Dynamic Model of Emotions: The Process of Forgetting in the Zhuangzi

Abstract

What is the viewpoint regarding the emotional lives of sages in the Zhuangzi 莊子? There are two conflicting positions in current scholarship: sages have emotions, and sages are without emotions. In this essay, we introduce these positions with their corresponding textual support and show that they are not satisfactory accounts. Specifically, we point out that the conflict arises as scholars adopt a static model of emotions. Thus, we propose that a better way to understand the emotional lives of sages is to adopt a dynamic model of emotions characterized by the process of forgetting. Through the discussion of such a dynamic process, we show how conflicting textual evidence can be integrated into this dynamic process and, at the same time, be read consistently. Ultimately, we argue that the ideal emotional lives of sages in the Zhuangzi adopt a dynamic model of emotions characterized by the vacillation of activity of the mind between the state with and without emotions.

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Correspondence to Linna Liu.

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Liu, L., Chew, S. Dynamic Model of Emotions: The Process of Forgetting in the Zhuangzi. Dao 18, 77–90 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-018-9642-6

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Keywords

  • The Zhuangzi 莊子
  • Emotions
  • Forgetting
  • Dynamic model