We have presented a basic theory of Tao philosophy in terms of the Principle of Oneness and the Process of Actualization. We show that the usual paradoxes appear only when such Oneness is not observed. Paradoxes represent the limitations of our language to describe Oneness in classical terms. Our two-level model may help construct a self-consistent Tao philosophical system, which is free from paradoxes and contradictions. The formulation has wide range applications. We would like to discuss a few observations.
The nature of Oneness is transcendental, so we have adopted a �scientific� model to simplify our description of the Oneness state. The advantage of a model is to enhance our conceptual understanding, by overcoming the limitations of our classical language. The reality of Tao is revealed in the transcendental actual states, which are not directly observable in the classical sense. We can, however, reconstruct the reality as superposition of our classical observations. We can also check the relationships among the concepts in Tao philosophy within a consistent framework. For example, the transmutation between Yu and Wu appears naturally in the probability density of actual states. A model can also make comparison with other philosophies more systematic.
Our model is based along a rudimentary quantum field theory, which can provide a base framework for a consistent interpretation of the key concepts in Tao philosophy. For example, there should be a law of interaction in the field. We may identify the Harmonious Chi 和氣 that preserves Oneness of all phenomena in Tao. This Chi should determine the law of interactions in the Tao field. Therefore, we identify this law of interaction with Te 德or Li 理[WA04]. We have also shown that Chi derives its symmetry from Yin-Yang interplay, which is preserved in the symmetry exhibited in Te. The relationship among Tao, Te, and Li was also discussed in [CH05].
The principle of Oneness is also an essential theme of Kung Fu practice, which represents a process of actualization. As long as one can maintain harmony in a domain, one can function without effort in that domain. If we take the levels of actualization to be the Kung Fu ranking levels of belts, each practitioner will be completely competent within his rank. A competitor will win by tripping the opponent into a level beyond his competence.
Our theory is a more general application of Tao principle in our pursuit of harmony and truth. The domain and states used in our formulation appear to be similar to the general philosophical structure discussed by Prof. Duh [DU99].
Our discussions show that there is a dynamic Tao philosophy 動態的道; at the same time, there is an eternal and unchanging Tao 恒道. When we approach Tao from the classical Yu states, the states will first appear dynamic with residual interactions. When we move closer and closer to the final actual states, the states are more actualized and appear less and less changing. We may repeat the actualization process until all interactions are taken into account and we have ultimate harmony.
When we reach the ultimate Oneness state, there is no residual interaction and Tao would appear absolute, eternal, and static恒道。Nevertheless, along the journey of seeking Tao, Tao will always appear as a Dynamic Tao 非恒道。The dynamic and static nature of Tao appears naturally. For all practical purposes, Tao is dynamic. However, both static and dynamic natures of Tao are real [XU03].
Laotzu� two ways of seeking Tao, Wu and Yu, may be called the Doctrine of Two Truths �二締論 in Tao. Either way of inquiry will inevitably lead to the same truth. This is similar to Chuangtzu�s �Two Ways兩行。� This Doctrine of Two Truths is also reflected in Greek philosophy. In the basic Indian Vedanta �tradition, the Ultimate Truth is Nirguna Brahman, which is without any attributes. All personal forms of truth are Saguna Brahman, which has attributes. In Buddhism, it is important to recognize that Nagarjuna 龍樹 has declared that all designations of the �classical states�, alone, are illusions in his Madyamaka Middle Way philosophy 中論。In Confucianism , we may see a very similar philosophy in the Doctrine of the Mean 中庸。 There are also other Chinese philosophers, notably Chu-hsi朱熹, Cheng Suen-ying 成玄英, and Wang Fuzhi王夫之 , who view Yu-Wu as a dynamic process and recognized that everything has both Yu and Wu in a mutual transmutation.
These two ways are also embedded in Western philosophy. In general, the world emerges from the subjects in the Way of Yu, (as in Kant) and the subjects emerge from the world in the way of Wu (as in Whitehead).
Our analysis shows that Tao philosophy and quantum theory, at the conceptual level, adopt a similar way to describe reality. The reality has symmetry and obeys the least action principle. Symmetry, as in the Principle of Oneness, is basic to all scientific investigations. The methodology, as the Process of Actualization, is also common in science and philosophy. Such similarity may be an indication of a basic common truth.
There is a potential confusion in our discussion of reality in science and philosophy. In general, scientists consider a classical state as �reality� in the physical world and philosophers consider an actual state as the only reality. Our formulation provides a view that both states are real within Oneness. For most situations, we may characterize the way of science as the Way of Yu and the way of fundamental philosophy is the Way of Wu. Both scientists and philosophers share the same goal in their ways of actualization.
The duality concept is shared in Tao and quantum theory. Heisenberg commented on wave-particle duality, saying, �the two mental pictures which experiments lead us to form are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies which are accurate only in limiting cases� [HE29]. He also commented that it is very difficult to modify our language, and so to overcome the limitations of our language, it is necessary to use mathematics.
There is a natural synergy in science and philosophy. The interplay of scientific concepts and philosophical discourses is not new [JE81]. Success of Newtonian mechanics has inspired much great philosophical thinking. In fact, science and philosophy often paves new ways to overcome the limitations of our direct experiences. The quantum approach will certainly extend our understanding of many human inquiries into philosophy, body and mind, psychology, etc. as shown by Capra [CA00], Bohm [BO80], Goswami [GO98], Zohar [ZO90], etc. Elaborate extrapolation of quantum effects to Tao philosophy is probably not warranted, but there is a correlation between common principles in Tao and sciences.
It is also interesting to see that some usual philosophical golden rules need to be revisited. The actual states have the characteristic of the entangled states with both opposing characteristics, so the law of excluded middle is not directly applicable. In addition, the apparent classical contradictions exist naturally in the Oneness state, so the usual law of contradiction needs to be reformatted. Moreover, paradoxes can now be analyzed systematically and shown to appear only when the Principle of Oneness is violated.
Our formulation provides a framework to consolidate appearances and reality. It shows that manifested appearances and intrinsic realities exist concurrently in a symmetric way. This may lead to a Metaphysics, where there is no external reality ontologically prior to and separate from the appearances. Our reality and appearances exist at the same time and for the same thing. Our analysis also shows some similarities to ancient Greek philosophy, especially the relationship between Parmenides and Heraclites.� We have not yet explored all the implications of this theory, but it may help us bring East and West, science and philosophy, into a closer state of harmony by forcing us to rethinking some fundamental notions. More investigations along this line may be a small step toward a more unified philosophical framework.