|Lao-Tze (6th Century BC)|
(Chinese = the old master)
A legendary Chinese philosopher best known as the (reputed) author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of Taoism. Throughout history, he has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.
1. "The oldest known Chinese sage is Lao-Tze, the founder of Taoism. "Lao Tze" is not really a proper name, but means merely "the old philosopher." He was (according to tradition) an older contemporary of Confucius, and his philosophy is to my mind far more interesting. He held that every person, every animal, and every thing has a certain way or manner of behaving which is natural to him, or her, or it, and that we ought to conform to this way ourselves and encourage others to conform to it. "Tao" means "way," but used in a more or less mystical sense, as in the text: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." I think he fancied that death was due to departing from the "way," and that if we all lived strictly according to nature we should be immortal, like the heavenly bodies."
Bertrand Russell in The Problem of China (1922)
2. He is reckoned a contemporary of Confucius.