Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Was the World Created for Man?

The Book of Lieh-tzu. A Classic of the Tao translated by A.C. Graham (1960; rpt. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), pp. 178-179:
T'ien of Ch'i was going on a journey; he sacrificed in his courtyard to the god of the roads, and banqueted a thousand guests. Someone was serving fish and geese at the seat of honour. T'ien looked at them; then he sighed and said:

How generous heaven is to mankind! It grows the five grains and breeds the fish and birds for the use of man.

All the guests answered like his echo. But a twelve-year-old boy of the Pao family, who had a seat among the guests, came forward and said:

It is not as your lordship says. The myriad things between heaven and earth, born in the same way that we are, do not differ from us in kind. One kind is no nobler than another; it is simply that the stronger and cleverer rule the weaker and sillier. Things take it in turns to eat each other, but they are not bred for each other's sake. Men take the things which are edible and eat them, but how can it be claimed that heaven bred them originally for the sake of man? Besides, mosquitoes and gnats bite our skin, tigers and wolves eat our flesh; did heaven originally breed man for the sake of mosquitoes and gnats, and his flesh for the sake of tigers and wolves?

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?