Is there a philosophy of responsibility in terms of complacency


I was wondering, and I'm especially interested in either contemporary philosophers or critical theorists, if there was a (I assume existentialist) philosophy of complacency.


  • I am doing everything I can


Posted 2016-04-12T07:43:57.717




Well there is a philosophy that preaches the usefulness of complacency. A Taoist would be someone who sees value in being complacent for sure.

A well versed Taoist Lao Tzu is quoted saying "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

This is because the Taoist is constantly training their mind to appreciate simplicity. To study nature and how it works and apply that to everything you do in search of a life without worry but in the peace of knowing that being a product of nature everything we are meant to accomplish will be done in time. Not to say that they are smug or anything more that they are confident that what is necessary to be already is and what is not to be should not be pursued.

Complacent is defined by the Cambridge online dictionary as "Feeling so ​satisfied with ​your own ​abilities or ​situation that you ​feel you do not need to ​try any ​harder."

The Taoist moves like water around obstacles and those that intently restrict their flow are not knocked down rather weathered by their consistent flow. Complacency can be a tool of consistency and that is the strength of the philosophy.

As far as responsibility this would not often relate to a Taoist because Taoists don't often make committed ties to society in such a way. They often live more solitary lives so a position of leadership or obligation would be very abnormal rather a Taoist would be thought of as an eternal student of "The Way" this meaning that if you came to a Taoist they would usually be asked to explain their outlook on something or to help a group effectively accomplish a task that otherwise seemed absurd or in some way impossible. In this way a Taoist would not really feel burdened by a sense of inaction in the face of choice rather if he chose correct, wrong, or not at all he would be satisfied that so long as he follows The Way then the Taoist has no regrets just as water only flows looking onward.


Posted 2016-04-12T07:43:57.717

Reputation: 49

great answer thanks. i have a 2nd hand copy of the tao ching i didn't really start – None – 2016-04-12T12:17:20.350

primo read I would definitely recommend =3 – CooLeeo – 2016-04-12T12:23:53.600

ha, i heard that! obviously a really important tradition, but i'm not sure i'd see the appeal of something which says that feelings (which seem pretty transient) are self sufficient, even as guides for (non) action? – None – 2016-04-12T12:49:49.833

i think it depends, for me, whether the complacency is with the self or its action. whatever really, i don't mean to go on.. – None – 2016-04-12T13:07:50.477

1Okay I get that, I'm not really a specialist but I don't really see feelings being a huge motivating actor in the taoist ideology. Hope you find the right solution for you though man! – CooLeeo – 2016-04-12T13:22:48.903

ah i don't need a specialist !! not that kind hah. – None – 2016-04-12T13:31:52.287

I would agree. Taoist motivation is not about feelings, it is about being rather than doing, and letting the natural result of being the way you are, actually happen. To my mind, it is closely tied up with escaping or ignoring Dasein in the Existentialist tradition. To the degree that feelings are themselves Dasein -- states of being of which we are pointlessly conscious and about which we try to do something or for the sake of which we wish to do something -- one could claim perfect Taoism does not involve them. – None – 2016-04-14T18:15:59.957

Yes, I can't imagine explaining that to someone but yes it's about who you are, naturally reacting to the world in the way the natural you inevitably reacts to that not about you receiving input consciously dissecting it and identifying how you feel then responding. But these are kinda semantics to the question at hand xD – CooLeeo – 2016-04-14T20:18:36.033