wu-wei

wu-wei

[woo-wey]
noun
(in philosophical Taoism) action accomplishing its purpose in accordance with the natures of things and events.
Compare yu-wei.


Origin:
< Chinese wúwéi literally, without action

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To wu-wei
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

wu-wei

(Chinese: "nonaction"), in Chinese Taoism, the principle of yielding to others as the most effective response to the problems of human existence. Wu-wei does not mean total passivity. Rather, it is natural, nonaggressive behaviour that compels others (through shame, if for no other reason) to desist voluntarily from violence or overly aggressive conduct. Taoism, therefore, is not indifferent to violence, for it counters violence in its own paradoxical way. Ideally, Taoists do not argue or debate. They rely on proper timing to set forth what they believe to be true, and they speak out against unseemly conduct only when their words are likely to be heeded. Taoists view laws and controls as undesirable repressions of human nature. For them a society with the fewest controls governs itself best. Wu-wei is thus regarded as the secret to human happiness, for through "nonaction" all things can be accomplished.

Learn more about wu-wei with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;