Teotl vs. Tao: Comparing Tlamatinime and Taoist Thought

Richard Wu

Today, academic scholars and the general public primarily remember the Aztecs for their bloody human sacrifices, towering pyramid temples, and glittering gold wealth. However, lesser-known about the Mexica (Aztecs) is their rich tradition of philosophy, which flourished in isolation from its Old World counterparts. This research paper examines Mexica philosophy, drawing comparisons to another similar school of thought: Taoism in ancient China. Though separated by thousands of miles, Aztec thinkers in Mesoamerica and Taoist sages in China both independently arrived at the idea that the universe exists as a dialectical monism (a unified whole manifested through opposing forces). To the Mexica, the universe was in- fused with Teotl, a divine life-force analogous to the notion of Tao in Taoism. Like the Taoist conception of opposing-yet-interconnected yin and yang forces, Teotl was seen as a unified, interdependent duality. This common perception of the universe’s existence as a dialectical monism prompted both Mexica and Taoist philosophers to ponder the question: How should people live in a world permeated by duality? Interestingly, the two different philosophies reached the same conclusion: a moral, virtuous life is a life of balance. Thus, for Aztecs and Taoists alike, philosophy was not solely confined to the realm of intellectual inquiry; rather, philosophy became an integral part of everyday life.

When Spanish conquistadors arrived at the Mexica (Aztec) capital of Tenochtitlan in 1519, they were astounded to encounter one of the world’s largest cities of the period. In fact, Tenochtitlan’s canals, markets, gardens, and temples so impressed the Spaniards that the conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo would later compare the Mexica capital city to an enchanting dream (1).

However, within the next two years, this enchanting dream would be destroyed, both physically and ideologically. The Spanish razed Tenochtitlan to the ground during their conquest of Mexico, covering the ruins of Aztec buildings with what would become Mexico City. Accompanying the conquest was the substantial destruction of Mexica cultural heritage—zealous Spanish clergy members replaced Aztec gods with Jesus and the Virgin Mary, ended the use of the Mesoamerican calendar, and burned countless codices. Further, the Spanish conquest erased another essential facet of Mexica culture: the Aztec school of philosophy. Mexica philosophers, called tlamatinime (literally ‘knowers of things’ in the Aztec language, Nahuatl), developed a rich intellectual tradition in complete isolation from Pythagoreanism in Greece, Confucianism in China, or any other philosophy of the Old World (2). In regards to philosophy at large, much of Western academia has historically dismissed non-Western philosophical inquiry, including Mexica thought. However, newer works of the past few decades—such as Ben-Ami Scharfstein’s paper “The Western Blindness to Non-Western Philosophies”—argue against this Euro- centric view of philosophy, validating the rich history of philosophical engagement in non-Western cultures (3). In this context of wider philosophical discussion, this work intends to shed light on a topic that has received relatively little academic attention, thereby adding to recognition of non-Western thought. This paper seeks to compare and contrast Mexica tlamatinime thought with another non-Western school of philosophy: Taoism in ancient China. The first half of this paper examines the historical context, metaphysics, ethics, and societal implications of Aztec philosophy. The second half includes a comparative examination of Taoism and its historical context, metaphysics, ethics, and societal implications. Though seemingly irrelevant to one another, these two philosophies share many similar ideas regarding metaphysics and ethics––notably, the concept of the universe as a dialectical polar monism, as well as an emphasis on balance. Despite the ideological resemblance, however, these philosophies also developed within different sociopolitical contexts, leading the tlamatinime and the Taoists to diverge in their views on the applications of philosophy.

I. Aztec Philosophy Note: Though the Spanish destroyed most of the pre-Columbian Aztec codices following the conquest of Mexico, many post-conquest era documents from both native and Spanish sources exist today. In addition, poems composed prior to the conquest survived through oral transmission. From these remaining sources and archaeological studies, scholars can glean an understanding of Mexica thought today.

