Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China
1. Animals, as Conceived in the Pre-Buddhist World in China
Magpies, mynahs, parrots, and apes (xingxing 猩猩) can talk (能言) (Liji, “Quli, shang”).11Ants can predict earthquakes (Waley 1933).Apes can walk upright like humans, as can pigs and dogs under special circumstances (Fengsu tongyi, juan 9; Zuozhuan, Lord Zhuang, Year 8; Hanshu 27B(c).1436).Otters exhibit filial piety (Liji, “Yue ling”), as do certain birds that “disgorge” their food to feed their parents (fan bu 反哺, Sterckx 2002, p. 11).12Swallows can express profound admiration for human exemplars, as can elephants, supposedly (Hanshu 53.2412).13Many birds and beasts evince familial love.14Some animals, like humans, engage in long-term planning.Most animals can become or already are creatures of habit.Lambs, among all the animals, meekly submit to ritual slaughter because they recognize ritual (Sterckx 2002, p. 57n44).15Pheasants cannot be bribed with food or threatened with shouts (Shuoyuan jiaozheng 19.485, Bohu tong shuzheng 8.356–57).Geese form rows and fly in orderly formations, at the proper times (Zuozhuan, Lord Zhao, year 21; cf. Han Feizi jishi 1.43).Mandarin ducks epitomize faithfulness in marriage.16Animals can zhi sheng 知声 (“recognize the sound”), and in some texts, even zhi yin 不知/知音 (do not/do recognize the tone) (Nylan 2018, chap. 2).17Many animals can appreciate music (Documents, “Yao dian” 堯典 chap.).18and so on …
Heaven serves with its seasons, earth, with its material resources, human beings with their distinctive qualities (de 德), the spirits with their omens, and animals with their physical strength (Guanzi jiaoshi 4.118, “Shu yan” chap.).25
Each [developed] person has a will, his or her own thoughts and achievements; the person’s plans are not identical to those of others, and a distinctive way of seeing things. The person has his or her own productions and aspirations, his or her own understanding of what is liable to understanding (Taiping jing, Section 7, unit 114; (Espesset 2002, p. 16) [modified]).
2. Current Definitions of the “Human” in Modern Euro-American Religious, Legal, and Philosophical Traditions
3. Connotations Attached to “The Human” in Early Modern French Thought
Points of Convergence and Divergence, Early and Modern, East and West
- Birds in flight return to their old homes,
- The hare runs to return to his hole,
- The fox dies at the head of the mound,
- The waterfowl flutters over the water,
- Each staying close to the place of its birth and life.
Conflicts of Interest
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After all, Buddhism arose when northern India was part of the Persian empire, and its early emphasis on asceticism and on clear gender hierarchies aligns it more closely with Zoroastrianism than with Daoism. Islam is based in the same Bible as Judaeo-Christianity, and shares many presumptions with it. Therefore, while I do not deny that each particular religion is “special,” as a historian, I look for larger patterns shared among several religions as well.
Very few of the texts or thinkers under review here can be precisely dated, as I explain in a monograph (Nylan 2011). Simply put, nearly every masterwork and Classic from the pre-Han era was put in a new form by Liu Xiang and his experts during the library project of 26–6 BC, so what convention dubs, for example, the “Warring States masterworks” were late Western Han recensions and in some cases pastiches compiled from multiple works. Dates are, therefore, approximate, in nearly all cases.
(Moyn 2014) shows how recent an invention is the discourse of “human rights” (mid-twentieth century, in his view), contra Lynn Hunt, whose book presumes “human rights” to be a much older concept, spawned, if not fully articulated by the early modern period.
In an earlier draft of this essay, I discussed at length in a necessarily far more speculative account, the intriguing, if little understood case of an early seventeenth-century mystic, Jakob Böhme. Although several experts on the period, including Berdyaev and Minoru Nambara, have emphasized the likelihood that Böhme was exposed to non-Christian theologies, it was Carlo Ginzburg above all who has viewed Böhme’s writings as important evidence attesting an on-going Eurasian underground (fairly open, in Ginzburg’s view) among the popular classes that expressed itself in the west through gnosticism and mysticism. (Gentzke 2016) draws these connections.
