Zhuangzi and Thoreau: Wandering, Nature, and Freedom
Journal of Chinese Philosophy
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2012
Source ID: shanti-sources-35061
Collection: Contemplation and Ecology
Abstract: Zhuangzi and Henry David Thoreau share a critical interest in the relations between wandering, nature, and experience. Their attitudes toward nature provide a basis for their views of human well-being, which in turn inform their attitudes toward language, society, and politics. Both celebrate nature as a source of constant novelty, change, and nourishing life. These values clash against social conformity and political homogeneity. For both Zhuangzi and Thoreau, how we experience life is already constitutive of human well-being. Wandering thus provides a unique vision of freedom, one that binds experience, nature, and social-political criticism.