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Words are thought to be different from the twittering of the birds—but is there a real difference or not? i But as I am saying that all things and I are one, how can speech not exist…the Dao has no boundaries; speech has no fixed form.ii
The problem that confronts academics trying to address themselves to the Book of Zhuangzi is not that writing about it is too difficult, or complex, or challenging. Writing about Zhuangzi is, rather, far too easy; speech comes naturally—is, in fact, itself natural. Writing takes a more static manifestation, presupposing the fundamental communicability of its products and the use-value of its articulations, and is always underwritten by the availability of speech, the phenomenal manifestation of ideas. There are many aspects of Zhuangzi’s daoism that might be taken up in academic form, but why? Why ask questions of the great question asker himself? The problem of Zhuangzi is a problem of translation—translating the phenomenal world, the “speech” of nature into words. As the final chapter of Zhuangzi’s work, which looks more like a commentary, underscores, “regarding the Dao, [Zhuangzi] was precise and right, expanding our thought to the highest and the widest realm. Notwithstanding, regarding the phenomenon of transformation, the implications of his theories are unlimited and original. They are elusive, complex, and cannot be fully analyzed.”iii Using what many translators take to be “the light of the mind” in the passage describing the “pivot of the Dao,” Zhuangzi aims to describe to us what this process of transformation is 1
and this suggests to us our own intellectual limitation. we acknowledge that language does not encompass the whole of reality. Words do not in fact fail us completely—we need them now. but they do not live.”v The issue of nominalism that our author takes aim at is manifold—as linguistic creatures. or a few years reach many years. that is. “the name is but the guest of reality. we are left with a suspicion of language that Zhuangzi does not quite share—for our author. in the way that the infinite complexity of the ecosystem of even a single garden lives and reproduces itself. established as we are in linguistic experience. nor even exhausts a particular thought object.”vi But because of this line of thought. since there is very little correspondence between the name and the object. if there is any such thing as a “distinction” that Zhuangzi allows. and to undertake only a critique of nominalism would be effectively anti-Daoist one-sided thinking. and communicate an aspect of what is it for us to be thinking animals. we are attached to symbolic relationships of non-commensurability. this darkness is made much bigger and more pervasive when we view ourselves as limited creatures in the context of space and time: “Small knowledge cannot fathom what is great. To attempt to establish a relationship of equivalence between word and object is effectively asserting the “equality of all things. In other words. names. or words. Unfortunately. There is within this the concern of saying that a person is a person and attaching denotative and connotative meaning to such terminology in the case of particular things.iv In fact. if we stop there. 2 . certainly participate in reality. or move. it is that this intellectual light meets with a barrier where it is no longer adequate to dispel darkness.” but to see that move only in terms of its limitations is to completely miss the Daoist point.and what might be gained by making no intellectual distinctions in terms of discursive exposition and its relationship to mentally apprehending both concrete knowledge and abstract concepts.
It is possible that part of Zhuangzi’s point is that the aesthetic forms of the Chinese are misleading because of their mimesis of natural forms. and a fundamental part of my assertion in making these statements. that Zhuangzi’s native language made this performance accessible to him and also demonstrated the necessity of making it. This becomes an all the more significant observation when we remember that Daoist anti-nominalism is in large part a 3 . but the point holds that the Chinese language is closer to ocular experience than is English. the apparent naturalness of the Chinese language’s approximate standin for nature can be deceptively comfortable to our minds. Chinese characters are suggestive of both sound and sense in a way that Latin script is not. My claim here is to be understood more generally.Zhuangzi cannot communicate the Dao. but he can show us the failure of language—and what it means about our minds that we interact with language such as we do. showing possibility and creativity rather than strictly ontifying intellectual limitation. One can easily see the relationship between many signifiers and their meaning in Chinese: the character for tree looks very much like a tree. the character for forest is simply a doubling of tree. It is possible. Zhuangzi allows the light of the mind to be turned on itself and its own presuppositions and fundaments in an act of translation so sophisticated that the poetic and discursive in his work interact dynamically. as not all characters necessarily possess this resonance with the natural world. there is a possibility that we do the Chinese language an injustice by calling the characters “words” at all. and as images suggest a correspondence to their objects that I suppose is the more dangerous for its affinity with the forms of external experience. By making reference to our creaturely nature. in terms of “word” composition. the character for mountain evokes a mountain and so-on. and that what Zhuangzi is highlighting in his native language is a different problem than that of the English language circa 2014. In fact.