A. Origins and Context of Aztec Philosophy Although Aztec philosophy may have had precedents in the earlier Teotihuacano or Toltec civilizations, the scarcity of written documents from these older civilizations precludes historiographic study of pre-Mexica thought in central Mexico. However, philosophical inquiry blossomed in Mesoamerica by the time of the Aztecs. In his book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, historian and writer Charles C. Mann references many surviving Nahuatl manuscripts that describe Mexica tlamatinime meetings in cities like Tenochtitlan (4). The fact that the tlamatinime frequently met for intellectual exchanges and discussions indicates that the Aztecs already had a flourishing philosophical tradition prior to the Spaniards’ arrival. Interestingly, this philosophical tradition emerged from the Aztecs’ obsession with a central problem: the transience of existence. Mortality and impermanence permeated many aspects of Mexica culture, from religion to society to intellectual thought. In religion, human sacrifices sought to prolong the universe’s existence by sustaining the gods with human blood (5). In everyday society, annual death celebrations—which have survived to this day in the form of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities—reminded all of the inevitability of mortality (6). Finally, in intellectual circles, the tlamatinime grappled with the philosophical implications of life in a transitory world (7). A poem ascribed to Nezahualcoyotl, a tlamatini (the singular of tlamatinime) and tlatoani (ruler) of Texcoco, serves as a memento mori in its contemplation on the ephemeral nature of existence:

I, Nezahualcoyotl, ask this:

Do we truly live on earth?

Not forever here, only a little while.

Even jade breaks,

golden things fall apart, precious feathers fade;

not forever on earth,

only a moment here (8).

The question presented at the beginning of Nezahualcoyotl’s poem is one that Mexica thinkers contemplated: “Do we truly live on earth?” (9). When analyzing this question, the words ‘truly’ and ‘earth’ should be emphasized for their nuances in the Nahuatl language. The Nahuatl word for ‘truth,’ neltiliztli, also means ‘rootedness’ (10) since the Aztecs believed “what was true was well-grounded, stable and immutable, enduring above all” (11). Indeed, this was what the tlamatinime sought: to find what was true and enduring while living in an impermanent world fraught with hazards. The Nahuatl word for ‘earth,’ tlalticpac, also denotes “a narrow, jagged, point-like place surrounded by constant dangers” (12). When these linguistic nuances are placed together into the poem’s context, the answer to Nezahualcoyotl’s question emerges: people do not ‘truly’ live on earth because humans’ earthly existence is fleeting, and even the short duration of that existence itself is filled with struggle. This implied answer to Nezahualcoyotl’s question echoes the response seen in the poem: “Not forever here, / only a little while” (13). According to Nezahualcoyotl, not only is human existence fleeting, but even the most valuable materials—gold, jade, precious feathers—are also subject to the ravages of time. The sobering realization that nothing in the world lasts forever prompts the questions that drive Mexica philosophy: What is enduring and true? How can humans, “beings of the moment[,] grasp the perduring?” (14). Most importantly, how should people live on the tlalticpac?

B. Ideas of Aztec Philosophy To address the transience of existence and find a source of rootedness on the hazardous tlalticpac, the Mexica tlamatinime turned to metaphysics. Central to the Aztecs’ conception of the universe is Teotl (literally ‘spirit’ or ‘god’ in the Nahuatl language), an unending, divine life-force that simultaneously transcends and permeates all of existence. According to the tlamatinime, this life-force not only comprises everything in the universe, but also presents itself in the “ceaseless, cyclical oscillation of polar-yet-complementary opposites” that pervades the cosmos (15). The worldview espoused by Mexica metaphysics can best be described as a “dialectical polar monism,” a term which can be broken down into its constituent words for further insight (16). ‘Monism’ posits that everything in the universe is part of a single, seamless whole. ‘Polar’ implies that this single whole consists of opposing halves. ‘Dialectical’ suggests that these opposing halves are not separate but rather constantly interacting, like two sides debating in discourse. This perception of the world as a dialectical polar monism can be observed in surviving Mesoamerican artwork. Archaeological investigations have found half- face-half-skull masks that depict both life and death in locations such as Tlatilco and Oaxaca (17). Similarly, the Life-Death Figure sandstone sculpture displayed at the Brooklyn Museum portrays a living manifestation of the deity Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl on its front and a skeleton manifestation of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl on the back (18). These artworks, which can be said to represent a state of being “neither- alive-nor-dead-yet-both-alive-and-dead all at once,” convey the inextricable na- ture of life and death: life inevitably ends in death, but death gives way to new life (19).


