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So this is an ancient chinese philosopher that I am intereseted in right now. He is an egoist and his name is Yangzi (Master Yang).


He seems to be more pessimistic than Rand, and less focused on production as a virtue. It also seems that he thinks that politics is pointless. His argument seems to rely on the idea that politics is self destructive for most people. I am not sure what the political implications of this are. It could be apathy, or a sort of federalism where people who are involved in politicis are doing it part time and don't really care about it.

Anyways a quote from one of his works.

Yang Chu, when traveling in Lu, put up at Meng Sun Yang’s.

Meng said to him, “A person is a person—so why do people still trouble themselves about fame/reputation?”

Yang Chu answered, “If they do so, it is in order to become rich.”

“But when they have become rich, why do they not stop?”

“They aim at getting honors/rank.”

“Why then do they not stop when they have attained them?”

“On account of their death.”

“But what can they desire still after their death?”

“They think of their posterity.”

“How can their fame/reputation be available to their posterity?”

Yang Chu said, “For fame’s sake they endure all kinds of bodily hardship and mental pain. They dispose of their glory for the benefit of their clan, and even their fellow-citizens profit by it. How much more so do their descendants! Howbeit becomes those desirous of real fame to be disinterested, and disisterestedness means poverty; and likewise they must be unostentatious, and this is equivalent to humble condition. How then can fame be disregarded, and how can fame come of itself? The ignorant, while seeking to maintain fame, sacrifice reality. By doing so they will have to regret that nothing can rescue them from danger and death, and not only learn to know the difference between ease and pleasure and sorrow and grief.”

One hundred years is at the heights of a long life. Less than one in a thousand people attain it.

Let us take an example [typical] of someone who does. Much of it is taken up by infancy and old age. Much of the rest is taken up by sleep ans wasted time. And much of what’s left is filled up with pain and sickness, sorrow and grief/death/loss/fear/toil/misfortune/suffering, ruin/actual-losses/death and loss/missed-opportunities, and anxieties/worry and fears.

This perhaps leaves several years—and of this, I reckon that the time he is truly content and liberated barely amounts to much at all.

So what is human existence for, and what/where makes it pleasant/is its joy/find happiness?

Only comfort/clothing/beauty/wealth and elegance/good-food/wealth/luxury? Only music/color and beauty/sound/senses/beautiful-women?

Ah, but we cannot always be satisfied by comfort/beauty and elegance/wealth, nor incessantly enjoy beauty/color and music/sound.

Besides, there is the stimulus/extortion/seduction of rewards and the warning/check of punishments/penalties, the urging of fame/reputation and the repelling of laws. People are constantly rendered anxious/nervous/busy competing/striving/arranging/struggling for one vain/hollow moment of glory/praise/fame, and providing/scheming for the splendor/glory that is to survive/outlast/be-remembered-after their death—even in solitude, they contemplate/careful and abide by /comply with what they think/see others want them to see, hear, think, feel, and do, and they discredit/repent what their own selves feel and think. They vainly lose/miss the realest enjoyments of life’s time, and cannot really give way for a moment. How different is this from being a chained in prison?

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  • 3 years later...

This is really fascinating. I was reading about it and came here to see if there was a thread on it. This is a way to reach Chinese people today. THe Chinese will listen more readily to egoism if they can see that it is in their past. Confucianism is apparently a mid-way of Yangism (egoism) and Moism(altruism).

Edited by Peter Morris
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