Another more poetic way of demonstrating this might be to say that the speech of a human being or the song of a bird is something that the whole of nature is doing in the same way that a particular wave is the work of the entire ocean. the human mind must work with and not against itself if it is to be successful in achieving an appropriate understanding of reality—crucially.” and it is important to keep in mind that in the original Chinese. Thus. On the other hand. to show the possibility of thinking other than nominalistically. it is obvious that speech makes distinctions and places intervals between experience and communication.”vii And we may see that each particular thought object has a participation in the Dao in a manner that corresponds to the way in which each word for that object has a relationship to language as a whole such that words may be used as signifiers just as one bird might be the whole of nature encompassed and expressed. something seemingly unique to human beings. As beings possessed of agency. For Zhuangzi. our use of language can be itself read as a way to examine the nature of our consciousness and highlight how malleable we are as entities—in fact. however. an understanding which does not conclude with an assumption of human limitation but rather one which branches fractally from the philosophic activity of taking the mind as object to itself as a step to the cognizance of reality via the circuitous and mutually-mediating nature of language and experience. or at least is part of our being once we have adopted and conventionalized it.viii 4 . we can direct the light of the mind. the right name was the right image. we may use what appears to be the case in order to see that what does not appear to be the case is also true: “to take a mark in order to show that a mark is not a mark is not as good as taking what is not a mark to show that it is not a mark. but only if we afford ourselves the possibility that language is an integral part of our being. To put all this in a more explicitly Daoist vernacular.response to the Confucian “rectification of names.
an intimacy of mind with 5 . in part because of what I have already pointed out in terms of the Chinese language’s appearance and thus the semantic aspect of Zhuangzi’s response to the predominant Confucian nominalism of the time. does that get us closer to finding the dao in the expression of infinite confusions as to the nature of things? How could we find a basis for linguistic validity without recognizing the necessity and fundamental nature of speech? If discursive description is merely intellectual proximity masquerading as intimacy with the nature supposedly outside ourselves. and what is its activity? Is the nature within us participating in a mimicry of the nature of heaven when we think. In order to lend my argument concretion. Zhuangzi shows it to be the very framework which gives us the means to—and illustrates our capacity for and access to—metaphysical thinking within a single organism.The dao. and this standpoint appears to have an extreme dialectical subtlety that eludes an Englishonly reader’s attempt to grasp it. or pivot. is the problem not viewing our relationship to nature in these terms? Why not choose a different intimacy. and is our first and only occurrence of the phrase “pivot of the Dao.” manifests in organic particulars just as meaning manifests in the particular terms in which we speak about something—thus. rather than denounce the abstract nature of language. and when we think and abide in extreme complexity. and one not requiring shallow knowledge or static terms. The specific passage I am interested in shows up about halfway through the second book.” This passage is particularly useful for my argument because of the fact that it references a specific locative moment in our mental grammar—apparently there is a standpoint of sorts in all the supposed amorphousness of the Dao. I want to approach a passage from Book II of the possibly apocryphally-named “Inner Chapters” in the original Chinese text. the “original creative force. What is this standpoint.
