The Vast Wilds of Open Nowhere
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
Among my favorite passages in the Zhuangzi are those which express his ecstatic vision of unfettered freedom. And among these, my favorite is his suggestion of a ‘place’ where we might roam, “our homeland of not-even-anything, the vast wilds of open nowhere.”
I have spent the last twenty or so years on a small sailboat, wandering about and around the globe and people often ask me what were my favorite spots. I always reply, “The wild places!” Raroria Atoll — anchored in a turquoise expanse behind the reef where the Kon-Tiki made landfall; Suvarov Atoll — coconut crabs and a lagoon full of sharks; uncharted island mazes in the Solomons — the whoosh, whoosh of hornbills passing overhead; Chagos Archepelago — an atoll to myself....I love ‘unspoiled’ nature and it is there I find the deepest peace and sense of belonging. I am only lonely in a crowd.
Yet it is not the nature of the world that we can easily find and dwell in such places. We are in reality a social animal and, in any case, we have nearly covered the globe. For this reason Zhuangzi’s way of personal liberation has also been described (by Wang Fuzhi) as “the art of wandering in the world of human beings.” But this art does not consist in establishing a net of social relationships with which to support our egoic-selves, but in realizing the freedom that requires no support at all. It is found in a place that is no-place-at-all, a place that for me is somehow echoed in the remaining wilds of this wonderful planet.
You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.