Zhuangzi’s “vastest arrangement” is realized by “hiding the world in the world”, yet another imaginative exercise. “When the smaller is hidden in the larger, there remains someplace into which it can escape. But if you hide the world in the world, so there is nowhere for anything to escape to, this is an arrangement, the vastest arrangement, that can sustain all things.” (Ziporyn; 6:28)

Essentially, Zhuangzi suggests we so completely identify with the Totality that there is no place left for us to be lost. This does not guarantee a continuity of individual identity, but then we have presumably simultaneously accepted that we have no-fixed-identity in any case.

Is it possible for there to be some form of continuity that does not entail a continuity of identity? If so, it would seem to be beyond the ability of the mind to fathom, for words imply identity. The world as it manifests is one of constant change, Transformation, and this, we must conclude, precludes the perpetuation of any identity.

There is the story of the ship Janus that had so many refits that every last bit of her was replaced; how then could she still be called the same ship Janus? What’s in a name? It seems rather arbitrary.

On the question of what becomes of us at death Zhuangzi is essentially mute. It doesn’t matter; if we have handed all over to the unavoidable. This seems like a very logical act when you think about it. It is very much like the Skeptic’s ataraxia, a state of peace and tranquility consequent to resting in what we do not know and cannot change. To what extent this is for them a mystical experience I do not know; it most definitely is for Zhuangzi. It is equivalent to wandering free and unfettered within the world with which we have identified.

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