Chinatown: How Chinese Civilization Goes Global



It is well known that so called Chinatowns have become the most common institutionalized form of Chinese civilization’s global existence. What is Chinatown? What is Chinatown’s cultural nature as well as its historical significance? To answer these questions we have to look at first at the foundations of Chinese cultural identity as they have evolved in China’s history.

The Foundations of China’s Cultural Identity

American scholars D.L. Hall and R.T. Ames in their recent book «Thinking from the Han» argue that the Western philosophical inventory related to the idea of Self is irrelevant for Sinological studies. According to them, Chinese thought operates with a concept of “the Focus-Field Self’ which reduces self-consciousness to the “awareness of one’s role as a locus of observation by others” while acknowledging that such a Self has the quality of deference, or self-elusiveness The “deferential” Self is able to transform its individuating capacity (embodied in one’s “virtue” or de) into integrating power and to extend oneself to the point of being able to embrace the indeterminate field of its context. The Taoist version of this idea stresses the “non-subjective” (wu-wo) nature of authentic Selfhood. It does not negate subjectivity completely but, as Hall and Ames are careful to point out, proscribes the non-assertive, responsive and creative mode of its existence 2.The concept of the “Focus-Field Self’ obviously aims at avoiding the pitfalls of rationalistic self-identities but, unfortunately, it does so to the point of neglecting the problem of authentic Self altogether. Indeed, we find in Confucianism a strong sense of the inner reality of Self which runs from Confucius’s obscure remark on the “single thread”(yz guan) in his teachings to the theme of the persistent “common Mind” or just “the Mind” (yi ge xin) in the so called “idealistic” trend of Neo- Confucianism. The movement of deference alone can hardly produce this bold commitment. And although the Self in Taoism seems to negate all sorts of self- identity yet it was precisely the Taoist thinkers who emphasized the experience of one’s “genuineness” (zhen). This paradox of self-realization through “self-forgetting”, still only vaguely understood, has also a historical aspect. What kind of history, if any, can such subjectivity have and how does this history account for the actual historical stages of Chinese thinking?

The key to solving these questions lies, I believe, in the fundamental notion of Chinese thought — a notion of change. It is the idea of change and of its logical outcome — the inner continuity of change (because the change must change itself and thus arrive at the unchangeable) that led Chinese thinkers to postulate as the ground of their thinking the very limit of the existential Self where purified transformations of temporal (and thus corporeal) Self merge with the pure dynamism of the primal act of consciousness. This perspective on subjectivity creates the need for the new hermeneutics that must dispense with the metaphysics of self-identity while presuming the possibility of the unitary Self. Such hermeneutics emerges as a response to the call of tradition. The latter, of course, has nothing to do with the mere continuation of the past. Its real essence is the creative event or, to be precise, the self-effacing power of time, the irresistible force of forgetfulness that affirms the ever-present but essentially a-temporal reality under the cover of permanent renovation. The supreme value of tradition is neither objective knowledge nor creation, but the non-subjective sincerity of expression which transforms the finite act into a consummating event and makes it a precise non-expression, a spontaneous appropriation of being’s temporality and thus — an act of going along with the world.

The continuity of tradition presupposes that to affirm one’s true Self one must forget oneself. The being of things is reduced to its limit that constitutes both their innermost nature and their external boundary. It would be wrong to say that Chinese thought negates any notion of reality that transcends the world of appearances. Chinese tradition does postulate the existence of reality that can be lived and referred to but cannot be known, not even grasped in intuition. It is being-becoming, self- concealing in its very openness, which is designated by the semantics of the main philosophical terms of China. I prefer to call this reality symbolic because of the following considerations: firstly, this reality cannot be described in terms of the parallelism between thought and being and, therefore, can be expressed only symbolically; secondly, this reality precedes or rather anticipates the being of all things and does not pass after these beings reach their limit, i.e. after they are realized to the full; thirdly, this reality corresponds to the totality of human praxis which can only be referred to allegorically.

