Neo-taoist escapism, Humanities

Yellow Turban Revolt 184-189. Inspired by Daoists, adversary was Confucianism. Incredibly devastating. Provinces were ravaged: could put nothing to use. Han Confucian officials were immersed in observing other bigger matters like what went on in the universe, and thus they were too buried under the books to be able to handle the matter -> esoteric. Led to the rise of provincial leaders like Cao Cao and Liu Bei: popular novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" These two suppressed the yellow turbans. 

Neo-Taoist Escapism ways of physical, spiritual, psychological escape. Literati's disillusionment towards the public life of politics. Your task was to take on official position. Now sought refuge in other pursuits.

"Peach Blossom Spring" by Tao Yuanming. Example of Neo-Taoist Escapism. Leaving the world and detaching themselves from the world. Creates a fantastic utopia: what they were disillusioned about.

"The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" escapism in the arts, in nature and in wine. Ideas of spontaneity/radicalism/individualism. Confucianism had been following customs, etc: should that they often congregated to drink wine and share poetry; 60's hippies of medieval China; members were known for being eccentric, going against convention.

Xi Kang The aloof intellectual of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. At one point in his life, a very important minister came out to visit him to enlist him in government services; he knew he was coming, and picked the time to do metal work -> leaves minister standing for four hours. Subversive.

Aesthetic pursuits of the literati aesthetic: appreciation of beauty. Search for the immortal life. Rise of an aesthetic: Gu Kaizhi: revolutionized the art of transmitting the spirit -> portraiture. Good portrait: judged on how well he captures the spirit, the inner character/personality. Not just physical appearance. Used perspective to capture the direction of gaze. Wang Xizhi: pioneer of Chinese calligraphy; flowing, spontaneous style of writing. You can express your spirit in spontaneous strokes. Judging character based on calligraphy and what mood the person was in. Qin music: 7-string zither, play with 2 hands. Introduced a whole new approach to music. Not just about sound, but also the space between sound and silence. Gradual dissolution of sound - gradual retreat into silence. Only Qin can accommodate the emptiness and the void.

"Discourse on Nourishing Life" cultivate the mind in order to preserve the body. Inner-substance: important for Buddhism. People are asking more spiritual and metaphysical questions: what Buddhism provides. Buddhism and Confucianism are too different. Because Confucianism was discredited, there was an opening of Buddhist ideals.

Cultivation of Qi (vital energy) Not soul. Vital essence coming across through art. Life force. What you eat permeates your own qi. Certain food/drinks you don't want to consume too much. Often, when you're feeling pain, it's already too late to reverse the damage. Damage: anger, sadness, emotions: they build up in invisible way.

Posted Date: 2/28/2013 1:47:32 AM | Location : United States

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