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 Post subject: Eastern Thought
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 10:51 am 
I was thinking about the typical discussions here and elsewhere on the Zoo, and more often than not they are grounded in western thought.

Has anyone spent anytime reading materials from the East?

I'm fond of the writings of Chuang Tzu, one of the Taoists.

Burton Watson translated Chuang Tzu who wrote:
Once, when Chuang Tzu was fishing in the P'u river, the king of Ch'u sent two officials to go and announce to him: "I would like to trouble you with the administration of my realm."

Chuang Tzu held onto the fishing pole and, without turning his head, said, "I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Ch'u that has been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its bones left behind and honored? Or would it rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?"

"It would rather be alive dragging its tail in the mud," said the two officials.

Chuang Tzu said, "Go away! I'll drag my tail in the mud!"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 1:03 pm 
Heh. That guy didn't seem to have a high view of palace security.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:59 pm 
Hmm, mind clarifying your idea of "Western Thought" for me, please?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:12 pm 
kreely wrote:
Hmm, mind clarifying your idea of "Western Thought" for me, please?

Let me try.
Western thought includes the concept of advancement, progression. As you denigrated in another thread "all questions have an answer".
Eastern thought follows the concept of the circle, endlessly looping back on itself. Nothing changes, so striving for change is a waste.

Though eastern thinking includes the concept of 'improvment of self', which placed against the 'unchanging nature of nature' I find as silly as "all questions have an answer".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:53 pm 
I was gonna write something, but I'm too tired to do it justice.

...they said it about as well I as I could, anyhoo.

Wikipedia wrote:
Western and Eastern Philosophy
Members of many societies around the world have considered the same questions, and built philosophic traditions based upon each other's works. Philosophy may be broadly divided into various realms based loosely on geography. The term "philosophy" alone in a Euro-American academic context usually refers to the philosophic traditions of Western civilization, sometimes also called Western philosophy. In the West, the term "eastern philosophy" broadly subsumes the philosophic traditions of Asia and the East.

Western Philosophy
The Western philosophic tradition began with the Greeks and continues to the present day. Famous Western philosophers include Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and W. v. O. Quine.

Eastern Philosophy
Famous Eastern philosophers include Gautama Buddha, Bodhidharma, Lao Zi (Lao Tzu), Confucius, and Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu). This article deals primarily with the Western philosophic tradition; for more information on Eastern philosophies, see Eastern philosophy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:19 am 
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Knight of Daisies, Tulip Slayer
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Gerald wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
and Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu).


No wonder I didn't recognise the name. I'm used to seeing it spelled Zhuang Zi.

That dude is *COOL*.


Damn smart, those Chinese.

_________________
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:38 pm 
Oh yeah.

I want to say it was Xun Zi who had a bit about those who cause confusion for the sake of confusion, and make matters more complicated than they need to be.

...I need to see if I can find an excerpt somewhere...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:30 am 
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Gerald wrote:
I want to say it was Xun Zi who had a bit about those who cause confusion for the sake of confusion, and make matters more complicated than they need to be.


Reminds me of something my grandfather always used to say. "Eschew obfuscation ubiquitously."

_________________
Fandemonium 2010 -- No Boundaries.
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(Idaho: It ain't just potatoes anymore.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:54 am 
And never utilize sesquipidalians.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:29 am 
Ogredude wrote:
Gerald wrote:
I want to say it was Xun Zi who had a bit about those who cause confusion for the sake of confusion, and make matters more complicated than they need to be.


Reminds me of something my grandfather always used to say. "Eschew obfuscation ubiquitously."


Okay... here we go, transcribed...

In his translation of Hsün Tzu (Xunzi), Burton Watson wrote:
Certainly there are those in the world who do not accept this ideal of the sage and the king as the highest norm, but can they possibly claim still to be able to distinguish right from wrong, or to separate the crooked from the straight? And if they cannot distinguish right from wrong, or separate crooked from straight, if they cannot tell the difference between order and disorder, or practice the way that is proper to mankind, then, although they may have other abilities, it will be no profit to anyone, and if they are without ability it will be no one's loss. Such men do nothing but propound strange theories, toy with unusual language, and vex and confuse others. Offensively aggressive and glib, brazen-faced and impervious to shame, willful in conduct and indifferent to right, rash in judgment and with an eye out for profit alone, they have no use for humility, no respect for propriety, but are concerned only in getting the better of their opponents. Such are the ways of evil men whose theories bring disorder to the age, and yet how many of the propounders of theories in the world today are like this! This is what the old text means when it says, "The gentleman despises those who consider perception to consist merely in the description of objects. The gentleman despises men of broad learning and powerful memory who yet do not conform to the regulations of the king."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:33 pm 
Gerald wrote:
Okay... here we go, transcribed...

In his translation of Hsün Tzu (Xunzi), Burton Watson wrote:
Certainly there are those in the world who do not accept this ideal of the sage and the king as the highest norm, but can they possibly claim still to be able to distinguish right from wrong, or to separate the crooked from the straight? And if they cannot distinguish right from wrong, or separate crooked from straight, if they cannot tell the difference between order and disorder, or practice the way that is proper to mankind, then, although they may have other abilities, it will be no profit to anyone, and if they are without ability it will be no one's loss. Such men do nothing but propound strange theories, toy with unusual language, and vex and confuse others. Offensively aggressive and glib, brazen-faced and impervious to shame, willful in conduct and indifferent to right, rash in judgment and with an eye out for profit alone, they have no use for humility, no respect for propriety, but are concerned only in getting the better of their opponents. Such are the ways of evil men whose theories bring disorder to the age, and yet how many of the propounders of theories in the world today are like this! This is what the old text means when it says, "The gentleman despises those who consider perception to consist merely in the description of objects. The gentleman despises men of broad learning and powerful memory who yet do not conform to the regulations of the king."


It seems what he's saying there is, partly, "Just because somebody can talk a lot about something doesn't mean they understand it at all". And furthermore, the people who do so do it out of self-interest.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 3:35 pm 
I think also its a slam against the stereotypical philosopher who spends more time analyzing the words and their meanings in order to bring things down to a war of semantics, without ever actually contributing a real thought to the discussion.

...

...I was going to go into this stereotype, but I think I'll start a new thread for it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:56 am 
Ah, I love that story about the turtle. A similar one makes an appearance in an issue of Sandman, in which a (fictional) former president is asked if he would ever consider running for office again. His reply is an analogy to a tigerskin rug in the White House: would the tiger rather be alive in the wild, or dead in the seat of power?


-=-Barnabas


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