I am a computer programmer by day and philosopher by night. I post once or twice a week. I aim to prevent blogging from taking to much time, while allowing time to develop each idea before posting it. Each has some reference to human, universal, or societal truths, while presented in an organized, understandable & consise way -- this is the plan anyway. Results may very as what rings true for one may seem false to another. Also becuase sometimes I get things wrong.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Turning Life & Death upside down

I love this passage from Chuang Tsu. He has such a masterful way of turning our beliefs upside down and getting us to reexamine them bottom side up:

How can I tell if love of life is not a delusion? How can I tell whether a man who fears death is not like a man who has left home and dreads returning? Lady Li was the daughter of a border guard of Ai. When the Duke of Chin first took her captive, she wept until her dress was soaked with tears. But once she was living in the Duke's palace, sharing his bed, and eating delicious food, she wondered why she had ever cried. How can I tell whether the dead are not amazed that they ever clung to life?

Those who dream of great feast may weep the next morning. Those who dream of weeping may enjoy the hunt the next day. While they dream they do not know they are dreaming. They may even interpret their dreams while still dreaming. Only after they awake do they know it was a dream.

By and by, there will be a great awakening; then we will know that this is all a great dream. All the while, the fools think they are awake, appearing to understand things, calling this man ruler and that man herdsman. How stupid! You and Confucius are both dreaming. When I say you are dreaming. I am dreaming too. These words may sound like double-talk. Yet after ten thousand generations, we will meet a great sage who can explain all this. Or is may happen any time now.

This is taken from the Gia-Fu Feng/Jane English translation of the Inner Chapters. It is part of a larger story, the only hint of this is the mention of Confucius.


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