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Elizabeth Reninger

Deep Freeze

By January 13, 2013

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In the same dialogue (Discussion On Making All Things Equal) as the famous butterfly dream, Zhuangzi offers the following:

Nieh Ch'ueh said, "If you don't know what is profitable or harmful, then does the Perfect Man likewise know nothing of such things?"

Wang Ni replied, "The Perfect Man is godlike. Though the great swamps blaze, they cannot burn him; though the great rivers freeze, they cannot chill him; though swift lightning splits the hills and howling gales shake the sea, they cannot frighten him. A man like this rides the clouds and mist, straddles the sun and moon, and wanders beyond the four seas. Even life and death have no effect on him, much less the rules of profit and loss!"

Ok so I guess I'm not a "perfect man" .... because here in Boulder, Colorado, where "great rivers are freezing," I am indeed feeling quite "chilled" -- not at all tempted to indulge in my usual outdoor pastimes (hiking, biking etc.) but inclined, rather, toward staying inside and watching my favorite comedies.

So far this has included Victor Victoria: great fun with gender and sexuality, along with some great music; I "Heart" Huckabees: a spoof -- albeit a very intelligent one -- on the spiritual search and its attendant philosophical inquiries; and the classic A Fish Called Wanda: British humor at its best.

On second thought .... maybe I am a "perfect man" -- in exactly the way that Julie Andrews is, as Victor/Victoria? Anyway, off now to practice "straddling the sun and moon" .....


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