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Economic Equity, the Well-Field System, and Ritual Propriety in the Confucian Philosophy of Qi

Economic Equity, the Well-Field System, and Ritual Propriety in the Confucian Philosophy of Qi Jung-Yeup Kim DepartmentofPhilosophy,KentStateUniversity jkim17@kent.edu Economic Equity and the Confucian Philosophy of Qi Thewell-fieldsystem(jingtian zhidu)oflanddivisionwasadvocatedbythe classicalConfucianMenciusandalsobytheNeo-ConfucianZhangZai(1020­ 1077),bothofwhom,Iargue,werephilosophersofqi(vitalenergy).Inthissystem, landisdividedintotheshapeoftheChinesecharacterjing(well).Theoutereight partswouldbeprivateandcultivatedbyeightfamilies,respectively,andthecenter partwouldbecommunalandfosteredtogetherinordertopaytaxes.1 Iarguethatthe functionof thewell-fieldsystemis consistent with therole of ritualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophyofqi,whichemphasizestherealizationof "greatharmony"(taihe),whichisastateofvitalaffectiveequilibrium(zhong) andharmony(he).Thatis,whilethisconfigurationofthelandworkstorealize economicequity,thearrangementisbutameanstofurthertheendofproducingand sustainingavitalaffectiveequilibriumandharmonyamongmembersofthecommunity,which,Iargue,isalsothefunctionofritualpropriety. First,IpresentZhangZai'sphilosophyofqi,whichemphasizestheactualization ofthegreatharmony.Second,IarguethatritualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophy of qi is a practical apparatus that functions to realize this state of great harmony. Third,Iexplainhowtheroleofthewell-fieldsystemisconsistentwiththefunction ofritualpropriety. Zhang Zai's Philosophy of Qi and the Great Harmony ZhangZai'sphilosophyofqiisaphilosophywhosecoremotifisthecreatingand sustaining of affective vitality.2 It ascribes the highest value to the achievement of vitalityinouremotionallives.EmotionsforZhangZaiarerelationalandnotindividualisticexpressions.Thatis,forZhangZai,whetherwelikeitornot,weareaffectingandbeingaffectedbyothers(notalwaysinaproperorproductivemanner),and thisinteractionconstitutesadynamicmatrixofinterrelatedemotions.3 Wedohavechoices,however.Wecanactivelyengageintheprocessofcocreatingandcosustainingouraffectivevitalitybyactualizingasmanypositiveconnectionsasareinherentintherelationshipsinwhichweareinvolved.Theotheroption istoconsiderourselvesasisolatedindividualswhoarenotaffectingorbeingaffected Volume64,Number4October2014856­865 ©2014byUniversityofHawai`iPress byothers.ZhangZaiencouragestheformeroption,fortheconsequenceofthelatter isadiminutionofthevitalandorganicmatrixoffeelingscausedbythedistortedrelationsandtransactionsthatresultfromtherefusaltoacknowledgethatweaffectand areaffectedbyothers.4 ZhangZaiexpressesthevital,organic,transactionalstateofaffectsthatwecan contributetofullyrealizingaswhathetermsthe"greatharmony"(taihe).To explainthisphenomenonheusesmetaphoricalimagery: . Ifitisnotlikewildlyshimmeringheathazeorthestateofinterminglingandfusingof energies,itcannotbecalledthegreatharmony,5 . Itisthe"stateofinterminglingandfusingofenergies"thatismentionedintheYijing,or whattheZhuangzicalls"thestateoforganismsmutuallybreathinglifeintooneanother," thatis,a"wildlyshimmeringheathaze."6 Anemphasisonachievingthisstateofgreatharmonycanbeseeninafamous passageinoneofZhangZai'swritings,theWestern Inscription (Ximing).Inan