Figure 1. Split-Face Mask (20) Image Credit: Photo Courtesy of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (Licensed Under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Figure 2. Life-Death Figure (21) Image Credit: Huastec. Life-Death Figure, 900-1250. Sandstone, traces of pigment, 62 3/8 x 26 x 11 1/2 in. (158.4 x 66 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank Sherman Benson Fund and the Henry L. Batterman Fund, 37.2897PA. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: 37.2897PA_front_PS11.jpg)

In a similar fashion, the tlamatinime saw other pairs of opposites—male/female, light/dark, etc.—as mutually-intertwined dualities infused with Teotl. Thus, with the view that the universe is a dialectical polar monism permeated by the spiritual energy of Teotl, Mexica metaphysics gave the tlamatinime an interpretation of the transience of existence. The unending dialectical oscillations between the universe’s polar extremes prevent any kind of long-term stability or rootedness. Despite this lack of stability, Teotl exists with reliable consistency. Scholar James Maffie comments:

....Teotl is nevertheless characterized by enduring pattern or regularity. How is this so? Teotl is the dynamic, sacred energy shaping as well as consti- tuting these endless oscillations; it is the immanent balance of the endless, dialectical alternation of the created universe’s interdependent polarities (22).

Significantly, Teotl endures because it exists in a state of “immanent balance” that permeates the entirety of existence (23). While the dialectical nature of Teotl can give rise to short-term or localized polar extremes, the oscillations of Teotl ultimately balance out those extremes, promoting long-term overall balance throughout the universe. From this understanding of Teotl, the tlamatinime arrived at the conclusion that only through attaining balance and avoiding extremes can humans succeed in finding rootedness on the precarious tlalticpac.

C. Ethical/Societal Impacts of Aztec Philosophy The Mexicas’ metaphysical focus on duality and balance led to the development of Mexica ethics. The tlamatinime believed that a virtuous, moral life promotes balance and abstains from excess. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Aztec and Maya gives an overview of Mexica ethics and morality:

Aztecs were generally agreed as to what constituted good behavior. Ac- cording to Bernardino de Sahagun, author of General History of the Things of New Spain, virtuous Aztecs...brought energy to their work, without overin- dulging in sleep but rising early and laboring for long hours. They ate and drank in moderation; drunkenness was particularly frowned upon. They did not make a great noise when eating, thought carefully before speaking, and were circumspect in what they said. They dressed and behaved with modesty (24).

Indeed, the Aztec education and law systems exhibited the importance Mexica philosophy placed on living a balanced life. In education, Aztec schools strove to instill moral virtues in young students. These schools, which often hired tlamatinime as teachers, allowed Mexica philosophy to shape the growth and development of Aztec youth (25). A common Nahuatl instructive proverb of the Florentine Codex, a 16th-century codex documenting Aztec culture, demonstrates the impact of tlamatinime thought on Mexica education: “Tlacoqualli in monequi. [Translation and meaning:] Moderation is proper. We should not dress in rags, nor should we overdress. In the matter of clothing, we should dress with moderation” (26). By teaching younger generations to lead moderate, balanced lives, the Mexica education system successfully integrated and adapted the teachings of the tlamatinime. Similarly, Aztec laws display the influence of tlamatinime thought. The renowned tlamatini and tlatoani Nezahualcoyotl, who transformed his city into “‘the Athens of the Western World,’” enacted Texcoco’s law code (27). Under Nezahualcoyotl’s legal reforms, the judicial system criminalized actions and behaviors which were viewed as disruptive to societal balance, including “treason against the king, adultery, robbery, superstition, misuse of inherited properties, homicide, homosexuality, alcohol abuse, and military misconduct” (28). As stated by the chronicler Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxóchitl, Nezahualcoyotl’s new legal code was considered so advanced and efficient that even the “kings of Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan [the other two most significant cities of the Aztec Empire] adopted Nezahualcoyotl’s laws and governmental standards” (29). The tlamatinime not only played a crucial role in fostering Aztec intellectual life; they also nurtured a more balanced and harmonious society. Unfortunately, as Mann laments in 1491, the loss of the Mexica philosophical tradition after the Spanish conquest “was a loss not just to [the Aztecs]...but to the human enterprise as a whole” (30).

