Daoism on material intelligence

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Listeners who caught the interview I did with my brother Glenn on material intelligence may find this interesting; it's a passage from the Daoist text Zhuangzi, trans. by P. Ebrey, which makes a very similar point:


Duke Huan was reading a book in the hall. Wheelwright Pian, who had been chiseling a wheel in the courtyard below, set down his tools and climbed the stairs to ask Duke Huan, "may I ask what words are in the book Your Grace is reading?"

"The words of sages." the Duke responded.

"Are these sages alive?"

"They are already dead."

That means you are reading the dregs of long gone men, doesn't it?"

Duke Huan said How does a wheelwright get to have opinions on the books I read? If you can explain yourself I'll let it pass otherwise, it's death."

Wheelwright Pian said ''In my case I see things in terms of my own work. When I chisel at a wheel, if I go slow the chisel slides and does not stay put; if I hurry, it jams and doesn't move properly. When it is neither too slow nor too fast I can feel it in my hand and respond to it from my heart. My mouth cannot describe it in words but there is something there I cannot teach it to my son and my son cannot learn it from me. So I have gone on for seventy years, growing old chiseling wheels. The men of old died in possession of what could not transmit. So it follows that what you are reading is their dregs."

dukeofethereal on 1 April 2019

Looking forward to you and

Looking forward to you and Karyn Lai covering Daoism and Neo Daoism philosophy in the near future.  I hope it will be an expansive series on Classical Chinese Philosophy

Perhaps 3 mini sub series on classical Chinese philosophy consisting of ;

Pre-Imperial Philosophy (which will have the most episodes most likely and most unique in terms of themes),

Early Imperial Philosophy (Qin/Han) covering figures such as Wei Huacun ( Female Daoist), Chao Cuo( Political Philosophy), Zhang Cang (Yin and Yang School),  Dongfang Shuo, Jia Kui ( Confucian Poet) Huan Tan (Legalist),  Zhang Daoling (Way of the Five Pecks of Rice), Heshang Gong ( commentator of Daosim), Yang Xiong ( Han Poet), Jia Yi (Political Philosophy) Zhang Heng ( Polymath) Wang Fu (Political Philosophy) Wang Chong (Lunheng),  Jing Fang (astrologer, Wrote on Music and Mathematician) & Jian'an poetry

Neo-Daoists/Buddhists series (3rd Century - collapse of the Tang Dynasty, figures mentioned in the two links posted below). I hope this will be a detailed account and you'll cover Chinese Buddhists, textual transmission episodes ( one of my favourite themes of your series, figures such as Kumarajiva, Amoghavajra, Xuanzang and Wukong tang (dynasty monk) and their respective schools professor such as Chan, Tiantai and Huayan .

Yi Xing - Buddhist Astronomer

Kou Qianzhi ( Daoist reformer)

Ge Hong  (Daoist medicine)

Tao Hongjing ( Shangqing School)

Sun Simiao ( “Medicine Buddha,”)

Xie Daoyun  (Female poet)

Pao Ching-yen ( Daoist Anarchist)

You should also cover non Buddhists/Neo Daoists during this time frame (3 kingdoms - Tang Dynasty in the last period of classical Chinese thought) such as Li Ao, Liu Yuxi (Tang Poet who looked at Duality of heaven) Han Yu & Liu Zongyuan (Classical Prose Movement), Bai Juyi ( on Music), Wang Wei ( on Art), Fan Zhen ("On the Annihilation of the Soul)


There is also an interesting Persian-Chinese philosopher by the name of Jizang (East Asian Mādhyamaka).












I'm liking the details in which you and Chike Jeffers have gone through Africana. 

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 2 April 2019

Wow, thanks! That's very

Wow, thanks! That's very helpful. I think we will probably not go as far forward chronologically as you are suggesting, since we had talked about stopping before Buddhism really gets going in China, with a further series hopefully dedicated to later developments (as we did with China). Otherwise it would be too much to fit into a single book, plus Karyn's expertise is especially on the earlier period. I will take a note of all your suggestions, though!

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