Monday, November 18, 2013

The Essence Of Zhuangzian Play II

Scott Bradley


In the previous post we considered the detachment from outcomes that facilitates the experience of play. Like so much in Zhuangzi, his introductory theme of non-dependence shows itself consistently applicable within his many apparently different paths into free, happy and carefree living. This non-dependence, should we imagine the state of mind it suggests, consistently brings us to that precipice where we can either take that leap of trust, of entrusting ourselves to things as they are, or turn back to worry and strife. The true spirit of playfulness is consequent to freedom from dependence.

That we remain psychologically dependent need not smother the spirit of play, however; for play can laugh and detach itself from and in the midst of bondage. Limitlessness is experienced in and through the limited. Where can one go that there are no limits? How are limits as close to home as one's own lack of non-dependence different from any other limits? Thus, playfulness does not even depend on being non-dependent. Play, in this sense, can be understood as the ability to laugh at oneself. And if one can laugh at oneself, then one is able to laugh with others in their similar failings.

Let's laugh together.

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

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