when there is life there is death. When there is right there is wrong. So I say that there is nothing which can surpass the light of the mind. and when one takes his original Chinese in this sense. and when there is death there is life. Are there or are there not two views. but illuminates all in the light of heaven and seeks to discover the true nature of things. which may turn out not to be disparate objects at all. But that view includes both a right and a wrong. an intentional process of getting in our own way. and has described this goal in such a way as he thinks is most appropriate to our intelligence. and because there is not. Zhuangzi: “All things may be considered from two points of view—‘that’ and ‘this. Therefore ‘that’ comes out of ‘this’ and ‘this’ arises from ‘that’. That is why we say that ‘that’ and ‘this’ are born from each other.mind. This view is the same as that. Therefore the sage does not make distinctions. 6 . All the same. When there is possibility there is impossibility. there is not.’ If I look at a thing from the point of view of ‘that. As soon as this pivot is found. and where there is wrong there is right. which might elide barriers between thought and perception so that we do not accidentally get in our own way.’ Hence it is said. there is the pivot of the dao. a few translations of the passage itself (my text resumes on page 9): Hyun Höchsmann and Yang Guorong. compare death with life. Compare birth with death. most definitely.’ I cannot see it. First. that and this? Where there is no opposition between this view and that view. and that view is the same as this. Penguin Classics edition: “Nothing exists which is not ‘that’. I think it is relatively easy to see that his use of language is directed to goals beyond and yet dependent upon linguistic signifiers. I cannot look at something through someone else’s eyes. And this view includes both a right and a wrong. we stand in the center where we can respond without an end to changing views. nothing exists which is not ‘this’. I would claim. ‘That view comes from this and this view is the consequence of that. Zhuangzi would seemingly like for all living beings to access the dao. compare what is possible with what is not possible and compare what is not possible with what is possible. I can only know it from the point of view of ‘this. and to the object of knowledge. After all.’ This is the theory of things being produced by each other.”ix Martin Palmer. and when there is impossibility there is possibility. I can only truly know something which I know. there is. so to speak. because there is. for Zhuangzi. and instead are enabled to wander in creativity and imagination? The first step to this most beguiling of goals is.
Where there is acceptability there must be unacceptability. the sage seeks enlightenment from the heaven. There is right and wrong on this side of things and there is right and wrong on that side of things. Therefore I say that there is nothing better than to use the light (of Nature). Therefore the sage does not proceed along these lines (of right and wrong. This is the reason. it is said that the best thing to do is to observe with a tranquil mind.’ everything has its ‘this.’ Therefore. Therefore I say that the ‘that’ is produced by the ‘this’ and the ‘this’ is also caused by the ‘that’ This is the theory of mutual production.’ and ‘this’ is on the other hand also ‘that’. he seeks to recognize the true state of things. But where there is birth there must be death. and the ‘that’ also has a standard of right and wrong. but sheds the light of Heaven upon such issues. When there is possibility. Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings: “Everything has its ‘that.’ Things do not know that they are the ‘that’ of other things. and when there is death there is life. where there is death there must be birth. Is there really the distinction between ‘that side’ and ‘this side’? Is there really no distinction between ‘that side’ and ‘this side’? To recognize that there is no opposite for either ‘that side’ or ‘this side’ is the essence of Tao. they only know what they themselves know. Is there really a distinction between ‘that’ and ‘this’? Or is there really no distinction between ‘that’ and ‘this’? When ‘this’ and ‘that’ have no opposites. instead of making these distinctions. but through understanding you can know it. Does this mean he still has a this and that? Does this mean he does not have a this and that? When ‘this’ and ‘that’ do not stand against each other. Therefore.’ The ‘this’ has one standard of right and wrong.”xii Burton Watson. there is impossibility. Library of Chinese Classics: “Everything in the world has its ‘that side’. too. there is possibility. The wrong is also an infinity. This pivot provides the center of the circle.”xi Wang Rongpei. everything in the world has its ‘this side’. where there is disapproval there must be approval. Nevertheless. where there is recognition of wrong there must be recognition of right. Right is infinite and wrong is infinite. there is the right. Where there is approval there must be disapproval. where there is death there must be birth. What is ignored from ‘that side’ may be perceived from ‘this side. ‘that’ comes out of ‘this’ and ‘this’ depends on ‘that’—which is to say that ‘this’ and ‘that’ give birth to each other.’ From the point of view of ‘that’ you cannot see it. The ‘this’ is also the ‘that.’ The ‘that’ is also the ‘this. where there is recognition of the wrong there must be recognition of the right. Nevertheless. which is without end. Where there is recognition of the right there must be recognition of the wrong. The right is an infinity. Where there is recognition of right there must be recognition of wrong. ‘That side’ is ‘this side’ and ‘this side’ is ‘that side’. Only when the axis occupies the center of a circle can things in their infinite complexities be responded to. this is called the pivot of the Tao. there is the very axis of Tao. To recognize the essence of Tao is like staying at the centre of things—ready to cope with the infinite transformation of things. This is also that and that is also this. A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy: “There is nothing that is not the ‘that’ and there is nothing that is not the ‘this. Therefore the sage does not proceed in such a way. and when there is impossibility. where there is birth there must be death. it is said that ‘that side’ comes from ‘this side’ while ‘this side’ is derived from ‘that side’—which means that ‘that side’ and ‘this side’ give rise to each other. but illuminates all 7 . This is why it is best to shed light on such issues.”x Wing-Tsit Chan. there is the wrong. and so forth) but illuminates the matter with Nature. The ‘that’ is on the one hand also ‘this. when there is life there is death. So I say.Thus it is that the sage does not go down this way. Thus. Because of the right. where there is unacceptability there must be acceptability. that is to say. and because of the wrong. for it can react equally to that which is and to that which is not.