II. Taoist Philosophy Note: This section will consider another school of philosophy, Taoism, and compare and contrast Taoism with Aztec philosophy. The romanizations ‘Taoism’ and ‘Daoism’ refer to the same school of thought; for the sake of consistency, the name ‘Taoism’ will be used in discussion from here on. However, since the alternative romanization ‘Daoism’ is also commonly accepted in academia today, some quotations will contain the name ‘Daoism’ instead of ‘Taoism’ or refer to the philosophical concept of ‘Dao’ instead of ‘Tao.’

A. Origins and Context of Taoist Philosophy More than a millennium before the rise of the Aztec Empire in Mexico, China’s Zhou Dynasty splintered into a multitude of warring kingdoms. In the turbulent era of warfare and chaos that followed, an unexpected development occurred: the blooming of Chinese philosophy, a phenomenon later referred to as the “Hundred Schools of Thought” (31). Because of the political fragmentation of the time, no intellectual orthodoxy existed to restrain philosophical inquiry, and China’s warring states were thus open to various different schools of thought. The intellectual diversity of this period sprouted many of imperial China’s foundational philosophies, such as Confucianism, Legalism, Mohism, and Taoism. Of these philosophies, Taoism bears much resemblance to Aztec philosophy. Few historical records about the early history of Taoism survive today due to the Qin dynasty’s book-burning campaigns, but remaining Chinese sources trace Taoist philosophy to the teachings of the legendary sage Laozi, purported author of the Tao Te Ching, and the philosopher Zhuangzi, who is credited with writing the Zhuangzi (32). Unlike the Confucians of the time, who were primarily interested in applying theories of ethics to human relationships, Taoists stressed “meta-ethical reflections [which] were by turns skeptical then relativist, here naturalist and there mystical” (33). Thus, from a metaphysical standpoint, “Daoism is naturalistic in that any first-order moral dao [way] must be rooted in natural ways” (34). In other words, Taoist philosophers were skeptical of Confucianism’s rigid ethical emphasis on society and human relationships; instead, they looked beyond the human world to metaphysics and the natural environment to guide their reflections on ethics, a philosophical pursuit somewhat similar to that of the Mexica tlamatinime. Political history often greatly shapes the development of philosophy. While the tlamatinime of the Aztec Empire lived during a time of political unity and prosperity, Taoism and the other Chinese philosophies among the “Hundred Schools of Thought” were established during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States periods, when China was filled with political strife and divided into separate states. As a result, Mexica thought is a more unified body of philosophy than the diverse schools of traditional Chinese thought. Further historical developments complicate the disparities between Mexica and Taoist thought. Due to imperial China’s later history of relative political and cultural unity, “many philosophers of the time [Song through Qing dynasties] developed theories and methods of self-cultivation that mixed Confucianism with Buddhism and Daoism” (35). The philosophical and religious blending of later Chinese history highlights an important difference between the schools of thought. Whereas Chinese zhe xue jia (philosophers) could build upon these other theories, Mexica tlamatinime, as the product of an isolated, cohesive philosophical tradition, did not have significant contact with other philosophies, and thus they lacked the opportunity to engage with external ideas.

B. Ideas of Taoist Philosophy Taoism centers around the concept of Tao. Often translated to English as “way,” the Tao drives the main question behind Taoist philosophy: What is the right way for people to live? Like the tlamatinime, who asked how humans should live on the tlalticpac, Taoist thinkers did not pursue philosophy for the sake of philosophy. Rather, they aimed to reach an understanding of how to best approach everyday life. To the Taoists, the concept of Tao as “way” is central to this understanding. With that said, the term ‘way’ inadequately describes Tao in many contexts. Sinologist Arthur Waley notes that the Chinese word Tao comes with multiple connotations:

...[Tao] means a road, path, way; and hence, the way in which one does something; method, doctrine, principle...in a particular school of philosophy whose followers came to be called Taoists, Tao meant ‘the way the universe works’; and ultimately something very like God, in the more abstract and philosophical sense of that term (36).

