“Even so, he was able to respond to every transformation, and thus [his writings] have a liberating effect on all creatures.” (p 124)

Because he was able to harmonize with every happening, Zhuangzi’s writings are able to liberate all creatures. Really? Rather, let’s get real. Isn’t that the healthiest way to proceed?

It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was himself liberated. He was just like you and I. He was his own disciple. But a disciple learns and grows, and thus we can assume that Zhuangzi at least realized something of his own philosophy of life.

If we accept that his writings might have changed (or are today changing) one person, we might also imagine that one change, however small, has a ripple effect throughout the universe—“liberating all creatures”. That, however, is not a concept which I, at least, am able to entertain, no matter its profoundly “spiritual” credentials.

The real question then is whether it can liberate me. And, of course, whether it can do the same for your “me”. I can only speak for myself; if you have been so liberated, I beg to be your disciple, which is to say, my liberation—should there be any such thing—is far from complete.

That’s the truth of it. I wish to drive a stake through the heart of religious-mindedness—of the bull shit. But that, I believe, is the very threshold through which any liberation must pass. And this brings us back around to Zhuangzi’s point of departure: It is the lack of anything upon which we can depend that calls forth our non-dependence on anything at all—even so-called liberation. Even so-called non-dependence.

There is liberation right now in being free of the need for liberation. What needs to be “realized” is that nothing needs to be realized. This the rabbit “knows”. The rabbit, however, is not as “blessed” with the complications of a heightened self-awareness as are we. Being authentically human—good in our skin—is, alas, a complicated affair. Thus, this present blabber.

2 thoughts on “UNDER HEAVEN LXIV”

  1. Can you explain what you mean by “being liberated” in more detail? Do you mean attaining some kind of perfection”? Or do you mean being okay with all situations? You mention “any liberation”. Do you really mean that any liberation is unattainable and the conception of such thinking is bullshit?

  2. Hi Mark. I’ve been wondering where you were. I thought of your previous comments when writing this post.

    I feel like your questions are for the most part addressed in the post. I think that the idea that one can be “liberated” is an ideal which may or may not be fully realizable. This means it can serve as a impetus to move in a certain direction without having to believe in something, and without unduly judging of oneself.

    But again, I think that the most likely liberation available to us is realizing that no liberation is necessary. We can realize that there’s no need to realize anything. (This addresses your previous remark that the idea of “realizing” something is alien to your thought and does not suggest liberation.)

    The bull-shit is in believing in any idea of “perfection” as attainable. This does not mean that it is not attainable, but only that one has no reason to believe that it is unless one has attained it; but even then, the testimony of others is no reason for such a belief.


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