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Wu-wei is a Taoist term. It literally means “doing nothing.” Yet, there is also Taoist saying: “Doing nothing, but everything is accomplished.”

Some Christians who believe that God created the world are into the “intelligent design” theory. They look at the complexity of living organisms and infer that there must be an intelligent being behind all these phenomena. I am a Taoist, not a Christian. Eastern philosophy has no supposition of a personal or anthropomorphic God. Brahman is not a person. The Tao is not a person. I have been pondering what kind of intelligence the Tao has. But based on the notion that the Tao operates by wu-wei, I can only conclude that the Tao has NO intelligence and it does not do or design anything.

This Taoist philosophy is consistent with evolution theory. British biologist, Richard Dawkins, wrote a book titled The Blind Watchmaker. I love that title. I consider this book his best one. The idea is that living organisms evolve from the very simple ones to highly complex ones, simply through natural selection. The organisms adapt themselves to the environment they are living in, very slowly and blindly. There is no design involved. The life forms that do not adapt well to the environment simply die out.

Thus, the myriad living organisms evolve through the process of natural selection. There is no intelligence required. It is random trial-and-error. Yet, if we look at a living organism or an organ closely, we cannot help but be amazed at the level of complexity. Thus, nature (or the Tao) is a blind watchmaker. It does nothing and designs nothing. It has no mind, no intelligence. It works through a process which is simple and blind. Yet, through this mindless process, the myriad living creatures with profound complexity are created.

This is the way of the Tao. There is no mind and no intelligence. The Tao is silent, clumsy and dumb. But such state of “no intelligence” is perhaps the highest intelligence! It is a paradox that baffles the modern mind.

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