Too many of the early texts no longer survive to allow historians today to speak with confidence about all the modes of thinking articulated in the early empires. Nothing remains that would allow us to reconstruct non-elite beliefs.
Perhaps it is best to state at the outset that I am not interested in fabulous animals, as so many thinkers in early China under review here doubted their existence. That many thinkers in early China doubted their existence did not preclude the same thinkers from finding fabulous animals (especially the phoenix and dragon) “good to think with.” For the fabulous beasts, I recommend The Zoomorphic Imagination (Silbergeld and Wang 2016), esp. the essay by Carma Hinton. The Shanhai jing 山海經 (Mountains and Seas Classic) and the Hanshu “Wuxing zhi” (Treatise on the wuxing) provide numerous illustrations of this propensity to play with fabulous species.
I cannot use the word “religion” without wincing, being mindful of (Barton and Boyarin 2016).
However, if the Chinese were really so unobservant of the “natural world” as Sterckx suggests, it is hard to imagine how they established their categories of anomalous vs. routine behaviors (of the stars, of animals, and of human beings), categorical staples to many of the best minds of the age. By adopting the human/natural divide, I believe Sterckx—one of the smartest guys I know—inadvertently misrepresents the very material he studies. Similarly, on pragmatism, (Sterckx 2002, p. 22), cites the famous Dong Zhongshu anecdote wherein Dong failed to look out at his garden for three years, so intent was he on his manuscripts. That behavior, if not apocryphal, is clearly marked as “exceptional.” The Han fu (as epideictic poetry) display familiarity with a huge range of animals, to some of whom are ascribed apotropaic powers. Other relevant works include the classic works on dog physiognomy, which have been excavated from two sites: Yinqueshan, 2nd c. BC tomb, excavated 1972, and Fuyang, Anhui, burial dated 165 BC, excavated in 1977. The famous Mawangdui “Dao yin tu” 道引圖 (Guiding and Pulling Chart) depicts humans imitating animals in exercises apparently designed to acquire some animal powers. Many professionals were assigned to the pre-Han and Han court bureaucracies because of their knowledge of animals, birds, and fishes. For example, Fan Li, the legendary Croesus of Eastern Zhou, supposedly devised methods for “fish farming,” etc. Sterckx 2002, pp. 61ff., treats zoolatry, worship of animals, as does Fengsu tongyi, juan 9, passim.
Furless beasts are distinguished from “flying” [birds], from the “scaly” [fish], from those with hard shells [turtles and such], and from animals with fur or thick hides [shou 獸]. See Taiping jing, juan 137: “Fangyao yangu xiangzhi jue” 方藥厭固相治訣”. There are a number of intriguing phrases, in the Shuihudi finds, including shenchong wei wu, gui wei wei shu 神蟲偽為物, 鬼偽為鼠 (something like “spirit creatures pretend to be [ordinary] living things, ghosts pretend to be rats.” See Shuihudi Qin mu zhujian, strip 33, 24 (p. 231) as well as the often-seen phrase xu chen 畜臣 (“to tend [like animals] subordinates”).
For instance, the phrase fengwu 風物, describing the good king’s suasive power, certainly means to “moralize/ influence all living things,” not just “human beings.” See Lüshi chunqiu jiaoshi 6.359 (“Ming li”).
Therefore, while many people, including (Sterckx 2002, p. 97), presume that only extraordinary human beings (sages) can devise names for objects and people, this does not square with the fact that some, if not all animals, communicate with each other. Xunzi’s chapter on language realizes that names are only conventions, and animals, like people, have conventions and habits.
The “Shenwu”/”Divine Crow” fu (found in Yinwan; Jiangsu, excavated 1993) also tells of a bitter rivalry between crows, which “disgorge” their food for their parents. Contrast the cuckoo, which is said to be “unfilial,” because it allows its eggs to be hatched by other birds.
When the King of Linjiang 臨江 committed suicide, several tens of thousands of swallows picked up earth in their beaks and piled up his grave mound. Similarly, wallows also filled up the burial pit of Empress Ding 丁 after Wang Mang had ordered to desecrate her tomb (Hanshu 99B.4004). Elephants spontaneously tilled the tumulus of Shun, and that crows labored the fields where Yu was interred, according to Hou Hanshu 54.1759–60. In real life, elephants do tend the graves of the deceased herd members, as stated in Moor 2016.
For example, foxes proverbially are said to turn their heads towards home, where they were whelped, exhibiting familial love.
Although some lambs have horns, they do not resist their slaughterers.
This proverbial association has continued down to today.
However, some writings suggest that animals understand tones perfectly well. A treatise from Yinqueshan, for example, says: “If you play the guxian pitch, the cricket will climb into the hall” (a reference to Mao Ode no. 114). See (Yates 1994, esp. p. 129) (strip no. 2436).
Elsewhere, the Music Master Hu Ba 瓠巴 could make fish come up to the surface to listen to music, spellbound. Xiao Shi 蕭史, who supposedly lived during the reign of Duke Mu of Qin, blew panpipes and was able to summon peacocks and other fabulous/rare birds to the duke’s court. See Xunzi jijie 1.10 (“Quan xue”); Huainanzi 15.521–22 (“Shuo shan”); Yiwen leiju 78.1327; Kaltenmark 1953, pp. 125–27. Wang Bao’s (d. 50 BC) “Fu on the Panpipes,” talks of all manner of creatures (“cricket and measuring worm, … mole cricket, ant, and gecko”) hearkening to music’s power, as does Ma Rong’s “Fu on the Long Flute” (see Wenxuan, III, pp. 241–42, 273–74). See (Knechtges 2015).
To take two examples, elephants do make long-term plans when following their trails, and they also seem to tarry at the sites of their dead. Cephalopods have complex abilities to communicate with each other by colors and gestures, even though they lack brains.
Bohu tong points out that one of the reasons why humans adopt a xing 姓 or “clan name” is because they wish to distinguish themselves from the birds and beasts. Nobles bear that clan name in addition to the shi 氏.
Gujin zhu 3.28 cited “Wen da shi yi” 問答釋義.
Sterckx employed the phrase “moral taxonomy.” The example of emotions from the Mencius concerns the ox that trembles.
I am reminded of Peter Sahlin’s distinction between theriophiles vs. theriophobes (those who love or hate animals). More on (Sahlins 2018) below.
We see less of that in Eastern Han texts, perhaps because of the hardening attitude toward the barbarians, whose nomadic habits are likened to those of beasts.
Animals have their havens in lush grasses. By analogy, the worthy man is haven for all brave men, according to Lüshi chunqiu, “Zhong chun” section, juan 2 (“Gong ming” 功名 chap.).
This becomes clear in Shiji 129, Hanshu “Di li zhi,” and many other texts that speak of habitats and acculturation to them. As noted in (Sterckx 2002, pp. 104–5), many texts juxtapose territory (tu or tudi), wind and air (fengqi), and species (wulei), then proceed to remark upon the “customs” that may result from living under such conditions.
The Chinese says, “When people or birds and beasts, as well as the six domestic animals continuously walk into a person’s home—these are spirits from above who like those below and enjoy invading.”
Usually the phrase fanben 反本 refers to a “return to the origins” with “origins” construed as the Dao, one’s ancestors, or one’s highest potential.
Long before the medical texts, such as the Huangdi neijing (now generally ascribed to the first century of Eastern Han) take up this concept, it appears in more than 40 texts, for example, the “Duo shi” chapter of the Documents classic, in the line: 今惟我周王丕靈承帝事 (“At present it is only Our Zhou king who, being greatly numinous and efficacious, could serve well the Lord above and carry out its business”). Ultimately, the special animating quality is described in Dai Zhen 戴震 (1732–1777) as jing shuang 精爽 (super-animating spirit). For more on jingshen, see (Nylan 2013).
See (Otto 1958).
See (Sterckx 2002, p. 105ff), citing Huainanzi 1.20 (“Yuan dao”). Put another way, the nature of each person could acquire second natures over time.
Much of this is based on my earlier analysis of the Huainanzi “Jing shen” chap., but it also draws up several excavated medical manuscripts, most esp. that from Mawangdui.
I was tempted to write “man” here, insofar as the early Chinese thinkers had in mind, male members of the governing elite, often ruler himself, but strictly speaking the character ren refers to male and female equally.
(Rosemont 2015) has nicely demolished the notion of “autonomy” in his seminal work.
