Material fetters and spiritual transcendence : Zhuang Zi and environmental thought

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Abstract

In basic earthly terms, the environmental question is a matter of maintaining Nature in a balanced state of health and harmony, of preserving the inherent integrity of the environment and its capacity to support all forms of life and matter emerging in a transformational process. From the early days of civilization, however, human beings have locked themselves in a spiral of deepening materialism, engendering and exacerbating environmental problems through ever-intensifying activities of overproduction and over-consumption. While animals also cause damage to the environment out of existential needs like grazing and loosening soil, few living things have gone beyond Nature’s capacity to heal and rebalance itself, and none has damaged Nature in the gratuitous manner of human acts of needless and pointless extravagance. It is obvious that the environmental crisis cannot be addressed on the material level alone, for mankind’s material overindulgence is itself rooted in a deeper spiritual disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment, Modernization and Development in East Asia: Perspectives from Environmental History
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Pages251-269
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781349848034
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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KWONG, Y. T. C. (2016). Material fetters and spiritual transcendence : Zhuang Zi and environmental thought. In Environment, Modernization and Development in East Asia: Perspectives from Environmental History (pp. 251-269). Palgrave Macmillan UK. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-57231-8_11