Despite humanity’s technological developments and will to progress, we’re still utterly dependent on nature. Human effort has its limitations and is always in conjunction with nature. We cannot grow a plant, for example, completely isolated from natural growth, even though we can influence and manipulate it.
The reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, stated that the world governs itself. It doesn’t need our intervention. As Lao Tzu wrote: “When you arrive at non-action, nothing will be left undone.” End quote. This idea resembles the basic understanding of the paradoxical concept “wu-wei.”
But when we look for a definition of wu-wei, we quickly discover that there isn’t one fixed meaning.
Some translate wu-wei as “non-action,” or “doing nothing,” others as “actionless action,” and others as “effortless action.”
We find out that Taoism offers several layers, if you will, regarding how wu-wei can enhance our relationship with the world. And how this ancient art of “letting things happen” doesn’t necessarily make us passive, ignorant bystanders but can actually improve how we act, leading to better outcomes.
This video (Wu-wei | The Art of Letting Things Happen) serves as a humble attempt to make the depth of this philosophical idea clear and practical.