smThe brightest signs of art and thought in civilization often spring from turmoil, be it outer war or inner strife, as is definitely the case in ancient China.
During one of these periods in transition of government and ruling class, two distinct philosophies sprang from the raging waters of Chinas ever-cyclic river of war and rebuilding. These philosophies were the brain-children of two very notable individuals, Confucius and Chuang Tzu, both of whom saw the suffering of their country men and felt called upon to render the way which would relieve their people. Confucius, was a very rational, logical man who believed that the world could be set into its proper order by prescribing morals embedded in rituals practiced by those in power. Therefore instilling a desire for the people to practice these same rituals and ultimately leading a moral educated life. Although this is just a very basic statement of Confucian thought it does illustrate the great differences in the approaches taken by these two men.
For while in all his teachings Confucius stressed the importance of morals and the attention that must be paid to scholastics and the matters of the physical world of politics and order, Chuang Tzu, takes an entirely different, and I believe, commonly misunderstood approach to resolving the same issue. In his writings Chuang Tzu, constantly hints at the existence of this mystical energy force, which flows with exact order through the cosmos, a presence if you will that has been since there has been anything, but yet is not old. In the mind of Chuang Tzu, when one discovered this flow, and was able to establish a solid connection, one would be filled with the energy of the cosmos, taking its power with them wherever they went, constantly using it to guide them through the labyrinth that appears to those outside of the way to be the path of life. Therefore, by establishing and maintaining this connection, one can no in absolute certainty what is and what should be the proper course of action they should take.
It has been said many times that Chuang Tzu himself was quite a spiritual mystic, which I believe to be a fitting description. However, the problem arises when individuals take this description and simply write off his works as nothing more than complex fairy tales separated by only a few degrees from those of dragons and fairies in western myth. One must not make this mistake, for mysticism and the life and work of and eastern spiritual mystic has just as much validity as does that of faith and the writings of another quite mystic spiritual character found embedded in western thought, this person being none other than Jesus of Nazareth. There are many questions which modern science has no answer and for these questions the mystics have the upper hand, for if through their arts, one souls finds their way then they have accomplished a task which will forever elude the scientific realm.Bibliography: