What I’ve always loved about the notion of the ten thousand things is that we ourselves are included in their number. Human beings, the Zhuangzi says, ‘are but one item’ amongst the countless things of the world. We are not separated out from the world. We are not a separate creation. I find this restoring of human existence to the thingness of things—this restitution of our status as things in the world, in the same way that cats and telephone poles and supernovae are things—a huge relief after centuries of philosophical labour that sought to demonstrate that we are set apart from other things.
Dave Bonta (bio) often suffers from imposter syndrome, but not in a bad way — more like some kind of flower-breathing dragon, pot-bellied and igneous. Be that as it may, all of his writing here is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).