An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

An Eastern Mind: The Chinese Philosophy of Chuang-Tzu

This essay is intended to expand on the oral presentation given on August 14, 2019, specifically focusing on the concepts of ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-Tzu and its application to modem Clinical psychology. The essay is presented as first person Chuang-Tzu who announced his ideas through time travel.

What just happened? Where am I? I might just have had a dream over 2500 years, and now I am awake, there must be a reason for that. Let me clear my sleepy head and try to figure out why I am needed today.

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Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Chuang Zhou . I came from 2500 years ago living in ancient China. I have spent my whole life in the mountain, rise at dawn, down at dusk. As an eastern philosopher, I believe that a wise man shall remain hidden when the world is in peace and he contributes to wisdom when the world loses its balance. I believe that is the only time philosophers shall speak up. If I could just let Socrates know that, he had contributed so much to the society. However, if he could have learned to remain hidden, he may had lived a longer life .

Fame and fortunes are no more than clouds, I once had a king invite me to be the prime minister. It was an honor to be invited by the head of the country but also a danger. He was a wise king, the world was in peace by the time he ran the country. There had been no need for me then. However, if I refused him brutally, he might turn angry and chop off my head. In order to keep my large smart head, I told the king one of the fables I wrote: there used to be a turtle who was 3000 years old. It lived in the mud of the deep ocean. No one heard of it. Once the turtle was captured by a fisherman and was sent to the palace. It was treated well – even music had been played for it all day long – but soon it died.

The leader of that country thus put its shell into the temple where people could worship it generation by generation. After telling this fable, I turned to the king and asked, “My wise king, if you were this turtle, what would you choose? To live in the dark, muddy sea without being heard for 3000 years, or to be worshiped by people as a dead shell in the temple?” The king said, “I’d rather remain unheard in the mud.” Then I said to the king, “Please allow me to remain in the mud.”

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About the Author

Xiaoyun (Sharon) Ma

Xiaoyun (Sharon) MaXiaoyun Ma is a national class counselor and author based in China. Her research focus on mental health developments of individuals and specific groups. Her interests cover cross-cultural studies, gender inequalities and humanistic psychology. She has been promoting the Reflection Group for Chinese educated women via both online and offline channels. She aims to support women to break through the traditional social norms and develop their own potentials. Xiaoyun Ma grew up in a traditional Chinese family in Northern China. Other than research and practice, she has a lot of other interests including Chinese ancient dance, poetry as well as photography. She started her first career as a journalist at the China Central Television (CCTV) after graduation. During her time of further studies at the University of Leicester, she began to develop special interests in clinical psychology and keen to become a psychotherapist. In 2019, she graduated from CAPA(China American Psychoanalysis Alliance) basic and advanced training program. Today, as a practitioner, she adopts the psychodynamic approach in her private practice facilitating clients to develop their self-awareness and examine the unresolved conflicts gradually.

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