Pace Michael Puett, the “divine” characteristics of the early sages, have more to do with maximal beneficence towards others than with the Kantian acquisition of divine powers ascribed formerly to the Unmoved Mover.
Some of the major variations are elucidated in (Nylan 2018).
Xin lun, in Quan Hou Han wen, juan 14. Some texts posit a “complete” person occupying a position somewhere on the spectrum between the animals and the ancestral dead. Much depends on the capacities credited to the dead, who sometimes are imagined to have some remnant jing (shown in the form they assume as ghosts), but not as much as living people or the spirits of animals. For this explanation of ghosts as “dead people’s jing” that manifests itself, see Wang Chong, Lunheng, “Si wei” 死偽 pian. See below for more on this.
See the “Pan geng” chap. of the Documents classic, for example, where cheng ren refers not mainly to generic adults but to the “mature men” who are capable of guiding the ruler. Meanwhile, the Liji says that it is becoming a mature adult that allows one to be able to act as a good official, a good brother, and a good son. It also states that a mature adult is formed when he learns ritual activity and acquires a fully ritualized body. See the “Li qi” chap. (juan 10.22) that says that the person who lacks a fully ritualized body cannot be deemed a fully-fledged adult: 禮也者, 猶體也. 體不備, 君子謂之不成人. Analects 14/12 concedes that whereas a “complete person” (cheng ren) would require the consummate strength built up painstakingly through the exercise of all the virtues, generally, a lower standard of excellence is enough to be considered a ‘complete person.’
The text continues, somewhat surprisingly, to assert that all objects of worship were originally, in antiquity, human beings, not transcendent or high gods.
This passage analogizes the person’s learning to take pleasure in “his perch” to the birds’ becoming mature in their nests and animals becoming mature in their lairs.
Liu Xiang’s Shuoyuan speaks of some people being less humane than some animals. The ironies abound. See Shuoyuan, “Gui de” 貴德 chap.
This saying is ascribed to Jia Yi (200–167 BC).
This is consistent in the pre-Qin laws from Shuihudi and the early Western Han statutes from Zhangjiashan (terminus ad quem 186 BC), also with the Hanshu treatise devoted to penal laws (compiled ca. AD 90). Regarding my presumption: there were, after all, no ultrasounds in antiquity.
Part of the confusion is surely generated by the mistranslation of the term “in bond servitude” (nu 奴), which is conflated with “slave,” which is then conflated with the American pre-Civil War condition of slavery, where a slave is property that may be killed by a master with impunity. There is a spectrum of people “in servile status”, with the vast majority of them belonging to that status only temporarily, as indentured servants or prisoners. Generally speaking, only foreign exotics are slaves (and then they are usually house slaves). For both the statutes that demonstrate this and examples of mistranslation, see Barbieri-Low and Yates (2015). I speak of “the laws” rather than the “law code,” like my teacher Michael Loewe.
This statement is then cited repeatedly in Han texts, such as in Liu Xiang’s Shuoyuan. Compare the statement in Yanzi chunqiu, reproving Duke Jing 景公 of Qi for suggesting “to do away with ritual” during a wine-feast (“Nei pian, Jian shang” 內篇, 諫上), as that might encourage over-familiarity between the duke and his subordinates. The Yanzi chunqiu comes very close to the Mencian formula, in “Wai pian, Jing gong yin jiu ming Yanzi qu li, Yanzi jian” 外篇, 景公飲酒, 命宴子去禮, 宴子諫).
Shangshu dazhuan, commentary to the “Yao dian” chap.
Note that this passage, unlike some others, makes the person a cheng ren before he has fully mastered the rites.
On more on this distinction, see (Nylan 1999).
History fosters this imaginative process greatly, encouraging observation of exemplary figures as they perform their roles, and contact, by any means, with such figures, provides a welcome vantage point from which the person can judge the unfolding situation with greater deliberation.
Judging from the context, this piece of analysis apparently is proverbial.
The phrase is Foucault’s. It describes whatever ideology occludes key inequities in a given society.
This is frequently translated as “gentleman” with gendered presumptions. However, even in the Analects ascribed (erroneously) to Confucius, the moral elite includes some female sages. An anonymous reviewer suggests that there is an analogous term, wei ren 為人 (“as a human being”), but use of this term begs the question, clearly.
