Square Within and Round Without
The Chinese have historically obsessed over being the center of the universe. This “totem of centrality” started in the Zhou dynasty, and is still important to the Chinese, much like the American concept of “freedom”. It eventually became the axis for all social and philosophical justification (The Chinese believed that man’s basic nature was a search for balance, rather than a search for liberation; a search for a central axis). The character for “Center” represented the importance of centrality and timeliness in an agrarian society, and the first sage king, Zhou Wen, was believed to have established the moral as well as calendrical mean in the setting up of a giant sundial pole in the center of his kingdom. The metaphor for centrality in a natural lifecycle eventually became the philosophical concept of “Zhong Yong” (中庸) or “The Way of Moderation”. This is misunderstood by the West as a way of non-religious morality, or situational ethics, in which all things are equal and empowered with the ability to create imbalances (which are thought of by humans as evil because of their negative repercussions). But this Chinese concept is different to the Platonic situation of a virtue between to vices of extreme; instead this standard is always thought to be flowing, moving, escaping definition through any means other than intuition. In reality, this is a commitment to the due course of nature, and not doing what is unnatural in order to insure survival and the blessing of life.
© 2013 Guanxi Master