Daoism , Ecology , Aesthetics , phenomenology , somaesthetics , Merleau-Ponty
This paper proposes that Daoist body cultivation can be used as a means to develop an ecological sensitivity. It does so by examining Daoist body cultivation in the light of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body, and Richard Shusterman's concept of "somaesthetics." Merleau-Ponty proposed that the body constitutes the basis for phenomenological experience, but did not develop the idea of the inner body. Richard Shusterman proposed the concept of "somaesthetics" or methods of training the body's experience of the world. Using these theoretical approaches to understanding aesthetic experience, the paper analyzes Daoist body cultivation as a means by which Daoists sought to refine and develop their experience of the inner body and its relation to the world. The paper proposes that some Daoist cultivation methods aimed to dissolve the experiential boundary between the body and the world and create an experience of the mutual interpenetration of the body and the world. Such an experience can form the aesthetic basis for an ecological sensitivity.