Day 3:
Shifting Perspective

Live Like a Daoist

After completing the assigned exercise for today, click here to access the prompt for tonight’s reflection and to submit your 1-2 paragraph journal entry.


Things are so by being called so. Whence ‘thus and so’? From thus and so being affirmed of them. Whence ‘not thus and so’? From thus and so being denied of them. Each thing necessarily has someplace from which it can be affirmed as thus and so, and someplace from which it can be affirmed as acceptable. So no thing is not right, no thing is not acceptable. For whatever we may define as a beam as opposed to a pillar, as a leper as opposed the great beauty Xishi, or whatever might be from some perspective strange, grotesque, uncanny, or deceptive, there is a course that opens them into one another, connecting them to form a oneness. (ZZ 2 / 15)

Affirming requires a perspective from which you affirm it, a way in which it is or becomes “obvious” or “inevitable.” So in order to be flexible about affirming or denying categories, one has to be able to shift perspectives — to think oneself into this alternative perspective.

Today's Exercise

Choose a perspective that normally informs the way you go about your day and, at least for today, try to view the world differently (and act accordingly). Some examples of perspectives that might work are:

  • Time: can you imagine yourself in a different timezone? Or perhaps as living in a different era?
  • Culture: insofar as you are aware of an alternative culture to the micro-culture you participate in at Wesleyan, imagine yourself there. (If you are off campus, adjust in some other way.)
  • Gender: can you imagine identifying as a different gender?

Do your best to live your whole day from within this alternative perspective.