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N.1/2017 Figure della Maturità

Maturità e spontaneità nella Cina antica: una conquista della semplicità difficile a farsi

Amina Crisma

Università di Bologna

Published in June, 2017


Maturity and spontaneity in ancient China: a conquest of simplicity difficult to achieve


In certain widely popular uses of the ancient Chinese thought, it is almost a commonplace the antithesis between “maturity” and “spontaneity”, which points to the polarization between “Confucianism” and “Taoism” such as has been radically revisited by contemporary critics. Easy post-modern consumption of Oriental thought uses such schematics to sustain its fundamental assumption: the celebration of an individualistic and narcissistic egotism, oblivious of any sense of limits and responsibility. On the contrary, a careful examination of the ancient sources allows us to discover the original co-implication of the notions of “spontaneity” (ziran) and “maturity”, and to grasp deeper connections between the traditions commonly defined as “Confucian” and “Taoist” . Both traditions, albeit with different focuses, present a mature moral and political instance to order the tianxia, i.e. “everything is under heaven.”


Chinese thought, spontaneity, egotism, maturity, Confucianism, Taoism.

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