Mencius And Daoism And Spontaneity

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To a large extent it is better to live spontaneously. Mencius and Daoism have different interpretations on spontaneity. Mencius emphasizes on expanding humans’ innate good nature, which leads to spontaneous moral cultivation. On the other hand, Daoism spontaneity is emptying ourselves and follow the nature of the outside world without human interference. In this essay, I will first describe the concept of spontaneity in both Mencian and Daoist views, and then I will argue that it is better to live spontaneously, in terms of psychological wellbeing and quality of decisions in life.

From Mencian view, human nature (xing) is inherently good. Mencius 6A/2 states that humans’ good nature is like water’s nature to flow down, which means that even if we do bad things, our nature is still good. Mencius 2A/6 and 6A/6 name the goodness we all have as the “four hearts”, the heart of compassion, shame, deference (respect in 6A/6) and judgment. The four hearts are inherently present within us like part of us, and hence natural to us, as stated in 2A/6 and 6A/6. Despite the good nature, we need to do something to have a good life. Mencius suggests people to expand the four hearts within us to achieve morality. Mencius argues that the process of expansion is spontaneous, as it is our spontaneous nature to be good. In 2A/6, the example of a child about to fall into a well shows that we have the heart of compassion, and we show compassion to the child spontaneously, not promoted by
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