Lao Tzu based his foundation on a completely different gestalt. Had we understood his concept we would create an entirely new world! He says, “You are not a separate entity. Then where is the question of enmity?”
You are not an individual. You appear so only because you have no idea of the aggregate. The fact is, wherever there is the individual, he is connected to the aggregate whole. The individual cannot exist without the total aggregate. You are because everything else is. The tree at your gate is also a part of the reason for your existence.
I heard a story about Lao Tzu: One day one of his disciples was sent by someone to break a few leaves from a tree. He broke a full branch and was taking it when Lao Tzu stopped him. “Don’t you know you fool,” he told the disciple, “If any part of this tree is destroyed, you too become less to that extent? When this tree stood before us, full and green, we too in a manner, were full and green. Today, its wound has caused a scar within us also. We are not apart, we are one.”
Lao Tzu objected to a single branch being broken from the tree, but we have destroyed full jungles! Now we realise it was a terrible mistake. We had cut off the jungles because we thought them to be our foes. Man was afraid of the wildlife they harboured and so destroyed them and built townships. He did not realise that all the rains that poured on his land, all the breeze that blew and cooled the land cannot be without the jungles! If we cut down the jungles our towns will be no more.
Now, there is a stir against the cutting of trees. It is a crime to break a single leaf for man will fall with the extinction of trees. Lao Tzu said 2,500 years ago that when a tree is denied of a single branch, we too are lessened somewhat, within ourselves. The tree is very much a part of us, a part of existence. It is just as if we were to remove a part of a painting from the main work. It would not then be the same. One single stroke of the brush can change a whole picture. A slight digression changes the total from and hence, all the following connections.