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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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Chaos. Cosmos. Eros. Thanatos.

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  • Chaos. Cosmos. Eros. Thanatos.

    I am not a christian at the present time. I would like to study apologetics to learn whether I should become one again.

    Several questions must be asked at this point:

    1 Should I seek this knowledge at all?

    2 How can I keep from fooling myself?

    3 What is the standard by which evidence should be interpreted?

    4 Is this the primary concern of my life?

    There are two schools of thought on the first queston:

    Objectivity is both a metaphysical and an epistemological concept. It pertains to the relationship of consciousness to existence. Metaphysically, it is the recognition of the fact that reality exists independent of any perceiver’s consciousness. Epistemologically, it is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver’s (man’s) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic). This means that although reality is immutable and, in any given context, only one answer is true, the truth is not automatically available to a human consciousness and can be obtained only by a certain mental process which is required of every man who seeks knowledge—that there is no substitute for this process, no escape from the responsibility for it, no shortcuts, no special revelations to privileged observers—and that there can be no such thing as a final “authority” in matters pertaining to human knowledge. Metaphysically, the only authority is reality; epistemologically—one’s own mind. The first is the ultimate arbiter of the second.

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/ob...y.html#order_1

    Objectivity begins with the realization that man (including his every attribute and faculty, including his consciousness) is an entity of a specific nature who must act accordingly; that there is no escape from the law of identity, neither in the universe with which he deals nor in the working of his own consciousness, and if he is to acquire knowledge of the first, he must discover the proper method of using the second; that there is no room for the arbitrary in any activity of man, least of all in his method of cognition—and just as he has learned to be guided by objective criteria in making his physical tools, so he must be guided by objective criteria in forming his tools of cognition: his concepts.

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/ob...y.html#order_2

    The concept of objectivity contains the reason why the question “Who decides what is right or wrong?” is wrong. Nobody “decides.” Nature does not decide—it merely is; man does not decide, in issues of knowledge, he merely observes that which is. When it comes to applying his knowledge, man decides what he chooses to do, according to what he has learned, remembering that the basic principle of rational action in all aspects of human existence, is: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” This means that man does not create reality and can achieve his values only by making his decisions consonant with the facts of reality.

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/ob...y.html#order_1

    Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/creators.html#order_1

    AND

    If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it
    would be better for the people a hundredfold

    When we renounce learning we have no troubles.
    The (ready) 'yes,' and (flattering) 'yea;'--
    Small is the difference they display.
    But mark their issues, good and ill;--
    What space the gulf between shall fill?

    www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm vs 19-20


    Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy. Great words are clear and limpid;3 little words are shrill and quarrelsome. In sleep, men's spirits go visiting; in waking hours, their bodies hustle. With everything they meet they become entangled. Day after day they use their minds in strife, sometimes grandiose, sometimes sly, sometimes petty. Their little fears are mean and trembly; their great fears are stunned and overwhelming. They bound off like an arrow or a crossbow pellet, certain that they are the arbiters of right and wrong. They cling to their position as though they had sworn before the gods, sure that they are holding on to victory. They fade like fall and winter - such is the way they dwindle day by day. They drown in what they do - you cannot make them turn back. They grow dark, as though sealed with seals - such are the excesses of their old age. And when their minds draw near to death, nothing can restore them to the light.

    Everything has its "that," everything has its "this." From the point of view of "that" you cannot see it, but through understanding you can know it. So I say, "that" comes out of "this" and "this" depends on "that" - which is to say that "this" and "that" give birth to each other. But where there is birth there must be death; where there is death there must be birth. Where there is acceptability there must be unacceptability; where there is unacceptability there must be acceptability. Where there is recognition of right there must be recognition of wrong; where there is recognition of wrong there must be recognition of right. Therefore the sage does not proceed in such a way, but illuminates all in the light of Heaven.6 He too recognizes a "this," but a "this" which is also "that," a "that" which is also "this." His "that" has both a right and a wrong in it; his "this" too has both a right and a wrong in it. So, in fact, does he still have a "this" and "that"? Or does he in fact no longer have a "this" and "that"? A state in which "this" and "that" no longer find their opposites is called the hinge of the Way. When the hinge is fitted into the socket, it can respond endlessly. Its right then is a single endlessness and its wrong too is a single endlessness. So, I say, the best thing to use is clarity.

