Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making versus Growing

The whole of Western thought is profoundly influenced, through and through and through, by the idea that all things, all events, all people, all mountains, all stars, all flowers, all grasshoppers, all worms, everything, are artifacts--they have been made.

And it is, therefore, natural for a Western child to say to its mother, "how was I made?"  That would be quite an unnatural question for a Chinese child, because the Chinese do not think of nature as something made.  They look upon it as something that grows, and the two processes are quite different.

When you make something, you put it together: you assemble parts, or you carve an image out of wood or stone, working from the outside to the inside.  But when you watch something grow, it works in an entirely different way.  It doesn't assemble parts.  It expands from within, and gradually complicates itself, expanding outwards, like a bud blossoming, like a seed turning into a plant.