Waley’s definition of Tao as “the way the universe works” is a more elaborate and accurate description than the simple “way,” but this designation still does not fully capture the essence of Tao (37). According to scholar Chad Hansen, Tao “appears more metaphysical than ‘way,’” (38) an assertion which is supported in the Zhuangzi by Zhuangzi’s statement, “Fishes breed and grow in the water; man develops in the Dao” (39). This analogy implies that the Tao is like an endless metaphysical ocean that surrounds and encompasses all of existence. Zhuangzi’s conception of the Tao is analogous to Mexica philosophy’s idea of Teotl: Teotl and Tao are both seamless totalities that make up the universe and everything in it. Another important aspect of the Taoist worldview is the notion of yin and yang forces. Yin is associated with darkness, coldness, and passivity, while yang refers to light, warmth, and action. Taoism posits that these “correlatives are the expressions of the movement of Dao...not opposites, mutually excluding each other... [but rather] the ebb and flow of the forces of reality: yin/yang, male/female; excess/ defect; leading/following; active/passive” (40). In the Tao Te Ching, Laozi presents the nature of the yin-yang duality through several seemingly paradoxical statements:

It is because every one under Heaven recognizes beauty as beauty, that the idea of ugliness exists. And equally if every one recognized virtue as virtue, this would merely create fresh conceptions of wickedness. For truly ‘Being and Not-being grow out of one another;

Difficult and easy complete one another. Long and short test one another; High and low determine one another. Pitch and mode give harmony to one another.

Front and back give sequence to one another’ (41).

Laozi’s first claim that the recognition of beauty begets the idea of ugliness initially appears contradictory. Upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that a perception of what is beauty also requires an understanding of what is not beauty, and thus, of what is ugly. Likewise, the other opposites in the pairs mentioned—virtue/wickedness, being/non-being, difficulty/easiness, and so on—appear to be mutually exclusive antitheses, but are in reality inseparable and interdependent entities. This cyclic nature of duality portrayed by Laozi and other Taoist thinkers parallels the dialectical oscillations of Teotl in tlamatinime thought. In examining the concepts of Tao and yin-yang in the context of Taoist philosophy, a noteworthy conclusion arises: Taoist metaphysics, like Mexica metaphysics, perceives the universe as a dialectical polar monism. Both philosophies view the universe as a cyclical, oscillating whole permeated by balance between polar extremes. In the case of the tlamatinime, this balance is an aspect of Teotl; in the case of the Taoists, this balance is an aspect of the Tao. Visually, an artistic interpretation of this idea can be seen in the Taijitu symbol associated with Taoism (42). The Taijitu symbol consists of a black sliver (representing yin) and white sliver (representing yang) melded together into one circle, which represents the unity implicit in duality described in the Tao Te Ching. Each sliver contains a dot of the opposite color, indicating that yin and yang are mutually interconnected—in yin can be found yang, and in yang can be found yin. The Taijitu symbol bears striking aesthetic and ideological similarities to Aztec designs pictured in the Codex Magliabechiano (43). The Aztec designs, known as xicalcoliuhqui motifs in Nahuatl, represent the universe’s dialectical “motion-change...[that] nourishes and renews existing cycles [of Teotl] as well as initiates new cycles” (44).

Figure 3. Taijitu Symbol (45) Image Credit: Image Courtesy of Gregory Maxwell (Public Domain)

Figure 4. Codex Magliabechiano Illustrations (46) Image Credit: Photos Courtesy of Ancient Americas at LACMA (ancientamericas.org)

C. Ethical/Societal Impacts of Taoist Philosophy Like the Aztec tlamatinime, Taoist philosophers also applied their metaphysics to ethics. In Taoist ethics, the definition of Tao as “way” is relatively fitting, as Taoist ethics seeks to understand the right way to live. But how can this way be applied to everyday life? The Tao Te Ching provides an answer:

Those who possess this Tao do not try to fill themselves to the brim, And because they do not try to fill themselves to the brim They are like a garment that endures all wear and need never be renewed (47)

In this passage, Laozi uses the imagery of a bucket filled to the brim with water to describe people who lead lives of overindulgence. Like the bucket—which contains an excess of water and cannot be easily carried without spilling and wasting some of its contents—people who lead lives filled with excess gluttony, greed, or lust will end up wasting their resources, leading to an unsustainable way of life. Thus, Laozi believes that people can maintain a sustainable life by avoiding extremes and excess. By not filling up the bucket completely to the brim, one will be able to carry the bucket without spilling and wasting any water. Therefore, those who lead lives of balance and moderation “need never be renewed” (48). Laozi’s advice echoes the tlamatinime teachings seen from phrases such as tlacoqualli in monequi (moderation is proper). Thus, for both the Taoists and the tlamatinime, balance and moderation play a crucial role in ethics. Despite the significance of balance in both Taoist and Mexica ethics, the two philosophical traditions approached societal institutions differently. While the tlamatinime actively encouraged balanced, proper behavior through educational and legal systems, Taoist philosophers saw human institutions—including schools and laws—as a source of imbalance to the universe’s natural harmony. This Taoist opinion rejected Confucianism’s obsession with order and rule-setting. Scholar Ronnie Littlejohn comments: Confucius and his followers wanted to change the world and be proactive in setting things straight. They wanted to tamper, orchestrate, plan, educate, develop, and propose solutions...Confucians think they can engineer reality, understand it, name it, control it. But the Daoists think that such endeavors are the source of our frustration and fragmentation [because such acts create imbalance]...They believe the Confucians create a gulf between humans and nature, that weakens and destroys us (49).

