N.1/2017 Figure della Maturità

Maturità e spontaneità nella Cina antica: una conquista della semplicità difficile a farsi

Amina Crisma

Università di Bologna

Published in June, 2017

Maturity and spontaneity in ancient China: a conquest of simplicity difficult to achieve


In certain widely popular uses of the ancient Chinese thought, it is almost a commonplace the antithesis between “maturity” and “spontaneity”, which points to the polarization between “Confucianism” and “Taoism” such as has been radically revisited by contemporary critics. Easy post-modern consumption of Oriental thought uses such schematics to sustain its fundamental assumption: the celebration of an individualistic and narcissistic egotism, oblivious of any sense of limits and responsibility. On the contrary, a careful examination of the ancient sources allows us to discover the original co-implication of the notions of “spontaneity” (ziran) and “maturity”, and to grasp deeper connections between the traditions commonly defined as “Confucian” and “Taoist” . Both traditions, albeit with different focuses, present a mature moral and political instance to order the tianxia, i.e. “everything is under heaven.”


Chinese thought, spontaneity, egotism, maturity, Confucianism, Taoism.

Critical Journal of History of Ideas
International Philosophy Journal

Andrea Tagliapietra and Sebastiano Ghisu

Giovanni Campus

Authorized by Tribunale di Sassari n.455 del 14/7/2008 - ISSN 2035-732X - ISSN (Paper edition) 2035-732X