In the 1979 film, Being There, Chauncey Gardner is a simple man so it is hard to believe that any of the things that happen to him, a simple man, practicing Taoistprinciples. If the events that happen to Chauncey have anything in common with the Tao, it is that he “practices not doing, and everything falls into place.”
From the beginning, Chauncey is shown as a man whogoes about his day in a normal manner. Each day, he gets up, has his breakfast that Louise brings to him, and tends to his plants. He is not concerned with what is going on politically or otherwise.He is concerned with his garden and watching television.
In his writing, Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching, the philosopher Lao-Tzu speaks about the masters of the Tao and their love of their home.Lao-Tzu says of these masters, “ since they love their homes, they aren’t interested in travel,” and we see this in Chauncey and the trouble that he has accepting the fact that he has to leave the oldman’s house since he has never been outside. He does not understand why he must leave and worries about who is going to tend to his garden, When the cold-hearted estate lawyer, Thomas Franklin takesthe Machiavellian approach and questions Chauncey’s legal interests in the house, he is exercising and idea from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Qualities of the Prince, in which Machiavelli states that “aprince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel, nevertheless, he must take care not to misuse this mercy.” At first, Thomas Franklin seems concerned for Chauncey, asking him if he has aplace to go, but he does not try to help him because in his mind he thinks Chauncey might take legal action against him. This is Thomas’ was of covering his behind.
Chauncey’s relationship with BenjaminRand is a great example of Lao-Tzu’s idea that “when there is no desire, all things are at peace.” Chauncey does not want anything excessive out of this relationship with Benjamin. He just wants to...