annotationtothiswork,thesixteenth-centuryKoreanphilosopherYiToe'gye(1501­ 1570),providesaclearstatementofitsbasictheme: . Itarticulatesthesourceofresonanceamonghumansinordertobreakthepartialityofthe egoisticaspectoftheself,expandtheimpartialityofthenon-egoisticaspectoftheself, andtherebymakethestone-likestubbornnessoftheheart-minddissolveandinterpenetratewithothers.7 Thatis,thepurposeoftheXimingistoprovideavisionforthosewho,like"stones," haveotherwiseossifiedintoopinionated(yi),predetermined(bi),obstinate(gu ),andegoistic(wo)individuals,sothattheymayinterminglewithothersand createavitalharmonywiththem.8Throughthisprocessofinterpenetrationofheart--a --c minds,anation ndbeyondthattheworld anbemadeintoagreatharmonious family,whichisthemostvitalandeffectiveofenvironments.ZhangZaisays: . Theskyismyfatherandtheearthismymother.Iminutelyexist,intermingledintheir midst.Thus,thatwhichfillsupnatureIregardasmybody,andthatwhichdirectsnature I consider as my capacity to resonate.All people are my brothers and sisters, and all thingsaremycompanions.9 What prevents us from achieving this vital state of great harmony? Zhang Zai says: . Theheart-mindofordinarypeoplestopsatthelimitsofwhattheycanhearandsee.10 Andthus, . Thesicknessofthesepeopleisthattheyobstructtheirheart-mindwithwhatisheardand seenbytheirearsandeyes,andtheydonotendeavortomakethemostoftheirheartmind.11 Thatis,weareusuallypreoccupiedwithonlypartialaspectsoftherelationalmatrix inwhichweareinvolved,becauseweareconditionedbyourphysicallimitations (e.g.,byourearsandeyes)toexperiencethewebofourrelationshipsaccordingto whatisofinterestorusefultousatagiventimeandplace. Thispreoccupationbytheordinarypersonwithalimitedviewofthewebofrelationshipsinwhichoneisembeddedresultsinalossofvitalaffectiveequilibrium andasenseoftheharmonywithinoneselfandwithothers: ,.12 Iftheheart-mindisharmedbybeingpreoccupiedwiththings,humansbecomethings anddestroythecoherenceofnature.13 . Whenlearnersstoplearning,thisisnodifferentfromdying,forthisisthedeathoftheir heart-mind.Althoughtheirbodieslive,theirbodiesarejustthings,andtherearemany thingsinthisworld.14 Thus,thesepeopleare . Thosewhoarepreoccupiedwiththeirownwell-beingandwiththings;theybecomeossifiedanddonottransform.15 The Great Harmony and Ritual Propriety RitualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophyofqiisapracticalapparatusthatfunctions torealizethestateofgreatharmony.Thatis,forZhangZai,ritualproprietyisnone otherthanausefulmethodtopreventusfrombecomingentangledinouropinions (yi),predeterminations(bi),obstinacy(gu),andego(wo),whichstopusfromrealizingastateofvitalaffectiveharmonywithothers: . ThereasonIhavestudentsbeginbystudyingritualproprietyissimplythatbystudying ritualproprietyyoucaneliminatethecommoncustomswhich,whentheyhavebecome familiarhabits,tangleandbindyou.Itislikebeingboundbyanentanglingvine;ifyou removetheentanglementyoucanascend;ascendingisthesameascoherencebecoming manifest.16 MorelightcanbeshedonthenatureofritualproprietybyunderstandingthefollowingassertionbyZhangZai: Ritualproprietyisthemethodofsustainingourxing.17 An investigation into Zhang Zai's understanding of xing will shed light on his understandingofritualproprietyasamethodofsustainingourxing.Iarguethat,for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Economic Equity, the Well-Field System, and Ritual Propriety in the Confucian Philosophy of Qi

