The Tao-te-Ching is a Taoist text also called the Lao Tzu.

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  1. “Post-Rational Leadership, Lao Tzu,
    and the Tao Te Ching”


    by Patrick Warneka and Timothy H. Warneka


    Lao Tzu, or Master Lao as we in the West would call him, was a Chinese sage who lived around 600 B.C.
    and whose life story has faded into semi-mythical status. As legend recounts, Master Lao, renowned for his
    wisdom, repeatedly refused to write any of his insights down, mistrusting the confinement of the written
    word. Toward the end of his life, saddened by people’s unwillingness to live in accordance with natural law,
    Master Lao decided to retreat into the wilderness. Heading toward what is now Tibet, Master Lao passed
    through one of the many gates in the Great Wall of China.
    A gatekeeper, Yin Xi by name, persuaded old
    Lao Tzu to record his teachings. The result was the 5000-character Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow Duh
    Jing)—one of the most important texts in human history. This book, the title of which translates roughly as
    “The Book of How Life Works,” is an instruction manual for living in accord with what Chinese philosophy
    calls Tao, the ultimate ground of being—the Eternal.

    In his wisdom, Master Lao understood something 2500 years ago that we in the West are only now just
    beginning to appreciate: that rational thinking is not the final stage of human development. While the Western world
    has long held rational thought to be the epitome of human development, new research is in agreement with
    Master Lao, pointing to other ways of thinking beyond (read: better than) rationality. Scientists are eagerly
    investigating these newly identified “post-rational” ways of knowledge, describing them by many names:
    contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber speaks of vision-logic; Malcolm Gladwell refers to “the power of
    thinking without thinking” with the adaptive unconscious; in the Emotional Intelligence literature the movement
    is categorized under several names. Indeed, this post-rational stage of knowing have been under
    observation for some years: Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and his Jungian followers call it intuition; the great
    martial artist Bruce Lee referred to this higher stage of awareness as “It”; and Zen masters throughout the
    ages simply use the term mushin (literally, no mind, as in, “beyond rational thought”). For interested readers,
    current research into post-rational ways of knowing can be found in Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling
    Blink; Gary Klein’s The Power of Intuition; Ken Wilber’s Sex, Ecology & Spirituality; and Goleman, Boyatzis &
    McKee’s Primal Leadership, among others. For an actual experience of post-rational development, practice
    Aikido, or Yoga, or T’ai Chi, or meditation, or a similar bodymind practice for five to ten years … or more.

    Post-rational awareness is beyond words: paradoxical, mysterious and powerful. If post-rationality
    could be easily conveyed in words, there would be no need for the strict meditative practices of Zen, for the
    sweat and exertion of Aikido or Yoga or countless other body-centered practices. Written over 2500 years
    ago, the Tao Te Ching is one of the earliest recorded attempts to describe this post-rational way of living in
    harmony with the world. Wisely, Master Lao understood that, where prose fails, poetry succeeds. While
    prose is unable to fully capture these post-rational developmental levels, poetry’s strength emerges by not
    even trying. By allowing space for metaphors to expand, poetry taps into the wisdom of post-rationality in
    ways that allow our rational minds to glimpse that higher level of knowing. Since Master Lao wrote most of
    the Tao Te Ching in poetry, the present authors have tried to stay true to his legacy.

    Today, more than ever, leaders need the wisdom of Lao Tzu. Master Lao recognized the importance of
    personal transformation for leaders. Simply reading new material or being exposed to new ideas is not enough
    for today’s leaders. In order to be successful in today’s global economy, leaders must have the courage to
    change—to step forward into the post-rational realm, thereby becoming better leaders … and better people.
    The human race is at a crucial crossroads, and nothing else will suffice in today’s world.


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