In some texts, this medium becomes “an indwelling god or gods who have been induced to live inside the bodily form.”
I do not count synonyms such as zhi qi zhong 執其中 (Analects 20.1).
By rationalizers, I am referring to the group of thinkers whose theories focused on human agency do not refer to the efficacious intervention of spirits or gods in the social sphere.
Kant talks of the “categorical imperative” (absolute moral standard) to which humans may aspire, and if they are successful, in Kant’s view, those people possess a dignity (“an absolute inner worth”), by which they can exact respect “from all other rational beings in the world”. See (Kant 2017, p. 557) (6:434–435 in the standard Prussian Academy edition of Kant’s works). (Dworkin 1977, esp. pp. 272–78), similarly talks of human beings (or at least rational human beings) demanding “equal concern and respect,” deeming this formula a basic premise of modern philosophy. Dworkin would be adamantly opposed to the redistribution of resources (wealth), however.
Whereas there is no paper on the human/animal divide to be found in the Bibliography of Asian Studies online database, a quick look at JSTOR reveals 1995 essays and reviews on the topic as it relates to Euro-American beliefs. I recommend Calarco (2015); Gross (2014); Lippit (2000), Lewis and Wigen (1997), among others.
Geuss never mentions Waldron, but, in fact, Geuss demolishes his argument and any others based on “natural rights.”
Much of the discussion on Hobbes below follows Birmingham’s analysis.
Sluga continues, Hobbes imagines an uncomfortable bargain: giving up freedom in order to gain security.
Waldron continues (ibid.): “It is arguable too that Kant’s theory is of this kind”. After all, Kant says all humans have the unique capacity to respond “in moral matters” to demands of moral awareness. For Kant, it is relevant that there is a “human capacity to construct, apprehend, and respond to moral reasons even in the face of contrary inclinations,” even though people do not always do that (Waldron 2017, p. 124). Wilson notes that Locke listed four criteria by which to distinguish man from brutes, while asking whether some humans (e.g., fetuses, idiots, madmen, or the decrepit elderly), do not share the condition of animals more than that of humans. Importantly, he admits degrees of humanity.
Cassirer believed that only human beings had the resources capable to produce animal symbolicum, as he differentiated propositional content (dubbed “biological”) from “symbolic” content in language, knowing that, even in his time, Georg Révész had proposed “animal language,” which has now been proven, and Wolfgang Koehler, on chimpanzees, shows that they express a huge range of emotion. For Cassirer, “Human beings not only repeat a past experience, but reconstruct that experience, imposing on it a symbolic narrative.” The life of ideas does “not appear so much as memories pointing to something in the past, but as expectations to the future” (pp. 52–53). To his way of thinking, to make the future “ideal” (the ability to foresee future events and to prepare for future needs is a uniquely human way. I am far less certain, especially after reading (Moor 2016, chap. 3), on elephants and their trail-making and mourning for lost companions.
De Waal (2016), of Emory University, who studies cognition in apes and other animals and is the author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, commented in an email, “Great study.” De Waal’s key insight he calls “ethnological naturalism”: that social systems are constituted by more than binary interactions, for they involve hierarchical clusters of actions of the “triangulating” kind, and this seems just like human politics. Even more eye-opening is (Godfrey-Smith 2016), on the cephalods (squids, cuttelfish, and octopi) who evolved nervous systems that evince great intelligence, but followed a different evolutionary track than mammals and birds.
Decisions that are simple (when to move a finger) physically start at about 3/10 of a second before an individual consciously decides to do it. Something in the brain is observing the decision and not deciding it, in other words. For a good synopsis of the relevant neuroscience, see the special issue of The Economist (23 December 2007) devoted to the “brain” and “happiness.”
How often in the course of a day are we entirely rational? Philosophers such as Herbert Fingarette, Elizabeth Anscombe, and Bernard Williams, among others, have explored the fundamental realization that we often act by rote (as with bodily memories of driving), or, for some reason, without duly attending to the business at hand. No wonder the philosophers are feeling so defensive these days, as the analysis by Kant and by the neo-Kantians cannot stand, as thinly-disguised reworkings of Christian theology.