The basic categories of Chinese tradition are represented by the terms p ’in and ge which are usually translated as “categories” or “types” of things but in fact point to those qualities of experience that traverse various planes of being and constitute their non-transcendent unity. These terms were systematically used since early medieval times and gradually became the main elements in Chinese classification systems. Suffice is to recall the sets of fixed chords in Chinese music, the sequences of normative gestures in ritual practice as well as in Chinese boxing or theatre, catalogues of esthetic objects in various spheres of life or lists of artistic forms and their elements in painting, calligraphy, architecture etc. What the notion of p ’in signifies is not substances, forms, ideas or even facts but various intersections, potentially even infinitely complex clusters of events, hierarchies of forces, contingencies of shadows and echoes, forms of becoming which exist “between presence and absence”, in proximity of every place. Serving predominantly the purpose of learning and self-cultivation they are used as the expedient mnemonic signs, like those words, in Chuang-tzu’s memorable phrase, that should be forgotten once their meaning is grasped.

The canons of separate schools in Chinese tradition were precisely a certain set of types corresponding to the (symbolic) perfection of being. Learning how to embody these types in one’s practice was a process of heightening one’s awareness, a way of self-cultivation. Yet there is always a limit to our sensitivity. So the symbolic types come out, as it were, from the undifferentiated, non-thematic wholeness of primordial experience, or No-Limit (wuji), and, having been elaborated to the finest nuances through men’s spiritual effort (this process corresponds to a realization of culture), finally dissolve once again in the seamless web of all-too-subtle differences of experience. Yet this time they melt into a Chaos of another sort — sublimated by human effort and esthetically perceived Chaos of the Great Limit {t ’aiji), a cultural creation par excellence. Moreover, both types of Chaos — primordial and secondary — are related to different aspects of corporeal experience: the former referring to the original presence of the body as the very possibility of things and the latter — to the transcendent body as the terminus of sensations amounting, to the Chinese, to the experience of “tasteless” (dan) reality.

The peculiar feature of traditional Chinese ontology is a double-layered structure of being, what Chinese Taoists called “double concealment” (chung xuan) or the “fold” (zhe die). For Taoists being has no spatial or temporal extension but endlessly folds back into itself. All change here has the character of ever deepening transformation, an implosion, a reversal within one continuous movement. The real meaning of getting to “the double bottom” of being is to release oneself into the openness of the absolute Other, to turn one’s inside out, to reach the stillness of Aeon that abides with-out measured time. This alterity is not anthropomorphic but, because it delimits the human world and represents the very possibility of human existence, is rather anthropo-genetic.

In the Taoist thought the relation between subjectivity and its symbolic source is reproduced in the relation between types of events and the “force of circumstances” mentioned above. This force is but an infinitely efficient activity within every finite action. Since it is recognized as the drive towards equilibrium it always represents a movement opposite to the actual tendency, a “reverse movement” (dian dao), a “counter current” (ni liu), a “deep impulse” {shen ji) of the situation. By virtue of this force things with every new transformation secretly return to their symbolic origin existing “prior to Heaven” (xian tian), in the non-form of the Great Void. This impossible non-movement corresponds to the state of spiritual perfection now popularized in the West under the catchy word Kung-fu. The term is closely related to the notion of “leisure time” which is in fact a time of both self-sufficiency and “self- forgetting” equal to Aeon. The symbolic “movement of reversal” bears within it the infinity of memory and anticipation. As a condition of boundless efficiency it justifies the durability of the Self as well as the persuasiveness of style. Being a consummation of practice, a virtuosity which combines skill and spontaneity, experience and renewal, Kung-fu represents the fullest realization of the corporeal existence as, according M. Henry’s definition, “the ontological habit” 3.

The nature of Heart-Mind in China is not to make itself known, but to escape reflection and that means: to stand out as the essence of manifestation, “the brightness of light”. As an essence of creative transformation this consciousness bears within itself a reverse movement — a return of being to its source. This original subjectivity corresponds to the margins of the individual Self. It is absolutely free in its total in­determination prior to space and time.

What makes it possible for consciousness to disavow itself? The answer is easy to find: the way being is, the being of being. It is the fleeting pause, an infinitely small interval in the continuous succession of anterior and posterior moments, a non- localizable projection of Heavenly depth on the horizontal plane of Earth, an ever absent awakening amidst endless dreams. The esthetic ideal or, one can even say, deeply-rooted esthetic habits of the Chinese provide amazingly convincing evidence to this symbolic pre-space pregnant with the infinite variety of forms — suffice it to recall the art of miniature gardens and the idea of structure-generating lacunae in Chinese literature, painting and landscape design, a motif of “Heaven in the gourd” in Chinese folklore, wonders of Chinese craftsmanship like concentric balls carved in a single piece of ivory etc. The crack and the fold are the means to connect the inside and the outside, the virtual and the actual in a monad of being This connection is fulfilled, as we already know, through a spiral movement that precedes but also delineates spatial/temporal distinctions 4.

