What is natural, maturing, and destined

Confucius looked at the view in Lu-liang. The waterfall hung down three hundred feet, it streamed foam for forty miles, it was a place where fish and turtles and crocodiles could no swim, but he saw one fellow swimming there. He took him for someone in trouble who wanted to die, and sent a disciple along the bank to pull him up. But after a few hundred paces the man came out, and strolled under the bank with his hair down his back, singing as he walked. Confucius took the opportunity to question him.

– I thought you were a ghost, but now I see you close up you’re a man. May I ask whether you have a Way to stay afloat in water?

– No, I have no Way. I began in what is native to me, grew up in what is natural to me, matured in what is destined for me. I enter with the inflow, and emerge with the outflow, follow the Way of the water and do not impose my selfishness upon it.

– What do you mean by ‘beginning in what is native to you, growing up in what is natural to you, maturing in what is destined for you’?

– Having been born on dry land I am at home on dry land – it’s native to me. Having grown up in water I am at home in water – it’s natural to me. It is so without me knowing why it is so – it’s destined for me.’

(Chuang-tzu, chapter 9)

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The uniting features of capitalism

“In principle, however, capitalism is an impeccably inclusive creed: it really doesn’t care who it exploits. It is admirably egalitarian in its readiness to do down just about anyone. It is prepared to rub shoulders with any old victim, however unappetizing. Most of the time, at least, it is eager to mix together as many diverse cultures as possible, so that it can peddle its commodities to them all.

In the generously humanistic spirit of the ancient poet, this system regards nothing human as alien to it. In its hunt for profit, it will travel any distance, endure any hardship, shack up with the most obnoxious of companions, suffer the most abominable humiliatinos, tolerate the most tasteless wallpaper and cheefully betray its next of kin. It is capitalism which is disinterested, not dons. When it comes to consumers who wear turbans and those who do not, those who sport flamboyant crimson waistcoats and those who wear nothing but a loincloth, it is sublimely even-handed. It has the scorn for hierarchies of a truculent adolescent, and the zeal to pick and mix of an American diner. It thrives on bursting bounds and slaying sacred cows. Its desire is unslakeble and its space infinite. Its law is the flouting of all limits, which makes law indistinguishable from criminailty. In its sublime ambition and extravagant transgressions, it makes its most shaggily anarchic critics look staid and suburban.” (Terry Eagleton, After Theory, p.19)