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Life lessons from Chuang-Tzu #10

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This is the tenth in a 15 part series. My summary of the lessons of Chuang-Tzu, based on a translation by Lin Yutang. For a full explanation of this series, please see the introduction in Part 1...

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Life lessons from Chuang-Tzu #10
From section 3, On ethics & behavior:

SIMPLICITY & ELEGANCE WORK WELL FOR NATURE - THEY SHOULD WORK WELL FOR YOU

Often we tend to over-analyze when we think about what decisions are right or how to live. We concoct elaborate and intricate doctrines and philosophies about the nature of ethics and try to prove them with complex logical arguments. Then we erect overly formalized incentive systems, thinking these will make us good people. But in Joined Toes, Chuang-Tzu points out these things are as extraneous as being born with extra limbs. More often, nature achieves many functions through streamlined elegant systems. Taking that example, we can also find that simple is often best. He says that 'good hearing' is not so much about hearing what others say, as hearing ourselves. When our minds are clear of delusion and our values in accord with our true nature as moral beings, we often know what is right without the need of such doctrines and complexities.

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Comments

  • Tom Brucia 3 years ago

    Two simple axioms to guide one: (1) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; (2) Do unto others as *they* would have you do unto *them*. These are not equivalent! The first is for decision-making when ignorant; the second is when you have more knowledge.

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