Chuang Chou’s Outlook on The Nature of Society

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My outlook on nature, affected deeply by my twentieth century American upbringing insist that time spent questioning and detailing the breakdown of nature, the world, and man is time wasted.  Chuang Chou, Taoist philosopher, proves through his literature that he is of the opposite opinion. In fact, Chou believes that seeking wealth or power is a selfish waste of time. 

Chou states in one of his writings, “You see an egg and demand a crowing cock, see a crossbow pellet and demand a roast dove.”  He notes that it is common for man to think of the world only in terms of how it affects him, and specifically, how it can assist and profit him.  Chou also explains that a sage, “…achieves simplicity in oneness” when he, “…leans on the sun and moon, tucks the universe under his arm,” and, “…merges himself with things…” Chou is pointing out that man, overall will be more greatly appeased when he learns to live in harmony with the universe and to see it as something he can meld with for a feeling of wholeness, intimacy and happiness.  Life and nature need not be a relationship in which man is constantly taking, destroying, and ignoring the simple responsibilities that would lead him to a harmonious lifestyle.

If this type of thought were put into action, it would indeed lead an individual to a seemingly antisocial way of life. For one to place the amount of attention and focus dictated by Chou on nature and cognitive understanding it would also deny them an abundance of time to spend in a social atmosphere.  In fact, a true follower of Chou, would criticize the extremely social who are so certain of their role in society.  Chou states, “…the stupid believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming that they are understanding things…” 

I find Chou’s points thought provoking yet difficult to practice in modern day society.


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