Hello, I have been away from blogging but not from thinking-in-writing and it is time for me to resume the processes of tracking feelings, thoughts, intuitions, dreams, and happenings as they unfold – the idea stated earlier is to be online intime – the understanding of time we will see is essential! So, I will re-begin with the idea that began this blog – to read and comment on Lao Tzu’s book the Dao de Jing which will flow into related themes of study around the issue of our day – globalization. It seems only appropriate that the West understand Lao Tzu’s important and only book as China reclaims its status as the World’s largest economy, a position it will soon hold after only 200 years of recorded history not holding it. Obama on Globalization
Chang, Chung-yuan the author of the Tao: A new way of thinking that is our main text takes the reader backward and forward in reading a current chapter, which follows Lao Zi’s effort to unravel the essence of Dao in small steps building understanding. For example, in Chapter 5 the word chung, which means the center is explained, is extended in Chapter 6 by relating it to the Chinese word ku shen, meaning spirit or valley. Another example is the multiple times’ Chang uses authors like Hegel, Heidegger, and Nishida, to help us understand by comparing the Dao to other thinkers’ thought. The concept of dialectical thinking is another example appearing before and again here in Chapter 7 that Chang continues building upon. Chapter 7’s commentary ends pushing us forward informing us that “The idea of self-determining present will be further discussed in the commentary in Chapter 28.” So, one can jump ahead to read that in an effort to think deeper into how Chang sees the Dao unfolding or we can let it unfold as we read forward. The challenge of reading Chang’s commentaries makes me think just presenting them will help our understanding unfold. After Lao Tzu’s Chapter and Chang’s Commentary, my Dialogue² reflection unfolds.
The existences of heaven and earth are long-lasting.
Their existences are long-lasting because they do not
conceive of their existences as existences.
Therefore, their existences are long-lasting.
When the wise stays back, he steps forward.
When he forgets his self, he finds his self.
Is it not through selflessness that one achieves selfhood?
This chapter teaches that the self becomes a self only by negating itself and identifying with the non-self. The unity of self and non-self is the self-identity through absolute contradictions through which the individual self is determined.
As Nishida says:
The individual person determined through the dialectical determination of absolute negation which is absolute negation-qua-affirmation, i.e. through the self-determination of absolute nothingness. 1
Thus, through the negation of the self, the self is affirmed. Or, as Lao Tzu say: “When he forgets himself, he finds himself.” Nishida further maintains that the self is “the unity of the self of yesterday and the self of today.” It is the self of the absolute self-determining present. The absolute self-determining present is time as the “continuity of discontinuity” which is different from ordinary time. In Nishida’s words:
The individual self exists when living is dying and dying is living. But it is not that time simply flows from past to future or is simply determined by the future. Time must be seen as the self-determining present, meaning that the present, which includes past, present, and future is a self-determining present.2
The self of the self-determining present, which is time itself as the self-determination of absolute nothingness, is also expressed in Chuang Tzu’s words: “The perfect man has no self.”3 Chuang Tzu further says: “To kill does not mean death; to give birth does not mean life.”4 Thus, it is through the self-identification of self and non-self, life and death, negation and affirmation that the self is determined as the self-determining present or the unity of past, present, and future. This is close to what Lao Tzu means when he says that the existence of heaven and earth are long-lasting because they do not conceive of their existence as existence. The idea of the self-determining present will be further discussed in the commentary on chapter 28.
Notes to Chapter 7
1. Nishida Kitaro, (1970). Fundamental problems of philosophy: The world of action and the dialectical world. Trans. By David A. Dilworth. Tokyo: Sophia University. P.44.
2. Ibid., p.45.
3. Chuang Tzu, Works, Chapter I, 1:5.
4. Ibid Chapter VI3:7b.
The Commentary above is author Chang, Chung-yuan’s and this Dialogue² is my reflection first and yours as you choose to engage below. The idea of a Dialogue² surfaced in the previous post The mathematics of faith. Here I describe a pastor’s attempt to quantify mathematically the Christian’s faith with a closed, passive, dogmatic formula of human obedience, reflecting Newtonian physics, not realizing that Einstein’s new physics, has sublated the old view with a powerfully new thought, which is symbolized in Albert ‘s famous equation E=MC², Energy = Mass X Speed of Light Squared. This physics equation is extended to a psychological equation, E=SD², where E is still energy but now represented as psychological libido energy, S is still mass-like but now psychological manifesting in Jung’s concept of Soul and Lao’s idea of Dao, and where D² replicates the powerful speed of light squared C² concept as dialogue dialectic-analytically squared that takes place between individuals and the discipline of psychology.
The modern practice of psychotherapy began as a monologue with Sigmund Freud, the analyst, sitting behind the analysand laying on a couch free-associating on childhood experiences. Carl Jung moved the session into sitting across a table from the analysand in order to engage in a face-to-face dialogue involving the full psyches of both. This idea of a dialogue, communication between two persons, changes to a dialectic-analytical encounter (see Morales-Ramos book review) when the dialogue between two persons “involves a third.” Giegerich (2005: 42) elaborates:
A dialectic understanding of therapy thus implies that doctor and patient are not alone. There always is a third factor, a third “person” present. This idea of the Third characterizes Jung’s view of psychotherapy throughout. We read, e.g., in “Psychology of Transference” (CW 16 P 399), “Psychological induction inevitably causes the two parties to get involved in the transformation of the third and to be themselves transformed in the process.” It is this third “person” on which the therapy ultimately depends, the psychological induction is here not thought of as running from the patient to the analyst or visa versa, but rather as the embeddedness of both persons in the Third in “mutual unconsciousness” (CW 16 P 364). Instead of asymmetrically concentrating on the patient, both now focus their attention on this objective third factor.
What is this third person in the consulting room and how does this presence square a dialogue into being dialectic-analytical? How does the Chinese concept of time play a role? Seems we need to re-read this Chapter 7 paying close attention to the idea of time. What time is it right now? It is 2/12/2015 11:45 AM and I am wondering what is happening in our World that involves our Selves? Or, as Nishida suggests, “The individual self exists when living is dying and dying is living.” For sure, we are consumed with more dying on the horizon.
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Chang, Chung-yuan (1975). Tao: a new way of thinking. New York: Harper & Row; Translation and Commentary.
Giegerich, W. (2005). The neurosis of psychology, Vol. 1. Chapter Two: On the neurosis of psychology of the third of two, pp 41-67. New Orleans: Spring.
Morales-Ramos, Ubaldo, (2013, June 22). Review of Dialectics and Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar. From Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3VQSN4S3CGYA4/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp.
Shepherd. Harvey L. (2013, October 27) A Review of “Dialectics and Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar” The Jung Page. http://www.cgjungpage.org/learn/articles/book-reviews/764-a-review-of-qdialectics-and-analytical-psychology-the-el-capitan-canyon-seminarq