I have suggested that philosophical Daoism’s imaginative exercise in the equalization of all things creates a cosmo-centrism that issues in a deep sense of environmental concern. Several clarifications are in order before we proceed further in an investigation of how this is so.

Foremost, it needs to be reiterated that this is a psychological exercise and not a statement of how things “really” are. It also assumes more than mere intellectual assent; it assumes a transformative experience. Nothing need be “true” for its imagined possibility to issue in an experienced recontextualization, a paradigm shift. You don’t have to get it right to get it. Where every world-view is imagined in any case, this is not outside the norm.

By cosmo-centrism I mean a point of view that so identifies with the cosmos that all it contains shares in our natural self-love. “Heaven and earth were born together with me, and all things and I are one.” My body is all bodies. There is one body.

As a hierarchy of concerns the trajectory is reversible, though not commensurate. On the human plane self-flourishing (dialectically) precedes species-, environmental-, and cosmic-flourishing. We begin with our self-care and that informs our care for others. On the “higher” plane cosmic-flourishing precedes the rest. Yet we only work up from the human plane and never down from the cosmic-plane because cosmic-flourishing is taken as an unconditional given. All is and will be well whatever temporal outcomes might transpire. No need for cosmic-redemption is imagined.

This “work” entails both an active concern for the flourishing of all things and the exercise of the wisdom that justly makes the compromises that the exigencies of existence require. We honor the mountain even as we take its ore, should that ore be deemed necessary to our collective-flourishing. Yet honoring the mountain requires its preservation as best as possible.

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