Hui and I at first dismissed the notion that people do not change for philosophies (of the continental sort). Some who would discover meaningful ideas (for instance Stoicism) and attempt to adhere to them generally end up feeling unenthusiastic or forgetting the extremities of the ideas. By “some,” I know at least one.
I read an instance of a person changing for her philosophy. I read that the author was getting annoyed by her husband for the usual jokes, but she realized her petulance and changed her entire attitude. I was either incredulous or respectful to the post, but I do commend the author, if it actually happened.
But for those who find it hard to stick to a philosophy, I’ll use mine to rationalize the difficulty, the main suspect being that the philosophy is too different from the nature of people. For example, how could a hipster stop suppressing emotion for following Stoicism? However, I don’t know if anyone would be capable of straying from Zhuangzi’s philosophy.
If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, then you might know that Yang and I take a more analytically-inclined approach to eastern and western philosophy. Ideally, what this entails is similar to developing a formula or working through an algorithm, but instead the work is done with propositions (there is no clear cut cardinality and arithmetic…and people think philosophy is easy!). Sometimes, though, time doesn’t allow for fully explaining everything such that the most coherent and strong view is formed or readily apparent, so we think it might suffice to introduce ideas into eastern philosophical discussion. This can be seen with Yang’s post about morality in Taoism.
If ever you find yourself reasoning with someone about what is the most moral way to act when a Cougar falls and can’t get back up, you may say that you should help the Cougar if and only if you are required to do so. Your partner may contrarily say that you should, even though it’s very dangerous, if and only if you want either her know-how or her friendship (with benefits).Continue reading How the Taoist is Moral
To many people, Philosophical Taoism and Buddhism are full of strange and fanciful ideas; it may seem absurd that a bird or a mouse could be the reincarnation of a relative or that people can achieve immorality by living stress-free, but these ideas and many others are taken out of context, only allowing potential seekers of “spirituality” and onlookers to engage with the concepts in a straightforward manner. This leads people to think that these philosophies have some sort of “magic” in them.
I was “happily” reading my calculus textbook, reading about the arc length integral, when I saw this picture of circles with inscribed polygons approximating their respective circles. I quickly took a picture, sent it to Yang, and told him that the picture shows the relationship between nondistinction and infinite distinction.
Zhuangzi wrote that assigning attributes, or distinguishing, is like turning the circle into a square. The circle is considered to be boundless in having no corners and is meant to be a representation of nature. So by distinguishing nature, one becomes bound to their perceptions of nature.