The notion of Tao’s symbolic circuit evokes the memory of what is forgotten in objective knowledge — an “absent” distance between things and their virtual “semen” or the very possibility of their existence. This accounts for a remarkable ambiguity of traditional Chinese terms and, not least, for the curious willingness on the part of the Chinese to argue for a hidden continuity between dreaming and awakening, where the dream means in fact the medium for converting virtual qualities into the actual micro-images — a transformation that preserves the identity of the (Greater) Self and thus the integrity of tradition. The attempts of modem scholars to ignore this ambiguity and to construct purely technical language of Chinese philosophy and science on the basis of “positive knowledge” would make tradition’s message utterly unintelligible.

Chinese metapolitics and Chinatown

In Chinese traditional thought the discovery of Being’s crack corresponds to emerging of intentionality (yi) out of primordial Non-being, or, one might say, a (W)holeness of being, the latter being equated to the “original Heart-Mind” {ben xin). This is what Chuang-tzu’s story of the Great Clod is about: the Wind comes out of the resting-resistant Clod like intentionality is issuing forth from the original unity of life. So intentionality here means the passage from indefinite Mind to the definite one, from No-Limit to the Great Limit. Contrary to the Western notion of intentionality it has no objective contents. It is a pure creativity marking the limits of things or moments of transformation, the “in-between” spaces. Oscillating between pulsating continuum and continuum of pulsation it represents a pure affectivity, an eternal re­action, a course of self-cause and thus an inexhaustible efficiency. What is the prototype of this movement of deferring/returning which leaves no visible trace and yet brings about qualitative change? I think we should look for it in the kinesthetic unity of the living body which makes possible all partial movements. It is the virtual act of intentionality, a symbolic matrix of all transformations which anticipates the world.

The status of the phenomena is changed correspondingly: now things instead of being reduced to objects acquire the creative power of types with its unique quality, its individual voice. What is being cultivated in Chinese culture is not the form per se but the awareness of forms’ limit — itself unlimited. As for types, they represent the moments of conscious, i.e. awakened, and thus a self-perpetuating life. That is why they are the basic units of cultural tradition.

The tale of Heavenly Flute is, in fact, a metaphor of the Universal Human. It is a tale of man who paradoxically realizes his humanity by returning to the bosom of Heavenly Void; who asserts his living, i.e. immanent, unity with the Mother of Heaven and Earth. As an awakened or self-humanizing creature, the man, concedes Chuang-tzu, can not do without technology, and no ancient writer paid as much attention to the secrets of the craft as this professed lover of naturalness. Yet for him technology should serve “the Heavenly liberation” (tian fang) of people who are destined to discover in what they are doing the unique quality of their existence. This task is expressed by the metaphor — just another one in the long line of Taoist metaphors of unnamable “Change of change” — of everybody’s most common job like tilling the land or making clothes: an occupation which allows one “not to depend on others”. No wonder, Wang Fu-zhi interprets Chuang-tzu’s seemingly mystical words about a sage who “has not yet come out of his primordial ancestor” 5 in an overtly pragmatic key:

“Not to come out of one’s ancestor means holding fast to the center of vortex and responding to things without end, do not rule over the world but the world would not go astray. Tilling the soil, weaving the cloth, executing rituals and punishments will be done by itself and everybody will find a rest in what is heavenly in him. It means following things’ being so by themselves and having no private ego” 6.

We find here a clear exposition of Chinese fundamental principle of “naturalness” which implies some self-regulating, albeit indefinite, and essentially social reality. The “primordial ancestor” here corresponds to the original subjectivity which is essentially a matrix of human sociality. Its real social correlate is a sort of meta-individual personality traversing different planes of historical time, something like a genealogy of family or school (these two terms are poorly distinguished in China). The meta-individual Self, being a locus of Te, asserts an hierarchical order of human praxis: it is simultaneously father and son, teacher and disciple.

