RE-THINKING THINKING X

Nominalism is described as a metaphysical position regarding whether of our verbal distinctions, especially universals like “beauty”, exist in reality. Nominalism, in opposition to realism (e.g. Plato’s Idea of the Good), does not take them as existing and thus moves away from Idealism. We call Zhuangzi a skeptical nominalist because, in the light of his not-knowing, he would see no basis for weighing in one way or the other. Because we do not know, we are free to choose what best fulfills or needs. Idealism, in his view, does not in that it requires us to depend on what is undependable and thus sets us up for the doubt that saps our spirit since it is in opposition to our belief. When we cling to only one side of any dyad of simultaneously generating opposites we will be plagued by the other side. The doubt that does not sap our spirit is the doubt that is fundamental to our experience. It does not arise in relation to belief, and when embraced becomes that upon which we soar. A parallel can be seen in Zhuangzi’s treatment of the apparent ever-changing nature of all things; opposing change in favor of a constant such as one’s self-identity brings grief; embracing it such that one becomes it, brings freedom. Being change itself, where can one be lost in the process of change?

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