Understanding the Zhuangzi ethical Position and its Relation to Ren
The Chinese analectsren that focuses on the motion of goodness share a common perspective with Zhuangzi’s ethical Position on the prudent conduct individuals ought to emulate themselves when upholding their community’s values. Hence, understanding this perception is vital when interpreting the norms and beliefs that Zhuangzi uses in his works as it focuses on the importance of living by its rites to alleviate one’s inner self. Stanford (2014) explains the wayZhuangzi’s ethical position relationship with ren (motion of goodness)is centralize on individualistic aspects such as dao(guide), cheng (construct), Yi (morality) and, shi-fei (this-not that), which one upholds when seeking to live ‘freely’. Ideally, the essence of these analects and self-aspects aim to guide the inner soul to making righteous decisions during a lifetime especially the manner in which to internalize good and bad things. Therefore, Zhuangzi’s ethical position advocates for an individual’s use of their intuitions (that rely on ren) to make righteous decisions amid to living a ‘happy life’.
Principally, the individualistic aspects Zhuangzi’s emphasizes on when seeking solace in life sets a predicament thathighlights the appeasing (ethical) effect it has on the conscience. Therefore, this approach elaborates on the control an individual has on their life the way it revolves around living ethically. According to Huang (2010), some of its key contribution in the contemporary liferoots in its efforts in helping people to accept individuals who prescribe to different beliefs and ways of life (rites). Essentially, the need for this perception is dire in the current global affairs as lots of conflicts stem from social and cultural differences, which is a huge concept the ren analects iterates on. Thus, the first conceptual factor that correlatesZhuangzi’s ethical position andrenrelies on its strict rule on seeking guidance (dao) as the basis of perception.
Similarly, the two pieces of works share a common goal on individualism, which bears a new dimension to a new concept of ethics known as virtue ethics. This type of ethical orientation concentrates on intuitionism and placing it first as a guide to life. Stanford (2014) states that emulating this way of life is important to communities that prescribe to Zhuangzi’s work and Chinese analects because it allows these individuals to set a good example to their society. Essentially, it construes people to seek being an exemplary reflection of their communities to ‘outsiders’ and showcase the benefits of this sort of mentality. Hence, it provides a feeling of belonging and value to live this righteous life while taking pride the beliefs.
The interpretation of ren and how Zhuangzi infers to it in his teachings requires an individual to have a deep sense of their emotions(emotive stability). This aspect proves instrumental in the internalization of life’s doings as it provides the rationale to conceptualize everything positively. Watson (2013) highlights a crucial teaching from Zhuangzi’s works when he elaborates on the way someone’s grief on their loved one tells a lot about their moral living/ life. The logic emanates from the perception that one needs to accept loss of their deceased and believe they are happy where they are, which allows them to be contented despite the loss. Additionally, it focuses on one’s intentions towards the deceased when they were alive and their conduct after their demise(SeeSlingerland, 2010). In other words, the analects and Zhuangzi’s teaching requires individuals to have adequate emotive capacity to interpret complex/ negative life acts into positive thoughts to adopt the appropriate ethical Position.
In contrast, this ethical orientation (virtue ethics) draws lots of criticism from theorists’/philosophers cause of its approach in putting self-interest first. This aspect makes the credibility of virtue ethics to attract the critics due to the way it ignores other factors and solelyrelies on individual thoughts and decisions in living life. Huang (2010) highlights the way it presents a vacuum for misinterpretation/ internalization on some acts despite its strict rule on guidance (dao), which eventually hinders an individual from living a moral (ethical) life. Also, the probability of this misconception occurring presents a detrimental challenge to the manner in which the globe accepts these teachings. Mainly, the high interpretive cues the analects require create a substantial vacuum for misinterpretation, which limits its acceptance and use.
In summary, the life teachings rely on intuitions and the way one interprets them as guidance. Thus, fundamental life-aspect such as guide, construct, morality and, this-that act as the pillars of inference, which are integral in the interpretation process. Also, internalizing and emulating these teachings in life needs lots of discipline and belief that Zhuangzi’s works strive to push. Therefore, an important concept the Zhuangzi’s ethical Position and ren (Confucius analects) adopts lies on one’s ability to define intuitions and convert them to positive deeds.
Huang, Yong. (2010). Respecting Different Ways of Life: A Daoist Ethics of Virtue in the “Zhuangzi”. The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 69, No. 4 (NOVEMBER 2010), pp. 1049-1069
Slingerland, Edward. (2010). Confucius the Essential Analects. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Indianapolis/ Cambridge
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.(2014). Zhuangzi. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zhuangzi/
Watson, Burton. (2013). The Complete Works of Zhuangzi. Columbia University Press 2013
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