This pattern of sociality has a striking similarity with the modem notion of everyday life marked by apparent inconsistencies: on the one hand, the everyday life is a realm of ordinary, endlessly repetitive actions and, consequently, boredom; on the other hand, it is endowed with certain mystery and esthetic sentiment precisely because it escapes reflection and represents “the desire of totality in postmodern times” 7. It is phantasmagorical in its very naturalness.

It is well known that Chinese tradition has equated the reality of human existence with the everyday. How could it be different with the civilization that praised above all the naturalness, the pure immanence of life? According to a classical saying from the commentary to the “The Book of Changes” , The Great Way is something “that the people use every day but do not know it”, (ri yung er bu zhi). In Chapter 80 of the “Tao Te Ching” we come across an apology for the everyday life, quite rare in ancient literature: people of ancient times, it is said there, just “took pleasure in their meals and enjoyed their clothes”. One more popular sentence, this time coming from the Chan tradition says no less plainly: “The ordinary mind is the Way”.

All definitions mentioned above point to the impossibility of knowing objectively the essence of the Way as well as the everyday existence. Indeed, Michel de Certeau, the author of an influential book on the cultural significance of everyday life compared the practices of the everyday existence with some sort of tactics that confirms the hidden continuity of life itself. The practice of everyday life, in his words, is “an ageless art which has not only persisted through the institutions of successful political orders but goes back much farther than our histories and forms strange alliances preceding the frontiers of humanity. These practices present in fact a curious analogy to the simulations, tricks and disguises that certain fishes or plants execute with extraordinary virtuosity… They maintain formal continuities and the permanence of a memory without language, from the depths of the oceans to the streets of our great cities” 8.

What is eternally present cannot but be absent in every point of space. The essence of “natural existence” is precisely this omnipresent elusiveness. This means that the nature of everyday life is the overlapping of widely divergent, even diametrically opposed perspectives. On the one hand, everyday life is the realm of specific, exotic, marginal, a totality of variability. On the other hand, this perpetual change contains absolute, eternal stillness, a sort of “political neuter” embodied by the wise ruler capable, to quote once again Wang Fu-zhi, of “holding fast to the center of vortex and responding to things without end”.

The “human naturalness” or natural humanity for that matter possesses, therefore, a kind of inner, symbolic depth. Or rather it can be structured in the form of double spiral (vortex) whose focus represents the absolute stillness allowing for the endless transformations of life. The opposing dimensions of this vortex are mutually non-transparent and, therefore, cannot be politicized and drawn in some sort of conflict. They cannot serve as the basis for a self-identical social form, i.e. social order or institution. Everyday life as social totality represents a persuasiveness of “Other”, a merging of presence and absence, of life and death. Indeed, a maintenance of harmonic relations between the people and the ghosts is declared in the “Tao Te Ching” to be the highest goal of the sagely rule, not to mention the paramount significance of the cult of ancestors in Confucianism.

The urban life in China is a good illustration to the nature of everyday life described above. Moreover, it represents an obvious analogy to the formation of the Self in Chinese thought. What we perceive physically is the bustling street life and the density of buildings, a real hub-bub of everyday life overshadowed by a transcendent symbolism of the Empire. The latter’s presence is embodied in the overall planning of the city and the symbolic names of official places. This is the “Heavenly” dimension of traditional social order. Its modem counterpart in today’s big cities of the Far East are the skyscrapers containing the Headquarters of powerful corporations the network of highways which makes possible to move around the city. The bird’s eye view of the city achievable from the highways is the most convincing image of that incomprehensible totality of everyday life ruled by the omnipresent Other.

This pulsating continuum of everyday existence with its seemingly contradictory yet surprisingly persisting structure has outlived the totalitarian ideologies of classical Modernity and has become by now a recognizable “face” of Chinese civilization. Moreover, it has shaped the global form of Chinese culture, i.e. the culture fused with everyday life. Its most universal and obvious expression is Chinatown. The latter, like everyday life itself, points to the inner continuity of existence that links various historical ages and even continuity between culture and nature. Chinatown is a world within a world; it exists outside of politics for the simple reason that it escapes all definitions and lacks conceptual identity. It is, in de Certeau’s words, “a reality without language”. Yet it speaks in a compelling voice of life itself.

