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Spirit, Qi, and the MultitudeA Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation$
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Hyo-Dong Lee

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255016

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255016.001.0001

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The Psychophysical Energy of the Way in Daoist Thought

The Psychophysical Energy of the Way in Daoist Thought

Chapter:
(p.42) 1 The Psychophysical Energy of the Way in Daoist Thought
Source:
Spirit, Qi, and the Multitude
Author(s):

Hyo-Dong Lee

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823255016.003.0002

This chapter traces the development of the idea of qi in Daoist thought. As a metaphor referring to the constantly changing creative processes of the universe that constitute whatever exists, both mind and body, ideal and material, living and nonliving, qi resists any overtures toward an excessively dualistic construal of transcendence. In Daoist thought, however, the foundational text of the Laozi (Daodejing) and its dominant commentarial traditions place qi midway between the Way (dao) as the metaphysical ultimate and the concrete things of the world. In other words, Daoist thought envisions qi as a kind of primal matter-energy whose cosmic creativity is seen as derived from and dependent on the Way, even as the Way is presented in the tradition “apophatically” and “an-archically” as chaos-like Nothing (wu). In Daoist thought, then, what looms large is a totalizing metaphysics of one empty Nothingness.

Keywords:   laozi, daodejing, Way, dao, Daoism, qi, psychophysical energy, chaos, nothing

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