Class #23

"The Pivot of Nurturing Life"

Reading:  Zhuangzi, pp. 23-26

Lecture PowerPoint Deck

The reading for Friday is, I think, the briefest of the term: it includes the short chapter "The Pivot of Nurturing Life" and selected passages from the "Outer Chapters" of the text that relate to it (passages numbered A.1-3). In class we will focus on a single theme which is featured in the Tale of Cook Ding and the appended selections: the way in which natural or cultivated skills allow us fulfill our lives and link ourselves to the Dao.

These chapters bring out certain structural similarities between Daoism and Confucianism (although they are, in spirit, clearly anti-Confucian). Can you spot such similarities as you read? These are the first chapters in which you will encounter Confucius playing a major role in the text (in the next set of readings he will be even more prominent). Why do you suppose the author(s) of the text make him a spokesman for their way of thinking?