To understand better the nature of Chinese worldview embodied in Chinatown, it would be useful to compare it with the cultural pattern of neighboring Japan. Japanese thinking is characterized by the rigid linking of values and things. The cultural artifacts in Japan are direct and fixed representations of concepts which are conceived more often than not symbolically in China: the Chinese idea of painting as “one stroke of brush” produced in Japan paintings which actually consist of one brush stroke, Japanese gardens accurately express the idea of reality as illusion, the Chinese kungfu, essentially a symbolic practice, was transformed by Japanese masters of martial art into sports etc. Different cultural codes in Japan do not merge but are strictly separated in time and space. Average Japanese may live an ordinary life of modem city-dweller but is quite eager to spend some days (and a lot of money) in a special hotel where all features of traditional Japanese way of life are meticulously reproduced. In a word, Japanese genius is the capacity of neat divisions and the very word “to understand” (wakaru) in Japanese means in fact “to divide”.

China’s cultural pattern is quite different. Chinese tradition implies precisely non-differentiation of values and things, reality and imagination. Chinatown can exist anywhere but it is not a museum, a specific social enclosure detached from the actual world, but a real everyday life though permeated with the feeling of virtual play. In a word, it is a life completely transformed into art. The Chinese word for understanding is “enlightenment” (ming) which means in fact the recognition of the inevitability of dream. For we can be awaken to the extend that we know the persistence of dreaming. Moreover, as was mentioned above, it is precisely dreaming that accounts for continuity of great (meta-individual) Self in Chinese traditional culture. The core of Chinese tradition is the hidden and anonymous perception of ever-continuing reality related to the “awakening in dream”. Philosopher Chuang Chou may not be sure whether he is Chuang Chou or a butterfly who “hovers happily around the flowers” but he knows with the utmost inner clarity that there is a pure joy of life. And why?

Just because he is free to detach himself from everything given in experience and give oneself to the boundless ocean of the Other.

In Chuang Tzu’s writings we find also a story of the virtuoso cook who was able to cut oxen without effort by detaching his mind from physical perception and “letting go spiritual desire”. This cook works playfully and happily as if he dances: his movements convey the infinitely delicate rhythm of the universal harmony. This playfulness as the merging of work and inspiration lies in the heart of Chinese civilization. Accordingly, the forms of Chinese culture are but “traces”, “shadows”, “echoes” of the boundless “harmony of life’s energies”, the silent but all-penetrating Celestial music.

Chinatown is this playful “shadow” of real (and probably never actualized) China, the “Middle State” (zhung guo). But the term “middle” here means also “inner”. Genuine China can only be contained within, i.e. beyond the horizon of visibility and yet in unspeakable intimacy. To be “in proximity of truth” (ji) is the goal of knowledge according to Chuang-Tzu. And this proximity is interchangeable with the “seeds” (ji) of things, i.e. the immanent, though symbolic, impulse of life which is the essence of naturalness and everyday life itself.

The notion of invisible yet omnipresent “seeds” of things or, to put it differently, the infinite activity present in every finite action determines the nature of traditional Chinese politics. The latter, as is well known, excludes open confrontation which formed the base of the Western concept of politics. The source of authority in China was not an abstract principle of any sort but the very process of harmonizing implying the uncreated harmony of life’s fundamental impulses, or “seeds”. The sphere of the political in Chinese thought is not data but something “pre-dated”: it lies beyond the scope of intelligible world and has a character of a type, an inner limit of existence, i.e. it is the force of change which transforms things into a unique and time- transcending quality. The type precedes things and the one who has a command over (symbolic) language of types rules over the world of things. Moreover, it is the typifying of experience that moulds identity for it cannot be reduced to any institutions, ideals or values of society.

The politics of being’s transformation into types has no fixed forms and deserves to be called, rather, a metapolitics. It is structured by the image — already familiar to us — of double spiral. It is said in the “Tao Te Ching” that the wise ruler “transcends everything by itself’ (chao ran), i.e. he possesses the highest form of naturalness. It was Lao Tzu, as we remember, who said that the sage lets his subjects “enjoy their food and be pleased with their clothes”. In Chinese tradition the ruler embodies the axis of the universal vortex corresponding to the limit of both emptiness and fullness. By self-emptying, i.e. withdrawing from the world, the sage ruler makes possible the plenitude of being, represented by the inexhaustible “suchness” of existence and, one may add, the richness of life. Both poles meet beyond the scope of reflection — in the dark and yet immediately accessible area of what may be called spiritualized empiricism.

