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The Advantages, Shortcomings, and Existential Issues of Zhuangzi’s Use of Images

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image of Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Zhuangzi is considered a creative poet-philosopher because of his use of imaginative images. He used the imaginative images of his system to construct the world of the Dao. He left the essence of material things as they are to speak for the mystery of existence itself, and let them express both the state of and the dream for human freedom. Zhuangzi’s way of using images shows his own lack of the understanding about images, and his lack of adequate assessments. He used images in accord with his own personal preferences and fixed characteristics. He also had a tendency to equate the Dao which he experienced in his mind with the Dao itself. These shortcomings limit his improving and understanding of the Dao, so that his Dao failed to become more open to a wider existence.


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