Monday, March 14, 2011


by Scott Bradley

“Words are the products of the understanding consciousness. Where there are words there is a self.” – Wang Fuzhi (B. Ziporyn)

‘The understanding consciousness functions by means of discrimination. If I say ‘this is a book’, it only makes sense if I understand that everything else is not a book. The same applies to our sense of self-identity. ‘Me’ has meaning only in the context of ‘not me’. Self requires a counterpart, a not self, an other.

Zhuangzi suggests that it is possible to transcend this coupling with an opposite, to understand that everything is ‘I’. This appeals to me and so I’m messing about looking for a way for this to happen for me. In the mean time, however,...

In the mean time, I write these words and they necessarily discriminate; they say this path is not another path. How does one avoid becoming just one more shrill voice ‘forever crossing swords with all the others’?

By means of Zhuangzi’s Two Roads, I think — a kind of intellectual pacifism which says, “Yes, we disagree but I affirm you in your own way, that it is the ‘right’ way for you.” This does not stop others from raising their swords against you, of course; only you have no need to raise your own. What is there to defend?

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.


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