    YOUR LIFE HAS A LIMIT but knowledge has none. If you use what is limited to pursue what has no limit, you will be in danger. If you understand this and still strive for knowledge, you will be in danger for certain! If you do good, stay away from fame. If you do evil, stay away from punishments. Follow the middle; go by what is constant, and you can stay in one piece, keep yourself alive, look after your parents, and live out your years.

    terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu.html Section 2 para 8 and Section 3 para 1

    Zhuang Zi's point in talking about "this" and "that" has to do with the concept of contraries, which is based on the idea that objects and perspectives are mutually defined. His "clarity," my refer to the idea that the sage recognizes the limits of human knowledge and harmonizes all things through the use of "heaven" which might be understood as the mind, interpreting the phrase according to New Thought Principles. James Legge discusses this concept in his commentary on verse 2 of the Tao Te Ching / Dao De Jing. Responding enlessly may refer to the potential of all things to be good or evil and the unintended consequences of trying to promote good or evil. Wu-Wei comes into play here, the concept of natural action. By that Natural action one can understand how to make it through this world.

    "...does not proceed in such a way,"

    He does not proceed in the method of labeling things as right or as wrong. He knows that the unintended consequences of such an act, and he also realizes the Way's power to harmonize all things.

    In speaking of "Great Understanding" Zhuang is contrasting the view of the sage or of the Way with the view of the common person. The common person does not understand the way, and so the people injure themselves by arguing and assuming standards which may be good in one situation but not in another. They waste energy "Become(ing) entangled" with the people and ideas that they come across. They don't know how to harmonize these, and so they are left broken and shattered, clinging to positions that they don't truly understand how they acquired. One of Zhuang Zi's major premises is that life may not be completely comprehensible. "The understanding of the small does not reach to that which is great," he tells us.

    The central point that Zhuang makes resonates with me. Just because you have a lot of knowledge, doesn't mean you are correct, and doesn't mean you are happy. Accumulating more and more doesn't always get you closer to truth...or does it? Maybe his point is not that having knowledge is wrong but that making it the focus of your life is wrong?

    Zhuang Zi's relativism goes back to his view of the Way, and is heavily integrated with one part of the mind.

    Rand's Objectivism goes back to her view of objective reality, and is heavily integrated with another part of the mind, the consciousness.

    Both philosophies agree that altruism is immoral, and both see as a false dichotomy the sacrifice of self to others or of others to self. They both believe in following one's nature, but what they disagree on is what that nature is, and whether objective reality can be known through reason or through intuition. One would say do not pursue knowledge while the other would say pursue knowledge but with skepticism. One would say that reasoning people cannot disagree while the other would say that intuitive people don't argue in the first place.

    I do not know which of them is right, but only that both seem to contain truths.

    One way to keep from fooling yourself is to apply the standard that Rand gave, which is that the arbitrary should be dismissed out of hand and that people ought to take a position based on their reason and knowledge instead of being on both sides of every fence.

    One other way is to recognize what Zhuang Zi said which is to be careful about knowledge and thinking you are right based on whether you win or loose the argument, and to refrain from arguing all together when you can. To roll all things into one and follow two paths. That maybe the only way to keep from fooling yourself.

    What seems reasonable to one person may not seem reasonable to another. That will depend on the assumptions they have accepted and the engrams that they possess. When the conscious reasoning mind, the Analyzer, is bypassed, then another part of the mind is open to suggestion. These suggestions may not be available to the person's waking state. Thus the person may think they are deciding on an issue for a set of reasons that have nothing to do with the reality of the situation. People are very good at inventing reasons for their behavior. To ignore this is to ignore human nature.

