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« From seven years of archives: Disability and Social Responsibility | Main | A Confucian Constitution for China: Where's the Popular Sovereignty? »

July 03, 2012


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I love the calligraphy wuwei.

Curious why the 無 is missing the stroke from the upper left it a variant I've not seen before? As a [very poor and inconsistent] student of calligraphy, I'm interested in these minutiae.

something is happening - indeed we could say everything is happening - when you are doing nothing.... how's that for a defense of idleness!

Well, on its face it does no work; it is the idle spinning of wheels, the whirr of empty busyness!

We might try to be clear about some of the advantages of idleness:

1. The brain has a physical need for periods of idleness, as for sleep.
2. Periods of idleness allow us to keep an eye on the big picture.
3. For each of us there are things she is so incompetent to do or control properly (different things at different times, etc.) that it is better that she not try.
(4. What else?)

Reason (1) seems to argue mainly for occasional breaks during the day.
Reason (2) seems to argue mainly for weekly Sabbaths and annual vacations.
Reason (3) seems to argue against social action and other unusual projects.

Kreider seems to be talking about reasons (1) and (2).
If the Daoist texts you quote are talking about any of these, it seems to me, they’re talking about (3).

I’m not very familiar with early Daoist texts. Are there any that suggest points (1) or (2)?

The passage you quote from the Zhuangzi seems to aim to convince the reader that nothing she could accomplish has any importance, and that, as a more perspicuous philosopher once sang, “If that’s all there is, my friend, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze, and have a ball—if that’s all there is.”

I think that isn’t your view!

Wonderful. But is there any evidence that 无为 may represent a physical state of consciousness or meditation practice?

Bill Haines isn't idle. Good for him!

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