Relatedly, Stanley Cavell wrote of the “ultimate political claim,” which is that some human beings ‘are something other and less than human beings, are things, or animals.” This claim is associated with “slavery” and the “barbarian” discourse. For this, see Norris (2017, esp. p. 113). See also notes 90, 94 below, on Heidegger’s anti-Semitism and the Jews as barbaric.
By contrast, the early Chinese answer, given by Xunzi (echoing an answer given by Mencius), is that different people make differential contributions to the welfare of all, and that true equality before the law demands that a judge factor in those differential contributions when sentencing criminals in all stations in life, who are still liable to be judged by the same laws. This understanding informs the statutory laws in the early empires in China, as we see from the excavated legal statutes and case laws from Shuihudi (late third century BC) and from Zhangjiashan (terminus ad quem 186 BC). The first are translated ably by Hulsewé (1985), and the second, more problematically, by Barbieri-Low and Yates (2015).
“Supposedly” is the operative word, although I suspect Euro-American states ‘tried harder’ to uphold certain protections for the individual, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, when “democracies” were openly in competition with “socialist” or “Communist states.” It need hardly be said that legal protections were not offered equally to all citizens of NATO countries. Think of Joseph McCarthy and Hoover, the FBI director.
Scarry’s essayistic approach took off from the Amnesty torture archives to develop an aesthetic offense against torture (which (Moyn 2014, p. 110), mocks as “Thomas Hobbes plus John Ruskin” and, as naive, on p. 117).
One of the most informative papers that I have read on this was (Jay 2018), which includes Adorno’s attacks on Critical Theory as but “a deceptive code word for traditional Marxist” ca. 1975 (see p. 10, in particular).
Were China to take her own rhetoric seriously, a useful debate over civilization might ensue but currently both China and the US embrace the dubious neoliberal “trickle-down” propositions advanced by the Chicago school, which allow sharply rising inequalities among citizens with theoretically equal protections and opportunities under the recent Constitutions. “Black cat, white cat”—there is no difference when it comes to catching mice (i.e., making money).
Max Scheler was an influential early promoter whose work only superficially follows Hegel in equating “man’s essential life” with “an inner life developed in the consciousness of one’s own self.” Particularly helpful have been Buber (1945), Lysemose (2012), and Bergo (2017). NB: the French (Derrida, Stiegler, and so on) had a parallel movement with a common source in Leroi-Gourhan. See Lysemose (2012, p. 118n4).
Cassirer’s work dwells upon Johannes von Uexküll (1864–1944) who offered a critical revision of biology: natural sciences have to be developed by the usual empirical methods (methods of observation and experimentation), even if he conceded that biological thought is not of the same type as physical or chemical thought. Uexkull championed a concept he called “vitalism,” i.e. the autonomy of life (p. 23), and he was instrumental in “founding” a field called “biosemiotics.” One of Uexküll’s most influential books has been translated into English (see Uexküll 2011).
There is not much original in my synopsis, which draws heavily upon Lysemose, who, in turn, draws heavily upon H. Blumenberg (2006), Beschreibung des Menschen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 2006). For stone-throwing as the “primal instituting (Urstiftung),” see Husserl’s body of work. One may also consult Tallis (2003).
Notions of cheng ren concern the cognitive and emotional development, not conceived in terms of personal cultivation but via social cultivation.
Heidegger try to address the problems in his 1927 Being and Time, his 1928 Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, and his 1929 Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, but to no avail. Three main concepts thread through Heidegger’s attempts to provide Stufen, or levels within Being itself: Benommenheit, which posited that animals are “captivated” by their environments, and Eigentlichkeit (contrasted with instinctual Eigentümlichkeit) that is driven by “self-proposing,” “self-production,” “self-regulation,” and “self-renewal,” all of which require a highly developed ego. In addition, Nichtigkeit, a self-conscious awareness of one’s annihilation that can lead to “transcendence,” if one confronts the idea of one’s own non-existence. However, Heidegger’s reputation has been sullied, for Heidegger ascribed Nichtigkeit, to “true human beings,” who are the masters of their fates, and not the world’s poor, who cannot shape their world, but only receive it, and so are little better than “technicized animals” (even if they are humans). Heidegger justified their removal in his full-throated rationales for the Nazi race science, even as he became increasingly illusioned with contemporary science’s contribution to human being’s sense of being driven relentlessly. Heidegger meanwhile credited members of the Uber-race with a revelatory Stimmung called “anxiety.” The question is, what about human beings is not driven?
