Effortless Action: Wu-wei As Conceptual Metaphor and by Edward Slingerland
By Edward Slingerland
This booklet offers a scientific account of the position of the private non secular perfect of wu-wei--literally "no doing," yet higher rendered as "effortless action"--in early chinese language concept. Edward Slingerland's research indicates that wu-wei represents the main basic of a suite of conceptual metaphors having to do with a kingdom of easy ease and unself-consciousness. this idea of effortlessness, he contends, serves as a typical excellent for either Daoist and Confucian thinkers. He additionally argues that this idea comprises inside itself a conceptual pressure that motivates the improvement of early chinese language idea: the so-called "paradox of wu-wei," or the query of the way possible consciously "try to not try."
Methodologically, this e-book represents a initial try and follow the modern idea of conceptual metaphor to the learn of early chinese language concept. even though the point of interest is upon early China, either the subject material and technique have wider implications. the topic of wu-wei is suitable to someone attracted to later East Asian non secular concept or within the so-called "virtue-ethics" culture within the West. in addition, the means of conceptual metaphor analysis--along with the primary of "embodied realism" upon which it really is based--provides an exhilarating new theoretical framework and methodological device for the research of comparative proposal, comparative faith, highbrow background, or even the arts generally. a part of the aim of this paintings is therefore to aid introduce students within the humanities and social sciences to this technique, and supply an instance of the way it can be utilized to a specific sub-field.
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Additional info for Effortless Action: Wu-wei As Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China
Life) . 14 All of this convergent evidence suggest s tha t conceptual metaphor is not only a very real phenomenon but is an inevitable part of embodied huma n cognition. This lead s u s t o th e "experiential realist " o r "embodie d realist " stance tha t informs th e cognitive linguistic approach. Conceptual metaphor s "ar e interactiv e . . structured mode s o f understanding " tha t aris e a s a result o f ou r embodie d mind having to adapt to "our physical , cultural, and interpersonal environments " (Fesmire 1994 : 152) .
Thi s schema derives from a folk belief 10 that it is important t o have a purpose i n life , an d i s based upo n the two primar y metaphor s mentione d above , PURPOSE S AR E DESTINATIONS an d ACTIONS AR E SELF-PROPELLED MOTIONS—tw o schemas that have become a part of our conceptual "toolbox" through experiential correlation. When these two primary metaphor s ar e combine d wit h the simpl e fac t (derive d fro m ou r commo n knowledge of the world ) that a long trip to a series o f destinations constitute s a journey, we hav e the comple x metaphor schema, PURPOSEFU L LIFE AS JOURNEY, which Lakoff and Johnson map as follows: Journey — > Purposefu l Life Traveler — > Perso n Living a Life Destinations — > Lif e Goals Itinerary — > Lif e Plan The PURPOSEFU L LIF E AS JOURNEY metaphor thus arises out o f ou r basi c embod ied experienc e an d give s u s a wa y t o thin k an d reaso n abou t thi s abstrac t "entity," whic h "in itself i s fairly unstructure d and therefore difficult t o reason about.
Similarly, we see a tension i n th e Menciu s betwee n th e SELF-CULTIVATIO N A S AGRICULTUR E metaphor—an entailmen t o f whic h i s th e nee d fo r externa l effor t ove r a lon g period of time in order to guide and help nourish one's innate endowment—and a schema whereby one's nature is conceived o f as a wild force (such as a flood or stampede of animals) that can simply be released i n an instant. Indeed, part of the point of this project i s to show that all of the metaphoric portrayals of self-cultivation aimed at producing wu-wei found i n the mainstream Warring States text s involve schemas withi n the same tex t that are both literally incompatible an d conceptually incoheren t because the y contain contradictory (o r at least competing) entailments.