restricted access Losing What "Me"?: An Existentialist Look at the Ego in the Zhuangzi


Even though the concept of ego is clearly not of Zhuangzi's time, and most of its uses are not appropriate categories to interpret the Zhuangzi, the existentialist conception of ego presents a relevant exception. Existentialist views on the ego's hypostatization and on its role as a source of alienation make Existentialism a good candidate to expound some aspects of the Zhuangzi and give its theory of mind a clearer theoretical basis. To grasp what it means for Zhuangzi to "lose one's me," this paper follows the path laid down in the "Qiwulun" (ch. 2), starting from value judgments to the fixed heartmind, and through existentialist ideas shows why the crux of freedom is the emptiness and consequent mutability of the ego, not its absence or its eradication.