there is the impossible.”xiv Hamill and Seaton.’ but a ‘this’ which is also ‘that. ‘This’ is also ‘that’. And they say. what is not is not forever.’ and ‘this’ follows from ‘that. So. Simultaneous affirmability is simultaneous negatability. we call it the Pivot of the Tao.’ ‘This’ implies a concept of right and wrong. where there’s birth. their simultaneous generation is their simultaneous destruction. Cause right and cause wrong.’ But one cannot be seeing these from the perspective of ‘that’: one knows them only from ‘this’ [i. What is so is eternally so. The sage doesn’t belabor the point but stands revealed in clear daylight.’ Nonetheless. But is there really a ‘this’ and a ‘that’? Or is there really no ‘this’ and no ‘that’? Where ‘this’ and ‘that’ cease to be opposites. right and wrong are also mutually dependent. ‘That arises out of this.’ a ‘that’ which is also ‘this.’ This is the theory of the simultaneous generation of ‘this’ and ‘that’. ‘that’ is also ‘this. the best thing to use is clarity.. We may not be able to see things from the standpoint of ‘that. Self knowledge precedes knowing others. where there’s death. This is the theory that this and that are born together. The transformations of ‘right’ are infinite and so are the transformations of ‘wrong. So I say. Does he still have a this and a that.’ but we can understand them from the standpoint of ‘this.’ Therefore. Wandering on the Way: “Everything is ‘that’ in relation to other things and ‘this’ in relation to itself.’ Such is the notion of the cogenesis of ‘this’ and ‘that. and vice versa. there is no thing that is not this.’ There is no being that is not ‘this. there’s death. and fro m the moment of death birth begins simultaneously. That doesn’t see itself as that. and every denial is an affirmation of something else. it serves without end. Right? So be it. his ‘this’ too has both a right and a wrong in it. ‘that’ also implies a concept of right and wrong. nothing serves like the bright light of this sort of wisdom. The Essential Chuang Tzu: “Thus we arrive at the rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mohists: one takes the other’s right as wrong and its wrong for right. ‘This’ and ‘that’ are mutually dependent. does he still have a ‘this’ and a ‘that’? A state in which ‘this’ and ‘that’ no longer find their opposites is called the hinge of the Way. Where there’s a possible.e. Only when the pivot is located in the center of the circle of things can we respond to their infinite transformations. Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings: “Nothing compares to the Illumination of the Obvious: There is no being that is not ‘that.’ His ‘that’ has both a right and a wrong in it. He too recognizes a ‘this. birth. cause right. it is said that nothing is better for responding to them with lucidity. or does he not have a this or that? When even This and That have lost all sense of themselves.in the light of Heaven. For this reason. ‘There is nothing like the light of wisdom.’ And although this is true enough. it may be said that ‘that’ derives from ‘this’ and that ‘this’ is dependent upon ‘that. the sage does not subscribe to [the view of absolute opposites] but sees things in the light of nature. Every affirmation is a denial of something else. There is no thing that is not that.’ Therefore. with the impossible. cause wrong. it can respond endlessly. He knows all this: that this is that and that is this. Thus. in fact. but this is also caused by exactly that. from one’s own perspective]. accepting ‘this’ for what it is. and he knows also that the that and the this make One of right and wrong.”xiii Victor Mair.’”xv Brook Ziporyn. If you want to right wrongs and wrong rights. Its right then is a single endlessness and its wrong too is a single endlessness. from the moment of birth death begins simultaneously. the possible. and when the pivot is born into the middle of a great circle. Thus. But by the same token. there lies the pivot of the Way. and vice versa. the Sage does not proceed from any 8 . When the hinge is fitted into the socket. we can say: ‘That’ emerges from ‘this.
