there has been a departure or a slight difference.
Yang Chu being part of the Daoist philosophers who appeared in the middle phase or second phase has started giving importance on pleasure as the measure of self importance and to deny one’s pleasure would be going against what it natural, the Dao. Lao Zi’s thought and concept of the self, however dwells on comparing the self with values, as we all know, prior to the rising of Daoism as a school of thought in China, many have been aware of the Confucian teaching that stressed more on value ethics, morals, and norms. Daoism became a school of thought because of the fact that some of which did not conform with nature / Dao.