    I am in a severe amount of pain most of the time. Any action I take may result in punishment for myself and others. I am constantly lying to myself. This pain is me and I want nothing else.
    This is one way to deal with this problem, but it is a difficult road and may not ultimately solve what is hurting me, and perhaps what is hurting me doesn't need to be solved.
    Last edited by Heero Yuy; 04-06-2014, 07:30 PM.

  • #2
    These references are interesting and to a certain extent valid, but I would look to more sources then Ayn Rand.

    1 Should I seek this knowledge at all? - Yes, but not 'this' knowledge, but knowledge in general.

    2 How can I keep from fooling myself? - Keep your search for knowledge with as few presuppositions as possible.

    3 What is the standard by which evidence should be interpreted? - The foundation for understanding the physical existence is the objective methodology of science. From this foundation build your knowledge on this with as little bias as possible. I believe in Aristotle's concept of the universal search for knowledge he stated in Physica. 'In all discipline consider the universal (the General of all possible views and choices).' Selective bias in the subjective world leads to dead ends. In the Vedic writings. 'To say yes or no is to be immobile on two feet.'

    4 Is this the primary concern of my life? - No.

    As far as reading I would begin with Gilgamesh. The earliest known literature. It is the journey of the civilized morally corrupt Gilgamesh confronting the primal reality in Enkido, and his quest for immortality, after Enkido gives his life to save Gilgamesh in the fight with the Bull of Heaven.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 04-06-2014, 07:23 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
      These references are interesting and to a certain extent valid, but I would look to more sources then Ayn Rand.

      1 Should I seek this knowledge at all? - Yes, but not 'this' knowledge, but knowledge in general.

      2 How can I keep from fooling myself? - Keep your search for knowledge with as few presuppositions as possible.

      3 What is the standard by which evidence should be interpreted? - The foundation for understanding the physical existence is the objective methodology of science. From this foundation build your knowledge on this with as little bias as possible. I believe in Aristotle's concept of the universal search for knowledge he stated in Physica. 'In all discipline consider the universal (the General of all possible views and choices).' Selective bias in the subjective world leads to dead ends. In the Vedic writings. 'To say yes or no is to be immobile on two feet.'

      4 Is this the primary concern of my life? - No.

      As far as reading I would begin with Gilgamesh. The earliest known literature. It is the journey of the civilized morally corrupt Gilgamesh confronting the primal reality in Enkido, and his quest for immortality, after Enkido gives his life to save Gilgamesh in the fight with the Bull of Heaven.
      You have the right to this position, and I have the right to point out that it interacts with almost nothing that I have quoted or written.

      "To a certain extent,"

      Weasel words. Which ideas are you talking about, to what extent are you speaking? How does this jive with anything else you have said.

      ...More sources than Ayn Rand"

      I will have none of this. Her ideas rise or fall on themselves, not her. I could have easily listed the quotes as being written by BoBo the clown. The answer, So what? What in this sentence refutes anything that she said?

      "Knowledge in General"

      "YOUR LIFE HAS A LIMIT, but knowledge has none. If you use what is limited to persue what is unlimited, you will be in danger,"

      It IS NOT objective. Many scientist hold beliefs that are irrational and "refuted," (1) even in their field of expertise, and scientists have come to knowledge thorough means you would regard as ABSURD, such as in a dream at night. (2)
      The sad thing is that if you glance at books like "The Big Bang Theory," you will see the author admitting that science progresses as older generations of scientists die and new take their place. The older ones cling to their ideas so they have to die.


      Apologies if I was too harsh in my response. It is difficult to know sometimes how strongly I should respond.