The differing historical contexts of Aztec and Chinese philosophies explain their contrasting attitudes toward societal institutions. As noted earlier, unlike Mexica philosophy, Taoism was not isolated from other schools of thought, and thus it was subject to influences from other philosophies, especially Confucianism. Here, disagreement with the perceived excess of Confucian order and rules fueled the Taoist disapproval of government and other societal institutions (which were often led by Confucians). Hansen describes this sociopolitical stance as resembling “anarchism, pluralism, [and/or] laissez faire government,” which markedly contrasts with the active role of the tlamatinime in the Mexica government (50). Since Taoists sought to avoid entanglement in government and politics, Confucians eventually dominated China’s educational and legal systems. However, Taoism did not become irrelevant in Chinese society; the Neo-Confucian ideology of later dynasties integrated Taoist metaphysical influences with Confucian ethics (51). Taoist philosophy also impacted Chinese intellectual culture and aesthetics, as seen in Taoist contributions to various subjects, such as martial arts, meditation (52), astronomy, mathematics (53), medicine (54), art, and poetry (55). On a larger scale, Taoism played a role in revolutionizing world history; inventions including gunpowder, printing, and the compass trace back to Taoist thinker-scientists’ experimental efforts to understand the nature of the Tao (56).

III. Conclusion If brought together into a philosophical discussion today, the Aztec tlamatinime and Taoist sages would likely agree on many metaphysical and ethical ideas. The Mexica focus on Teotl and duality is remarkably similar to the Taoist conception of the Tao and yin-yang, as both philosophies see the universe as a dialectical polar monism. With this shared metaphysical outlook, the two schools of thought concur that balance and moderation enable humans to lead moral, virtuous lives. However, in discussions on the practical applications of philosophy—such as the pros and cons of government—the tlamatinime and Taoist thinkers would likely diverge in their views. Imagining this theoretical discussion between tlamatinime and Taoists provides us with some insight into the nature of humanity. Though people may appear to be divided by dichotomies—Western/non-Western, liberal/conservative, rich/ poor, male/female, tlamatinime/Taoist—humankind is ultimately one, similar to the metaphysical conception of the universe as a dialectical polar monism. When looking at the bigger picture, this similarity between the human world and the abstract metaphysics of the universe also reflects the oneness between the existence of humanity and the universe we live in.


Endnotes

1 Castillo Bernal Díaz del, and John Ingram Lockhart, The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz Del Castillo, (London: J. Hatchard and Son, 1844), 219.

2 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 121-123. 3 Scharfstein, Ben-Ami, “The Western Blindness to Non-Western Philosophies,” The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, No. 1 (1998): 102-108, DOI: 10.5840/wcp20-paideia19985122.

4 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 123.

5 Phillips, Charles M., and David M. Jones, “Many Types of Blood Offering,” in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aztec & Maya: The History, Legend, Myth and Culture of the Ancient Native Peoples of Mexico and Central America, (London: Hermes House, an imprint of Anness Publishing, 2010), 58-59. 6 Morgan, John D., Pittu Laungani, and Stephen Palmer, Death and Bereavement Around the World: Death and Bereavement in the Americas, Vol. 2, (Amityville: Baywood Publishing, 2003), 75-76. 7 Maffie, James, “Aztec Philosophy,” in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Martin: University of Tennessee at Martin, 2005), https://www.iep.utm.edu/aztec/. Accessed May 2019.