(Rajan 2001, esp. pp. 69, 74), has called “cultural studies” quasi-disciplinary, a hodge-podge, largely because of what she calls its de-referentialization (i.e., de-historicization, de-contextualization), a “soft-sell for, and a personalization of the humanities” that has allowed the humanities to be “hijacked by the neoliberal agenda”. Cf. (Goody 2006).
(Henke and Tattersall 2007) Handbook of Paleoanthropology, p. 45.
Latour provides a useful introduction to Actor-Network Theory, evoking the net of interlocking relationships found in pre-Buddhist and Buddhist China (the net of Brahma) that makes up the universe.
Put another way, Heidegger’s requires the human to reflect on his own soul, a requirement he may have inherited from Leibniz (see Wilson 1995, p. 18).
The term “sovereignty” conflates two ideas: (1) power, in the sense of self-determination, non-servile status (Heidegger’s focus), and (2) who decides when there is a crisis on what will be done?
Even rustics have an innate sense of right and wrong (Analects 9/26) and much wider consultation is taken to be, at once, the ideal and the most practical method of governing (Shiji 60.2108, Documents, “Shao gao,” Xunzi 24/1, Yi Zhoushu, “Huang men jie,” Giele 2006, pp. 166–67, 186). The author is currently writing The Politics of the Common Good in Early China.
Think of such classical writers as Plutarch, Lucretius, Juvenal, and Aesop.
Montaigne thought that the “most vulnerable, frail, wretched of all creatures is man, but also the most arrogant” (p. 37). Contra Hobbes emphasized vainglory and fear.
As (Sahlins 2018) shows, La Fontaine, a supporter of Nicolas Fouquet (whom Louis XIV regarded as a treasonous rival), was exiled in December 1664. La Fontaine was never invited to have an audience with the king.
Charron quoted in (Sahlins 2018, p. 38).
Sahlins believes this was especially true when, in admittedly human-centered research, they elevated animals to be models of civilized behavior.
89 Sahlins issues an important caveat: when Descartes came to speak about the specific passions, “it is not always clear which passions belong to the soul and which to the body” (p. 35).
Carolyn Merchant, quoted in (Sahlins 2018, p. 18).
Consider the powerful arguments offered in (Takaki 1990), as they relate to the Founding Fathers’ debates in the United States, especially concerning Caucasian men of property vs. slaves of African origin or descent.
This particularly pessimistic view of “human nature” soon entered Counter-Reformation discourse in general and Puritanical strains of thinking in particular, providing one probable source of what (Sahlins 2008) dubbed “the western illusion of human nature”.
On conation (Latin: conatio), I consulted Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology 1901–2. Definition 1 for (Baldwin 1901–1902) is this: Conation [Latin conatus, from conare, to attempt], the theoretical active element of consciousness, showing itself in tendencies, impulses, desires, and acts of volition. Stated in the most general form, conation is unrest. It exists when, as a present state of consciousness, it tends by its intrinsic nature to develop into something else. Equally helpful are Hilgard (1980), Cassirer (1964).
Some eventually posited an afterlife elsewhere, in heaven, as astral deities, but, as Yu Ying-shih’s thesis (Yu 1962) showed, most notions of “immortality” envisioned instead of having long lives enjoying earthly pleasures. (A later publication, in 1965, supposedly a synopsis of the thesis, did not reproduce his analysis on this point.)
Many scholars, beginning with Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983), have noted how much the construction of the nation-state has entailed forgetting. Hannah Arendt argues that “the consequence of the modern technological ‘outsourcing’ of memory is a type of generalized social amnesia in which failure and neglect of the active recollection dimension of memory is unrecognized because we assume that the passive cataloguing dimension of memory can cover it.
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Nylan, M. Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China. Religions 2019, 10, 360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060360
Nylan M. Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China. Religions. 2019; 10(6):360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060360Chicago/Turabian Style
Nylan, Michael. 2019. "Humans as Animals and Things in Pre-Buddhist China" Religions 10, no. 6: 360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060360