Significantly more men than women espouse the Tao attribute, which attracts those people who like to challenge the everyday social consensus. Even though their views adapt over time, Tao espousers have a strong sense of what is right or wrong; they like to think for themselves and to chart their own course in life - to develop their own rules and guiding principles.
At heart, Tao espousers are very keen to protect and maintain everybody's freedom (including their own), as long as consequent behaviours do not physically hurt others, or restrict other people's freely-chosen activities. This includes the freedom to give offence! For example, if they personally believe that a particular piece of art is offensive, they will still support the right of the artist to produce such work.
At the end of the day, Tao espousers might think, believe and act in a very similar way to the majority of people, but they will not do this automatically. They like to be conscious of why they do things and not just do it because they have been told to do so, or because everyone else is doing it. For example, if a current law does not sit comfortably with their values and conscience, they would be willing to challenge its validity. Normally, the aim would be to refine or change the justice system, however, Tao espousers would break the law if they believed it would contribute to raising awareness of the inadequacies of the current legislation.
Naturally drawn to social change initiatives, Tao espousers may feel part of a particular protest movement, but they will rarely attend associated meetings and demonstrations. They may support groups of protestors, but they will rarely participate in direct collective action themselves. Recognising that there is not always a clear line between protestors and criminals, they tend to have a longer term view and are able to defer the need for immediate direct action. More likely to act as a lone wolf, the Tao espouser will tend to contribute indirectly and at a distance, believing that the pen (and the keyboard) is mightier than the sword. Even when they do feel moved to participate directly, they are likely to shy away from more aggressive or violent interventions; preferring to engage in more peaceable protests, such as candlelight vigils.
Similarly, Tao espousers are willing to challenge the implicit and explicit rules of an organisation, community, or culture, if the shared guidelines restrict the freedoms to choose or to be creative. If they see someone breaking the rules, their instincts are to question rather than to judge. They like to give people the benefit of the doubt until they are able to understand the motives behind such actions. In fact, they are willing to practice what they preach and change their own personal guidelines, if others can clearly demonstrate a better way.
It may be surprising to realise that Tao espousers do value rules and laws. They recognise the paradox that creative ideas and innovation need to emerge from relatively stable social structures and belief systems that tend to evolve slowly over time. They believe that the core problems of society are the rigid adherence and blind obedience to traditional ways, not the traditions themselves.
1) Over-indexed: Slightly male.
2) Under-indexed: Slightly female, slightly 65+.
Tao espousers also espouse other Attributes. The top six most highly correlated Attributes of Tao espousers are, in order of the strength of relationship:
In total those who espouse Tao also over-index significantly on 25 other Attributes.
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