matter is not not this.xvii Thus. followed by my “trot. and commentary: 1 物無非彼，物無非是。 Matter not not that matter not not this Here we have two words that are interchangeable—rendered as “this” and “that. nothing compares to the Illumination of the Obvious.’ ‘THAT’ posits a ‘this’ and a ‘that’—a right and a wrong—of its own. the verb “to know” (知)xx is inserted before the character for 9 .”xvi And here is the original.xix 2 自彼則不見，自知則知之。 From that rule/law not see from know rule/law know [that] A strict gloss of this line might read: ‘From that rule (or standpoint). But ‘THIS’ also posits a ‘this’ and a ‘that’—a right and a wrong—of its own. So is there really any ‘that’ versus ‘this.’ respectively. And that too is only a case of going by the rightness of the present ‘this.’ ‘That’ is also a ‘this. the double negative expressed here by 無非 is not equivalent to an absolute positive. The first character 自 is repeated in both phrases. and underscore them as impenetrable to one another because of their framing. “matter is not not that.” (是 and 彼. one knows the standpoint.” I want to note that in the Chinese. the axis of all courses. nor is it that.’ Thus. or standpoints.’ Some translations emphasize the supposed dichotomy that Zhuangzi points out between the two laws. one cannot see. from knowing the standpoint of that. so the ambivalence of the grammar here throws readers directly into Zhuangzi’s deftness and free-thinking—matter is not this. it responds to all the endless things it confronts.’ and an endless supply of ‘wrongs. nor it is not that—but it is also not not anything of these this’s or that’s. nor is it not this. thwarted by none. “that” is retained from the first line. respectively).’ any right versus wrong? Or is there really no ‘that’ versus ‘this’? When ‘this’ and ‘that’—right and wrong— are no longer coupled as opposites—that is called the Course as Axis. There is an interesting lack of parallelism here.xviii I would highlight the fact that ‘that’ and ‘this’ are arbitrary choices in terms of translation—the translations could just as easily be rendered ‘this’ and ‘that. I say.’ ‘This’ is also a ‘that.” or literal one-word translation of each character. When this axis finds its place in the center.one of them alone but instead lets them all bask in the broad daylight of heaven. but in the second. however. but the second characters are radically different in meaning—in the first phrase. For it has an endless supply of ‘rights.
which functions as a subject pronoun here as the antecedent for 彼 (‘that’). and that comes from this. so we end up with “Consequently it is said: that emerges from this. but claiming knowledge of ‘that’ nonetheless.” underscoring the interdependence of all matter. including intellectual contents (in the vernacular of the Buddhist Pali canon.xxi So it is true that we are probably looking at the same ‘that. 4 彼是，方生之說也。 That this then life/give birth [that/this] inform This line is particularly nice for its immediate conjunction of ‘that’ and ‘this. where they are an “exposed subject. like Höchsmann does. 之. that “this is the theory of things being produced by each other. or from any standpoint outside of both.”xxv A more literal translation might be something along the lines of “’that’ ‘this’ then give life to the ‘that’ ‘this’ idea/information. Zhuangzi has given us the complexity of matter and its resistance to categorization. especially when ‘that’ and ‘this’ are clearly but entirely arbitrarily distinguished in linguistic terms.“law/rule” (則). He finishes the thought by showing us the reciprocal mediation of all things—this comes from that.xxii xxiii 3 故曰：彼出於是，是亦因彼。 Cause/consequently say: that emerges from this. These standpoints.” which essentially means the same thing. but has a nicely tautological claim to it. this also cause that I think it safe to follow the trot on this line. 5 雖然，方生方死，方死方生；方可方不可， Still thus then life then death then death then life then can then not can 10 .”xxiv so we can see what the translators are attempting to pull from the language in saying. mutually inform each other. Thus far.’ with the final character. which underscores Zhuangzi’s point about the curious and semantic nature of how nominalists tend to approach ‘that’ ‘this’-ness. this sounds quite a lot like “dependent origination”). this also causes that.’ which apparently give birth to ‘that’ ‘this’ information in their basic activity—or. and followed that acknowledgment with the problem of opposing viewpoints and the myopia of regarding one thing from the standpoint of another. The 之 here again holds the meaning of ‘that’ ‘this’ from the beginning of the line. they inform life because of the structure of their ‘that’ ‘this’-ness. or rules.
