Comparing Sun’s Thinking with Lao Tzu’s Taoist Philosophy (2)

The thinking logic of Sun in describing the core value or principle of the practice of “Coolloud.org” (which cannot be concluded because it is still in the progress of “becoming”) is parallel to the logic of deliberation of “Dao” told by Laozi. The thinking logic of Sun actually supports his belief on the media practice that no central established theory can be the “principle” to exhaust the core value of the practice and to direct the future development of the media movement in Taiwan. The reason is: independent media is a kind of people’s media for opening up a new form of modern social movement based on the popular use of the Internet and the rapid rise of the development of information technology with the characteristic of global/local interaction and communication that it is never existed in other civilized ages of human history. The practice of the media movement (for the purposes of facilitating the humanistic spirits of spontaneity and solidarity of people, escaping from the horizon of the Establishment and building up an independent approach to promoting people’s voices) must discard the constraints from any known theory and professional knowledge being the main elements of the mainstream leading perspective used by vested interests and the uppers for their dominative positions in human society and take root for its substantial social influence based on the present situation of the world society. The attitude of the so-called “cannot-be-told” to describing the core value of the media movement practice held by Sun is not formed based on his own personal unwillingness or the de facto “unable-to-be-told” of the value existing, but set for reserving a possible space to facilitate the liberal ongoing development of the independent media movement through denying all kinds of fixed doctrines, principles and thoughts in the realm of the practice. This thinking connotes a recognition in epistemology: we must remain in the spiritual condition of “no-desire” (do not stick with a single centric idea) for a new social movement in the vicissitude of a globalized modern society. From here, we can realize that there is a humanistic thinking logic of Sun parallel with the Daoist thought for the interpretation of the concept of “Dao”.

(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)

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Comparing Sun’s Thinking with Lao Tzu’s Taoist Philosophy

The thinking for the relationship between the theory and practice of social movement contributed by Sun is conforming to the core logic of Daoist theory, which is related to explaining the relationship between the concepts of “Dao (the Way道)” and “name (名)” and the issue of whether “Dao” can be told by “words”.

“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….” [1]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。 [2]

From the First Chapter of Daodejing, we find out that the logic of understanding “Dao” presented by Laozi is similar to the stance of Sun on describing the belief and idea of the practice of “Coolloud.org”. Sun calls the tune of the practice with the descriptions of “unfixed”, “uncertain” and “remain developing” that he is unwilling to give out a certain “principle” or “theory” to conclude the spirit or value of the practice. The two persons, Laozi and Sun, are in different tunes rendered with equal skill for their interests.

(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: 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.

[2] 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.

No “Flag” for the Social Movement Practice (3)

Here is an assumption: Sun tells that there is a clear principle or belief or theory called “X” on which the practice of “Coolloud.org” is based. Then, our understanding related to the basis of the practice would be constructed as the following: “Coolloud.org” is of the independent media social movement conforming to “X”. This kind of logical understanding implies that there is a fixed ideological thing directing the realization of the practice. The assumed statement made by Sun does not help for clarifying the core idea of the independent media. Moreover, the statement gives out a standard (or a norm) for the developing of the social movement realization, producing the principle of “exclusion”: the practice of the media (only) follows the “X” (as ideology) to carry out activities and social actions in local society. The adjusting possibilities and the potential issues of the movement that are not compatible with the theory of “X”, according to the logic of the above statement, could be ignored or excluded. Here, we discover an attempt of differentiation or discrimination to advocate a “suzerain” when a clear principle of the practice is emphasized. The embrace of the differentiated attempt causes a dilemma of the traditional social movement practice. For example, it is clear that laborers would claim their rights from their bosses in the past. In the globalized world, laborers not only bear the economic exploitation done by their bosses, but also have to face potential challenges from political powers, transnational companies and foreign workers. The differentiated attempt, which can be constructed through settling up a fixed principle or theory of social movement practice, is not a good for the sustainability of the further development of modern social movement because in the condition the practitioners of the movement are unable to obtain diversified cultural elements and open-minded viewpoints to explain or interpret or even deconstruct new emerging phenomena and power relationships based on a single exclusive theory or value. For social movement, “practice is always alive, theory defunct.”

(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)

Abstract: The Libertarian Elements of Thinking in Tao Te Ching: Another Interpretation

Is it feasible to persuade the upper to renounce its authority for an ideal society with human peace and happiness? This paradoxical had been done by Lao Tzu, who had provided a blueprint for the idealism, in ancient China. Taoism, as a fundamental theory, contains lots of libertarian thinkings: the concept of “inaction”, for instance, is so compatible with the spirit of the Nature against the political consciousness of human beings. Politics emphasises the necessity of interference, management and governance. The nature of politics is completely opposed to Tao. Although some believe Tao Te Ching contains ideas about leadership or governing skills promotion, scholars generally recognise that Lao Tzu’s theories foster the rise of libertarianism in human history against the governmental departing from the needs of humanity.

