Trying to know what causes this or that can be misleading. Much of our own biases easily shape what we think we know. I find chapter 38 useful in considering the ‘why of life’ while avoiding much of the bias trap.
Hence, virtue follows loss of the way.
Benevolence follows loss of virtue.
Justice follow loss of benevolence.
Ritual follows loss of justice.
Ways of chaos follow loss of loyalty and a thinning faith in ritual.
The evolution of society and beliefs over time offers an example of this dynamic. To put these relationships in a loosely physical and historical context I’ll paraphrase chapter 38 above, starting with ancient Egypt…
Hence, the pharaoh follows loss of primal tribal security.
Gods follow loss of the pharaoh.
One God follows loss of gods.
Favorite politicians follow loss of One God.
Rock idols and movie stars follow loss of favorite politicians.
From a symptoms point of view, I’d say the popularity of the Internet in general and social media in particular follows loss of primal tribal security as well. Interestingly, social media may facilitate at least a virtual return to feeling some aspects of primal tribal security. The important thing here is the necessity of maintaining balance. Each loss is followed by something that returns at least some degree of balance. (See Exquisite Balance.)
Nature abhors a vacuum is another way to see this dynamic — emptiness invites filling. Changing circumstance as humanity moved from hunting and gathering to settled agriculture has led us to where we are ‘today’. The losses we accrue will lead us to where we will end up ‘tomorrow’. The most telling aspect in this view is that we are not actually in control of anything, despite what we think or wish.
Chapter 2 hints at an alternative way to view life.
Considering this, the wise person manages without doing anything,
Carries out the indescribable teaching.
Don’t all things on earth work and not shirk.
Give birth to and yet not have,
Do and yet not depend on,
Achieves success and yet not dwell.
The simple man alone does not dwell,
Because of this he never leaves.
This ‘hint’ won’t register to anyone who desperately desires to control outcomes. At some point, when the futility of battling nature hits home, this will register, although not usually in a Taoist format. In other words, isn’t this hint from chapter 2 just another way of saying, “by the grace of God” or “Insha’Allah” (“if God wills”). Truth is singular — as chapter 56 puts it, This is called profound sameness.