parallelism can be an important indication of meaning in its immediate presentation. but the interesting thing to see is the structure of the phrasing. including the inversions made in the second two clauses. a very pat version of what Zhuangzi’s been up to all along—the interchangeability of signifiers is clearly underscored by his use of parallelism. 7 是以聖人不由，而照之于天，亦因是也。 This by means of divine man not cause/mean and illuminate zhi1 at heaven.’ Most translators render this line in terms of possibility and impossibility. and he illuminates the cause as that of heaven.xxvi 8 是亦彼也，彼亦是也。 This also that that also this Here I defer to standard translations. since we are ourselves a constituent of external reality. actually stands much better as a trot—the line’s expression of the cycle of life and death becomes analogized to the expression of creaturely ability and limitation in temporal and logical terms… 6 方不可方可；因是因非，因非因是。 Then not can then can. seeking to understand reality on its own terms. while it can be rendered in a convincing fashion in English. 9 彼亦一是非，此亦一是非。 11 . In terms of the imagistic attributes of Chinese. and also the cause of ‘this. also cause this “‘This’ by means of the divine man is not the cause. cause this cause not cause not cause this …which is punctuated by an explicit contemplation of cause and effect which brings us back to ‘this’ and its relationship to cause—very likely the same problematic holds for ‘that. sage) in such a way that it appears that his virtue lies in grasping the foregoing knowledge and not seeing himself as the cause of this dynamic nature of the world—his knowledge is the pre-eminence of natural change and unified ecological complexity. which are also terms we define. which is also a sense that can be derived from the line.” Such is the understanding of the sage.’” What is worth highlighting here is the mention of 聖人 (divine man. where “This is also that and that is also this. the [divine man] illuminates ‘this’ by heaven.This line.
” Happily.that also one this not. that ‘that’ is defined by its opposition to ‘this. It is again worth pointing out the extreme symmetry Zhuangzi often employs..’” This means. which is a move in parallelism we see from Zhuangzi several times. and ‘this’/’that’ or ‘here’ is also one with what ‘this is not. more precisely. which can be seen to have a strong tendency towards the nonsensical when forced into the realm of actual empirical existence.xxviii 12 彼是莫得其偶，謂之道樞。 That this not get if (or pronoun) accidentally (or idol) speak zhi1 way door hinge/pivot/center of power “‘That’ ‘this’ will not be understood if one speaks accidentally” (“accidentally” here has the connotation of taking speech to be a kind of idol reified beyond the cognition of its constructed nature.’ and ‘this’ is located in its ‘this’-ness. (一) also functions to balance and connect these phrases. even when the character has several meanings. Comparing 此 and 是 opens up the resonances of 此 as both the corollary to and the “ground” for our explication of 是. this/that (different word. 10 果且有彼是乎哉 Fruit/result moreover is that this at [exclamatory particle] “The result is that ‘that’ and ‘this’ are in the same place (=’at’)!” 11 果且無彼是乎哉 Fruit/result moreover not that this at [exclamatory particle] “The result is that ‘that’ and ‘this’ are not in the same place!” Especially with the use of 哉 as an exclamatory particle. (一) can also be rendered as ‘whole’ and (此) also refers to a place. also means “here”) also one this not “’That’ is also one that ‘this’ is not.”). but careful rather in a reticent and 12 . and many of the previous. in this case via writing. particularly when he is speaking tautologically or pseudo-tautologically. ‘this’ is also one that ‘this’ is not.xxvii So we may say. that “’That is also one with what ‘this’ is not. putting a very fine point on Zhuangzi’s assertion of the fundamental problem regarding the activity of grounding the meaning and efficacy of words in more words (recall: “to take a mark to show that a mark is not a mark. I take these two lines to be an illustration of Zhuangzi’s indignance towards the ridiculousness of being able to semantically make these two statements. Careful speech would be its opposite. holding onto the meaning(s) of each character..
we 13 . 14 是亦一無窮，非亦一無窮也。 This also one not furthest limit not also one not furthest limit “’This’ also does not exhaust the whole. “’This’ ‘that’ (taking zhi1 to again have the force of a subject pronoun) is the dao’s hinge/pivot/center of power. [thinking] is no longer impoverished. which allows us to think the infinite. because we already know that we possess no essential meanings for words. and to find the pivot of the dao is nothing less than the apprehension of what he has sketched up until now. the process of which begins in ‘this’ ‘that’-ness and culminates in actual Daoist understanding. Of course. ‘we do not see things from a limited perspective when we employ clarity/illumination.”xxix So careful thinking is required in order to grasp Zhuangzi’s ‘that’ ‘this’ problem.’” My sense of the ‘not if’ language is that when 明 is employed. ‘not’ also does not exhaust the whole. a treacherous enterprise at best. This is a very significant line. or at least posit it via this language of non-exhaustion of possibility.” Both 環 (‘a ring. a bracelet. a la Confucius).” This line seems to be pointing to the limited nature of the term ‘this’ and ‘not this’ and the infinite nature of the whole beyond these divisions. only then is the middle of the ring attained. poor’)xxxi have strong connotations of material wealth. to encircle’)xxx and 窮 (‘exhausted. grasping that 樞 also has meaning as a “center of power” is worthwhile as a means of shoring up Zhuangzi’s point about the abilities one gains by finding the pivot of the dao. and because of this. which brings the mind back to a sense of circularity. 13 樞始得其環中，以應無窮。 Door hinge/pivot/center of power only then get [pronoun] ring middle because of must not poor “With the pivot. which we attain when the pivot of the dao is achieved. It is important to notice that line 14 here recalls line 9 in the structural simplicity of the rotation around (一). 故曰 莫若以明 。 Consequently it is said: not if by means of clear “Consequently it is said. impoverished. so Zhuangzi is making a play on wealth and richness in his articulation of this fuller perspective on the nature of reality and the word.reserved manner rather than in terms of formal naming.
natural. That human beings can even be made to see the inadequacy of speech speaks volumes about our intellectual abilities beyond linguistics and points the way back to the eternal dao—this pivot point of the dao. we must speak.”xxxv Thus. Where can I find a man who has forgotten his words so that I might talk with him?”xxxiv Zhuangzi’s orientation away from words should thus not be understood as a complete referendum on speech. in this sense.” thus the rendering “enlightenment” many translators prefer). proof of our ontological interest in the spiritual. Speech is. especially as he tells us elsewhere that “the dao is at the limit of the world of things. And in fact. Neither speech nor silence can be the highest expression of our thinking about it.do not have such problems of semantics in thinking.xxxii We are not thus delimited by our use of words.”xxxiii This passage may be read as an example of a process that Zhuangzi will describe at the end of Book 26: “Words are used to convey ideas. from which all 14 . we are creatures endowed with much more than simply the ability to articulate words. but Zhuangzi arrives at this perspective—and brings readers to it as well—by means of the language itself: “Words flow on every day clarified by the heavenly element in our nature. and the experience of mediation and complexity such that an intelligent soul might be able to see very far indeed beyond words and their denotative meanings. speculative nature born of convention. speech and language are but a symptom of our being in the world and not the cause of some reflective. this process of translation and meaning-making is endemic to our nature too: the other side of language is that it is a manifestation of our ability to cognize the world and represent it to ourselves. Speech and silence are not adequate to represent the idea of it. and cosmic. Happily. humor. Thus. but when the ideas are understood men forget the words. sensical or not. but speak in such a way that cognizes and highlights the inadequacy of strictly linguistic experience. We can reflect on our language and we have cognitive access to metaphor. even if they exist linguistically (especially if we hold on to the character’s resonances with “intelligent” and “bright.