      NOTES:
      1
      For example some of the scientists who worked on atomic theory were associated with Thelema

      2
      Psycho-Cybernetics lists a case of this, as does The Articulate Dead, as well as The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, although i havn't read the middle one.
      Last edited by Heero Yuy; 04-06-2014, 07:53 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy. Great words are clear and limpid;3 little words are shrill and quarrelsome. In sleep, men's spirits go visiting; in waking hours, their bodies hustle. With everything they meet they become entangled. Day after day they use their minds in strife, sometimes grandiose, sometimes sly, sometimes petty.

        The above exchange could be considered an example of this

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post
          Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy. Great words are clear and limpid;3 little words are shrill and quarrelsome. In sleep, men's spirits go visiting; in waking hours, their bodies hustle. With everything they meet they become entangled. Day after day they use their minds in strife, sometimes grandiose, sometimes sly, sometimes petty.

          The above exchange could be considered an example of this
          Nice. Is that a quote or your own?

          Never mind, found it in your link above: http://terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu.html
          Last edited by robrecht; 04-06-2014, 09:50 PM.
          βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
          ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

          אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

          Comment


          • #6
            The Contraries:

            "Do you know what it is that destroys virtue, and where wisdom comes from? Virtue is destroyed by fame, and wisdom comes out of wrangling. Fame is something to beat people down with, and wisdom is a device for wrangling. Both are evil weapons - not the sort of thing to bring you success. Though your virtue may be great and your good faith unassailable, if you do not understand men's spirits, though your fame may be wide and you do not strive with others, if you do not understand men's minds, but instead appear before a tyrant and force him to listen to sermons on benevolence and righteousness, measures and standards - this is simply using other men's bad points to parade your own excellence. You will be called a plaguer of others. He who plagu

            ...................

            After this, Lieh Tzu concluded that he had never really begun to learn anything.14 He went home and for three years did not go out. He replaced his wife at the stove, fed the pigs as though he were feeding people, and showed no preferences in the things he did. He got rid of the carving and polishing and returned to plainness, letting his body stand alone like a clod. In the midst of entanglement he remained sealed, and in this oneness he ended his life.

            .......................

            Do not be an embodier of fame; do not be a storehouse of schemes;(!!!) do not be an undertaker of projects; do not be a proprietor of wisdom. (!!!) Embody to the fullest what has no end and wander where there is no trail. Hold on to all that you have received from Heaven but do not think you have gotten anything. Be empty, that is all. The Perfect Man uses his mind like a mirror - going after nothing, welcoming nothing, responding but not storing. Therefore he can win out over things and not hurt himself.

            - Zhuang Zi

            terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu.html


            vs


            “His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's spirit, however, is his self. [U]That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.[/U]

            ........................

            “The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.

            .....................

            “And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

            Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.

            -The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

            http://www.nasonart.com/personal/lif...inhead.htmlThe

            WHile both agree on many points here we see a contrast in their vision of what Man should be and do.
            Last edited by Heero Yuy; 04-06-2014, 09:57 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              YOUR LIFE HAS A LIMIT but knowledge has none. If you use what is limited to pursue what has no limit, you will be in danger. If you understand this and still strive for knowledge, you will be in danger for certain! If you do good, stay away from fame. If you do evil, stay away from punishments. Follow the middle; go by what is constant, and you can stay in one piece, keep yourself alive, look after your parents, and live out your years.
              I'd like to address this bit for the moment. Why would it be dangerous to pursue what has no limit?

              Comment


              • #8
                The actual question I was asking is simple. Zhuang Zi wants people to follow their inborn nature "what heaven gave them," and keep from becoming entangled in the traps set by men. This is why he warns against persuing knowledge.

                Ayn Rand wants people to follow their nature but believes that the only way they can do this is to use rational thinking and knowledge gaining to discover the truth about objective reality. She believes this is because of the importance of objective reality to the individual.

                I respect both philosophers, but do not know who to follow. If I follow Zhuang then this is my exit, but if I follow Rand then there is no guarantee I will be able to protect my nature.

