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Zhuang Zi

      Zhuang zi( 369b.c-286b.c), whose personal name was Zhou, hailed from the state of Song. Among the over 30 chapters in the book Zhuang Zi, some were his own writing. Like the author of Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi regarded as the substance of the universe. By claiming that he had identified himself with the Way (Dao), he changed the objective idealism in Lao Zi into a subjective idealism.

      From Zhuang Zi’s point of view, only the Way (Dao) was absolute, while everything else was relative. He equated the subjected with the object, life with death, longevity with short life, right with wrong, and disaster with fortune. He dismissed all difference between opposites and advanced a theory of relativism or nihilism. He denied the validity of concepts of right and wrong debated between Confucians and Mohists, and regarded all cultural progress as meaningless. He once said that there would be peace and other if the learned men gave up their knowledge, and all fighting would stop with the abolition of weights and measures. His ideal society was one in which people lived in harmony with animals and birds.

      Zhuang Zi’s denial of the difference between right and wrong, life and death, oneself and others, illusion and reality, his antagonism to progress and his longing for a return to the prehistoric times, reflected a deep sense of pessimistic, similar to that expressed in Lao Zi. The pessimistic view of both struck a sympathetic chord among the classes in the decline throughout Chinese history.



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