Chuang-tzu has a fairly determined notion of how he sees people in general relating to what is not us. He also has fairly clear cut ideas on how one should relate to what is not us. In the long run, how Chuang-tzu suggests we respond to what is not us in such a way that the daemonic is allowed to enter and we can fulfill our destinies.
One of the ways Chuang-tzu suggests to cultivate one's self is to increase perspective. In "Going rambling without a destination" he points out that being of small mind is a hindrance to living. He gives various examples of the small: the cicada, turtledove, etc. They all tend to mock the representatives of the big which they see, for example the P'eng bird. The small never see beyond their narrow limits and this prevents them from getting anywhere.
By being confined to a narrow persepctive, one cannot respond appropriately to the world. One example Chuang-tzu gives of this inappropriate response are the silk bleachers. They were experts at making a salve to keep their hands from chapping, but were always poor. A stranger came and for a little money bought the secret of how to make the salve. But he saw a further use for the salve and for it became ruler of a fiefdom. Had the silk bleacher stepped beyond his perspective, instead of spending life in poverty he could have gone on to wealth. Having a wider perspective of the world, one can respond to it more appropriately.
To respond appropriately requires a little more than just a wider perspective. Chuang-tzu suggests there are two ways to respond to the world: "that's it which deems" or "that's it which goes by circumstance." The "that's it which deems" is a response by limits placed on things. In "The sorting which evens things out" Chuang-tzu explains that by deeming, one is setting up boundaries on knowledge. There is nothing that can exceed these boundaries. By setting up these boundaries one is also dividing the Way. In the same passage Chuang-tzu says "To divide, then, is to leave something undivided: to discriminate between alternatives is to leave something which is neither alternative." Basically, as soon as one begins to divide and set up boundaries, there is still something left to divide ad infinitum
In that same passage Chunag-tzu says "The Way has never had borders." Putting on the boundaries to the Way is what leads to trouble. Chuang-tzu suggests responding by "that which goes by circumstance." In simplest terms what he means is to respond by spontaneity. On page 52 Chuang-tzu says it is by illumination that the sage can resolve the division of "that's it which deems" by "opening up to the light of Heaven."
By allowing the Way to flow through one's self, one can respond to life how it comes at you. Cook Ting serves a tremendous exemplar of the illuminated. As he carves oxen he carefully observes the situation. On page 64 he says he relies on Heaven's structuring to help him know how to cut the ox. By acting with spontaneity Cook Ting's blade has stayed perfectly sharp for 19 years whereas other cooks who follow "that's it which deems" have to replace their blades yearly or some even monthly.
Responding to life from a wide perspective from an illumined standpoint is how Chuang-tzu suggests living. This is how the daemonic is manifested within. So how does one get to the point to become daemonic? On page 69 Chuang-tzu says "If the channels inward through eyes and ears are cleared, and you expel knowledge from the heart, the ghostly and daemonic will come to dwell in you." Basically he means to allow illumination in, to move beyond deeming and ordinary knowledge.
"To let the heart roam with other things as its chariot, and by trusting to the inevitable nurture the centre of you, is the farthest one can go." (p 71) The inevitable nurture is the Way. By stepping outside the confines of ordinary reality--living by deeming--is how to become daemonic. By allowing the Way to enter, responding to life by the Way, and using the illuminated knowledge of the Way, one can live life to the fullest to fulfill one's destiny. On page 71 Chuang-tzu says "The important thing is to fulfil what is ordained for you" or in other words, live out one's destiny. He also points out that it "is the most difficult thing of all."
Chuang-tzu suggests the way we should relate to what is not us. By an increased perspective we are more likely to respond appropriately. To respond appropriately we need to learn spontaneity. In the long run, ultimately we need to allow the daemonic to enter us. Only by allowing the Way to enter in can we fulfil our destiny, which is the most difficult thing for us to do.
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