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 XVIII: Surge (vs Settled)
Surge (vs Settled)
1 If the thought of Being misses something of our experience, it is because in determining, assigning and conferring properties, it assumes an adequacy of self with self; or, more precisely, it assumes that this ‘self’ coincides with itself and its essence, and its characterisation comes from this. Yet doesn’t this coincidence contradict what living in its own being is, but which isn’t rightfully of ‘being’? Or let’s say that, if things coincide completely with themselves, which leaves them in their state of ‘things’, the characteristic of living is constantly to de-coincide with the self, which holds it in the tension of life. Already, what is being signalled towards when we speak in passing – admittedly in a trivial ...