8 León-Portilla Miguel, Earl Shorris, Sylvia Shorris, Ascensión H. de León-Portilla, and Jorge Klor de Alva José, In the Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature, Pre-Columbian to the Present, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2002), 146. 9 Ibid, 146. 10 Maffie, “Aztec Philosophy.” 11 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 122. 12 Maffie, “Aztec Philosophy.” 13 León-Portilla, Miguel, et al., In the Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature, Pre-Columbian to the Present, 146. 14 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 122.

15 Maffie, “Aztec Philosophy.” 16 Ibid. 17 Markman, Peter T., and Roberta H. Markman, Masks of the Spirit: Image and Metaphor in Mesoamerica, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 89-90. 18 “Life-Death Figure,” sculpture, 900-1250 AD, Brooklyn Museum, https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/ opencollection/objects/118927. Accessed May 2019. 19 Maffie, “Aztec Philosophy.” 20 “Cabeza de La Dualidad,” sculpture, 500-800 AD, Museo Nacional de Antropología, http://mediateca. inah.gob.mx/islandora_74/islandora/object/objetoprehispanico%3A20534. Accessed December 2020. 21 “Life-Death Figure.”

22 Maffie, “Aztec Philosophy.” 23 Ibid.

24 Phillips, Charles M., and David M. Jones, “Wise Governance, Strict Punishment,” in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aztec & Maya: The History, Legend, Myth and Culture of the Ancient Native Peoples of Mexico and Central America, (London: Hermes House, an imprint of Anness Publishing, 2010), 108. 25 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 121. 26 Reagan, Timothy G., Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice, (Mahwah: Taylor and Francis, 2005), 103. 27 Tuck, Jim, “Nezahualcoyotl: Texcoco’s Philosopher King (1403–1473),” Mexconnect, 2008, https://www. mexconnect.com/articles/298-nezahualcoyotl-texcoco-s-philosopher-king-1403%e2%80%931473. Accessed May 2019. 28 Lee, Jongsoo, The Allure of Nezahualcoyotl: Pre-Hispanic History, Religion, and Nahua Poetics, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015), 120. 29 Ibid, 120. 30 Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 123.

31 Liu, Zehua, “The Contending Among the Hundred Schools of Thought During the Warring States Period and the Development of the Theory of Monarchical Autocracy,” Chinese Studies in Philosophy, No. 1 (1990): 58–87, DOI: 10.2753/csp1097-1467220158. 32 Hansen, Chad, “Daoism,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Stanford: Stanford University, 2003), https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/daoism/. Accessed May 2019. 33 Ibid.

34 Ibid.

35 Kohn, Livia, Daoism Handbook, (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 643.

36 Laozi, and Arthur Waley, The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought, (New York: Grove Press, 1997), 30.

37 Ibid, 30.

38 Hansen, Chad, “Daoism.” 39 Zhuangzi, and James Legge, “The Great and Most Honoured Master,” Zhuangzi Chinese Text Project, (Cambridge: Harvard-Yenching Institute, 2006), https://ctext.org/zhuangzi/great-and-most-honoured-master. Accessed May 2019. 40 Littlejohn, Ronnie, “Daoist Philosophy,” in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Martin: University of Tennessee at Martin, 2015), https://www.iep.utm.edu/daoism/. Accessed May 2019. 41 Laozi, and Arthur Waley, The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought, 2.

42 Maxwell, Gregory, “Yin-Yang,” Wikipedia Commons, 2005, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ commons/1/17/Yin_yang.svg. Accessed May 2019. 43 Florimond, Joseph, duc de Loubat, and Ancient Americas at LACMA, “Codex Magliabecchiano (Loubat 1904, Page 5 Verso),” Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, 2013, http://www.famsi.org/research/ loubat/Magliabecchiano/page_05v.jpg. Accessed December 2020. 44 Maffie, James, “Weaving the Aztec Cosmos: The Metaphysics of the 5th Era,” Mexicolore, 2011, https:// www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/home/aztec-philosophy. Accessed May 2019. 45 Maxwell, Gregory, “Yin-Yang.” 46 Florimond, Joseph, duc de Loubat, and Ancient Americas at LACMA, “Codex Magliabecchiano (Loubat 1904, Page 5 Verso).”

47 Laozi, and Arthur Waley, The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought, 15.

48 Ibid, 15.

49 Littlejohn, Ronnie, “Daoist Philosophy.”

50 Hansen, Chad, “Daoism.”

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