When the Perfect Man rules the world, he has hold of a huge thing, does he not? - yet it is not enough to snare him in entanglement. He works the handles that control the world, but is not a party to the workings. He sees clearly into what has no falsehood and is unswayed by thoughts of gain. He ferrets out the truth of things and knows how to cling to the source. Therefore he can put Heaven and earth outside himself, forget the ten thousand things, and his spirit has no cause to be wearied. He dismisses benevolence and righteousness, rejects rites and music, for the mind of the Perfect Man knows where to find repose.The idea that any of us could act without thought of gain is another one of the various ideals that appear throughout the Zhuangzi. We humans are a calculating species and, in almost everything we do, we try to ascertain what we will get out of it. Sometimes we want money, power, status and/or fame. At other times, it is nothing more than personal self-satisfaction, but even that is part of our calculus!
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.