The art of metapolitics is the ability to determine the hidden focus of life, the Void that structures Being. This art requires, as it were, a holographic, pan-optical vision that we can discover in classical Chinese landscape painting. But pan-vision cannot be discerned from non-vision and this means: it makes visible only effects, pure apparition of life as testified in an old Ch’an saying: “The moonlight reaches the bottom of the pool leaving no trace in the water”.

Chinese metapolitics is invisible because it belongs to the pure actuality of existence and, therefore, can be recognized only as something “Other”. It serves not the naming of things, nor even the knowledge of the world but the pure affect which is the life of human heart itself. It is the language of man’s openness to the world which transcends the discourse. The opposite dimensions of the spiral (the profound stillness of the ruler and the incessant movement of everyday life) are not transparent to each other and yet they are continuous. Metapolitics is neither an abstract idea nor a concept but the simple and pure actuality of just “being there”. It is essentially an enlightened practice beyond all confrontations. It nurtures the communion of ethos which precedes normative ethics.

Until now globalism has usually been conceived as an expansion of the Western civilization or, more precisely, so called “americanism”. The latter’s strength is derived from the specific fusion of the technical efficiency and the immanent force of life which provides feelings of joy and satisfaction. What americanism lacks is the capacity to account for the presence of the Other or, simply speaking, to communicate because it asserts itself in terms of abstract self-identity of rational thinking. A sustainable global world, if it can exist, will not be flatly one-dimensional. It will contain a certain inner depth, a gap allowing for the presence of Other and, consequently, infinitely rich cultural differences. Chinese civilization possesses an extraordinary potential for the formation of such genuine globality and it is already making its contribution in the form of Chinatowns scattered all over the globe. Chinatown’s relation to the social environment as a “world within a world” 9, a non-localized rupture in experience that constitutes all living worlds is an actual embodiment of globality’s genuine structure and a major contribution to the world peace. Like the mythical dragon half-concealed in the clouds, Chinatowns are now forming a sort of “network civilization”, a virtual and global image of China that cuts through foreign countries without creating conflicts or even being detected. Such is the working of metapolitics: the co-existence of mutually non-transparent and yet complimentary perspectives.

It is easy to see by now how Chinese wisdom of metapolitics can have important consequences in the sphere of international relations. Lao Tsu formulates his principle of the harmonic world order in the following statement — quite practical as it only should be: “If a great country gives way to a small country it will conquer the smaller country. And if a small country submits to a great country it can conquer the great country” 10. Indeed, is there another way to achieve the world peace?

The One who is the lowest will become the highest. He who loses everything will get the whole world. Such are the simple but incredible truths of China’s ancient sages whose legacy is visible in the life of Chinatown: a realm of earth-bound everyday life permeated with the Heaven’s uncreated stillness. Heaven opens to the Earth when the latter is transformed into the vast emptiness of desert. But the desert is the dwelling place for the holy people who, by making themselves humble, or “empty” take upon themselves the responsibility for the whole world and in this way gather the world around them. The humankind should efface its old, too formal and limited identities and reacquire the “openness of the desert”. This means: to start looking beyond the visible horizons and to learn how to live without old politics of confrontation.

1 Hall D.L., Ames R.T. Thinking from the Han. Self, Truth and Transcendence in Chinese and Western Culture. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998). P.26.

2 Ibid, p.52 ff.

3 Henry M. Philosophy and Phenomenology of the Body. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhof,1975). P. 190.

4 Cannings P. The Crack of Time and the Ideal Game, in: Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy. Ed. by C. V.Boundas & D.Olkowski. New York: Routledge, 1994. P.79.

5 This expression is taken from the story about master Hu-tzu in the 7th Chapter of “Chuang-tzu”.

6 Wang, Fuzhi, “Chuang Tzu”yi. Taipei: He-lo tushu, 1974. P. 74. Already Guo Xiang in his classical comments to “Chuang Tzu” interpreted this image as a capacity “to have deals without departing from the innermost limit”.

7 See: Ben, Highmore, Everyday Life and Culture Theory, London & New York: Routledge, 2002, P. 25.

8 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984, P. 40.

9 I cannot help citing here once again Chuang Tzu’s witty dictum: “Hide the world within a world and it won’t be lost!”

10 Tao Te Ching. Chapter 61. Tr. by Gia-Fu Fong and Jane English. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.