This new English translation of François Jullien’s work is a compelling summation of his thinking on the comparison between Western and Chinese thought. The title, From Being to Living, summarises his essential point: that western thinking is obsessed by – and determined as well as limited by – the notion of Being, whereas traditional Chinese thought was always situated in Living. Organized as a lexicon around some 20 concepts that juxtapose Chinese and Western thought, Jullien explores the ways the two have historically evolved, and how many aspects of Chinese thought developed in complete isolation from the West, revealing a different way of relating to the world. Translated by Michael Richardson and Krzysztof Fijalkowski, this text explores Chinese thinking and language in order to excavate elements from them that reveal the fault lines of western thinking. This is an important book for students, scholars and practitioners alike across the Social Sciences.
Chapter XII: Regulation (vs Revelation)
Regulation (vs Revelation)
1 As the most conspicuous of divergences extending into history, between Chinese culture and those of the Mediterranean basin (the ‘three monotheisms’), China is assumed to have known neither the Word nor Revelation. ‘God’ never made himself known there. A few elementary traces emerged from the River, on the back of a dragon or tortoise, Hetu or Luoshu, linking proto-writing to the groundless Ground of the advent of the world (shén lǐ 神 理), of which they are the first representation (as wén 文; cf. Wenxin diaolong, ch. 1),1 but they aren’t such as to constitute a Message. ‘Heaven doesn’t speak’, Confucius said (Analects, XVII, 19) – however, ‘the seasons follow their course, all existents prosper’: ‘what need would ...