Naturalness ziran 自然 the way things are let things

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Naturalness (ziran自然)-The way things are-Let things run their course-Learn the order of things in order not tointerfere with it- Peace and order are the result of harmony withnature/the Way- Chaos arises from going against nature/ the Way
Importance of “nature”Nature, like us, is part of the WayNature “acts” in accordance with the WayNature is something to learn fromThe Daoist seeks a close connection with natureDifference with modern understanding of “nature”Fan Kuan, “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams”
SimplicityIn Daoism, problems arise when thenatural order is altered by man, so fromcomplexity or excess:“The five colors blind people’s eyes;The five tones deafen their ears.The five flavors spoil their palate;Excitement and hunting madden their minds;Goods hard to get do harm to their ways.”(DDJ, XII)
Non-ActionNon-Action/effortless doing(Wuwei)“The way never acts yet nothing is left undone. Should lords andprinces be able to hold fast to it, The myriad creatures will betransformed of their own accord.” –XXXVII, 81“Heaven and earth do nothing and there is nothing that is not done.”(Zhuangzi,pg. 140)Compare with Confucianism
Story of Cook TingKnow the Dao in order to move with the DaoCook Ting: “What I care about is the Way, whichgoes beyond skill.” (p. 25)Attune oneself to the environment as a wholeNon-action is avoiding interfering with the Wayby over-acting
2ndreading: Zhuangzi/Chuang TzuZhuang Zhou (c. 369-c. 286 B.C.)Government official who found service uselessand withdrew to focus on his speculations.Warring States PeriodUses parables (a simple story that teaches alesson)Compared toDaodejing, more concerned withmental attitudes (how mental categories arethe problem to overcome)
The Ideal: Naturalness = HappinessFor Zhuangzi, problems start when we developideas and goals that do not match who weare. Return to a natural state, i.e. a state ofperfect happiness(Compare to Confucius)
Humankind’s Limits“Your life has a limit but knowledge has none.If you use what is limited to pursue what hasno limit, you will be in danger.” (p.25)
Limits of human knowledge and understanding“You can’t discuss the ocean with a well frog—he’s limited by the space he lives in. you can’tdiscuss ice with a summer insect—he’s boundto a single season. You can't discuss the Waywith a cramped scholar-he’s shackled by hisdoctrines” (p.27)

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Term
Fall
Professor
DAVIDGOODMAN
Tags
Chinese philosophy, Analects,

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