POEMS, SONGS and CANONS

Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 21, 2004 12:20 am

Well I haven't read their analysis, but my guess is Ames came up with this spurious rendering and Allen followed. The genetic, inborn part is xing4. De is cultivated.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Jun 21, 2004 12:33 am

<<The genetic, inborn part is xing4. De is cultivated.>> JERRY

This simplifies Image

Thank you.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:15 am

Greetings Jerry,

I met Sarah Allan years back at a couple of social gatherings, and I have a high regard for her work. She and Ames both worked closely with A.C. Graham at SOAS. Given her research into water metaphors in early texts, I’m sure she would appreciate the irony of your “all wet” characterization. That’s funny!

The word de has indeed been used for thousands of years, but I wouldn’t say it’s always been used in the same way, or that the way it is used in ordinary contemporary speech necessarily accords with the way it was used in the Daodejing. Is it mystical or arcane? That depends of course on what you mean by mystical. Certainly some of the occurances of de in the Daodejing could be interpreted as mystical, or at least obscure. But the history of the word antidates the Daodejing, and it had different meanings in different contexts. John Knoblock rehearses some of the early history of the term in the introduction to Vol. 1 of his Xunzi translation. He writes, “In its meaning as the foundation on which legitimate government rested, de thus describes the ‘moral force’ or ‘inner power’ of the born leader that attracts the masses to him with its ‘power’ and ‘force.’ The Chinese discuss this personal quality in mystical terms analogous to those used in the West to describe charisma or leadership.” (p. 90) Knoblock says that some of the early meanings of the word carried a sense of morality, but in other contexts it does not. “We have seen that the Chinese conceived that the Dao has within it a Power and this power is de. In this usage, de is morally neutral. It might be ‘auspicious’ or ‘greatly inauspicious.’” (p. 94)

Is is something you are born with? I think for the most part early thinkers agreed this was so. A change from feudal times to the increased social mobility of the spring and autumn and warring states eras meant that ability to lead was not strictly heredity, so de was increasingly seen as something one must cultivate. But I would argue that it was still considered to be an innate quality, and that could either be cultivated or not. Confucius acknowledged this innate characteristic of de in Analects 7:22, saying, “Heaven produced the virtue that is in me.” (tian sheng de yu yu) Zhuangzi acknowledged that it could be cultivated in ch. 5: “Virtue is the cultivation of complete harmony.” (de zhe, cheng he zhi xiu ye). But Zhuangzi’s view of cultivation was that it shouldn’t be too intrusive. In Chapter 8 he talked of the use of curves and plumb lines, compass, square, etc., as metaphors for moral cultivation, but warned that using these will “violate its inherent powers” (qin qi de). Again, as to whether de was inherited, Knoblock writes, “Kings and feudal lords were urged to ‘pile up inner power,” to make it ‘bright,’ to make it ‘constant,’ to ‘ponder it unremittingly,’ to ‘keep in repair’ the moral prestige they had inherited, to ‘cultivate’ their own inner power, and to plant like a tree their own moral force that it might bear fruit in the future.” (Sarah Allan didn’t just make up the notion of botanical metaphors.)

So Jerry, I thoroughly agree with you that de is, ‘something dynamic which changes as a result of behavior and cultivation,’ but I don’t think that its cultivation precludes the notion that de is inherent.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-21-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-21-2004).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:34 am

I spent several days rooming with Angus Graham, John Cikoski (a student of Graham during Graham's time at Yale) and Janusz Chmielevski at a Sinological conference at Harvard in 1976. Graham would probably turn over in his grave if he heard this 'insistent particularity' stuff. Graham was a great one for professional philosophy, but he also insisted that translations and explanations make sense and never cut loose from the original texts.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:03 am

Hi Jerry,

I guess I’m not really sure what the problem is, or what isn’t making sense. How, for example, is it so different from:

“The spontaneous aptitude is the te, the ‘Power’, the inherent capacity of a thing to perform its specific functions successfully.”
—A.C. Graham, Chuang-tzu: The Inner Chapters, Introduction, Spontaneity, p. 7

Have you read any of Ames' work?

Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:38 am

Never mind, it's probably just me overreacting to that out of context quote from Ames in response to a beginners question about the meaning of De. You're too close to it Louis so you don't realize how nebulous and misleading it sounds.

The quote from Allen also got my hackles up by its sloppy lumping of all oaks into one species (wrong!).

From the point of view of the literature in the period of the Daodejing, the cultivation aspect is overwhelming and one wonders what she was getting at, anyway.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 06-21-2004).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:54 pm

Hi Jerry,

Okey dokey. But just for fun. . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Quercus_species

So, you're right, if she was indeed implying that red oaks and white oaks belong to one species. She probably should have used the word "genus" rather than "species." Or, it may have been careless writing, and she was merely parenthetically listing examples of species. In either case, I don't think this necessarily dismantles her basic argument.

Live, from Oakland,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-21-2004).]
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:08 am

Greetings All,

On a completely different tack...Thought I might be able to slip a small deviating question into this miscellaneous category...Being a little bit of an unusual question...

I would like to query players knowledge on any correlations between Taijiquan and eagles.
Beyond the Yang family ranking reference, has anyone seen the symbol of the eagle used in Taiji contexts...or any martial arts or Chinese healing arts, tales, legends...Anything, really, smiles.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Jun 28, 2004 12:51 pm

....I am wondering, perhaps, if the alchemical pursuits in Chinese culture share any parallel lines, if they use similar symbolism possibly...???

....And also, I am curious if anyone knows why the Yang family utilizes this symbol, in particular, for their ranking system, ...???

I have seen many dragons, and also many tigers permeating Chinese culture...However, I personally do not recall having been exposed to eagles within these contexts...

Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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