is nothing other than this same consciousness that has both alienation from and immediate access to the Dao. 315. "Man in Nature. 635. ii iv v "Ming2.. Harvard University Press ed." Mathew's Chinese English Dictionary. Ibid. 12. in a similar way to the creative collaboration of heaven and earth. Höchsmann trans. Translated by Martin Palmer. 91. 84. at the very least. 91. because it is clear that reality has an intelligence to it that evades categorization (or. 92. 1996.is illuminated. and the proof of our success can only be a sense of happiness and connection with the world we attempt to describe from the pivot point of the dao. iii Ibid. 1931. Intelligence is the pivot of the dao. viii Watts. New York: Penguin Group. Alan. 15 . meaning. since reality is not a creation so much as a manifestation of becoming. This is not a theological moment for Zhuangzi in the way that it might sound. but they seem to emerge from my interactions with my environment. ix Zhuangzi. <http://www. 93.html>. New York: Pearson Education.. and gestalt reasoning is evidenced by our attempts to express the inexpressible via language. But the concept of movement we have for reality is similar to the structure of thought. x The Book of Chuang Tzu.. 85. understood in a Daoist sense. Höchsmann trans.openculture. Our intrinsic feeling for metaphor. Translated by Hyun Höchsmann and Yang Guorong. this standpoint which requires interaction with the linguistic element of our nature: “developing what is of heavenly origin will lead to goodness.. vii Ibid." Web.com/2014/01/the-zen-teachings-of-alan-watts-afree-audio-archive. it is the point from which we might make investigations into reality.”xxxvi i Zhuangzi. I cannot necessarily have immediate access to the origin point of all of my thoughts. 2007. This activity is a powerful reminder of our own place in nature and the possibility of our participation in the dao. Print. Zhuangzi. the dao. vi Ibid. that the creative force of the dao is not foreign to us in our own practice of linguistic constitution of phenomenal experience). internal and external.
xxxiii Zhuangzi. 11. xiii Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings. China: Hunan People's Publishing House. “Chih1. 129.” Mathew’s Dictionary. 811. xv The Essential Chuang Tzu. xxxii “Ming2. Translated by Burton Watson. New York: Columbia University Press. xii Zhuangzi..P. 14. 265. 2009.. 130 16 . xxviii “Tsai1.” Ibid. 1998.. Höchsmann trans. 5. 197.” Ibid. Translated by Wang Rongpei. xxiii “Zhi1. xxix “Shu1. Britain: Alcuin Academics. 15-16. 257. 22-23. Translated by Sam Hamill and J. 973. xxv Zhuangzi. Don Starr.xi A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. xxxiv Ibid. Archie. Boston: Shambala. 635. xxiv Du’s Handbook. 108. 828. I. Vol. xvi Zhuangzi: Essential Writings. 336. 12. 128. 1996. xxxv Ibid. 800. 1963. Seaton. 34-35. Translated by Brook Ziporyn.” Mathew’s Dictionary. Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar. xiv Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. Höchsmann trans. 264. 1999. Translated by Victor H. 14. xxxi “Ch’iung2.” Mathew’s Dictionary. xxxvi Ibid.. 990. xxvi “Sheng4. Hunan. Print. 2009. Mair. xxi “Tseh2.. xvii “Shih4.” Ibid. 91.. xx Barnes.. 11. Princeton: Princeton University Press. and Graham Ormerod.” Ibid.” Mathew’s Dictionary. xxvii Du’s Handbook. 1994. 183. xxx “Huan2. xviii xix Du’s Handbook. 177.” Ibid.. Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan. xxii Du’s Handbook.” Mathew’s Dictionary.
I. The Essential Chuang Tzu. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Translated by Victor H. "Man in Nature. Barnes. Don Starr. 1998.openculture. Translated by Sam Hamill and J." Web. The Book of Chuang Tzu. Hunan. Britain: Alcuin Academics. Mathew's Chinese English Dictionary. Seaton. Alan. Zhuangzi. New York: Pearson Education.Works Cited A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Harvard University Press ed. Translated by Hyun Höchsmann and Yang Guorong. Print. 1931.com/2014/01/the-zen-teachingsof-alan-watts-a-free-audio-archive. 1996. Mair. 2009. Vol. Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings. Watts. 2007. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. New York: Columbia University Press. Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar.html>. and Graham Ormerod. 1994. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. 1963. 2009. Translated by Burton Watson. Boston: Shambala. <http://www. Print. 1999. Translated by Martin Palmer. Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu. China: Hunan People's Publishing House. 17 .P. Translated by Brook Ziporyn. New York: Penguin Group. Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan. Zhuangzi. 1996. Zhuangzi: Essential Writings. Translated by Wang Rongpei. Archie.
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