Through interpreting the chapters thirty-two, thirty-seven, seventy-five and eighty of Tao Te Ching, we are able to discover the representative elements of libertarianism in Taoist thought. No matter Lao Tzu should be seen as a political adviser or an anarchist, his intention of realising the well-being is clear: the libertarian elements are inspiring people to re-examine the essence of politics in the human realm from the ancient to the modern.

Keywords: Tao; Inaction; The Nature; Libertarian Spirit

No “Flag” for the Social Movement Practice (2)

In the second citation, Sun thinks about the possible relationship between the value/principle of the practice of the media social movement and the potential relative theories in human history. He points out that the two, the modern movement ongoing and the past abstract theories, could have certain connection in spiritual sense, but they are actually the different aspects of social movement for the common bond of peoples for the well-being. For the practice of modern social movement, to understand some significant values in the theories connected with humanitarianism has its positive meaning because it creates a spiritual support and encouraging force for modern social activists to sustain their works. However, it is unnecessary to establish a “fixed” logical linking between theory and practice, like to emphasize “we carry out our movement based on the principle of ‘X-ism’” because a kind of common value or spirit is of the origin of the theory and practice of social movement. Theory and practice are two aspects of the origin as the different forms of the embodiment of “existence” in the progression of human society. This thinking for reflecting the close relationship between the two aspects presents an understandable approach to the significance of the practice of the modern social movement: the practice of social movement needs not to be realized through recognizing a fixed thought or theory or value as the only basis for the practice. The embodiment of a core value or spirit should be based on carrying out a kind of spiritual correspondence with the practice with the attitudes of conscience and insistence, not relied on settling up a structural thinking to standardize the practice of social movement. Therefore, when we do not give a fixed theoretical basis for the practice, we would mostly have a relatively huge space to open up various possibilities for the development of modern social movement practice. In other words, the unnecessary emphasis on the role of theory in the practice of social movement would restrict the development of an activist society to a rigid situation, ossifying the diversification and flexibility of people’s thinking on the ideal. Sun’s standpoint of opposing the “principle” is based on this theoretical thinking logic.

(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)

No “Flag” for the Social Movement Practice

To maintain the influence of the media social movement is of a core motivation for “Coolloud.org” to stick with its independent media works in local society continuously. When we ask about the principle or value of the media practice, Sun agrees that the practice of the media movement has its “spiritual prop” relating to “some beliefs or values”. However, he cannot express or describe what the “values” are in this practice stage clearly. For example, Sun suggests that the “values” are probably related to some theoretical traditional thoughts of humanitarianism, but he immediately denies that the thoughts are the exact principles of the practice. At this point, we find out that Sun realizes that there is a “potential gap” between theory and the practice of modern social movement. Although independent media, as a modern form of social movement, has its similar claim(s) parallel with the past social and labor movements (e.g. to open up a domain for people’s deliberation on social issues), it is of a totally different model of the practice of the movement compared with the past’s (carrying out street protest, demonstration or social conflict). On the scene of globalization, the internet social movement has its own particular spirit, which must be realized and approved by the actual participators of the movement through playing the continual movement exercise in different roles – the “reporters”, “audiences”, “promoters” and “coordinators” of the independent media. The spirit of the media, as the inner power to support the practice of “Coolloud.org”, is now in the process of “becoming” that is definitely not at the end of the development of the media movement. Therefore, Sun “cannot describe a clear principle” for telling the only spirit or value of the practice of “Coolloud.org” with an exact term or a concluded theory.

(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)

人對未知的恐懼係政府存在的根本基礎

政府存在的基礎建立在稅收(支付其運作的成本)、法律(作為其運作的依據)、軍隊(對外主權的維護)、警察(對內秩序的維持)等政治條件上。政府係統治機構,它必須扮演作為一種絕對權力的象徵和工具。為何要實施絕對的權力?因為「人不可能自治自管」。所以,政治首先假定人性向惡的潛能。除了規範政府的型態及相關制度的推行形式,法律存在的關鍵理由是限制個人的自由和防範「罪惡」的滋生。以「俯視觀點」而言之,對個人的自由,限定其範圍及立下嚴格的定義是必要的:在哪一範圍下的自由是被允許,而什麼是超出「合法」領域外的自由。對於每一個生活在社會中的人,這些定義和規範看來都是必要的。只有如此,「秩序」才能維持。如果沒有法律來指導人的行為標準、沒有警察來「監視」和管理社會,人民必然作亂;若沒有軍隊,我們就無法抵抗他國的入侵。

「很多事情都無法想像了!」倘若沒有統治者、沒有政府,整個國家、社會就會陷入「瘋狂」、「混亂」、無法治理的狀態之中。人類數千年的文明將毀於一旦。

無政府主義者提出各項論理依據,明確地回應這種不合乎事實的反對論。無政府思想理論家希望人們進一步思考人的生活世界及政治現實的本質,並進入其文明結構中去考察。透過這些考察,我們便能了解及公正地評價所謂「政府」究竟是什麼,而無政府主義的訴求和論理依據又是什麼。

(摘自: 無政府與全球化. 台北: 國立政治大學. 2003)