                That was my problem. Sorry I made it so confusing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post
                  The actual question I was asking is simple. Zhuang Zi wants people to follow their inborn nature "what heaven gave them,"
                  What is "heaven"? If, as in your OP, ""heaven" which might be understood as the mind", then are you saying that one's mind gives one one's nature?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                    What is "heaven"? If, as in your OP, ""heaven" which might be understood as the mind", then are you saying that one's mind gives one one's nature?
                    Per New Thought, yes. Mind is also what is meant in Genesis, when God created the Heavens and the Earth. New Thought would state that mind created everything in your life, but that may be farther than Zhuang would take it.

                    Heaven may also be understood as The Way, The Dao. In fact, the translation of The Gospel of John into Chinese begans with: In the beganning was the Dao, if I am not mistaken.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post
                      Per New Thought, yes. Mind is also what is meant in Genesis, when God created the Heavens and the Earth. New Thought would state that mind created everything in your life, but that may be farther than Zhuang would take it.
                      No. It does not follow that the because both are creative concepts that what is meant in Genesis is the taoist "mind". I am intrigued by the New Thought reinterpretation of heaven or Tian, because as I understand it Tian doesn't refer to something that is of the self, but the New Thought interpretation has Tian = mind, which is part of the self. Could you elaborate on this?

                      Heaven may also be understood as The Way, The Dao.
                      Tian and Dao are not equivalent concepts.

                      In fact, the translation of The Gospel of John into Chinese begans with: In the beganning was the Dao, if I am not mistaken.
                      Yes, logos is translated as Dao in many Chinese translations. It doesn't follow that they are equivalent, especially when one takes into account the fact that there are different understandings of what the Dao is.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                        No. It does not follow that the because both are creative concepts that what is meant in Genesis is the taoist "mind". I am intrigued by the New Thought reinterpretation of heaven or Tian, because as I understand it Tian doesn't refer to something that is of the self, but the New Thought interpretation has Tian = mind, which is part of the self. Could you elaborate on this?


                        Tian and Dao are not equivalent concepts.


                        Yes, logos is translated as Dao in many Chinese translations. It doesn't follow that they are equivalent, especially when one takes into account the fact that there are different understandings of what the Dao is.
                        I do not know if Tian and Dao are equivalent, only that they are closely related. In the Tao te Ching, Heaven is said to take it's law from the Dao, while ch. 12 of the Zhuang Zi has Dao being subsumed in heaven.

                        According to the Book, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy Tien in the work of Zhuang Zi can stand for "nature," or the highest ideal (whether of the individual, society, a state of mind, ect.). The Dao in this same book (Readings in...) is described as "the root of all things."
                        Remember in the Dao de Jing / Tao te Ching that what is great is described as being built on What is rooted. So we see that Heaven comes out of the Dao, which is also described as the "process of the universe." The Dao is the root on which heaven is built and the process by which it works.

                        Per New thought, yes, that is one way to understand Genesis 1:1. It is not a Taoist mind, but Gen. 1:1 in New Thought is a metaphor for the creative intelligence which brings each of us into being. Notice again, "the heavens and the earth." From the universal mind comes the individual Deeper mind, and the consciousness, the outlet of the stream. These are within the body, the earth. Outwardly, heaven and earth. Inwardly, mind and body. As within, so without. As above, so below.

                        Heaven in new thought is a reference to the mind, and earth is a reference to the body. The ten thousand things (or all things according to legge in Ch.1 vs. 3) are the parts of the body. Other scholars outside of New Thought have also suggested this interpretation (of the ten thousand things as part of the body, ect.), although right now I am having trouble finding the specific book / article where I read this. According to New Thought Principles, the "original sin," is believing that we are separate from the Divine. Thus your distinction between heaven as separate from the self. So heaven could be a metaphor for the workings of the Deeper mind.

