Live Like a Daoist Week

Tuesday, November 3 – Monday, November 9, 2020

Live Like a Daoist Week

Tuesday, November 3
Day 1: Wandering

Wednesday, November 4
Day 2: Language Creates Distinctions

Thursday, November 5
Day 3: Shifting Perspective

Friday, November 6
Day 4: Fasting the Mind

Saturday, November 7
Day 5: Changing a “Fully Formed” View

Sunday, November 8
Day 6: 
Changing a “Fully Formed” View (cont’d)

Monday, November 9
Day 7: Sitting and Forgetting

Over the next seven days you will be putting some of the views found in the Zhuangzi into practice. Unlike other weeks of exercises in this class, you will not be actively aiming at a life featuring specific content or virtues (other than, perhaps, virtues like openness and flexibility), but rather you’ll be shifting, loosening, or abandoning perspectives that you currently hold — sometimes rathe playfully. The result of this therapy, Zhuangzi suggests, should be a better life.

All of the philosophical exercises for this week are located on this page and you will need to complete them daily. This will consist of two steps:

  1. At the start of each day in the morning, you should read the assigned exercises and carry them out—you can keep this assignment open on your phone throughout the day for easy access.
  2. At the end of each day in the evening, you should submit in the designated dropbox a short private journal entry (1-2 paragraphs) on what you’ve learned.

Class periods and dialogue sessions that occur during the week will be devoted to discussing and working on your exercises individually or in groups. On the last day of this week (Monday, November 9) you will meet in your breakout section to have a “postmortem” discussion on your experiences putting Aristotle’s views into practice.

Your final assignment for this unit will be a synthesis essay on how/whether the approach to living well that you have put into practice this week has deepened your understanding of Zhuangzi’s views and/or affected your own understanding of the good life.

Specifically, you should review your journal entries for this week and write an essay of approximately 1000 words summarizing your final reflections on Zhuangzi’s approach to the good life. Among other things, you’ll want to speak to whether these exercises focusing on generating perspectival flexibility have had an effect on your sense of whether your life is going well: have they helped or hindered? Cite the texts we have studied where possible. This essay is due on Saturday, November 14To submit it, click here and scroll down to access the “Dropbox for Synthesis Essay” under the section titled “Select Day.”

Readings for the assigned exercises and evening reflections this week are drawn from:

  • Zhuangzi: The Complete Writings, translated by Brook Ziporyn (Hackett, 2020)
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