The paper has tried to analyse ‘negativeness’ in Tao Te Ching and Rousseau's Social Contract in order to examine the validity and consistency of negative education apprehended by the Western progressivism and Taoism by Rousseau and Lao-Tzu respectively.
In Social Contract, the natural state as an ideal eventually comprises some forceable state as one kind of positiveness. The idea of nature links to concepts like natural growth, interest, needs and so on which are all regarded as ideal, which are ones to apprehend the negative concepts. However the progressive concepts paradoxically bring us to the positive one including positive liberty, the state intervention, corrective conception of justice and so on.
In Tao Te Ching, however, we never fail to note three points as follows. First its concept of child as an ideal is quite different from the Western progressivism and then cannot be seen as a state of an absolute goodness both in the present and the future forms of it.
Second, the negativeness has been established in terms of the reflective operation of thinking, not identical with the Western reflection. This leads to us the spirit of humility and the like. Third, this can provide us with some practical diagnosis in the educational context and situations.
Despite its merits, the Western progressive account of ‘natural state’ as an ideal constitutes the paradoxes that negativeness leads to positiveness including ‘forced to be free’ and the like. On the contrary, Tao Te Ching takes us not only to emphasize some negative states but to make use of certain practical guides. The former is, as I dub, a paradox of progressivism, but the latter an irony of negativeness.
Conclusively the paper suggests that in the educational situation the negative principle is to apply to the common aspect like the social engineering, but the positive principle is to apply to the personal aspect like discipline and training for the respect for law and order.
This can be seen the only way to escape from the self-defeating paradox arising from the progressive negativeness.