The Daoist Logic of “”: The Discard of “Name (名)” (5)

Obviously, Sun’s rational thinking on the dialectic relationship between the “theory” and the “practice” of social movement is parallel with the Chinese traditional thought – Daoism on the connection between “Dao (the Way道)” and “Name (名)” argued by Laozi, the representative Daoist philosopher in ancient China. Whether “Dao” can be told by words is a core theoretical issue of the Chinese thought:

道,可道也,非恒道也;名,可名也,非恒名也。無名,萬物之始也;有名,萬物之母也。故恒無欲也,以觀其妙;恒有欲也,以觀其所徼。 [1]

“Dao [Truth] can be talked about [described or theorized] in any manner each person considers feasible, though hardly any of these descriptions will be perpetually valid; Names [Descriptions] can be ascribed to Dao in any manner each person deems workable, yet hardly of these will last forever. In the beginning it is beyond us that the world and the universe [Heaven and Earth] were nameless [both inexplicable and indescribable]; [Nevertheless,] whatever happened to be possibly named [described] by us are the mother [origin of the descriptions of] myriad [all and every] things and creatures. Accordingly, I constantly refrain from my selfish [subjective] desires; In order to explore [objectively] the manifested wonder of it [Nature]; I also constantly maintain my volition [to seek objective knowledge], in order to pursue its [Nature’s] deep seeded enigma….” [2]

Besides the above translation of the First Chapter of Daodejing (道德經), we can have Laozi’s philosophical theory on “Dao” with our own interpretation: if “Dao” can be told by the words we use, the words are not representing the exact of “Dao”. Also, the “Name” which can be represented by the words we use is not the exact of “Name”. The “Namelessness (無名)” and the “Name (有名)” are both the only origins of all beings in the universe. If we move towards “Dao” without desire (無欲), we have an opportunity to completely understand what “Dao” is. On the contrary, if we move towards “Dao” with desire (有欲), we can only touch the surface of “Dao” embodied by the vicissitudinous changing of beings.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] See: Huang, Zhao (黃釗) (1991). The Annotation and Interpretation of Silk Book Laozi (帛書老子校注析). Taipei: Studentbook. p. 3.

[2] See: Chen, Lee Sun (陳麗生) (2011). Laozi’s Daodejing — The English & Chinese Translation Based on Laozi’s Original Daoism (老子的道德經 中英白話句解與老學研究). USA: iUniverse. p. 133.