THE CHURCH OF PERNICIOUS ONENESS XII

Scott:  If I may summarize what I think you’re saying—To be human is to have a heart that is humane, however despoiled, one that wishes the flourishing of itself and all others; qi is the life force in us that is either diminished or expanded according to the degree to which we cultivate that humaneness; and Dao as a path of self-cultivation is the means by which we cultivate that humaneness. To experience flood-like qi is to have realized the fullness of one’s humanity as an expression of humaneness, and that is a deeply mystical experience of oneness.

Mencius:  Yes, that’s it. Do you not agree?

Scott:  It’s difficult to disagree; only I think that I must. It’s a wonderful model, and one worthy of following—once it is contextualized by the inhumane indifference of Nature and its corollary that human nature is neither good nor evil, but morally neutral, as is everything else in Nature.

Zhuangzi:  Human nature is morally neutral, yet humanity is most fully expressed in the fullness of humaneness.

Scott:  Which is to say that there is no “human nature”, if by that we mean something preordained, fixed and sure. Humanity is a happening that has evolved a dualism that discriminates between right and wrong, and participates in both. Yet it has discovered that the pursuit of the right—humaneness—is the way that leads to its greatest flourishing.

Zz:  Right and wrong are incidental—accidental—and the positive value of the pursuit of humaneness is similarly incidental.

Mencius:  I understand your desire to avoid an absolute rightness written in Heaven, but even without it you return to my dao.

Zz:  We do. But it is our understanding of the nature of Dao that makes all the difference. Your Dao is Rightness, fixed and sure; our Dao is empty and gives no guidance except to cast all our knowing and discriminations back into ambiguity. And that we take as the human condition, if not its nature.

Scott:  So it is in Dao as a means to the cultivation of humanity that we differ. The Dao of “Daoism” is yin; that of Confucianism is yang. We follow wuwei; you follow wei. And though I know that you strongly disagree with Xunzi who says that human nature is evil, you agree in the primacy of wei. And Xunzi’s wei led most naturally to Han Feizi’s Legalism and the tyranny of the Qin.

Zz:  Well now, I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to equate Meng’s wei with Xun’s, though I agree that Xun’s disciple Han Feizi did take Xun’s belief in the necessity of external controls to its logical conclusion.

Scott:  Granted. But any wei uninformed of yin tends in the same direction.

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