Monday, August 9, 2010

Punishing Heaven, Part 9

PUNISHING HEAVEN:
TRANSCENDENCE IN BONDAGE
by Scott Bradley

‘Confucius’ has discovered his self and found it wanting. He has found in himself a limitation, fetters from which he cannot escape. What then of this man who, though he sees it clearly, must remain aware of only a theoretical and unattainable transcendence ‘outside the lines’ of convention? Is there also a transcendence for him? There already is; he is aware of his limits and accepts them. This is a transcendence.

But it is not the transcendence previously described, one might declaim. Yes, but that was a theoretical ‘ultimate’ transcendence; are we to prescribe this concept, this one particular goal, to every particular man?

The Way is expressed in ways and it is only in them that we find it. And this being the case, where is there room for prescribing how it must be expressed? Let us rather let Confucius pick up his zither and sing himself a carefree song.

Let us allow him to laugh at his own seriousness and yet be serious still. Let us partake in the diversity of ten thousand harvests, but in each tasting one and the same purity of fully formed maturation.

Note: At the conclusion of this miniseries, a link will be provided for those interested in downloading or printing the entire document replete with footnotes. If you want to catch up on parts of this or other series you've missed, go to Scott's Zhuangzi Index Page.

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