Philosophy East and West , Volume 64 (4) – Nov 5, 2014

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Abstract

Jung-Yeup Kim DepartmentofPhilosophy,KentStateUniversity jkim17@kent.edu Economic Equity and the Confucian Philosophy of Qi Thewell-fieldsystem(jingtian zhidu)oflanddivisionwasadvocatedbythe classicalConfucianMenciusandalsobytheNeo-ConfucianZhangZai(1020­ 1077),bothofwhom,Iargue,werephilosophersofqi(vitalenergy).Inthissystem, landisdividedintotheshapeoftheChinesecharacterjing(well).Theoutereight partswouldbeprivateandcultivatedbyeightfamilies,respectively,andthecenter partwouldbecommunalandfosteredtogetherinordertopaytaxes.1 Iarguethatthe functionof thewell-fieldsystemis consistent with therole of ritualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophyofqi,whichemphasizestherealizationof "greatharmony"(taihe),whichisastateofvitalaffectiveequilibrium(zhong) andharmony(he).Thatis,whilethisconfigurationofthelandworkstorealize economicequity,thearrangementisbutameanstofurthertheendofproducingand sustainingavitalaffectiveequilibriumandharmonyamongmembersofthecommunity,which,Iargue,isalsothefunctionofritualpropriety. First,IpresentZhangZai'sphilosophyofqi,whichemphasizestheactualization ofthegreatharmony.Second,IarguethatritualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophy of qi is a practical apparatus that functions to realize this state of great harmony. Third,Iexplainhowtheroleofthewell-fieldsystemisconsistentwiththefunction ofritualpropriety. Zhang Zai's Philosophy of Qi and the Great Harmony ZhangZai'sphilosophyofqiisaphilosophywhosecoremotifisthecreatingand sustaining of affective vitality.2 It ascribes the highest value to the achievement of vitalityinouremotionallives.EmotionsforZhangZaiarerelationalandnotindividualisticexpressions.Thatis,forZhangZai,whetherwelikeitornot,weareaffectingandbeingaffectedbyothers(notalwaysinaproperorproductivemanner),and thisinteractionconstitutesadynamicmatrixofinterrelatedemotions.3 Wedohavechoices,however.Wecanactivelyengageintheprocessofcocreatingandcosustainingouraffectivevitalitybyactualizingasmanypositiveconnectionsasareinherentintherelationshipsinwhichweareinvolved.Theotheroption istoconsiderourselvesasisolatedindividualswhoarenotaffectingorbeingaffected Volume64,Number4October2014856­865 ©2014byUniversityofHawai`iPress byothers.ZhangZaiencouragestheformeroption,fortheconsequenceofthelatter isadiminutionofthevitalandorganicmatrixoffeelingscausedbythedistortedrelationsandtransactionsthatresultfromtherefusaltoacknowledgethatweaffectand areaffectedbyothers.4 ZhangZaiexpressesthevital,organic,transactionalstateofaffectsthatwecan contributetofullyrealizingaswhathetermsthe"greatharmony"(taihe).To explainthisphenomenonheusesmetaphoricalimagery: . Ifitisnotlikewildlyshimmeringheathazeorthestateofinterminglingandfusingof energies,itcannotbecalledthegreatharmony,5 . Itisthe"stateofinterminglingandfusingofenergies"thatismentionedintheYijing,or whattheZhuangzicalls"thestateoforganismsmutuallybreathinglifeintooneanother," thatis,a"wildlyshimmeringheathaze."6 Anemphasisonachievingthisstateofgreatharmonycanbeseeninafamous passageinoneofZhangZai'swritings,theWestern Inscription (Ximing).Inan annotationtothiswork,thesixteenth-centuryKoreanphilosopherYiToe'gye(1501­ 1570),providesaclearstatementofitsbasictheme: . Itarticulatesthesourceofresonanceamonghumansinordertobreakthepartialityofthe egoisticaspectoftheself,expandtheimpartialityofthenon-egoisticaspectoftheself, andtherebymakethestone-likestubbornnessoftheheart-minddissolveandinterpenetratewithothers.7 Thatis,thepurposeoftheXimingistoprovideavisionforthosewho,like"stones," haveotherwiseossifiedintoopinionated(yi),predetermined(bi),obstinate(gu ),andegoistic(wo)individuals,sothattheymayinterminglewithothersand createavitalharmonywiththem.8Throughthisprocessofinterpenetrationofheart--a --c minds,anation ndbeyondthattheworld anbemadeintoagreatharmonious family,whichisthemostvitalandeffectiveofenvironments.ZhangZaisays: . Theskyismyfatherandtheearthismymother.Iminutelyexist,intermingledintheir midst.Thus,thatwhichfillsupnatureIregardasmybody,andthatwhichdirectsnature I consider as my capacity to resonate.All people are my brothers and sisters, and all thingsaremycompanions.9 What prevents us from achieving this vital state of great harmony? Zhang Zai says: . Theheart-mindofordinarypeoplestopsatthelimitsofwhattheycanhearandsee.10 Andthus, . Thesicknessofthesepeopleisthattheyobstructtheirheart-mindwithwhatisheardand seenbytheirearsandeyes,andtheydonotendeavortomakethemostoftheirheartmind.11 Thatis,weareusuallypreoccupiedwithonlypartialaspectsoftherelationalmatrix inwhichweareinvolved,becauseweareconditionedbyourphysicallimitations (e.g.,byourearsandeyes)toexperiencethewebofourrelationshipsaccordingto whatisofinterestorusefultousatagiventimeandplace. Thispreoccupationbytheordinarypersonwithalimitedviewofthewebofrelationshipsinwhichoneisembeddedresultsinalossofvitalaffectiveequilibrium andasenseoftheharmonywithinoneselfandwithothers: ,.12 Iftheheart-mindisharmedbybeingpreoccupiedwiththings,humansbecomethings anddestroythecoherenceofnature.13 . Whenlearnersstoplearning,thisisnodifferentfromdying,forthisisthedeathoftheir heart-mind.Althoughtheirbodieslive,theirbodiesarejustthings,andtherearemany thingsinthisworld.14 Thus,thesepeopleare . Thosewhoarepreoccupiedwiththeirownwell-beingandwiththings;theybecomeossifiedanddonottransform.15 The Great Harmony and Ritual Propriety RitualproprietyinZhangZai'sphilosophyofqiisapracticalapparatusthatfunctions torealizethestateofgreatharmony.Thatis,forZhangZai,ritualproprietyisnone otherthanausefulmethodtopreventusfrombecomingentangledinouropinions (yi),predeterminations(bi),obstinacy(gu),andego(wo),whichstopusfromrealizingastateofvitalaffectiveharmonywithothers: . ThereasonIhavestudentsbeginbystudyingritualproprietyissimplythatbystudying ritualproprietyyoucaneliminatethecommoncustomswhich,whentheyhavebecome familiarhabits,tangleandbindyou.Itislikebeingboundbyanentanglingvine;ifyou removetheentanglementyoucanascend;ascendingisthesameascoherencebecoming manifest.16 MorelightcanbeshedonthenatureofritualproprietybyunderstandingthefollowingassertionbyZhangZai: Ritualproprietyisthemethodofsustainingourxing.17 An investigation into Zhang Zai's understanding of xing will shed light on his understandingofritualproprietyasamethodofsustainingourxing.Iarguethat,for

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 5, 2014

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