It seems that the great truths of the world have been seen by the wise men of all ages, regardless of country and period. Dr. Millikan, Einstein, Eddington, Emerson, Laotse and Chuangtse, with different backgrounds and possessing different tools of knowledge, come back to nearly the same thing. The preceding statement of belief is, I believe, acceptable to most thinking modern men. But the ideas are characteristically Taoist: "it is enough for me to contemplate, etc.," "the intelligence manifested in nature," "which we can dimly perceive," and "that part of Him that became us." Emerson, too says, he was a part of "God in nature."
The looping, circular, relative, seemingly anti-positivist view. Something that resonates with me aesthetically, much more than reductionism ever did. But maybe not Lin's version, which is about a combined cultural and intellectual wholesomeness. More anti-materialist than anything. I'm more about the skepticism. Or so I think. Haven't really examined myself. Don't know if I'm well read enough to really do so.
Interestingly, Lin scoffs at people who say that there was no one real person as Laozi (or Zhuangzi); says that it is a continuation of a bad attitude earlier anti-intellectual ages:
it should be remembered that critical skepticism became almost a disease in the Manchu Dynasty, and in the case of Laotse this may be attributed to the pernicious influence of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, who thought that Laotse's book was most probably produced by some forgers in the third century. There was so much loose talk about forgery, and textual critics could not distinguish between a forged work and later interpolations of single passages. Therefore, when one hears a Chinese scholar saying that Laotse, or the great majority of the chapters of Chuangtse, was a forgery, without sufficient show of evidence or exact reasoning, one may be sure that he is merely aping a fashion which has by now become very tiresome.
Rings of apologia. I need to look again, but Spitznagel, who references more recent Sineticists, seems to entertain that possibility a bit more.
[Lin, Yutang. (1948). The Wisdom of Laotse. Random House: New York.]