Steampunk has a lot in common with Tao thoughts. In Episode 9, Dr Sage finds the underlying thoughts of Taoism very similar to her quest for understanding of her own research. We thought we’d include this tidbit.
Night Patrol Chinese Steampunk by James Ng
Taoism (/ˈdaʊɪzəm/), also known as Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (道, literally “Way”, also romanized as Dao). The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is both the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order. Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei (effortless action), “naturalness”, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: jing (sperm/ovary energy, or the essence of the physical body), qi (“matter-energy” or “life force”, including the thoughts and emotions), and shén (spirit or generative power).
Laozi is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism and is closely associated in this context with “original” or “primordial” Taoism. Whether he actually existed is disputed; however, the work attributed to him – the Tao Te Ching – is dated to the late 4th century BCE.
Taoism draws its cosmological foundations from the School of Naturalists (in the form of its main elements – yin and yang and the Five Phases), which developed during the Warring States period (4th to 3rd centuries BC).
Taoist cosmology is cyclic; relativity, evolution and ‘extremes meet’ are main characters. It shares similar views with the School of Naturalists(Yinyang) which was headed by Zou Yan (305 – 240 BCE). The school’s tenets harmonized the concepts of the Wu Xing (Five Phases) and yin and yang. In this spirit, the universe is seen as being in a constant process of re-creating itself, as everything that exists is a mere aspect of qi, which, “condensed, becomes life; diluted, it is indefinite potential”. Qi is in a perpetual transformation between its condensed and diluted state. These two different states of qi, on the other hand, are embodiments of the abstract entities of yin and yang, two complementary extremes that constantly play against and with each other and cannot exist without the other.
Human beings are seen as a microcosm of the universe, and for example comprise the Wu Xing in form of the zang-fu organs. As a consequence, it is believed that deeper understanding of the universe can be achieved by understanding oneself.