                        I may be wrong on this though. Right now I will have to do more study. Paragraph 2 of this response is especially shaky.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Per New thought, yes, that is one way to understand Genesis 1:1. It is not a Taoist mind, but Gen. 1:1 in New Thought is a metaphor for the creative intelligence which brings each of us into being. Notice again, "the heavens and the earth." From the universal mind comes the individual Deeper mind, and the consciousness, the outlet of the stream. These are within the body, the earth. Outwardly, heaven and earth. Inwardly, mind and body. As within, so without. As above, so below.

                          One reason to take the passage this way is because it conform the passage with the laws of life. Why should we want this passage to conform with the laws of life? Because in New Thought that is why the passage was written in the first place. To try and take it literally is to miss the point. These authors may have had a literal interpretation in mind, but that does not preclude them having a spiritual interpretation. We may study nature to find out if they had a literal interpretation of Genesis in mind (assuming the Bible is inerrant). Christians do not agree on this. However, in the introduction to the 1582 Duay Rheims Bible, I read that all scripture has some spiritual interpretation, in addition to a literal interpretation. So the idea of a spiritual interpretation goes a long way back.

                          I am not sure that I should have brought New Thought into this, but New Thought is related to what Zhuang Zi is talking about. I think Zhuang was speaking of a literal heaven, but also of a mental/metaphysical one. Take a look at the following story:

                          In a gentle

                          breeze they answer faintly, but in a full gale the chorus is gigantic. And when the fierce wind has passed on, then all the hollows are empty again. Have you never seen the tossing and trembling that goes on?"

                          Tzu-yu said, "By the piping of earth, then, you mean simply [the sound of] these hollows, and by the piping of man [the sound of] flutes and whistles. But may I ask about the piping of Heaven?"

                          Tzu-ch'i said, "Blowing on the ten thousand things in a different way, so that each can be itself - all take what they want for themselves, but who does the sounding?" 2
                          and compare with : http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/sbe3...9123.htm#fn_79 (this should help answer your question about Tien vs Dao)

                          The sounding is what man hears. If man were not there the wind would still blow, but there would be no one to hear it.
                          Last edited by Heero Yuy; 04-12-2014, 11:30 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post
                            Per New thought, yes, that is one way to understand Genesis 1:1. It is not a Taoist mind, but Gen. 1:1 in New Thought is a metaphor for the creative intelligence which brings each of us into being. Notice again, "the heavens and the earth." From the universal mind comes the individual Deeper mind, and the consciousness, the outlet of the stream. These are within the body, the earth. Outwardly, heaven and earth. Inwardly, mind and body. As within, so without. As above, so below.

                            One reason to take the passage this way is because it conform the passage with the laws of life. Why should we want this passage to conform with the laws of life? Because in New Thought that is why the passage was written in the first place. To try and take it literally is to miss the point. These authors may have had a literal interpretation in mind, but that does not preclude them having a spiritual interpretation. We may study nature to find out if they had a literal interpretation of Genesis in mind (assuming the Bible is inerrant). Christians do not agree on this. However, in the introduction to the 1582 Duay Rheims Bible, I read that all scripture has some spiritual interpretation, in addition to a literal interpretation. So the idea of a spiritual interpretation goes a long way back.

                            I am not sure that I should have brought New Thought into this, but New Thought is related to what Zhuang Zi is talking about. I think Zhuang was speaking of a literal heaven, but also of a mental/metaphysical one. Take a look at the following story:



                            and compare with : http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/sbe3...9123.htm#fn_79 (this should help answer your question about Tien vs Dao)

                            The sounding is what man hears. If man were not there the wind would still blow, but there would be no one to hear it.
                            If the wind should blow and nobody was there to hear it would it still make a sound?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I believe this passage is talking about the true or ideal man. The reason that Zhuang asks that question is that heaven is too subtle to be spoken of. That there is no other power needed (as it is written in the Legge version) may mean that the understanding of heaven is right there in that emptyness. The man who understands this is of heaven. He has "plucked out his mind," and "reached unconsciousness." Thus he can protect himself from the entanglements of men and live his life in oneness.

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