Volume 51, 2008
The relationship between mankind and nature is a precarious one at best; at once seemingly irreconcilable and yet there is still certain interdependency. In discussing this relationship we need not merely touch upon modern science or environmentalism as the ancient Chinese thinker Lao-tzu had something to say on the matter in the pre-Qin period of Chinese history. But Lao-tzu writes not merely about the relationship between mankind and its environment, taking the
term ‘nature’ in a much broader sense. I would like to discuss Lao-tzu’s idea of nature from the evolution of the meaning of the term, the relationship between mankind and nature and one of establishment and co-existence. This paper will consider how mankind and nature have an interdependent coexistence
that often turns into contradictory and at times conflicting circumstances. It will divide the relationship between mankind and nature into three categories, namely
“mankind and natural conscience,” “mankind and other objects” and “mankind and the natural environment” an pose questions as to how to use Lao-tzi’s thought to establish a “coexistence” between mankind and nature.