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Bodily Movement and the Paradoxes of Life Cultivation in the Zhuangzi: Taking the Cook Pao Ding as an Example

Vol. 49 No. 1  3/2019

Title

Bodily Movement and the Paradoxes of Life Cultivation in the Zhuangzi: Taking the Cook Pao Ding as an Example

Author

Mathias Obert

Genre

Article

Pages

25-47

Download

PDF

Language

Chinese

Key words

Zhuangzi 莊子, Pao Ding 庖丁, bodily movement, the paradox of time, self-cultivation

Abstract

    Contemporary European thought has become particularly interested in the ancient theme of a “return to the origin” under headings such as self-concern and self-transformation. This article follows a transcultural path of thinking, investigating the Zhuangzi 莊子 with respect to this question. Focusing on bodily movement, it examines how the notion of a “return to the self” from the Zhuangzi is related to bodily activities, and shows its intrinsic paradoxical structure. It then analyzes cook Pao Ding’s 庖丁 “way beyond technique” as a means of self-transformation through bodily movement, arguing that his motion represents a kind of “reverting and taking back” into the movement or even into “life-time” itself. Finally, Heidegger’s thought on the phenomena of motion is consulted briefly in order to explain the paradox inherent in temporality. The goal of this article is thus to show how the ancient European paradigm of a “return to the origin” may, by the bias of a transcultural reflection, dispense with metaphysics, and form instead a contemporary ethical paradigm rooted in “life-time” itself, i.e. a kind of life exercise directed at reverting and taking back.

 

Author: Mathias Obert
Genre: Article
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